The Painted Voss

I must admit – I kind of loved the Venus of Wuppertal in her sculptural nudiness.


I would like to do a painting of this image – it has the grace of an odalisque on a divan. Maybe over Christmas when I have a little time on my hands.

I want to hold onto this pure vision of cool, sculpted elegance because my daughter has chosen the color she wants to paint the lower shell: Tropical Breeze.


I know. I was hoping for something more…understated, but I did tell her she could pick any color she wanted.  No backsies.

We have decided to keep the cream top and accent pieces since they cleaned up very nicely with soap and degreaser:


The ribbon cover had a few scrapes, so I pulled out some old paint samples from the storage shed. Lancaster Whitewash and Millington Gold didn’t look good on my walls, but mixed together, they were a nice match for the cream of the ribbon cover, so I did a little touching up.


There was a large scrape here - this is a good color match.

There was a large deep scrape here – this is a good color match. It needs light sanding and a second coat.

The carriage return arm was bent a little too low and was scraping the ribbon cover.  I removed it from the machine and gently bent it while holding the stem in the vise in the garage.


After cleaning the internal mechanics and getting it to type smoothly, I put the typewriter back together, re-attaching the paper table, paper bail, platen, knobs, carriage return lever etc.  I had the presence of mind to take detailed photos when I disassembled the typewriter, and there were several points during re-assembly that I referred to the photos (“Does That Thing go over That Thing or under That Thing?”)

Time to Powder Coat

Fortified with pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving, I was ready to take on powder coating.

This is how powder coating works:  you apply electrically-charged powder coat paint to grounded parts and then cure the coated parts in an oven to allow the paint to “flow” and form a tough coating.

  • High voltage is involved when applying the powder coat paint – I would be working with around 25KV. I needed to be careful not to get too close to the part with the tip of the spray gun as that could cause electrical arcing and shock, explosion, fire, and/or apocalypse.
  • High temperatures are involved – I would be baking my parts in a closet-sized oven at temperatures 400°F – 425°F.

I like my leisure-time activities with a dollop of DANGER.


0 KV to 100 KV


The oven

Since my paint will cure at 400°F, I preheated my cast aluminum parts for 45 minutes at 425°F. This allowed gasses within the cast parts (which could cause defects in the cured surface) to escape and allowed any grease to burn off. It took a while for that huge oven to warm up.


While I waited, I wiped my parts down with denatured alcohol and masked off sections I didn’t want painted with special heat-resistant tape. I then threw them in the oven to preheat.  I set up my paint booth with an initial setting of 25KV for voltage and 5 psi for pressure. That seemed to be enough pressure for my paint to flow well. I did a test on a scrap piece of aluminum and coverage seemed good.


Once the parts finished heating, I hung them in my powder coat booth and did my powder coating. The paint comes out in a powdery mist.  I applied an even layer, keeping my gun more than 6 inches away from the parts to prevent electrical arcing.


And then I put the parts in the oven to cure at 400°F for 12 minutes.  I nervously opened the oven after 12 minutes and…success!


No pinholes, no fisheye, no craters!  Just sleek, beautiful, powder-coated parts.


It may not be my choice of color, but I am so happy with the coverage and the powder coated surface.  I am looking around the house for other items I can powder coat. I have a lot of aqua left over.

This Voss De Luxe is going to look a lot like a 1957 Chevy Bel Air:

By GTHO (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By GTHO (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

More Voss pictures to follow.

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