Inside Job

Premeditated Paintwork, aka Task Force Chevy Interior Prep

By “Rotten” Rodney Bauman   –   Photography by the Author

Younger paint professionals may not yet relate, but for yours truly, every time I spray the interior of an old truck cab it gets harder—and harder. It’s been a while or more since I’ve had a job of this type to do. The last one I recall was an old familiar Chevy Task Force cab. With younger knees and all-around better physical agility, it wasn’t so difficult then, but that truck was properly disassembled with doors off and glass out.

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01 there are still some details that haven’t yet been thought out Paint Prep
Although the bulk of our masking could now be considered good-to-go, there are still some details that haven’t yet been thought out.

Another such job that I’ll surely not forget was downright nightmarish. It was a ’64-66-style Chevy C10. The truck was all together. In gooey-fresh enamel the truck’s exterior had just been refinished by a low-budget chain paint shop, which didn’t exactly specialize in old truck cab interiors. Thinking back today that’s more understandable. With doors on and glass in, it’s an awkward job with built-in health hazards to boot.

02 From one side or the other I’ll need to be able to step inside Paint Prep
From one side or the other I’ll need to be able to step inside, move around freely, and see what I’m doing through a haze of nasty overspray.

The current job at hand will involve another old familiar Task Force Chevy. This one’s properly just a cab on a cart. The finished truck will end up two-toned Poppy with Vanilla Shake accents. Since they’re formulated solid colors it doesn’t seem too risky to paint the truck in pieces. For this long-awaited first bit of actual color, let’s begin with the difficult part: the cab’s interior.

03 here inside this cab we have dark shadows Paint Prep
Our booth’s lighting is ordinarily adequate, but here inside this cab we have dark shadows.

Old-School Modern Cool: 1971 Chevy C10 Vintage Air SureFit Install

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Before we shoot, shall we talk about paint materials? Because ours are not available for body shop use everywhere, perhaps we needn’t dwell on this subject. In a nutshell, we’ll be using straightforward solvent-borne stuff (basecoat/clearcoat over epoxy sealer) that’s still quite commonly used in body shops here.

04 partial lighting solution Paint Prep
A quick trip to Harbor Freight has rendered this partial lighting solution. I’ll be clumsy enough in the cab anyway, so the rechargeable/cordless feature is a plus.

We might as well talk about spray guns—at least a little as we go. The three we’ll actually use are older HVLP (high-volume-low-pressure) gravity-feed rigs with 1.3 and 1.4 fluid tips to cover this job’s varying viscosity requirements. Since we’ll be spraying certain areas where spray guns must be tilted back, we’ll try to share a few old tricks to compensate for sputtering.

05 high beam the lower dash expanse shows up much better Paint Prep
It’s nice that their strong magnetic bases swivel for aiming, too. With the rearward floodlight on high beam the lower dash expanse shows up much better.

While we’re at it, shall we also touch on basic safety precautions? To paint this cab’s interior I’ll need to get all the way up inside it, then be able to smoothly exit to spray doorjambs and rocker steps. Although our spray booth does have excellent airflow, sprayed material still tends to linger in the confines of a cab.

06 So far the plan is to operate them separately as needed as we go Paint Prep
Here’s the same test for the forward floodlight. So far the plan is to operate them separately as needed as we go.

Read More: How To Install a Stash Box & Sub Dash Panel Bolt On Kit

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Thinking I’ll be protected as always, I’ll again don my trusty supplied air setup. It’s older stuff from the ’90s, which purifies our shop’s compressed air to “Grade-D breathable.” New parts for this apparatus are pretty spendy, but at least they’re still available. Through the years I’ve kept it well maintained, and so far to this day it’s never let me down.

07 Wooden Step to avoid paint Paint Prep
Last time I did a similar job I didn’t need a little wooden step. This time my worn knees will pretty much require one, just to help me avoid falling over into my own wet paint.

At the time of this typewriting our prep is all done. So is our masking, and our booth setup is pretty far along. Even so, there’s no way to overthink the steps that must now follow. No matter how much thoughtful planning, no matter how well rehearsed the actual steps may be, let’s always leave a little room for the unexpected.

