Crackle Finish Paint

The 1929 RK saloons were provided with a crackle finish to the dashboard and, as is so often the case with our cars, under the patent plate the finish still survived. 


crackle paint 1As normal, I ensured that I had good photographic evidence of this before removing the paint prior to renovation. 

My next problem was how to achieve the finish. I usually take my time deciding on the best course of action and spend time browsing the shelves of ironmongers and leafing through the pages of trade catalogues. 

To my surprise I found that Mallets of Truro stocked a crackle finish paint, the brand name being ‘Plasti-kote’. I was already a fan of Plasti-kote products having used their Gloss Black ‘Rust Not’ paint to restore my steering wheel. To restore the dash I used a combination of five of their products. 

Having de-rusted the dashboard and removed all traces of the old paint I welded up all the extra holes that had been drilled in the dash over the years for various switches etc. as I wanted to keep the dash as original as possible. 

The next step was to use Plasti-kote Zinc primer followed by their ‘Rust Not’ gloss black. This was then followed by their Gloss Black Enamel. I tried as best as I could to end up with a finish that would have been acceptable as a high gloss finish. Plasti-kote gloss products really do shine. 

Now came the crackle finish. This is applied over the base coat. 

Having read the can it states that the thickness of the coat of paint applied changes the nature, that is, the size of the crackle finish. The more crackle paint applied in one coat the bigger the crackle finish.  As the original ‘crackles’ were fairly small, about 1/4” across the ‘islands’ I applied a light coat of the paint. Unfortunately as I overlapped the spray pattern and changed direction back and fore I ended up with areas that had more paint than others and the pattern of crackles were far from satisfactory. 

So it was strip off the paint and start again.  With hindsight I should have practiced on several test pieces to see what the characteristics of the paint were.  But I didn’t so I suffered the consequences. 

My next effort was a lot better and, though not perfect, is OK by me as I could easily make it worse by trying again. 

As you apply the paint it forms a matt surface which actually assists the application as it is easier to see where you have sprayed.  I found on my dash it was better to spray across the short distance rather than along the length of the dash. Make sure when you change direction the spray is past the edge of the dash. 

Finally, product number 5, you will need to spray the finished crackle with a clear acrylic finish, either satin or gloss.  I used gloss. 

crackle 2

Although not a perfect match to the
 original I am pleased with the finish.



The main paints used were:

Plasti-Kote Rust Not Spray Paint

Plasti-Kote Projeckt Paint Super Enamel

Plasti-Kote Crackle Spay Paint


This article, written by Malcolm Watts, originally appeared in Seven Focus Feb 2004 pp8-9.