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Repainting old lanterns

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by dimwatt, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. dimwatt

    dimwatt Member

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    40
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    Location:
    England
    Hi,

    I have recently acquired a brace of old profile spots, Patt. 23, which are in remarkably good condition except for the external paintwork.

    [​IMG]

    Once our current show is over, I'd like to strip them down and get them looking respectable again. I know most of you work with really high tech, state of the art gear, but there's also a wealth of hard-earned experience out there that I'd like to tap into. So here are my two questions:

    1. What's the best way to remove the current paint without damaging the lantern body? Wire brush? Sand paper?

    2. What would be a good paint to use and how best to apply it (brush or spray)? It needs to be something available in the UK, or available mail order from elsewhere.

    [​IMG]

    I've worked with very similar Strand lanterns in the past, and they were all this green, almost military, colour. I'd like to restore them to a similar appearance, but failing that, boring old black would be fine.

    Thanks,
    Dim.
     
  2. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Location:
    Australia
    Wonder how many of the US members have seen such fixtures?

    If these were mine, I would have them sand blasted which will produce a very good result in much less time (and effort) that a wire brush or sand paper. If fact, I think the end result is better in terms of finish.

    First off, I would march them down to the local powder coater to see if they can match the original colour. Again, I think that powder coating will give you a more resilient finish and takes the heat very well.

    You may find that the powder coater will have the sand blasting equipment as well. That is certainly what I have found over here.

    You will need to strip them back completely before having either of these steps done but it is a great opportunity to ensure that they are in good working order and fully serviced once back together.

    Did this not so long ago with a couple of Fresnels and the result was very good and very affordable (actually bordering on the cheap!).

    Other than that, take them into a local automotive paint supplier as they would probably be able to provide you with the same colour in a paint that will stand the temp.

    All this will of course depend upon your budget. Although, you do own them and the next show will no doubt pay for their tarting up!
     
  3. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    369
    Location:
    Illinois
    Depends upon what grit of sand blasting you would intend I think - too harsh a blasting would not be good for the fixture. Nope, never seen any of this specific fixture in person though I do have some black Strand PC’s hanging on a bar of a similar age.

    Never tried the sand blasting though I know there is some dentist like tools that could vary in both grit and pressure if not in using a high pressure water to do the same. Were I doing it, I might wire brush off the loose stuff lightly, than sand what I could. Than I agree with powder coating as the best method. Otherwise, you will tend to want to sand less in removing the paint that wants to stay and more to raise some tooth to the finish of the fixture in it being the primary concentration both of the areas with and without paint. More a question of smoothing out the junctions between paint and not paint, but also in roughing up the surface slightly to allow for the paint to have something to adhere to. Clean the fixture perhaps with denatured alcohol before painting also after done sanding. I’m a bid fan of the spray booth like paints auto body shops use. The place I work at uses a spray booth, but our paint is I think somewhat custom for the high temperature. Sticks just about as well as powder coating and it takes the heat almost as well. Otherwise given it needs to be high temperature paint, charcoal grill paint is the norm for use - though it would be better if you can somehow air brush the paint on than use the spray can or brush. Very hard to ensure a uniform thickness much less mistakes with a can of spray paint.

    For colors, I think between Strand and Altman at least, one of them still sells the olive drab color. It’s been mentioned as a replacement paint on stagecraft before but would be a hard search to find the specific posting. Still there has been past discussions on old fixture re-hab. Given the factory paint is still sold, it would already be high temperature. Were you in the US I would just say call Vara-Light/Dimatronics/Hub Electric in Crystal Lake, Illinois because they stock the old parts and no doubt the paint. Sorry no website known of, much less sources close to you.

    Too bad so much of the paint is gone or I would say leave it alone. Most antiques loose their value once “fixed up.” A shame to make it black even if well done. I have my own X-Mass present someone found for me at a garage sale. A Chicago Lighting Plano Convex to add to my Bantam Superspot - one of two known about in my area and Major brand Plano Convex that was chopped down in length. The Chicago PC unlike the other two has some serious rust issues that will necessitate some action on my part. The other two, while the Bantam spot needed a yoke and gel frame much less lens, both are in sufficient condition that they don’t require more work. Once lit a upstage scene with a Altman 101 and the above Bantam. Hard to re-produce the graininess given off by the lens or the ancient feeling color temperature of the lamps with modern fixtures. Worked with a few PC beams in the past, it’s it’s own unique category of light fixture.

