Cleaning your Brushes
Keeping your brushes clean and in 'like new' condition has always been a concern to me and I'm sure for you also. Brushes cost money, some Swords as high as thirty dollars and Quills can be alot more. We all know there are a number of brush oils available when you store your brushes in a brush box. But how do you get brushes clean of all paint sediment on the hair and inside the ferrel? When on the road there is only so much cleaning you can do, I use the 3 part cleaning system, 3 tall jars each with Mineral Spirits and Rapid-Remover and start cleaning, 1,2,3 the last jar of solvent should still be clean. When I'm back home I use an Ultrasonic cleaner with a timer like dentists and doctors use, the ones with a Stainless Steel tub. I have a make shift thingie that hangs my brushes in the tub, hair facing downward without the hair touching the bottom so the ferrel is submerged in the solvent, the tub is filled with reducer or Rapid-Remover and the timer is set anywhere from 3 to 9 minutes. the brushes will come out totally cleaned and in like new condition. I bought my Ultrasonic cleaner from Lone Star Ultrasonics in Texas, its a 3 quart unit with a timer and not heated. When using the Ultrasonic the timer is necessary because the solvents heat up in the tub which actually comes in handy when using water to clean an airbrush or quill when you used a water based paint such as Createx or Deka, but for a tool or brush used for enamels or urethanes getting hot is a no-no. Believe me 6 minutes is long enough time to have your brushes come out in like new condition. Now is the time to oil your brushes if you must, as i said before I personally do not oil my brushes. The Ultrasonic will also totally clean any airbrush whether together or in parts. Lone Star Technical, ask for Mike 1.800. 223.4936
Sign enamel, Flow enhancers and Hardeners
I hate to admit this but I do use sign enamels. The cost is far more reasonable than House of Kolor, about a 1/3 the price in 1/4 pint cans and is available almost anywhere. I see alot of work on vehicles because thats what catches my eye in my travels and I also speak with alot of pinstripers and to this day I cannot understand why most artists thin the paint for any reason. What I mean is all paints are made up of pigment, binders and solvent right? Wrong! These day paints are made from Dyes, Resins etc and to add more solvent for flow is a crime. Heres the way I look at it. #1 its an oil based paint; so why not add an oil based flow enhancer like 1-Shot #6000, Edge or Chromaflo which not only adds to the flow and feel of the brush but adds to the gloss and quality of the work because these solvents contain the resins that the paint is made from! Less then 10 droplets to 1 ounce of sign enamel should be efficient if you must add something to your paint and you can also have some reducer, 1-Shot #6000 or Chromaflo in a seperate cup to palette with if things get too sticky. Since one company owns both 1-Shot and Chromatic these days its easy to make your choice. Penetrol can be used and found at most any home hardware store, lumber yard or department store where house paint is sold. Its sold in gallon cans and is reasonably priced at under $20. Penetrol works in most weather and works good for flow... Everyone is set in their ways it seems... If technology changes so fast, would'nt you think the properties in the paint and the formulas over the years have changed also. You bet it has, where signs done twenty years ago and automobiles fifty years ago still look good today and paints done three years ago look like a hundred years old.... I do not believe this is not how its supposed to be, I believe pinstriping should at least last as long as the paint under it, and when the pinstripes are fading within a few years this tells me that this person who pinstriped it adds to the discoloration and fade by thinning his paint with solvents and knows little about flow and the feel of his brush. When seeing their logo and the pinstripes fading what excuses can one make for the work as some always blame the climate whether heat or rain or snow but yet never takes the responsibility for their own actions. If you follow the statements of every Rep (representative) for every company selling a product, you will be using everything they make whether good or bad for both you and your work. Today is Big business day and you my friends are the white mice. There are products out there for you to buy and use to make your work outstanding and stand up for a long time to come through any climate and these are not miracle products just your run of the mill materials that have been around for a long time. By the way 1-Shot has a hardener which BTW is an isocyanate, an additive that makes all sign enamels almost bulletproof.
NOTE: All Catalysts contain Isocyanates whether 1-Shot, HoK or whichever you use. Use proper equipment when working with these chemicals... I no longer use hardeners in my 1-Shot for a couple reasons, one is that I don't clearcoat 1-Shot and second reason is because I play with the brush running through my fingers after I palette it. When using HoK, I use a glove for my left hand and stripe normally with my right hand.
Paint Skins / Good or Evil ( 1-Shot and oil based paints )
Since we know that paint was made up of Pigment, Solvents and Binders back when there was no EPA to save us and now the formulas have excluded these materials you would think that the paints would no longer skin. Oh well, wrong again! What do we know about paint skinning while in cans, jars or plastic squeeze bottles??? I know that I don't like or put up with it. What is the skin and where does it come from? Is it the pigment or dye, is it the resins? wherever it comes from it must effect the properties in the paint and therefore the original formulars. Yet their are sign artists and pinstripers whose paint in cans look like they exploded and when asked how it can be avoided they say its meant to happen ( I don't believe it ) and to use your trusty pallette knife to remove the skin is a friggin joke and a dirty job. You can use plastic squeeze bottles but if you forget to close them, it will skin! Same goes for storing the cans upside down and thumb screws..... There was a product on the market called Paint-Sav made by Sapphire, the people who make the brush oil. Its a product you really cannot do without, use an eyedropper to put it in your paint, it will not effect the properties in any way except your paint won't skin, ever!!! It used to cost about 5 bucks a pint and will last you a real long time, a pint will last years. You may get lucky and find a pint or two in your travels, dont hesitate buying it if you can find it.
As you can tell, I've changed quite a few things on these pages as of Febuary 2007.
I rarely use HoK even though I'm still up on the paint world. They have brought out new colors plus the HoK company was sold to new owners and then the EPA and governmental regulations came into our world and the numerous amount of BS followed and 1-Shot along with sign enamels are in the same exact scenario. Though things have changed they remain the same and the problems we occur still happen and thats why I still use this site to vent as well as give updated information to all those who are interested in staying on top of their craft. I still pinstripe weekly, I still experiment and give you the news from my point of view. I still buy everything and I'm still in debt to those of you who haven't been around as long as most of us ol'timers as you would call me but yet I object to being put into a catagory unless the catagory was called perfectionists, which is BTW how I live my life.
Guess I'm lucky in some ways to have the knowledge so many of you have gotten from your own experiences and spoken with me about and then passed it on to others. Of course I still look towards the future and have the courtesy to past it on yet again even though times for me are getting to the end rather then the beginning. And of course we still have persons who believe that change is irrelevant and continue making mistakes because their mentors are struck in a time warp, wish I can be nice all the time but that ain't gonna happen.
I will be updating this whole site as soon as I can figure out how I want to set it up to make it work best for all those who use it for references as well as experimentation on your own.