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Hi guys!

I have yet to try this, so I thought I should ask anyone who may know.

Can you spray a clear coat over Alclad chrome without destroying the "chrome" effect?

I needed to refinish some seat backs for my '66 Chrysler build & they will get a bit of handling before the end, so I thought a coat of clear would seal it up to prevent any rubbing off of the finish.

I just want to be sure that they will still look like chrome after a clear coat.

We all know what happens to Metalizer paint when you seal it. :rolleyes:

 

Steve

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I've always heard you CANNOT clear Alclad.  I've never tried it.  Never used metalizer paint either.  What happens?

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You can clear over it. It just deadens the finish, which is kinda NOT the point of using Alclads.

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I've always heard you CANNOT clear Alclad.  I've never tried it.  Never used metalizer paint either.  What happens?

Well, there's really no "damage" with clear coating over Metalizer paint, it just makes the "metal" finish look like your average old silver paint.

I just wanted to make sure that the clear would not change the "chrome" look of the Alclad.

So far no answers, so I guess I'll play "pioneer" & give it a try.

 

Steve

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You can clear over it. It just deadens the finish, which is kinda NOT the point of using Alclads.

Thanks Harry.

That's what I was afraid of.

The seat backs will require some work like flocking the carpeted area & possibly some extra painting, so I thought with all of that extra handling, it would be good if I could give them a coat of clear to make them a little more durable.

At this point, I think I will still try it.

I guess they're only seat backs.

 

Steve

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The only clear that seems to work with Alclad Chrome is their Acrylic Clear sprayed on lightly.  It does not destroy the effect.  I have tried it only once.

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Steve, I was a little reluctant to answer your question because I know that I used Alclad on an '05's 'Vette's wheels years ago, and I do remember clearcoating them. In agreement with what Gerry said, it wasn't Alclad's clear, it was I believe Future Floor Wax I used which is an acrylic.

Here are a couple pics to show.........

P3041192

P1281023

I didn't care for the super bright chrome the wheels were done on the chrome tree. I had stripped them, airbrushed Alclad's black enamel on the wheels, and then airbrush very light coats of their chrome on. Afterwards, I brushed the Future on which to me didn't seem to dull the finish. The wheels look more like polished aluminum than that super bright chrome which to me doesn't look right on this gen Corvette.

As always, you might want to test it out on some spoons or something. You know how things change, and it was close to 10 years ago when I built this.

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Looking at your post again, your concern was to protect the metallic finish from rubbing off. So you know, that's not a danger when using Alclads. I know the Testor's Metallizers are very fragile, as are some other older systems, but you don't have to worry about that with Alclad. Especially if you are painting it over primer.

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Thanks for the responses guys.

Luckily I found a way to test it by spraying a little clear on the inside of one of the parts.

As Harry stated, it ruined the chrome look!

I guess I'll just have to handle them carefully to minimize any finish rubbing off.

 

Steve

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Looking at your post again, your concern was to protect the metallic finish from rubbing off. So you know, that's not a danger when using Alclads. I know the Testor's Metallizers are very fragile, as are some other older systems, but you don't have to worry about that with Alclad. Especially if you are painting it over primer.

I've had problems with Alclad "Polished Aluminum" rubbing off of transmissions & such Harry, but that's with quite a bit of handling while finishing an engine.

Hopefully these won't require as much handling.

 

Steve

 photo DSCN4960_zpsb7q9ajj3.jpg

 

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Steven, You could easily foil those and separately, those leg runners.

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Steven, You could easily foil those and separately, those leg runners.

Not sure what you mean Cato.

The black part is staying black & will be flocked.

The chrome part has already been shot with Alclad.

There's nothing to foil.

 

Steve

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A coat of Future applied with a Q-Tip will protect the paint while handling. When done remove the Future with ammonia and the shine will come back.

Edited by 935k3

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Future (or whatever it is called nowadays) should not dull Alclad Chrome (or maybe only very slightly).  But if you apply Future, I would not recommend removing it afterwards.  Not only that the Future removal process (rubbing it with a Q-tip or similar) might damage the Alclad, the ammonia will probably do something nasty to the shiny metallic finish.

I think that Cato was thinking of foiling over the Alclad areas. Foil is more durable than Alclad.

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Not sure what you mean Cato.

The black part is staying black & will be flocked.

The chrome part has already been shot with Alclad.

There's nothing to foil.

 

Steve

Pete is correct Steve. I meant if you don't want the problem of loss of shine, foil is much better in that regard. It's also a 'truer' chrome finish - unless the prototype you're modeling had more of a polished ally finish than straight chrome. The black can remain untouched.

