Fixing Drips and Runs in Paint

Some time back in Green Magazine we covered how to deal with a paint run in primer paint and promised we would look into dealing with a paint run in finish paint. Well, it’s about time we deal with that pesky run-in finish paint. This tip is very small but will save you a lot of time. This method can also be used for primer. However, we will concentrate on the finish paint.

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We may as well admit that we like our paint glossy and free of runs. However, it is not easy to get glossy paint. If you spray too lightly, and with too much air, the paint looks dry and dull. If you paint too heavy, or with too much paint versus air from your spray gun, you end up with runs in your paint. It’s a delicate balance to spray wet enough for a nice gloss and do it without runs. Truth be told, it isn’t a question of if you will get a run, it’s a question of how many runs you will have. Runs Even professionals, runs are part of the game.

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This little trick will work on both sheet metal and castings. So, there you are, spraying on a second coat of paint and things are looking good until … darn, there it is, a paint run (Photo 1). There are two options. Option one is to let the paint dry, then sand the runoff and repaint the part again which is time-consuming and expensive. You can also take care of the run after the paint dries.

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Relax! It works best if you let the paint “flash off”, or begin to skin over. You will need to wait five minutes if you’re using John Deere paint as a hardener. Using a small artist’s paintbrush, dip the brush in John Deere paint thinner (Photo 2) and lightly brush the culprit runs.

As you lightly brush the skinned over paint run with your solvent soaked brush, the solvent will soften the paint run and surrounding paint so you can blend the run into the paint around the run (Photo 3). You need to brush lightly so you don’t expose the primer under the finish paint. To achieve a glossy, smooth finish, you can use solvent to blend the run and the surrounding paint.

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It will take a little practice to perfect this technique, but it is very easy to master and will save countless hours of sanding and repainting. If your paintbrush does not have enough solvent on it the run will not soften but will tend to smear and look rough. To correct this, wet the brush with more solvent, and lightly brush it again until your paint run blends in perfectly (Photo 4).

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If you use too much solvent on your brush the solvent will soften and thin the paint to a point where it will just cause another run, or expose the primer underneath the finish paint. To prevent this, wipe your brush with a damp cloth. Blend the run again into the surrounding paint. If you end up exposing the primer under the finish paint, simply wait a few minutes, then give the exposed primer a quick spray of paint after you have eliminated the run with your solvent and brush.

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On castings, this is a very simple little trick to deal with a run in your finish paint. The same process can be used for sheet metal like a hood and fender. However your blending technique should be better when you are dealing with a cast. Even a novice can successfully accomplish this technique with perfect results that will save countless hours and the expense of sanding the part again and repainting it.

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This is a very simple tip with huge benefits. If you haven’t tried this little trick yet, then you are in for a treat the first time you try this. Remember to just have a little patience when that first run occurs, and let the paint flash off, or skin over before you get started. Also, don’t wait until the paint has dried completely or this technique will not work. Enjoy your iron treasures until next time.

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