RussianPaint™

Aug 18th 2021

Minimum Tools/supplies needed: 

  • HVLP Spray gun w/.8mm needle w/pressure regulator (Harbor Freight - Lowes or Iwata LPH80)
  • Lacquer thinner - any brand, automotive quality is best but any will work
  • Acetone 
  • New tooth brush or nylon brush
  • Sand Blaster w/120-180 grit aluminum oxide media, this is the ONLY media that will allow the paint to adhere
    • 180 grit for ultra smooth Tula gloss
    • No other media types will work, glass, walnut etc. - the paint will peel off
  • Blue 3m painters tape or green frog tape
  • Razor blade/hobby knife
  • Respirator for organic solvents

Optional supplies:

  • Small paintbrush
  • Parkerizing setup
  • TSP Powder (Not the TSP Substitute)
  • Hygrometer

Degreasing: 

  • If you use lubricant, ensure it is water based/soluble - using oil/grease will only make this process harder
  • Boil firearm in water 20-30 min or until oil rises to surface - have oven preheated to 300 degrees 
    • Pour the surface water off or simply fill container/pot with water hose until oil flows over side before pulling the gun up out of the water through the oil you just removed
  • Blow off gun with compressed air & put parts/gun in preheated oven to dry
    • Pay attention to pins/journals/scope rails/rivets - if you see oil/wet areas start to form after 20 min or so take out & clean problem areas with brake cleaner or scrub with acetone/clean toothbrush until oil dissipates
    • Put back in oven and repeat until you don't see any more oil seeping out, if there is an excess amount and this process does not seem to work - re-boil the gun

Prepping for Paint:

  • Plug barrel chamber, gas block and mask crown/threads if desired
  • Sandblast firearm evenly with aluminum oxide as discussed (120-180 grit)
  • Unmask parts and thoroughly blow remaining media out w/compressed air
  • Hang firearm barrel end up and using the acetone, spray the gun down to help remove any fine dust and fingerprints
  • Remask the areas discussed earlier

Painting:

This paint does not work in environments over 65% humidity FYI, the factory manual says 75% - I will be doing further tests to determine what the exact level is acceptable. If you live up north in the winter, running a space heater is a great way to lower the humidity in your shop, and a dehumidifier on the coast - most customers need to simply wait until the weather is acceptable to paint since the paint will blush in a high humidity environment 

  • Set your spray gun using the acetone from the previous step
    • Set pressure to 20 - 30psi by holding the trigger down halfway and adjusting regulator
    • Now adjust the volume/needle - you want to close the needle all the way and turn the fan off
    • Slowly open the flow/needle until you get a light mist of thinner, spray against a piece of wood/metal
      • If you have it set correctly, you should see the metal become damp then dry off in a few seconds - if you see large volumes of liquid or it drips turn the volume down
      • Clear the gun of acetone after it is set
  • Dilute paint 50/50 or 1:1 w/standard Lacquer Thinner using a mixing cup
    • Sherwin Williams/Lowes/Home Depot carries gloves/thinner/mixing cups/paint strainers and nylon brushes
      • DO NOT use any other solvents to dilute this paint and only dilute the paint you intend to use
  • Strain paint as you fill the sprayer
  • Test the flow on a piece of cardboard, practice painting - you want to paint wet over wet meaning you want enough paint flowing that the gun looks wet as your painting. You can't make this paint drip, if you do simply let it flash/dry and dust a couple coats over it
    • If you experience "cobwebbing" stop painting - cobwebbing is the formation of what looks like black cobwebs on whatever you're painting. The paint is not not properly diluted. Pour paint from gun into the paint mixing cup, add 10-15% more thinner and mix. Pour a dash of lac. thinner in the spray gun and blow out the viscous paint until you see clear solvent - now add the paint back and remember to strain the paint as you pour it back into the gun

The first thing I would like to stress is to be patient, you aren't spray painting - the gun will look purple at first. Keep a steady pace and lay a good wet base coat on the gun 

Paint the inside of the receiver first, then the receiver and then the barrel. If you see light spots, or purple areas inside the receiver you can follow up later with a brush. This works well in the creases of the rails, edges of trunnions and hard to reach areas. Once the paint dries the inside will look fine, your simply ensuring a good coverage to protect the gun from rust.

Flat Finish:

  • For many modern AK's (AK12/AK105/AK74M) Spray dry coats on the gun meaning you are painting fast and the paint doesn't have time to get the wet look - turn the volume down if needed to control the flow
  • If you want to ensure it is flat, simply preheat the gun to 200 degrees prior to painting and follow the instructions above - it will be perfectly flat, but once oiled it will have that deep black hue

Semi Gloss:

  • Semi gloss is simple to achieve, set pressure to 25psi and slow down your painting, use the wet over wet technique. If you have areas that are uneven simply back up a bit and dust a couple coats over the gun

Gloss Finish:

  • For max gloss (Tula) I suggest using 180 grit alum oxide media to start
  • Set the pressure at 20 PSI and open the volume up a bit, each coat should be wet but you will need to wait a little between passes if your applying the correct amount of paint

Like everything, practice is necessary which is why I offer larger volumes bottles, when this paint is executed right it is absolutely stunning in person. If you have questions shoot me an email. 

Drying:

  • Let the gun hang dry for an hour before putting heat on it
  • Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 1 hour, however if you want the maximum gloss let the gun hang dry for 24-48 hours before baking (Tula guns)