[AMRadio] Paint question

Todd, KA1KAQ ka1kaq at gmail.com
Thu Dec 10 10:15:01 EST 2009

On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 8:02 AM, John King <k5pgw at yahoo.com> wrote:

> My question is: Is there a wrinkled or rough finish paint that can be applied DIRECTLY over this glossy black paint? Does anyone know the correct color for the Harvey Wells Bandmaster cabinet? I am not sure if St. James Gray such as the 75A Collins line would be the correct color or not.

Hey John -

Nice grab, it's a nifty little transmitter. Almost looks like a
miniature broadcast rig. Big with the mobile crowd back in the
50s/60s, a lot of folks ran them in the trunks of their cars from what
I've been told. Wonder if you got the AC power supply with it?

Earlier model Bandmasters (pre-C, I think?) actually used a standard
gray hammered paint finish similar to the base of a D-104. If yours is
a TBS-50D, it was a black wrinkle finish.

As for paints and textures, if you're going for something close to
authentic/accurate, you won't want St James Gray as it really is gray
- not black as some think. Granted, as you noted it's a darker gray
than the typical battleship gray seen on military gear like the R-390,
but when you look at the truly black bakelite knobs on a piece of
Collins A Line gear, you can easily see the difference. The SX-28s
actually have a sort of alligator crackle look engraved directly into
the metal panel with smooth paint, whereas the cabinets used a wrinkle
paint finish.

There are several rattle can choices available for the job. Krylon and
VHT both come to mind. Rustoleum has something referred to as
'textured finish' which I've yet to try. The Krylon stuff goes on well
but IMO is not tough enough for long term use. Their paints tend to be
something more like plastic these days, not bakeable or resistant to
damage. VHT would be my choice. It can be found at motorcycle shops (I
got my last cans at a Harley shop years ago) though it's pricey -
$7-$8 per can, probably more now. But it goes on nice, and can give a
very fine, dense wrinkle when applied evenly and cured properly. Once
it dries you can bake it to make it tough.

Powder coating is an option but not something I'd use for an old piece
of gear. It goes on much thicker than typical paint and can make
refitting difficult or impossible without some re-work. It also looks
a bit too artificial for my liking, and although tough, it has
drawbacks like not accepting any paint over it (so mask well if you
have other painting) or primer beneath. When it's done, it's done. If
there are flaws, touching up isn't an option. Strip and repaint. And
it's expensive.

Good luck with the project, you'll be pleased with the results when
the cabinet is wrinkled up. It really makes the front panel stand out.

73 -

~Todd,  KA1KAQ/4

More information about the AMRadio mailing list

This page last updated 18 Feb 2018.