Sunday, February 10, 2008


So, it has been a little while since I have given you a nice progressive update. More than anything, that is because there hasn't been a whole lot to report. I have been mostly just waiting for shipments to arrive and get my ducks all in a row.

Painting is a wonderful milestone in the restoration process because it is typically the dividing line between disassembly and reassembly.

So as of yesterday, we are officially in the reassembly stage.

I was originally going to outsource my paint job as you may recall, but I was talked into giving it a shot on my own. Here's the deal, if you already own an air compressor you can either pay some one else a few hundred dollars to do it for you, or you can spend $30-$60 for your own paint gun. After this experience, I recommend the latter. You might be saying "You can get paint guns that cheap, but the good ones are $200+." You are painting a small scooter here, not a giant classic cadillac. You really are not going to see a difference between guns on a project this small.

I chose a single-stage Urethane paint. It is extremely durable, and doesn't require clear coat or buffing. Most big cities will have auto parts stores that will make you Urethane paint in any color you want. In Wichita, one of our O'Reilly's auto parts stores offers this service. And it's cheap. The smallest amount they sell is enough to do 2 Vespas and all of the materials cost about $60. Typically Urethane comes with the actual paint, a catalyst compound, and reducer (equivalent to paint thinner). Be sure to follow the mixing instructions on the can!

After you have your parts primed up, lightly wet sand them with 400 grit waterproof sandpaper. This isn't like regular sanding where you concentrate in one spot and rub until your arm is sore. This is very light and easy. As you sand, you will feel the surface become extremely smooth. Don't stick in that one spot, keep moving or you will get rid of the primer all together. I had every part completely wet sanded and rinsed off within 45 minutes. Then be sure to let it dry!

Mix your paint. Again, follow the mixing ratios on the paint can! In my case, it was 8 parts paint, 1 part catalyst, 2 parts reducer. Once mixed, Urethane is only good for about 4 hours. So only mix what you need to use now. Hook up your compressor. Set the PSI to less than 40. 25-35 is ideal.

Spray on a light coat. Your spray technique should be to move straight across the surface from left to right at about 12" away. Then make another pass from right to left. Kind of a swooping motion. Your first coat is going to be very light. This is called a tack coat. It's purpose is to provide adhesion for the rest of the paint. You want see much color results at all on this coat. You let this coat dry for about 20 minutes (to get tacky so the next coat will stick). The next coat is a normal coat. Spray on a little heavier, just enough to see color starting to peek out. It is extremely important to not cake on paint so you won't get orange peel or runs! These will completely ruin the integrity of the paint job.

Let the 2nd coat tack for 20-30 minutes and repeat until you are happy with the color coverage. I didn't have anything to levitate my frame off of a platform so that all surface area could be done at once. So to compromise, I had to let the top side dry for about 4 hours, flip it, and do the bottom side.

In between coats of your frame, that is key time to do your smaller pieces. Your gas cap, your rims, your gas tank, cowls, etc.

Speaking of cowls, I don't think i have mentioned yet. But I outsourced out body work on my cowls to Jess at Eternal Hotrods. They should be done this week so I will be painting those on a later date.

Well, that's about it. All in all, I am very happy I did my own paint and strongly encourage others to follow. It will save you a lot of money on your restoration!


Gaere said...

Thanks for the info on your painting work. I'm wondering how much paint you needed for the vespa? I'm getting ready to spray mine in the next few weeks.

Elle Renée said...

Im taking lots of little tips from ya, Im getting close to the paint stage on my Allstate- thanks!

Ginny Hollinger said...

Urethane is a great choice, especially if you are going to paint cars. It is expensive, yes, but it does last long and it provides an exceptional finish. Urethane paints don’t run unwanted lines and don’t fade easily. They dry off very quickly, and if maintained well, they can last up to more than 10 years.

Ginny Hollinger

James said...

Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Vespa Community? Our members will love it.
Members include: Vespa Owners, Experts, Collectors, Restoration, Clubs, Vintage Folk, etc.
It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also add Photos, Videos and Classifieds if you like.
Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
Please feel free to share as often and as much as you like.
The Vespa Community:
I hope you consider sharing with us.
Thank you,
James Kaufman, Editor

friv 2 said...

Delicious strange and beautiful.