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Pete is correct Steve. I meant if you don't want the problem of loss of shine, foil is much better in that regard. It's also a 'truer' chrome finish - unless the prototype you're modeling had more of a polished ally finish than straight chrome. The black can remain untouched.

Got it!

I thought about foil, but I didn't want any seams in them.

Plus the fact that some of the front of the seat backs will be exposed around the cushions & I decided they would be a hassle to foil.

I thought the Alclad would be the best solution.

It looks good, I'll just have to be careful while finishing up the seat detail & assembly.

Thanks guys!

 

Steve

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As long as the paint has cured, I don't think you'll have any issues, especially if you wear gloves...I stopped having issues with the paint wearing off when I started wearing surgical gloves during building, which points to the fact that it's the oils in your hands that cause issues, not the handling itself.

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I have some experience with both alclad chrome and the Alsa "mirrachrome" on some 1:1 projects... I can confidently say any type of clear on top will cause some dulling of the chrome effect. While working on the 1:1 scale Alsa stuff I spent many hours on the phone with their customer service, and an engineer...Ill share a little insight of what they told me, now this has been a few years so some details may be lost, but I think the concept is still accurate for all of these faux chrome paints.

The sprayable chrome paint is really microscopic metallic particles suspended in a acetone like substance.   The acetone is meant to lightly etch the high gloss black base surface and allow these little particles to stick to the black base.  The harder your basecoat, the less durable your finish will be. I have had good luck with the rattle can Dulpi-color Enamel Clear over a black base before spraying the Alclad. In the 1:1 world this clear is awful, and not durable at all.. but it seems to be just soft enough to allow that acetone to do its job.  Another trick I've been using, is to spray the alclad within 10 minutes of spraying the clear on the black parts.. this ensures the clear is still soft. I have found this to be pretty durable for handling, much more than I was expecting.  

Now to the reason why you shouldn't use the a clear top coat... These tiny particles are designed to lay onto the shiny black surface in a somewhat uniform pattern, (supposedly microscopic diamond shapes that interlock) they work kinda like a 2 way mirror, and reflect the black surface back through them to create the chrome effect.  Any top coat will make these little flakes float upward into the clear, which increases the distance between the particles, allows more of the black to show and ruins the chrome effect.  At the time I was working with this, Alsa had been trying to formulate a clear that didn't do this with no real luck.

 

So a quick less nerdy recap.... use a soft base coat, don't clear over-top, handle minimally and you should be fine.

 

Here are some photos of my 1:1 faux chrome experience... a learning experience to say the least.

Gloss black base

null-9.jpg

Alsa Mirrachrome - No clear

null-10.jpg

null-5.jpg

And since this was a real car and needed protection... after clear... ugh.. still looks okay, but much more like a stainless steel than chrome. (the car is my dads 1953 Oldsmobile 88, it has been in the family almost 20 years, had monochrome red bumpers for a long time.. painting this way was a fraction of the price of traditional re-chroming... so we gave it a shot)

null-14.jpg

null-11.jpg

null-13.jpg

 

 

Edited by Impalow

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So a quick less nerdy recap.... use a soft base coat, don't clear over-top, handle minimally and you should be fine.

 

 

 

 

Thanks Eric.

That's pretty much what I settled on.

I used Testors gloss black enamel for the base.

You don't get a lot softer than that! :P

I sprayed some clear over an inconspicuous area & discovered that a clear coat would not work.

It looks good so I'm just going to leave it alone & try to handle it as little as possible.

Thanks!

 

Steve

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Future (or whatever it is called nowadays) should not dull Alclad Chrome (or maybe only very slightly).  But if you apply Future, I would not recommend removing it afterwards.  Not only that the Future removal process (rubbing it with a Q-tip or similar) might damage the Alclad, the ammonia will probably do something nasty to the shiny metallic finish.

I think that Cato was thinking of foiling over the Alclad areas. Foil is more durable than Alclad.

Have you tried it. I have and it works, Using does not affect the Alclad.

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Have you tried it. I have and it works, Using does not affect the Alclad.

Ammonia applied to Alclad?  No I have not, but I know ammonia is a caustic chemical, and  that is why I stated that it "might" and not "will" affect the metallic paint.  The "might" part is a clue that I'm speculating and not speaking from personal experience.

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Found this old topic and as this is a subject I have been doing quite a lot of trial-and-error testing on during the last 2 years, I would like to share my experiences.

