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FROM THE August 2008 ISSUE

Liquid masking

RELATED TOPICS: MASKING
Q: I recently tried doing some complicated graphics (for me, at least) on a street machine, and I used a water-based liquid mask instead of tape. I brushed it on over the first color and allowed it to dry completely, then I sprayed the second color. When I took off the masking, the first color was "pitted" in spots with the second color. Both color coats were lacquer-based paint.

On top of everything else, the masking was a bear to get off. Should I give up on liquid mask, or am I doing something wrong?

- Doug Nicholson
Boise, Idaho


Ken: It's not that you did anything wrong, Doug; you just might not have done enough right.

Water-based liquid masking doesn't hold up too well against hot lacquers - especially when you've only put on a thin coat. How do we know that's what you did? Well, we're not sure, but we'd bet you an egg roll (see the Tip of the Month) it was, because a thick coat would have been much easier to get off. A thicker coat will also have protected the other areas against the "pitting" you encountered, if you use a couple of precautions.

When using hot lacquer, spray the first couple of coats on very lightly, and not as wet. That will give the solvents time to gas out before consuming the masking material, and it will essentially seal the mask before you lay down the wet and shiny final coat.

Try filling in large areas with low-tack tape where possible; use the liquid mask along the edges, and for the more-complex smaller areas. Good luck!

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