Metallic Finishes on Wood

Woodworkers pursue some out-there metallic finish looks, using products from the automotive finishing world. April 10, 2008

I have a customer that is looking for a metallic finish, almost automotive type. They want the topcoat to be very high gloss. Has anyone done a finish like this, and did you just use an automotive paint?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor M:
If you have a 3M nearby, contact them for buffing the finish materials. I've done it with paint.

The process was:
1. White base coat, catalyzed
2. White base coat
3. White/black/colored topcoat, a thick one

Then sanding with wet paper 1200, then a sbong wet sanding 1000, then a sbong wet sanding 3000. Then buffing with sbong with white material with pumice stone, then a soft sanding component, then wax.

You can do, and if I have to do it again, I will do a colored base coat (ask the supplier to tint/color the base coat), a colored base coat again after sanding and a thick one, a clear acrylic or a non-changing color/natural topcoat with 100% and then buffing if needed. That's what automotive companies do.

From contributor M:
You can do also the following... White base coat, glazing/tinting to metallic look. I know that Invibe and ICA in Italy have the material ready for use. Then base coat clear, and topcoat clear and the buffing if needed.

From contributor J:
A long time ago I did a finish just like this one. I used an automotive finish called Imron. I wasn't sure if they still made it or not, but I heard someone mention it a little while back. Check with your automotive paint supply store and see if they carry Imron. They carry gold, silver, bronze and a few others.

From contributor I:
We have a display cabinet that we made last year like that. The frame and panels were machined out of a solid sheet of MDF so that there were no joints to crack out. We primed the cabinet and then sprayed it with that Chameleon paint that changes from purple to gold and everything in between depending on how light hits it. Then we did insert panels in brushed aluminum. It has been very a very popular conversation piece.
We sprayed an automotive clear on it and buffed it out to a gloss finish. MDF works better than solid wood for this type of thing.

From contributor C:
FYI, that is Imeron and it's made by DuPont.

From contributor R:
Alsa Corp. makes a spray-on chrome that's really good, and just about anything else metallic, chameleon, etc.

From contributor D:
Now we're talking. ALSA is the king of metal finishes. And it's certainly not Imron. It's Chromillusion. PPG makes Vibrance and BASF has Carisma in flip-flop. About time you wood guys got into the cool stuff. How many frickin' variations of brown can you paint before you get tired of that crap?