Here's one way to get some pretty darn good webbing done without too much hassle. Forget the rattle can stuff - we're gonna cook up a homebrew recipe here. All you'll need is a small siphon feed paint gun to shoot the webbing mixture, and the usual painting tools.
The project for the test here is a Gottlieb Bonanza. Old school paint from 1964. Base off-white, pretty thin webbing on this particular one and really basic red/blue artwork on top. The approach I'm taking has been chosen to obtain the most accurate repro look possible with the minimum time and money.
Our cabinet was stripped, sanded & repaired, and two coats of Zinsser primer/sealer applied, sanded between coats. The base off-white is flat latex sprayed on. Another way to get a nice smooth finish would be to mix some Floetrol into the latex, then roll on with a foam roller. Very little "stipple" in the base coat that way. Now its time for the webbing:
The webbing technique is one I found on a gun restoration forum. They use paint and glue to make a paint that will spray and web. For this post, I will share with you my test shots - failures and success both.
The recipe used is three ingredients: 1) Black lacquer 2) Glue and 3) Lacquer thinner
The ratios of these ingredients matter tremendously. However - by mixing our own webbing paint we can alter the ingredients and achieve any kind of result we want.
Now the details: for paint, I'm using Duplicolor Black Lacquer:
I managed to find a quart of it at my local auto parts store. (FYI - I did attempt to make a webbing mixture with oil based enamel, and glue but nothing worked. The only paint I find that works is lacquer)
The glue used for this mixture is called "Beacon Multi-Grip", available at WalMart:
Multi-Grip is a very high strength, clear, medium bodied, fast curing, bodied solvent-type acrylic cement. Its similar but a little thinner than something like Weld-On 16, but I believe Weld-On 16 would also work (disclaimer: I haven't tested W-16 yet)
And finally, for spraying the webbing I opted to use a standard siphon feed touch-up paint gun. The gun I use is very similar to the one Harbor Freight sells (HF item item number 66871):
Time to go do some test shoots! For each shoot I will show you the recipe ratios, the gun and air settings and a picture of the results. Note that as I go from one shoot to the next, only one variable (mixture %, needle setting or air pressure) will be changed. That way we can see how making changes to each variable affects the outcome. So keep track of what's being tweaked between shoots and then compare results to get a feel for how things go:
SHOOT 1: 80% paint / 20% glue / 40 psi / 2 turns open on the needle
SHOOT 2: 66% paint / 33% glue / 40 psi / 2 turns
SHOOT 3: 66% paint / 33% glue / 40 psi / 1-1/2 turns
SHOOT 4: 66% paint / 33% glue / 50 psi / 1-1/2 turns
SHOOT 5: 75% paint / 25% glue / 50 psi / 1-1/2 turns
SHOOT 6: 75% paint / 25% glue / 40 psi / 3/4 turn
SHOOT 7: 65% paint / 25% glue / 10% lacquer thinner / 40 psi / 3/4 turn
Shoot 7 was the look I wanted. Fine webbing - sort of like Angel Hair type. Note how the addition of only 10% lacquer thinner stopped the "blobbing" issue. This is pretty much a dead-on perfect copy of how this old Bonanza cab was originally done.
Using the recipe from Shoot 7 again I (bravely) went out and shot the whole thing with it.
Love the results! The webbing worked great, had super good adhesion and was easy to apply. None of these were done using any "fan" air on the gun. Also do pay close attention to the needle setting. You can greatly vary the webbing thickness with more or less needle. I found that +/- only 1/8 of a turn made a difference.
Advantages to making your own webbing paint:
- infinitely variable effects depending on how its mixed
- mix custom colors
- much better surface adhesion than rattle-can stuff
- larger spray pattern makes it easier to apply a "random" look