    Since the Pratt line is still very much used out there, one might check with Strand lighting to see what they recommend, otherwise if someone in the blue room http://www.blue-room.org.uk/ forum has mentioned their own solution.


    On Mayhem’s advice, matching the coating would be great, otherwise the auto painter would be the next best solution. These guys do it for a living thus have a much better quality and knowledge on what to use than us.
    Unfortunately, our powder coater works on a flat fee so if you want something painted, it needs to wait until the next bulk of truss is going in for the value of it. On the other hand, our old man at the shop did set up a electric stove in the shop and has had some amount of success in powder coating equipment himself. Were it closer to the kitchen we might use it for more than just baking coatings.

    Photos of the Major and Bantam Plano Convex fixtures from our side of the pond are on the way to Mayhem to post as a furthering of the antiques.
     
  4. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

    Messages:
    6,078
    Likes Received:
    369
    Location:
    Illinois
    Depends upon what grit of sand blasting you would intend I think - too harsh a blasting would not be good for the fixture. Nope, never seen any of this specific fixture in person though I do have some black Strand PC’s hanging on a bar of a similar age.

    Never tried the sand blasting though I know there is some dentist like tools that could vary in both grit and pressure if not in using a high pressure water to do the same. Were I doing it, I might wire brush off the loose stuff lightly, than sand what I could. Than I agree with powder coating as the best method. Otherwise, you will tend to want to sand less in removing the paint that wants to stay and more to raise some tooth to the finish of the fixture in it being the primary concentration both of the areas with and without paint. More a question of smoothing out the junctions between paint and not paint, but also in roughing up the surface slightly to allow for the paint to have something to adhere to. Clean the fixture perhaps with denatured alcohol before painting also after done sanding. I’m a bid fan of the spray booth like paints auto body shops use. The place I work at uses a spray booth, but our paint is I think somewhat custom for the high temperature. Sticks just about as well as powder coating and it takes the heat almost as well. Otherwise given it needs to be high temperature paint, charcoal grill paint is the norm for use - though it would be better if you can somehow air brush the paint on than use the spray can or brush. Very hard to ensure a uniform thickness much less mistakes with a can of spray paint.

    For colors, I think between Strand and Altman at least, one of them still sells the olive drab color. It’s been mentioned as a replacement paint on stagecraft before but would be a hard search to find the specific posting. Still there has been past discussions on old fixture re-hab. Given the factory paint is still sold, it would already be high temperature. Were you in the US I would just say call Vara-Light/Dimatronics/Hub Electric in Crystal Lake, Illinois because they stock the old parts and no doubt the paint. Sorry no website known of, much less sources close to you.

    Too bad so much of the paint is gone or I would say leave it alone. Most antiques loose their value once “fixed up.” A shame to make it black even if well done. I have my own X-Mass present someone found for me at a garage sale. A Chicago Lighting Plano Convex to add to my Bantam Superspot - one of two known about in my area and Major brand Plano Convex that was chopped down in length. The Chicago PC unlike the other two has some serious rust issues that will necessitate some action on my part. The other two, while the Bantam spot needed a yoke and gel frame much less lens, both are in sufficient condition that they don’t require more work. Once lit a upstage scene with a Altman 101 and the above Bantam. Hard to re-produce the graininess given off by the lens or the ancient feeling color temperature of the lamps with modern fixtures. Worked with a few PC beams in the past, it’s it’s own unique category of light fixture.

    Since the Pratt line is still very much used out there, one might check with Strand lighting to see what they recommend, otherwise if someone in the blue room http://www.blue-room.org.uk/ forum has mentioned their own solution.


    On Mayhem’s advice, matching the coating would be great, otherwise the auto painter would be the next best solution. These guys do it for a living thus have a much better quality and knowledge on what to use than us.
    Unfortunately, our powder coater works on a flat fee so if you want something painted, it needs to wait until the next bulk of truss is going in for the value of it. On the other hand, our old man at the shop did set up a electric stove in the shop and has had some amount of success in powder coating equipment himself. Were it closer to the kitchen we might use it for more than just baking coatings.

    Photos of the Major and Bantam Plano Convex fixtures from our side of the pond are on the way to Mayhem to post as a furthering of the antiques. The Bantam spot is unique due to it's wire cooling rods above the fixture that kind of float in space, plus it's custom use of brass colling fins and painted aluminum ones. Very kind of Art Deco fixture. The other one known about while complete including a lens train kit similar to that of the Pratt however was spray painted gold so it could be lobby sculpture. Totally destroyed it's uniqueness.
     

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