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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Alkyd and 1-shot enamelApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2018-08-09 12:34:51 ... Most recent comment 2018-08-16 11:39:39

    ​Hi, Is 1-shot lettering enamel alkyd based? Would artist's alkyd paint be compatible with this enamel?

    While I'm here, does anyone have experience with the medium Smith's Cream? It has been recommended to me to use with  lettering enamel. 

    I'm trying to decide what type of paint to use on a traditional landscape painting to be installed outdoors. ( I just can't manipulate acrylic and I'm afraid that the artist's alkyd paint is very much like acrylic to handle. ) So, I got a few considerations. The other artists may be protecting their work with uv protection  and graffiti protection. Apparently, the 1-shot won't need this extra coating.

    Thank you!

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Coincidently, I supplemented my early attempts at a career in painting by working as a graphic artist and sign painter before heading off to art school, so I am very familiar with the oil based One Shot colors, or at least those that were used in the 90’s. It is entirely possible that the formulations have changed. I will send a query to the manufacturer.

    First, I would not combine artist’s alkyds with lettering enamels. They may be compatible but their working properties are very different in my experience. Artist’s alkyds have a light body and only become sticky when they start to set, while lettering enamels are heavily viscous and are extremely sticky right out of the can.

    Here are just a few observations based on my experiences. The lettering enamels set so quickly that blending in the traditional sense is very difficult. Sign painters used to these materials develop specific working methods to surmount and even exploit this quality.  The paints also go on thickly and pile up quickly. They require just the right amount of thinner to facilitate lettering but do not like fastidious blending.

    Have you experimented with lettering enamels? You mention disliking the lack of workability of acrylic dispersion paints and alkyds. Certainly, these three paint behave very differently, but they do share a relatively short working time, with artist’s alkyds probably allowing the longest open time. There have been real breakthroughs in making acrylic dispersion paints with much longer open time but one should never exceed the recommended addition of retarder as it can lead to a poor paint film.

    It is certainly possible that the working properties of lettering enamels are exactly what you are want. Additionally, these paints are explicitly intended for use on rigid substrates that are installed outdoors. However, those that I have used were very brittle. If the paint dried to a skin in the paint can, you needed to pierce it to get to the useable paint below. This was like cracking through layers of ice or glass. This is to say that such paints should never be used on flexible supports. It is also helpful to remember that paints like these were intended to survive in a very hostile environment but for a limited timeframe. Seven years was the expected life of the outdoor painted signs that we created in the 90’s. There were certainly examples that lasted much longer but that was the intended life. There are different criteria for paints meant to survive horrible conditions for a few years and those meant to last for a very long time in moderate conditions.

    As to Smith’s Cream, I am completely unfamiliar with that product but it does not appear to be made any longer. A Google search reveals that there are replacements. The label suggests that it was intended to facilitate blending but there are also references to its use to replicate the decorative effects of strewing smalt. This was originally done by creating a sticky paint layer and then strewing a coarsely ground colored glass particle into the sticky surface. The final effect broke up the light in an interesting manner. BTW Smalt was a fugitive but brilliant blue cobalt glass pigment that has been universally condemned for permanent painting.

    Finally, lettering enamels tend to produce a very glossy surface, which provides less of a “tooth” for graffiti to adhere to. To my knowledge, this does not make them immune to graffiti but creates a surface that is less acceptable to graffiti than some of the other mural mediums (at least when they remain uncoated).

    Brian Baade
    2018-08-10 22:57:26
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Thanks so much, Brian. What a lot of interesting information,​ smalt, wow!

    I have used One Shot just recently, while experimenting with some cans at least ten years old and like you say, had to crack though the skin. I started with a wash, a very thinned combo of colours, which is the way I usually start with my regular oils. It moved, it went far on the ground, and I felt I could get started 'properly'. I spoke with the people at Canadian Signcrafters ( a branch only, now, of a larger company) who recommended the Smith's Cream, not to smalt!, but to better blend, they said. So, I am waiting for an order to arrive, and I'll experiment more. (I hope they find their stock! being a discontinued product.)

     I feel that you are warning me, and so I wonder 1) if using the oneshot not straight out of the can or in a lettering/signpainting fashion, is going to compromise the durability because then I may just as well go with my regular oils, which is not supposed to last well outdoors at all. Also, 2) if I can handle the application of a mix of oneshot and alkyd artist's colours, then, after a while, will the chemical makeup do something weird to the oneshot? Seven years would be good, I think! Not one or two though.

    You are helping me think about it. Thank you.

    2018-08-11 15:23:50
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​If you are comfortable with the handling properties of the One Shot and do not expect more than 7 years, go ahead. I am less sure about mixing the lettering enamel with artist’s alkyds, as I have no experience with this. If the One Shot is alky or even straight oil based, there should be no incompatibility if thoroughly mixed. No, artist’s oils do not fare well outside for a number of reasons. This is one of my slight misgivings about using artist’s alkyds outside as well. Outdoor paints tend to have a much higher percentage of binder while high quality artist paints minimize the binder and maximize the pigment. These are two very different materials that are optimized for very different tasks.  Probably, artist’s alkyds would perform admirably. I just am not sure. This is one of the great things about acrylic dispersion paints, since they appear to perform well in either scenario, but you need to like their handling properties

    Brian Baade
    2018-08-11 16:27:05
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Gee, this is really encouraging, Brian. If I get my order and the expreriments go well, I'll go with the oneshot! (without the alkyd unless I need a touch of another colour). Thanks! Have a great weekend!​

    2018-08-11 17:04:45
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Oh! Guess what! I just heard from Louie at who says that Smith's Cream has not been discontinued and I should ask my distributer to order it. Yes! ​

    2018-08-16 11:39:39

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