Repairing Metal Prior to Coating

The problem I’m having is powder coating the vintage parts, which are pitted. I’ve cleaned and lab metal filled the items but the silhouettes of the pits still comes through. Is there any special process for restoring the parts before I can powder coat them?


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Q. Recently I purchased a 1939 Lafayette for restoration. I own a powder coating system but have rarely used it until now. The problem I’m having is powder coating the vintage parts, which are pitted. I’ve cleaned and lab metal filled the items but the silhouettes of the pits still comes through. Is there any special process for restoring the parts before I can powder coat them? For example the taillight trim rings are chrome but badly pitted, I want them to be satin black because that is the color that would look best (plus I hate chrome). What should I do to fix the metal before coating? B. S.

 

A. I am a car nut, as well. However, my tastes fall more into the vintage muscle cars of the 1960s to 1970s. I suppose that’s because these were the cars of my youth that I couldn’t afford back then and still can’t now. I did have a 1957 Chevy Sedan Delivery in high school that was fun. I built a 1964 Chevy Impala coupe to commute to college when I was 18. The best car was a nearly perfect, un-restored, all number match, 1969 Chevy Camaro Z28 with the Rally Sport package that I purchased back in 1985 as an investment for $8,000.00. I sold it the following year for $10,000.00. However, if I still had it today it would be worth almost $100,000.00, so much for my investment instincts. I suppose I will just have to continue to work as a Consultant for the next 25 years as my punishment.

Let’s get back to you question. Lab Metal is the only filler that I know will work for this application. However, it may not be able to be sanded quite as fine as you would like to eliminate all the ghosting from the pitting. But you should try to sand these parts with as fine a sandpaper as possible, including wet sanding using 1200 grit. You may want to apply a single coat of the powder first as a primer-filler to 2.0 mils and then wet sand with 1200 grit paper to get the best results. Don’t forget your auto-bodywork techniques just because you are working with powder coatings. These same techniques apply here as well. Preparing the surface of the parts using proper fillers, proper sanding and filler-primers are the only way you can restore these parts to like-new condition. Good luck with the Lafayette restoration.
 

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