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Painting Brass

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  • Painting Brass

    Does brass require any special prep prior to painting or "take" one type of paint (e.g., water- or oil-based) better than another? I've never used brass before and am expecting delivery of Tomar's Hayes bumpers soon. If yes on either or both counts, details appreciated.


  • #2
    many people will tell you that you can't paint brass with acrylic, but I have done it for years, it's all I use. with anything you paint you need to make sure it is clean first. if they are solid brass dip them in some lacquer thinner and scrub a little to loosen the grease and dirt. After that I would sand blast, if you don't have a sand blaster just prime it with some Dupli-color etching primer (get it at an auto part store). top coat with whatever you like after that. For the record, I have skipped the etching printer and it all seems to work fine. I have three brass steam locomotives that I have just painted acrylic on and they are working out just fine.

    Paint is paint, it's all in the prep.


    • #3
      Thanks, Coaltrain!


      • #4
        If you have blackening solution (web search makes me think my bottle of Hobby Black is now an orphan), it's worth using on brass that will get worn & chipped (bumpers, pilots, steps etc.). Acetone or another paint stripper will get it clean, then paint the blackener on till it's fairly dark. Then wash, dry and apply your finish paint. It etches the surface a bit, so it will be harder to chip or scratch, and the blackened metal will make chips & scratches less visible.


        • #5
          I use an autobody pre-cleaner first on the bare metal. It gets rid of fingerprints, grease, oil, dust and anything else. Then a very thin coat of etch primer and the paint. Doesn't matter on type of paint, but I use acrylic because of easy cleanup and no smell. Coaltrain and jbvb do it the same way, just with different products. Main thing is to clean the bare metal and etch prime before you paint. The etch prime works best if applied in a thin see through coat. This is when you get the best paint adhesion.


          • #6
            Thanks, gentlemen.


            • #7
              That’s good to know since I want to paint brass some day too
              Tony Burgess

              Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty.~ Brian Greene