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Project F-250, part seven

It’s been prepped, washed, sanded, wiped, degreased, masked and cleaned again, now it’s time to put color on the truck. But it’s in an ordinary farm workshop with no special facilities, such as a dedicated paint booth, and commercial automotive paint isn’t for the do-it-yourselfer.

Getting ready

The urethane automotive paint, which is widely used in the autobody business, uses a two-part formula that contains isocyanates (cyanide); applying it requires a fresh-air, protective breathing mask and a proper ventilation system to pull air down and out of the booth. We don’t have that in a farm shop, so we had to find an automotive paint with good durability but no toxic risk when applying it.

We think we found that with Dupli-Color’s Paint Shop Finish System ( It’s a lacquer-based automotive paint that comes pre-reduced and ready to spray. All you have to do is pour it in the gun, just exactly what we need.

The main protective gear required when spraying it is a good mask with the proper filters. Cover as much of your body as you can; wearing painter’s coveralls is a good idea along with safety glasses to keep wet paint off your skin.

And while professional automotive spray guns can cost hundreds of dollars, we picked up a $50 version at Princess Auto and used the shop’s existing air system to power it, however, the piping already had a desiccant filter installed to remove moisture. If the set up in your shop doesn’t, you’ll need to add it. Water from condensation in the air flow would contaminate the paint and cause problems. But overall, there are no high-end tools for this project.

If you’ve never used your spray gun before, do a little practicing with it first to ensure you have the spray pattern set correctly. The gun’s instruction sheet should tell you how to do that. Use a 50 per cent overlap when spraying the paint on to get even coverage.

We cleaned the floor around the truck to remove all the sanding debris and dirt so we don’t stir up dust while spraying the paint. Fortunately, lacquer-based paints dry very quickly, so there isn’t a lot of time for floating dust to stick to it.

Applying the paint

The Dupli-Color paint is a three-step process. First, spray on the premixed primer as a base for the new paint. The paint and primer comes in one-quart containers. The F-250 was given one coat of primer, which took about two and one half cans.

Then it was time to spay on the color; in this case we’re going with a base coat of yellow. But part of the hood will get a black accent. The truck was given three coats of yellow. Once it dried, after a couple of hours, the truck was re-masked and the black was sprayed on the hood.

The final step was to spray two coats of clear, which will give the base colours a permanent gloss.

Back on the road

After removing the masking and reinstalling all the parts we took off of it, the truck is ready for the road again.

This last phase of the project was by far the most costly. Each can of Dupli-Color product was about $25 plus tax. About 15 cans were used on the project. So the price this time is roughly $400. Even at that, it’s only a small fraction of the cost of a professional re-spray at a body shop.

Having a professional shop do all this work would have amounted to a bill of several thousand dollars, likely well more than the truck was worth. Doing the job ourselves added more value to the truck than the cost of the materials. It did, however, take a lot of man hours. That explains why a body shop bill would be so high.

There are a few minor imperfections in the new paint, but you have to look hard to find them. That’s about what we expected. So, job done. What do you think; was that money and effort well spent? Have you recently re-sprayed a truck, tractor or other machine and want to compare your results to ours? If so, email me with a thumbs up or thumbs down on the final look, and let us know what you’ve been up to in your shop. †

About the author


Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.



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