Correct Paint Color

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UnicornForge
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Correct Paint Color
« Thread started on: Sep 21st, 2007, 8:22pm »

Trying to find the correct paint color has been interesting. I spent the day in Gettysburg talking to people, and most had no clue.

Charlie Tarbox who used to have a mounted cannon with horses (before his divorce) said that there was the old color that the Park Service in Gettysburg used and the newer color now used. Apparently the earlier color was derived from mixing the ingredients in the Ordnance Manual using ingredients as best they could find, and the new color is based upon the discovery of paint ingredients from the 19th century at the back of an old factory building. While the earlier color was a bit yellowish, the newer color has a hint of brown and is slightly darker. I bought a post card showing a cannon and held it against a Park Service cannon carriage today, and the color on the post card was definitely lighter in color and more yellowish.

I talked to a young fellow at the Gettysburg Sherwin-Williams. He said that they custom mix a significant number of different color paints for the Park Service. He said that he will call the Park Service Repair Facility on Monday and see if they can either tell him which of the paints showing on the Sherwin-Williams Park Service account is the correct one.... or perhaps provide a dab of paint on a surface that can be placed under the Sherwin-Williams paint scanning machine.

So I guess the lesson to be learned from the experiments done by the Park Service is to beware of paint colors that you get using modern ingredients. I found a Sherwin-Williams "Blend-a-Color" specification, on an Internet discussion, that one artillery group came up with, but I gather they used modern versions of the ingredients in the Ordnance Manual too.

What do you folks use to paint your cannon carriages?

« Last Edit: Sep 21st, 2007, 8:27pm by UnicornForge » Logged

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Re: Correct Paint Color
« Reply #1 on: Oct 9th, 2007, 07:38am »

I wonder if this is the paint used by the whole NPS then?

I called my local Sherwin dealer and they would have to order the base. At $33 a gallon, I hope this stuff holds up well to the abuse of reenacting.

I have been looking for a good paint color for my foot lockers. I figured that what ever would have been "handy" would have been used by cannoneer. When the Quartermaster was not looking a can of paint might be had...
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Tedd Ill
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UnicornForge
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Re: Correct Paint Color
« Reply #2 on: Oct 10th, 2007, 6:01pm »

I am not sure if I understand "Cannoneer's" comments.

The paint used for Civil War cannon carriages and the other equipment was spelled out in the Ordnance Manual. Creative paint usage was not allowed, so "convenient" or "handy" paint colors were a no-no.

The paint used by the Gettysburg Park Service is a very heavy duty industrial paint, and is supposed to be very durable. I paid $50 dollars for a gallon of that color in the industrial enamel paint version that the Park Service uses. They will also mix that color for you in a less expensive latex if that is what you wish. You could also ask the guy at your local WalMart , or other local paint store, if their paint blending machine will accept mixing instructions from a "Blend-a-color" machine.

« Last Edit: Oct 10th, 2007, 6:02pm by UnicornForge » Logged

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Re: Correct Paint Color
« Reply #3 on: Oct 11th, 2007, 08:20am »

Yes you are correct in that creative for paint usage is a no-no and not allowed. Does that mean it was never done?

I would think that some sort of trading would have accrue.

"I'll take care of (insert here something) for use of some paint and a brush, for a couple of hours."

As for the industrial version, that is what I am looking for. Moving these lockers around, I want a good heavy duty paint to put up with the temperature swings and humidity variations. From storage in the house to the trunk of a car to a tent and then back can put stress on the finish. Let alone the outright abuse of being knocked around.

I hope that this clears up my intent.
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Tedd Ill
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UnicornForge
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Re: Correct Paint Color
« Reply #4 on: Oct 11th, 2007, 6:44pm »

And gattling guns, dresses, generals and lace existed. But I don't think there were companies of generals wearing lace covered dresses all carrying gattling guns across battle fields.

.... Although there is a reenactment group comprised of just generals that camp out in front of the Gettysburg Wax Museum twice a year. If you have not seen them, you have missed something really really different. If I remember correctly, they usually camp there the first weekend in July. But I digress...

I would hesitate to assume that non-regulation paint colors were ever used on army equipment, just because other colors existed. Possibility yes.... probability no. Possibility does not mean probability. The ability to paint polka-dots existed, so it was possible that people painted red white and blue polka-dots on cannon carriages, but not probable. Let us remember that these carriages were painted at depots not in the field by the cannoneers.

Hmmm, artillery sergeants wearing lace.... makes one wonder. ;-) ................. Who is to say it was never done!

« Last Edit: Oct 13th, 2007, 7:35pm by UnicornForge » Logged

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UnicornForge
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Re: Correct Paint Color
« Reply #5 on: Oct 13th, 2007, 7:35pm »

Don't get me wrong. I do not fault someone for doing the best they can, and the best they can afford. That is all anyone can do.

If a person is using a paint that is either what they can afford or the best guess they can come up with, I applaud them.

If someone asks me about the paint, I will simply explain that using the paint the Park Service uses is my best guess. If someone asks me about my equipment, I will simply explain that it is my best attempt, what I could *afford*, and that I am always seeking ways to improve (as best I can afford).

Would I say, "who can prove it wasn't"? No I will not say that because I have too much respect for the brave souls that participated in the Civil War, and too much respect for their professionalism as soldiers and craftsmen. And professionals and craftsmen of the 1860s had high standards, and strove for quality in their lives, their faiths, their military professionalism, and their craftsmanship.

If I was to regularly accompany a group whose equipment was painted a different color, I would give serious thought to repainting to match their equipment. I am easy to get along with.
« Last Edit: Oct 13th, 2007, 7:50pm by UnicornForge » Logged

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Re: Correct Paint Color
« Reply #6 on: Oct 24th, 2007, 11:08am »

I think what Tedd was getting at was that, yes, the carriage shops were regulated to the specific paint color, but once the carriage is out in the field anything goes. I don't have the sources to back it up but I often hear that if a carriage needed painting while in the field or garrison they used whatever they had available that somewhat resembled the desired color.
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Steve Talaga
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UnicornForge
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Re: Correct Paint Color
« Reply #7 on: Oct 26th, 2007, 8:11pm »

Thank you, I greatly appreciate the information. When doing living history as a blacksmith people often ask information about the technology of the times, so it helps to understand the common technologies.

Unfortunately, I am still a bit baffled, and would appreciate a bit more of information. For the life of me I can't figure out where artillerymen or blacksmiths could have come across green paint. My understanding is that farmers and others would mix milk paint and barn/blood-red as needed because those colors, were made from ingredients available and were affordable. They would not likely even have those two common color paints on hand, as paint did not keep (paint sitting in open buckets tended to dry out). The inability of paint to keep, resulted in the inclusion of the formula for green and black paint in the ordnance manual in the event someone needed green or black paint.... so it could be mixed when needed (and only as much as would be expected to be immediately used, since it would quickly dry out).

Apparently ready mixed paint, was not invented until about 2 years after the Civil War, and was not readily available until about 15 or more years after the Civil War.

www.brendasemanick.com says:
"the first ready mixed paint was patented by one D.R. Averill of Ohio in 1867, but it never caught on....
.....By 1880 the new paints were readily available in tins, in a wide range of colours, and came to be exported all over the World."

I apologize for being a bit dense, your patience and explanations are greatly greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: Oct 27th, 2007, 5:02pm by UnicornForge » Logged

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