08 magnet makes an excellent holster base Paint Prep
Later when it’s really showtime I’ll be suited up with hose-in-tow. Rather than toting a loaded gun, a Harbor Freight magnet makes an excellent holster base.
09 a pair of duct taped hose rollers might help to protect our masking Paint Prep
If we’re careful as we go, a pair of duct-taped hose rollers might help to protect our masking. Since the cab’s underside is finished, masking is sealed to the floor.
10 shell of an old battery charger should function as a rollaway hose holder Paint Prep
With lead shot bags for stability, the sanitized shell of an old battery charger should function as a rollaway hose holder. So far, this is only a test.
11 Kneepads for inside the cab Paint Prep
Inside the cab it’s become clear that I’ll need to spray on my knees. Fortunately the solution for that, too, was in stock at Harbor Freight. These’ll fit inside my shoot suit.
12 this little spray gun accessory seems worth trying for the shadows Paint Prep
Despite the additional interior lighting, my body casts dark shadows of its own. For $59.99 (online) this little spray gun accessory seems worth trying.
13 As an option this little strap on headlamp might do about the same job Paint Prep
As an option this little strap-on headlamp from Harbor Freight might do about the same job. It’s not quite as blindingly bright, but like the other, it’s adjustable—and it’s $2.49.
14 we depend on this pneumatic shaker Paint Prep
Also a bargain from Harbor Freight, we depend on this pneumatic shaker. With a full gallon can onboard it’ll shake the building, too, so it’s nice that it’s variable speed.
15 The headliner’s surroundings as well as the lower section of dash require spray guns to be tilted back Paint Prep
The headliner’s surroundings as well as the lower section of dash require spray guns to be tilted back. Our existing HVLP gravity-feed guns won’t ordinarily work so well that way.
16 Paint gun came complete with accessory cup liners Paint Prep
In the ’90s when this gun was new, it came complete with accessory cup liners. In addition to easing cleanups, they also enable spraying in unusual positions.
17 When a rare job demands it a 2 quart pressure pot will spray well upside down Paint Prep
When a rare job demands it, a 2-quart pressure pot will spray well upside-down. Even though it’s legal here, we won’t actually use this gun.
18 If you’re working where older siphon feed equipment is still acceptable this trick might be the ticket Paint Prep
If you’re working where older siphon-feed equipment is still acceptable, this trick might be the ticket. This cup assembly turned backward will allow this gun to spray tilted back.
19 here’s the business end of our supplied air system Paint Prep
We’ve touched on this earlier, but beyond our upstairs driers, here’s the business end of our supplied air system.
20 our shop’s compressed air is purified to “Grade D breathable ” Paint Prep
By the time it reaches the painter, our shop’s compressed air is purified to “Grade-D breathable.” It’s still a good setup today, but it’s obviously somewhat cumbersome.
21 this is going fairly well Nearly finished with this coat Paint Prep
Apart from the onsite audible groaning going on, this is going fairly well. Nearly finished with this coat, it’s nearly time to exit as we’re down to ’jambs and rocker steps.
22 broken breathing hose Paint Prep
Now here’s where things get icky. I’ve bumped and broken my doggone breathing hose. The repair wasn’t quickly doable, so I opted to toss my hood and continue unprotected.
23 Bandit disposable respirator is cheap insurance Paint Prep
Three high-fevered days later I’m well enough to order up this Plan-B safety net for the future. From Summit, this Bandit disposable respirator is cheap insurance at $18.89.
24 the cab’s interior paintwork has turned out great Paint Prep
Somehow, despite my own physical difficulty, unexpected panic and recklessly self-inflicted illness, the cab’s interior paintwork has turned out pretty bitchin.
25 Removing all of the masking Paint Prep
Since our story began with masking, should it end about the same? If I had enough remaining energy, I’d just have to kick this around the shop.

Sources
Harbor Freight Tools
(800) 423-2567
harborfreight.com

Summit Racing Equipment
(800) 230-3030
summitracing.com

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Inside Job.

ctp november 2023

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