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Emblazoned Glory- How to Restore Painted Emblems

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As the phrase goes, the Devil is in the details. Where else could that be truer than in the world of automotive restoration. The details are what separates a “20-footer” from a show winner, a high-bid auction seller, from driving it back home. The details are also sometimes the most difficult tasks on any project, especially when it comes to cars. The smallest detail may take weeks of research and months of searching for the perfect piece to complete the job. Badges and emblems certainly fit in that category of most difficult. When it comes time to reassemble a project, there are a couple of choices, reuse the old faded emblems, or search the internet and swap meets for nicer ones. Repainting old emblems can be done, but it takes 30 different brushes and a degree in art restoration to actually pull it off convincingly, right? Not quite.

Paasche has the fix for every faded and left for dead emblem lying in that box in the corner of your garage; the Paasche FP 1\32 Flow pencil. The FP 1\32 looks like a an airbrush without the airline, instead of the paint being sprayed on, it simply flows out of the tip, leaving a smooth finish, free of any brush lines or start-stop marks. Using the flow pencil couldn’t be easier, once you get the hang of it. The tip of the pencil is placed on the part, then the trigger is pulled back opening the needle and seat, which lets the paint flow out. Then the pencil is simply pulled along the area to be painted leaving a smooth bead of paint.

There are, as usual, some tricks which help lay a better coat of paint. Line the edges of the part first, this creates an outline and frames the area to be painted. The flow pencil comes with 4 nibs or tips, these control the width of the line being painted. Use the smallest nib for the smaller more intricate details, and the larger nibs for the big areas. Keep a cloth or paper towel, and some mineral spirits, handy to wipe the tip clean after each pass. A clean tip directs the paint onto the surface where it is wanted, and keeps part cleanup to a minimum. And, finally, practice makes perfect. Don’t just jump in on a hard-to-find part. It is best to practice on some junk first.

The Eastwood Company supplied some 1-Shot paints, PRE prep spray, hardeners, and reducers to use with the Paasche flow pencil. The 1-Shot paints come in a multitude of colors and can be mixed for custom shades. Using the hardener and reducer increase the adhesion and gloss of the finished job. It also helps to protect from fading and chipping. To illustrate just how easy the flow pencil, and 1-shot paints work, I restored a few old and faded muscle car emblems. One of which is a rare 69 Camaro SS grille emblem, and a 71 Buick GS grille emblem. All that’s left is to follow the steps and go with the flow.

To begin, a selection of old badges and emblems were chosen to be restored.

To begin, a selection of old badges and emblems were chosen to be restored.

The old emblems are getting a bath in a pan of mineral spirits. This helps loosen up the old paint and grime.

The old emblems are getting a bath in a pan of mineral spirits. This helps loosen up the old paint and grime.

Using a soft-bristled brush, the old paint is flaked off, leaving a nice clean part.

Using a soft-bristled brush, the old paint is flaked off, leaving a nice clean part.

The clean part is then sprayed with PRE paint prep spray, which helps with adhesion of the 1-Shot paint.

The clean part is then sprayed with PRE paint prep spray, which helps with adhesion of the 1-Shot paint.

The Paasche FP 1\32 flow pencil lays down smooth lines and eliminates the brush strokes.

The Paasche FP 1\32 flow pencil lays down smooth lines and eliminates the brush strokes.

Here, the SS emblem has been painted with 1-Shot's Vermillion orange, with a 10% mix of reducer and hardener, for better adhesion and durability in the elements.

Here, the SS emblem has been painted with 1-Shot’s Vermillion orange, with a 10% mix of reducer and hardener, for better adhesion and durability in the elements.

The Duster badge has some sharp curves and twists which represent a unique challenge, especially since the script is so small.

The Duster badge has some sharp curves and twists which represent a unique challenge, especially since the script is so small.

The first step is outlining the edges.

The first step is outlining the edges.

Then filling in the rest of the painted area. Keep a towel or cloth soaked in a little mineral spirits handy to wipe the tip of the flow pencil after each stroke, this keeps the paint where we want it.

Then filling in the rest of the painted area. Keep a towel or cloth soaked in a little mineral spirits handy to wipe the tip of the flow pencil after each stroke, this keeps the paint where we want it.

The flow pencil comes with 4 nib or tips. Each one has a different size hole, controlling the amount of paint flow.

The flow pencil comes with 4 nib or tips. Each one has a different size hole, controlling the amount of paint flow.

Using the smallest nib, the "326" fender badge gets a fresh coat of white paint. The small details require very little paint. Let the paint flow from the larger areas to the narrow parts where the pen can't reach.

Using the smallest nib, the “326” fender badge gets a fresh coat of white paint. The small details require very little paint. Let the paint flow from the larger areas to the narrow parts where the pen can’t reach.

After each color change, the pencil should be thoroughly cleaned in mineral spirits. Taking the pencil apart helps get all the paint out and eliminates contamination.

After each color change, the pencil should be thoroughly cleaned in mineral spirits. Taking the pencil apart helps get all the paint out and eliminates contamination.

. Using the smallest nib, the GS emblem's "By Buick" section is painted black. The trick here is to do the outline first, and then letting the paint flow on its own, without forcing it.

. Using the smallest nib, the GS emblem’s “By Buick” section is painted black. The trick here is to do the outline first, and then letting the paint flow on its own, without forcing it.

On large, open areas, the largest nib works well. Follow the outline first.

On large, open areas, the largest nib works well. Follow the outline first.

Then fill in the rest. Using a small clamp base helps to hold the part steady while using the pencil.

Then fill in the rest. Using a small clamp base helps to hold the part steady while using the pencil.

Now everything looks brand new and ready for the road.

Now everything looks brand new and ready for the road.

 

Sources

Eastwood

http://www.eastwood.com/

Paasche

http://www.paascheairbrush.com/

About Jefferson Bryant (205 Articles)
A life-long gearhead, Street Tech Magazine founder and editor Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 5 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced. You can follow Jefferson on Facebook (Jefferson Bryant), Twitter (71Buickfreak), and YouTube (RedDirtRodz).

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