Thursday, 22 March 2012 16:02

Bobby Alloway’s 5 Essential Tips for Achieving a Flawless Black Finish

Bobby Alloway loves the color black. Alloway, who has been building and painting hot rods for years, was named the 2011 Autorama Builder of the Year at the 59th Detroit Autorama earlier this year. The award was just the latest in a long series of coveted accolades for the painter, including Goodguys’ Street Rod and Street Machine of the Year, the Don Ridler Memorial Award, America’s Most Beautiful Roadster, plus countless others. He was inducted into the Rod & Custom Hall of Fame in 2004.

“It s rich, classy and doesn’t ‘hurt’ any car,” says Bobby.  “No one ever says, ‘that s an ugly color’ when it s black.”

Some painters avoid black because of its reputation for being unforgiving in calling attention to even the tiniest of flaws. Alloway maintains that the prep and painting process should be the same, regardless of whether the car is red, blue, white or black. What is the secret to his flawless finishes? “The key is to not be in a hurry,” says Bobby. “Don’t take any shortcuts.”

Here are some tips from the master himself:

Tip 1: “Make sure the car is straight as an arrow,” says Bobby. He follows this rule religiously regardless of the paint color.

Tip 2: Choose the right black color. Bobby uses PPG Deltron®, and is currently a big fan of DCC9300 for single stage work and DBC9700 when using basecoat. “It s a rich black,” says Bobby. “It s also friendly to use and isn’t prone to ‘printing’ (the kind of unwanted imprint that can occur when you set a panel aside on a towel or rag).” For clearcoat, Bobby’s process includes PPG Concept® DCU2002. Where two to three coats of clear are recommended, Bobby and his team will apply additional coats.

Tip 3: Get the fat out (aka any ‘orange peel’),” using 600 grit sandpaper. “This is where most people make their mistake,” says Bobby. “They’re afraid they’ll remove too much material by using the coarse paper. You want to flatten it out so that all that’s left is sand scratches. This is where having five or six coats of material is essential, since three to four of them may  be sanded off in certain areas.”

Tip 4: Sand single parts or panels using sanding blocks of varying sizes and shapes. Alloway’s hot rod shop uses many styles of blocks, but will also make a new one if needed for the project. “This doesn’t have to be expensive,” says Bobby, “You can make them yourself depending on what you need.”

Tip 5: Sand, sand and sand some more. Follow the 600 grit with 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000 and 2500 grit sandpaper. Do not skip a single step! Whereas three to four days of sanding might be typical, it is not uncommon for a vehicle in Bobby’s shop to be sanded for several weeks. The Alloway process requires a flow coat of DCU2002 which is sanded and buffed.


For more information about Bobby Alloway, please visit www.allowaysrodshop.com. For more information about the products mentioned in this article, please see www.ppg.com.