Ted's Aircraft Shop
Step 8. Painting the Wings, page 1
Step 8. Painting the Wings and Control Surfaces

Painting is a test of skill, patience, even temperament, and consistent technique.  Any lacking in one’s character and the painting suffers.  I had to learn to follow the rules and never, ever deviate.  The “rules”:  set the air and fluid flow away from the article to be painted; never pull the trigger on the spray gun unless the hand is moving; never, ever stop and go back; spray thin coats even if it does not look even; spray overlapping rows; control the effects of humidity; and many more.  Violation of any of the “rules” means sanding and starting over. 


I use a Graco single-stage turbine HVLP unit I got at the EAA Convention over 20 years ago.  It works beautifully.  I had to increase the hose length from 20 feet to 40 feet to cool the air enough to not affect the drying of the paint.  The HVLP spray gun, with its quart can, works fine as long as it is taken apart and cleaned every time it is used.  Even when I am only an hour or so between coats, I take it apart and clean it. 


I use a Hobby Air clean air system that provides outside air when I am spraying in the booth.  That is my gift to my lungs.  MEK, one of the reducer chemicals in the paints, is highly toxic and will fry the lungs.  Auto acrylic paint, used for some final top color coats is even deadlier.  In addition to the paint spray booth in my shop for small parts, I close off one bay of my garage for spraying.  I drape clear plastic from floor to ceiling, holding the top with poles pressed against the ceiling and brick/cinder block along the bottom.  Air is blown out of the paint booth through two window fans below the garage door.  Intake air is filtered through furnace filters over holes in the plastic. 


Next Page
Previous Page
Restoring a Piper Cub J-3
1.  Picking a  Project
2. Organizing and Planning
3. Overhauling the Engine
4. Assembling the Wings
5. Covering the Wings
6. Covering the Tail Surfaces
7. Repairing the Ailerons
8. Painting the Wings
9. Build Out of the Fuselage
10. Covering the Fuselage
11. Assembling and Rigging
12. Flight Testing