First of all, I have to say that for a "real" chrome effect like e.g. on the bumpers of 60's cars, I prefer Molotov Liquid Chrome (MLQ) to Alclad Chrome (AC). That is for several reasons. The main reason being that MLQ gives a much better chrome effect. As stated correctly in one of the posts above, the "chrome" effect achieved with AC is based on having very small parts reflecting the black basecoat. That is why it's so important a) to have a glossy black (enamel-based) base and b ) to apply only very light layers of the AC. MLQ works much simpler. I'm not a chemist, so I'll just say it looks like it contains "real chrome particles" instead of just creating the optical illusion of having chrome. You can use a drop of MLQ instantly with a brush, apply it and it will look like CHROME! Another upside of MLQ is that you do not need any basecoat, primer or whatsoever, you can simply apply it by brush or airbrush and it will instantly show the desired chromy effect. Besides that, in my personal experience the best results that I could achieve using AC (along with all the necessary procedures such as black base) were more like a real nice chromy silver but never a really convincing chromy effect. 

Coming back to the initial point of this thread, it has to be sad that MLQ aswell as AC have two things in common: 1. they are not particularly resistant to rubbing when being handles and 2. they will fail to produce their best shine after being clear-coated. 

I found two very similar (possible that they even are the same stuff) products that will do for a good protection while reducing the "shiny effect" only by a relatively small degree (I'd guess max. 10%). And those products are Alclad ALC-600 and AK Interactive "Gauzy Agent Shine Enhancer". This name IMHO is a bit of a joke, because it will not enhance the shine, it will decrease it - but to a limited degree and with the advantage of having the MLQ or AC layer pretty well protected. The ALC-600 works the same way in my experience, I just mostly use the AK stuff because that is a dedicated product for use alongside those metal finishes. 

If you want to see results of me using MLQ along the AK stuff for sealing, please see images of my '62 Corvette build here:

 

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Spaz Stix ultimate Clear  is rumored to work over BMF and Molotow without dulling them. I haven't tried it yet but it may work over Alcad.

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9 hours ago, Tommy124 said:

 As stated correctly in one of the posts above, the "chrome" effect achieved with AC is based on having very small parts reflecting the black basecoat. That is why it's so important a) to have a glossy black (enamel-based) base and b ) to apply only very light layers of the AC. MLQ works much simpler. I'm not a chemist, so I'll just say it looks like it contains "real chrome particles" instead of just creating the optical illusion of having chrome. You can use a drop of MLQ instantly with a brush, apply it and it will look like CHROME! Another upside of MLQ is that you do not need any basecoat, primer or whatsoever, you can simply apply it by brush or airbrush and it will instantly show the desired chromy effect.

 

Well, not quite accurate. If you examine both MLQ and Alclad II Chrome liquid paints under magnification, they both contain very small thin metallic flakes.  I do not know if either one is actually Chromium (I doubt it).  But the metallic particles of each paint have different size the MLQ's  vehicle (the clear liquid) seems to have more body and be slightly more viscous than  Alclad's vehicle (which is mostly solvent that evaporates as the paint dries).

When in a liquid form, the Alclad particles swirl in the liquid vehicle, scattering the light which hits them - that is why it looks just like shimmering silver paint (not shiny chrome).  When it is sprayed onto a smooth (smooth=glossy) base coat, as the solvent dries, the scattered metallic flakes settle down and all align and lay down flat, creating a continuous smooth Chrome-like "mirror". 

Unlike Alclad, I suspect because of its more viscous vehicle, in a liquid state many of MLQ's metallic particles float on the surface. Since the liquid's surface is smooth, all the floating particles align themselves into a continuous chrome-like mirror, even when the paint is in its liquid form.  You can observe similar phenomenon on the liquid surface of the old Testors Chrome paint.  But Testors chrome uses duller looking metallic particles. When the MLQ is applied to a surface, the metal flakes stay on the surface of the vehicle while the solvent evaporates.  The vehicle (almost like a clear coat) creates that smooth surface for those metallic flakes to settle on, so very important for the shiny-chrome look.

So, that is why MLQ applied to a non-shiny base will look shinier than Alclad. But both Alclad and MLQ benefit from glossy undercoat.  If you don't  believe me, try applying MLQ over a coat of (semi-gloss) primer, and over glossy paint and see the difference in the chrome effect.  The dark colored undercoat is desired (especially for Alclad) because there are some microscopic gaps between some of the metal flakes.  If the the undercoat is not black its color will show slightly through those tiny gaps, lessening the chrome-effect.  But if the undercoat is black, the light which gets throught those tiny gaps between metallic flakes will be absorbed (black paint absorbs light), not affecting the chrome-effect.

 

Getting back to the subject of this thread, applying a clear coat (especially solvent-based) will soften the Alclad's and MLQ's vehicle and disturb the alignment of all those flat metallic particles which make that continuous "mirror", destroying the chrome effect.  Water-based clear (like Future) will not disturb the particles much, but it will still (possibly due to changing optical properties of the metallic flakes) slightly degrade the chrome-effect.

Edited by peteski

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