Special Painting - The Pinstripes

Chanin, team leader of the painting department at a motorcycle manufacturer in Thailand, reveals the secrets of the perfect pinstripe.

'My father was a painter before me; it's a labor of love. Anyone can apply line tape but it's just not the same. That's why we still do the pin-striping on the motorcycle by hand.

'The fuel tanks come to me painted and lacquered. We have a designated area within the paintshop for pinstriping. It's quiet, with good light. I start by flatting the tank down with 1200-grade flatting paper, which cleans up the surface and gives a good base for the paint. I use a bit of stainless steel as a palette, thinners, the paint itself (specially and secretly formulated by Chanin), and my brush. A pinstriping brush is weird-looking thing, with a handle about five centimeter long and bristles cut in a kind of dagger shape. It lets you follow right curves without affecting the width of the line – a normal brush splays out.
'Use thinners to get the paint to the right consistency. It's impossible to describe; you need to experiment for yourself, which is one of the reasons it can take two years to train someone up to do pinstripes.

'The aim is to complete the line in one go, and to be as neat and as even as possible. It'll take me three minutes or so to complete each side. Move the tank and the brush as you go. Paint consistency is key but above all pinstriping requires practice – that and patience. You've got to want to learn, and you've got to be prepared to put in the time.'
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