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Using Alclad chrome finish

Q: I’ve been using Alclad chrome finish for several years, and I can’t seem to get any consistency with it.

One time the chrome finish comes out bright; the next time it’s dull. Alclad is lacquer-based, but I’m told to use Testor’s gloss black enamel under it.

Should I use a primer under the gloss first? Should I use something else altogether?

Alclad has a gloss black base coat, but should I use something else instead? And how is one to use the transparent colors? What goes under them? And with all the other colors – Alclad clear coat, enamel base, etc.?

I’m really lost (if you haven’t figured that out yet). I’m well versed at lacquer application, but this stuff is frustrating.

Rich Wilson
via E-mail

Ken: Let me begin by saying that I use primer under everything. It protects whatever surface you’re working on, and if nothing else, it allows me to better monitor the application of paint.

I’ll run down the whole Alclad process as I know it:
The key is to create a flawless glossy surface before applying Alclad. Think of it as creating the best paint job you possibly can, then spraying over that to create a shine of a different color (e.g., chrome).  

Alclad can be sprayed over enamel; that’s what they specified before coming out with their own base. Sanding enamel will dull the surface, and should only be done to remove dust particles or other surface flaws – after which you can apply more gloss or a clear gloss coat that you can buff or polish.

Apply Alclad super-lightly and evenly.  That’s something that just comes with practice. The more Alclad you apply, the duller it gets, so you really have to be careful and know exactly when to stop.  

For the transparent paints, the base color determines what the top coat will look like (as with any candy color). They can be sprayed over just about anything.

Again, the key is practice. Even the most expert Alclad appliers I know sometimes get inconsistent results, but when it goes on well, it looks great.


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