Help, final paint looks like poop

chris pearson

Michigan Canoe Nut
Damn, I just put my 5th coat of darkened Kirby's Rich Red on my canoe and keep getting micro bubbles on it. I'm painting it at work on off hours, the place is practically a hospital environment. Nobody in all Sunday, so I put my "so called" last coat on tonight. Sanded the hull 2 days ago, mopped the floor then too, wiped it down with non lint cloth and degreaser the autobody guys use. Tack ragged it very lightly, hand stirred the paint, added a bit of penitrol and used a brand new can of paint. Natural bristle brush for tipping, and used a "mold skin" professional 4 inch fine roller, although not foam it is very fine and is what painters use for fine work. I tip it off and looks good for a few minutes, and then the micro bubbles appear. I'm pretty sure it isnt dust. WTF? I did use the same paint on my OT Guide but didnt use a roller and had no problems, could that be the problem? I'm getting real tired of painting this canoe!!!! Also, I stir the paint constantly, the red really streaks various shades of paint no matter how hard you try to mix it. :confused: I know this is beating a dead horse, read all the previous posts. How about varnish over the last coat, does it look ok doing this? Pluses and minuses?
Chris, have you tried to eliminate all the variables by working backwards on a test patch? No penetrol, different brushes, no tacking, different or no roller etc? might be easier to prep and play on a test area than doing the whole thing over. are you getting true bubbles or fish eyes? Just asking 'cause I'll be doing mine next, hopefully with Kirbys too.

Was it just the last coat? Are you sure it's air bubbles? I had it happen once at the very start, and it was the roller pad. Fred
Rich Red

I had the same problem with the same color from the same Mfgr. about a year ago. Tried everything, as you clearly have, all to no avail -coat after coat and still got the micro bumps and the streaking. Finally called the owner of the company, and persuaded him to run a parallel test with me. We confirmed that we each had cans of paint from the same batch (# on can), and followed exactly the same process. He got the exact same results that I had been getting, and concluded that there was something wrong with that particular batch of paint (of that color). I have used several other colors from the same mfgr. and have never had this problem either before or after this episode, but there was no fix other than to wait for them to sell enough of the current batch so that they needed to make a new batch, which hopefully would not have the same problem. Might be time to pick another color and come back to this one in a few years............ good luck!
Yes, that's pretty strange, especially since things are happening after the tipping. Usually, any sort of bubbles are formed, knocked down and done with after tipping. At that point, you could still get sags if you had places where the paint was too thick, or fisheyes if the surface was contaminated, but bubbles seem very unlikely unless they're somehow coming out of the paint itself. Could the paint be so thick (in consistency, not depth) that some of the roller bubbles are still floating up to the surface after the tipping operation has already gone by? I don't know, but I routinely roll and tip epoxy resin and it doesn't happen. I can't imagine an enamel being more viscous than resin.

Maybe I'm superstitious, but I really make an effort to avoid the introduction of stray solvents between layers of paint, varnish or resin. I'm not saying that it is causing a problem in this case, but I've seen an awful lot of problems over the years (drying time irregularities, layers that don't harden properly, contamination with fisheyes, etc.) that seemed to be caused by builders using solvents in an effort to get a surface extra clean between coats of paint or resin. I just get the feeling that sometimes it does more harm than good. Some of the new water-based finishes even caution against using a tack rag because the sticky stuff on them coming off on the finish can can cause problems with the next layer of some waterbourne topcoats.

Varnish over enamel can be pretty risky. Even sprayed, it is very difficult to get a truly even coat of varnish on a big surface like a boat. Luckily, since we're usually varnishing wood, the natural color variation and grain hides this fact. On a uniform color like paint though, this isn't the case. As the varnish ages and begins to darken a bit, you may, on certain colors, start to see a lot of color variation showing up on what was previously a very uniform looking surface. Don't ask me how I know this :D but I will tell you that repainting a boat simply because it has developed a bad case of the "golden blotches" isn't a very rewarding experience.

What Todd said. The first thing that struck me was "degreaser". I think I had a similar issue with bubbles after wiping down a canoe with thinner and not waiting long enough for it to dry.

Can't help you with the mixing problem.
I think its bad paint, it still did it on previous coats that I didnt wipe down with anything. I painted 2 test pcs, although I still used a roller, and I still got little "specs". Ill try just brushing a pc, but I think Lew is right.
Bubbles, oh bubbles

Make your life simple and brilliant..............EPIFANES and their bristle brush !!
I did this after Interlux and Kirby......wish I had not waited so long ) This paint is so user friendly, I truly look forward to getting to the painting. DAVE D.
Hi Chris

I suspect the roller and posibly the automotive prep solvent.

putting the paint on with a brush is preferable and I use mineral spirits to wipe down after sanding.

I used Kirby's red on my 39 Otca, the last coats of varnish went on last week.


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Pin head air bubbles in fresh paint.

After restoring many w/c canoes I also experienced this problem for the fist time. I too found that the paint was hard to mix in the can. Every coat of paint developed pin head air bubbles that couldn't be eliminated. I hadn't changed my painting techniques or paint supplier. Drove me crazy. After trying several different remedies I finally concluded it had to be a bad batch of paint. Sorry that you had the same problem Chris but I feel better knowing that it wasn't just me.
Applying 1 coat of gloss spar varnish with a 4" roller to the exterior will give you an awesome final shiny finish without any streaking or for the final coat you can also mix about 25% varnish to 75% paint to get a mirror finish. [ Do not put the un-used mixed paint/varnish back into the can. ] The varnish will eventually darken a little but by then it will be time to repaint anyway.
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Like I said, the degreaser wasnt the problem, I didnt use it on coats before this one and it still gave me problems. We use it on car parts and never have a problem before we spray paint. Kirbys are going to let me try another color thinking it may be a problem with the batch, I'll keep you posted.....:rolleyes:
It was bad paint. Be warned, it was a bad batch of Rich Red. They sent a different color, had no problems.

That's good news Chris!

I took my new Racine model you built to the pinstriper and he could not get over the quality of the paint job. If your White is as perfect it will be stunning.

HEY lets see the final paint

Here's epifanes light green, #48. Going for the old timey look, boat is from the '20s.


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Chris! where's the White photos!

milled gunwales today and stripped seats, new cane soon. I'm catching up..


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Just repainted it .............again. You just might have to wait a few weeks and see it in person, over a Saranac. Love the color of your canoe Andre.
I read this post because I also had a problem with paint bubbles

Turns out my paint was Kirby Rich Red also. I bought it around October '09. I think we are on to something.

I still think they make the best paint.
Not quite Chris' masterpiece, but just stembands left. Might actually get done earlier than the night before!


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