Red Camaro, orange Camaro, blue Mustang-is this you? We look at 5,000 cars during the Car Craft Summer Nats alone, so we've seen every type of paint job imaginable. The musclecar hobby is making a huge comeback since the import scene ebbed a bit, so that means more competition at car shows for that glittering trophy (if you are into that sort of thing) and more guys vying for that crowd of dudes offering street cred. Pete Santini has been painting cars since the late '70s. Inspired by the choppers of that era, his art is combination hot rod and outlaw biker. His office has several cool helmets and tanks on display. The shop is smeared with color. Pete Santini has been painting cars since the late '70s. Inspired by the choppers of that The test subject is a '69 Impala that is going to get a blue candy top with some metalflake accents. We're thinking this would look good on a rear valance or as a highlight on the roof if the car is painted all one color. We saw a metalflake job on a dashboard that was so subtle we almost missed it, and we think firewalls and SS stripes would look cool with flake as well. Our cars are from the '60s too; why do the choppers get to have all the fun? The test subject is a '69 Impala that is going to get a blue candy top with some metalflak The surface prep for metalflake jobs is the same as any other paint job. If you are spraying over existing color you'll need to scuff it with 600- to 1,000-grit paper to kill the gloss. If you are working with bare metal, use some primer/filler, block-sand it with 320-grit paper, and finish with the finer grit. The surface prep for metalflake jobs is the same as any other paint job. If you are sprayi Last summer the things that got the most attention, aside from ludicrous power from surging big-blocks, were interesting and different applications of hot rodding mainstays, most notably custom paint. Now let's not get crazy here; we're not talking full candy glitter and murals of nekkid Aztec warriors enjoying the lamentations of the women. We are suggesting you use techniques from other motor-vehicle cultures in small doses to sweeten up your ride. Just don't overdo it. Since we've only heard of such techniques and never really tried them, we called Pete Santini of Santini Paint and Body Werkes in Westminster, California, to get a lesson on something that isn't just a coat of base and a coat of clear. Please use sparingly. What about metallics?The difference between metallic paint and metalflake, as Santini puts it, is "the difference between fine sugar and the chunky healthy stuff." If you want to see stuff in the paint, use metalflake; if you want a little more shine, use metallic. "If you want chocolate milk, put chocolate in the milk," says Santini. PressuresWe asked if there are special air-pressure considerations when shooting flake. Santini says that he likes to run 25-30 psi at the trigger, which translates to 6-8 at the fluid tip. You can regulate the pressure using the trigger. Using less air keeps the flake from bouncing and tumbling on the surface. Here is a tech tip from Santini. Tape off the driprail so it doesn't get shot with the metalflake topcoat. The paint is thick, making it nearly impossible to get the molding back on without mangling it. Here is a tech tip from Santini. Tape off the driprail so it doesn't get shot with the met Big paint companies like House of Kolor offer an assortment of flake sizes and colors that are actually made of plastic, not metal. There are grades from extrafine to what people like to call "speed boat" to stuff so thick that you just blow it on from a pile in your hand. Santini prefers to use silver instead of colored flake. The reason is that if you cut through to the colored flake while finish-sanding, you will saw off any corners that might be poking through the clear. The result will be silver chips that you will be able to see. Big paint companies like House of Kolor offer an assortment of flake sizes and colors that For the purposes of this story, Santini picked up a brand-new SATAjet 3000 RP gun to try out. Normally a good flake gun will have a fluid tip that is large enough (1.8-2.0 mm) to pass the flake in suspension without clogging and will have a hanging cup with a ball bearing to constantly mix the flake while spraying. The SATA gun had a 1.4mm tip and a gravity-feed cup with a large neck to avoid clogging. Santini noted that the gun worked well for a job like this one where he was shooting fast and not allowing the gun to sit. The gravity feed also allowed the flake to stay in suspension and go on the car instead of to the bottom of the feed cup. For the purposes of this story, Santini picked up a brand-new SATAjet 3000 RP gun to try o PRODUCTS DESCRIPTION PRICE House of Kolor MF-2 Silver Mini Flake, 3 oz. $50.00* Little Daddy Roth Surflite Silver Flake 12.95** Little Daddy Roth Lil Surflite Silver Flake 12.95** House of Kolor Shimrin Orion Silver base, qt. 41.99* House of Kolor UFC-35 Flo-Klear, 1 gal. 191.99* SATAjet 3000 paint gun 450.00 local paint store *prices quoted from Eastwood **prices quoted from Vintage Ford Santini usually uses a silver basecoat under a silver flake regardless of what the final color is going to be. The neutral silver base allows for any candy topcoat without affecting the final color. Whatever the color, the topcoat has to be translucent or you won't see the flake. Duh! The tape stripes are for the nekkid ladies Santini will add later, but this is a family magazine. Santini usually uses a silver basecoat under a silver flake regardless of what the final c The new gun came with a newfangled mixing/gravity-feed cup with a small port on the top to ventilate the system. We thought it was cool because, in theory, the system uses one less cup and you can screw it directly to the top of the gun. Just don't forget to close the vent. The new gun came with a newfangled mixing/gravity-feed cup with a small port on the top to The metalflake is added to the clear- or topcoat of a base/clear system. Santini prefers to use a slow-drying urethane clear so that the flakes sink into it. The more the flake sinks, the smoother the finish. He tells us that a good rule of thumb is 24 ounces of clear mixed with 2 ounces of flake, but we watched him just pour a bunch in and mix it up. The metalflake is added to the clear- or topcoat of a base/clear system. Santini prefers t Santini mixed three different sizes of flake together in the clear to get the desired effect. The small flake fills the gaps, and the large flake adds the drama. Each coat should be allowed to get tacky before another is applied. A good way to test readiness is to dab the paint on a taped area with your finger. If it is sticky but does not create a string when you pull your hand away, it is ready. Keep adding coats until everything is covered evenly, usually about three to four coats. Santini mixed three different sizes of flake together in the clear to get the desired effe The same general painting techniques apply to spraying flake as other paint. Use a crosshatch pattern to avoid striping, don't add so much paint that it sags, and make sure you overlap on each pass. In this photo you can see the difference between the flake and the base. Also notice that the flake looks more uniform on the silver than it does on the green paper, proving that a matching base color is a good idea. The same general painting techniques apply to spraying flake as other paint. Use a crossha Since the flakes tumble through the air and onto the surface of the car, the next step is to prepare some clearcoat to bury the flakes' sharp edges and add depth. Since the flakes tumble through the air and onto the surface of the car, the next step is Burying the flake can take as few as five or as many as 10 coats of clear. Santini recommends four to five coats maximum in one session and then waiting a few days for them to dry. If you add too many coats at one time, the bottom layers will dry slower than the top ones, causing cracking or bubbling. After the paint is totally dry, you can wet-sand it with 500-grit paper and add some more coats. Be careful not to break through to the flake when you are sanding or you will have to start again. If it feels and looks flat, it's good. This job took eight coats and two sandings to complete. Burying the flake can take as few as five or as many as 10 coats of clear. Santini recomme Now that the flake is down, Santini can add any color of candy paint he wants. When he is done, it will look like the base, the flake, and the clear are all one color and 10 feet deep. Now that the flake is down, Santini can add any color of candy paint he wants. When he is Last thing: If you don't want it to glitter, don't wear it on metalflake day. SOURCES Eastwood 263 Shoemaker Road Pottstown PA 19464 1-800-345-1178 www.eastwoodco.com Santini Paint & Body Werkes Westminster CA Sacramento Vintage Ford 916-853-2244 www.vintageford.com Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!