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Archive for March 2011

Painting Cars by Hand – No More!

I recently came across an interesting piece of paint memorabilia, which sheds light on an important chapter in the development of the painting industry. Did you know that, up to the early 1920’s, cars were painted by hand? With all the coats needed and the long dry times, the painting process of an auto took 38 days. A giant bottleneck like this must really have upset Mr. Ford! Can you imagine the size of the paint shop? The advent of nitro cellulose lacquer and the concurrent development of sprayers changed all that, forever.

Painting of Cars Prior to Nitro Cellulose Lacquer

Following World War 1, there were great surpluses of nitro cellulose, which was no longer needed for the production of explosives. There were also large supplies of butyl alcohol. By the late 1910’s, laboratories, which had become a permanent feature of the painting industry, began to experiment with combining those two elements and one day, “presto”, there was lacquer! The quick dry time of lacquers, combined with the development of sprayers, reduced the painting time of a car from 38 days to 8 days and eventually to 8 hours. That made Mr. Ford, very happy!

The development of lacquer had a dramatic impact on the productivity of the automotive industry and the overall welfare of Americans. It took a few more years for the painting industry to develop brushing versions of lacquers, which could be used in the house-painting field.

In addition to preserving surfaces, Painting In Partnership, from the Chicago area, also looks to preserve and bring to life the history of the painting industry in the United States.

Cookbooks Held Recipes for Colonial Interior Paint Colors

Who would have thought that Early-American historical paint colors could be found in that period ‘s cookbooks. In early days, cookbooks were used to store a lot more than recipes for apple pie and stew. People often had to travel long distances to get to the general store and purchase what they needed. If it were available, the cost of some items was simply out of hand. So, American housewives had to resort to home-made recipes to meet a number of the needs of their families.

The First American Cookbook - 1796

Paints and pigments were a good example of this phenomenon. In the colonial days, the cost of paint was astronomical, because the ingredients, including the pigments, had to be imported from England or other places. Americans, being the imaginative and thrifty people they were, came up with creative ways to add interior colors to their homes by developing home-made recipes.

One of the first colors to appear in American interiors was blue. Here is a recipe for blue shades: “Boil for three hours a pound of blue vitrol and one half pound of best whiting in three quarts of water.” A “Fancy Green” resulted from the combination of unscorched pulverized coffee put into the white of an egg. Colonial cookbooks also carried a recipe for a coating, which included ingredients such as: skimmed milk, boiled rice, coffee, and egg white.

This is part of the information contained in a presentation made this week in Chicago by Mario Guertin, of Painting in Partnership Inc., to a joint meeting of AIA and APT on “The History of Paint in America”.

Two Critical Steps to Follow when Refinishing Cabinets

In the Chicago area, Painting in Partnership is known for its cabinet refinishing work. We have brought new life to scores of kitchen cabinets and created a myriad of different looks, from changing the color of stained cabinets (without stripping), to painting stained cabinets, to antiquing painted cabinets, to glazing cabinets and more.

Cabinet Refinishing - During

Cabinet Refinishing - During

We do our cabinet refinishing work on the client’s premises, using brushes and rollers. To preserve the client’s living environment, we do not use sprayers. All the work is done by hand, from bonding coats to the clear coats. Another advantage of this approach is that the client does not need to empty the cabinets before we do our work.

When doing cabinet refinishing, there are two steps that are especially critical for the long-term success of the project. This first step consists of giving the surfaces a through cleaning. This may sound kind of basic, but it is often overlooked or not given enough attention. A kitchen is by definition a place that attracts oil from hands (or from pets’ coats), soap residue, fats from cooking and food particles. It is critical to clean the surfaces to be finished, even using degreasers if needed.

Cabinet Refinishing - Bonding Primer

Cabinet Refinishing - Bonding Primer

The second critical step consists in the priming of surfaces with a strong bonding primer. Because the surfaces have often been previously been varnished and that they are susceptible to being hit by objects, it is essential to use the best available bonding primers. In the case where a change in the wood color is needed, a bonding clear coat can be used.

By taking these simple first two steps, Painting in Partnership ensures longevity, as well as beauty to its cabinet finishing projects.