Multi-Color Finishes

Ask an Expert From: Products Finishing,

Posted on: 7/1/2003

Question: Way, way back, about 30+ years, I remember that there was a coating that when sprayed resulted in a “multicolor” spatter finish.


Way, way back, about 30+ years, I remember that there was a coating that when sprayed resulted in a “multicolor” spatter finish. At that time, I inquired how that finish produced two colors at one time when sprayed. I found out that the material consisted of two incompatible coatings, probably one a lacquer and one a latex material. It has been quite a while since I have tried to recall the blend. (I don’t think that the second material was an alkyd since I suspect that the two would blend.) These two remained separated when atomized. At this moment I can’t think of the trade name used. Do you remember what it was called and what the blend was? I wonder if this coating is still made? Thank you for a wonderful, informative column. S. B.


Yes, S. B. I do remember what it was called. In 1960, I had a program at the Westinghouse Labs to evaluate Plextone finishes, a registered trademark of Maas and Waldstein. Plextone is one of the novelty finishes mentioned in the February 2003 Painting Clinic. It consisted of a suspension of colored nitrocellulose lacquer droplets in a water-soluble resin base. The water-soluble resin was the continuous phase; nitrocellulose was the discontinuous phase. The water-soluble resin could have been an alkyd. Numerous effects could be achieved by varying the base color and the color of the droplets.

Since the finish provided optical interference, it was proposed for use on fabricated sheet metal structures. It offered potential savings by eliminating labor intensive grinding, sanding and filling operations used to correct surface defects. It was found to be equal in performance properties to the then existing finish. In the end, the engineering “committee” rejected its use because it looked too much like baby furniture. Incidentally, our first set of baby furniture (bought by my mother-in-law in 1956) had a Plextone finish. No wonder my son became a lawyer.


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