Thursday, 21 March 2013 20:47

Sharing the Love of Custom Painting with Students at Lincoln

Written by Rich Evans
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I did a little traveling this month. I got a call from Tony Passwater, the director of the Indiana Autobody Association, who organizes the bi-annual Convention and Technology Exhibition which was held in Indianapolis Feb. 22–23 at the Lincoln College of Technology. See Janet Chaney’s piece on the event, p. 26 this issue.

They wanted me to do an appearance, which is cool, but interacting with the students on a project would be even cooler. At the end of the day, I wanted the students to do the project and get the experience with me guiding and helping. The challenge the IABA came up with was painting a truck and doing some graphics, some flames. But the catch was, they wanted to do it in a five-hour period, and I thought, ‘Oh here we go, these guys have been watching too many Car Warrior episodes with 72-hour builds.’ But we were able to work it out where I thought I could squeeze in a paint job with graphics in a 10-hour period, or worse case scenario, a 12-hour period. So, I started reaching out for the tools I would need to pull something like this off. I went to my stencil line. I have pre-drawn out graphics, such as tribal flames and traditional flames. I got measurements from Tony, which allowed me get the graphics pre-designed, pre-cut and pre-masked before I showed up, which would save us a lot of time.

On my way to Indianapolis, I heard there were ice storms and I thought I’d be cancelled. However, I got a text that said the show must go on. Luckily, I made it into Indianapolis. I was on the last plane in before they shut down the airport.

The next morning, I got a ride to Lincoln College of Technology and it’s a pretty impressive school. The auto body shop had quite a few completed vehicles. Director of Operations Roger Park showed me around. They were equipped with spray booths, tools and equipment, frame racks, etc.

What they had lined up for me was a 1998 green Dodge Dakota. I reached out to Vintage Collection Paint Line by Cumberland Products because they have a flat black paint that we would be using on this project. I envisioned a two-tone flame design with a flat black look. When I show up, the truck is sanded in 800 grit and now I am having to backtrack a little bit and rethink this. I talked to Bruce Barlow from Vintage Collection Paint Line by Cumberland Products—this product is over the top, and easy to use. They were willing to provide this product to me. I asked Mike English, Technical Manager, if we put down the flats, are we able to clear over it, and what timeframe we had to clear over it? The answer was ‘yes,’ we could clear over it and we had 24 hours. I was jazzed about that because it doesn’t throw a wrench in the project. I met with the top 12 students who were going to work along with me. They also had bleachers set up for the other students. I started with the basics and interacted with the students, and asked them what they were thinking. I said we could utilize the lines on the truck and make it look real cool. We had to take few more parts off the truck. I brought out the flames and I had them lay them out and get creative. I also gave the students some ideas and then let them run with it. There was no reason for me to do it for them. It was about them doing it.

So, we get started and I am feeling pretty good about the pace we’re at. All the students at the Lincoln College of Technology were really into the project and excited about it. I gave them a little direction and let them get involved hands-on so they can walk away and say, “Hey, I did that.” We’re pacing pretty good. Five hours in, we have it masked and ready for color. The students are working well together. These guys are getting creative, running flames over the shaker scoop and down the sides, in the back. I brought some reverse stencils so we could put my Rich Evans Design series logo on the truck. They made their way into the booth and get it all masked up, tighten up a few places to get the masking done right. We’re using SATA spray guns with 1.3 tip. Using Vintage flat black paint, we walked around it two and half times. I let each individual student get a little bit of spray time in to get a chance to put some color on it. We’re now about 8 hours in and we’re calling it quits for the day. We have a 24-hour window with the clear to come back and clear over the flat black with no sanding necessary.

In the morning, the students de-mask it, go back around it and pre-clean it, sand out the blowthrough that come underneath the tape with 800 grit, and tighten up the graphics and get it masked up. With a 1.3 RP gun, the goal is to walk around it with three coats. But we’re in a time crunch, nearing about 10 hours in, and I had to jump on a plane in a couple hours. We were able to walk around it three times in 25 minutes because the heated booth allows you to move a little more quickly. Students mixed the clear, and everybody worked together. In 12 hours, we got a flame job, a two-tone complete paint and re-assembled.

The facility and the staff were phenomenal. I had a great visit and interaction with the students, the upcoming next generation into the industry.

I’d like to thank IABA for having me come out, and special thanks to the guys from Vintage Paint! For more information about Vintage, go to:


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