Polyfiber Paint

It's time I told the story of Polyfiber, they're Policies and they're Paint. (I seem to be having a Proliforation of P's this evening - must be the Prostate. :)

Anyway, back to the story....
As many are aware, shortly after Marc Z, myself and a few others painted our planes with Polyfiber Smoothprime primer and Polyfiber Topgloss water based epoxy paint, two things happened:

1. The paint developed a rash and started to peel on many of the airplanes painted with it.

2. Polyfiber withdrew it from the market.

I contacted Polyfiber and reported my Problems with they're Piss Poor Product (oops... There I go again). They're reaction was excellent. Rather than being defensive the President, Jon Goldenbaum, called me several times and Proposed that they supply a complete kit of they're Aerothane product at no charge. A few weeks later a gallon of Aerothane primer and two gallon kits of Aerothane Insignia white arrived. It was some time before I was ready to paint. When I was, I contact Polyfiber again for some advice on how to use the product. I spoke to Greg Albarian and Jon Goldenbaum. They suggested that I don't use the Aerothane they'd already sent. Instead they'd send me some Ranthane, an established milspec product recently purchased by Polyfiber. They said that Ranthane was a much better paint for my purposes. I thanked Jon and agreed to use the Ranthane, but suggested that, even with free paint, I was severely inconvienienced by the problems with Topgloss, and what could they do to help with the time and effort for preparation?

Jon told me that they're policy is to refund material costs, but not pay for labor, but that would try to be as fair as they could. Without further prompting, Polyfiber volunteered to refund the cost of all the materials I used in the original paint job, plus the cost of the unused Aerothane, plus the cost of all the preparation materials used in the second paint job. Everything. Masking tape, sand paper, tack rags etc. etc. etc. Out of fairness to Polyfiber I won't say the amount of the check they sent me. Lets just say that it was a respectable sum, and more than enough to pay for my new prop, KNS-80 and KI-203 nav gear and the full face forced air respirator I bought off ebay. Polyfiber didn't have to do this. I didn't threaten them with any kind of action or try to damage their reputation. I just asked for help - once.

The People at Polyfiber have been excellent to deal with. They're objective is clearly a happy customer, they're determined to see a good result to this whole thing, and they've been far more than accomodating. For example, Greg asked me what color trim paint I'd like, sent me a color chart, then sent a gallon of my (actually Char's) preferred color, complete with the required catalyst and reducer.

Now a word about the paint. The Aerothane primer they sent was awful. I used a full gallon, but didnt get acceptable coverage. Pin holes and scratches appeared out of nowhere as it went on. Even after 4 coats, you could see the color of the base and filler through the paint. Yuk. Do NOT buy Aerothane primer. To be fair, this stuff is not considered to be a "high build" primer. They offered more free primer, and I could collect it from their local dealer who happens to be 100 feet away from my hangar, but instead I opted to spend $130 on PPG K-38 high build primer. I sanded most of the old stuff off and primed it again. This PPG stuff is excellent, and it works out being cheaper too. I used half the paint and got twice the coverage. The same scratches and a few remaining pinholes appeared ..... then disappeared as the paint flowed into them. The primer sands well and the grey color makes painting the gloss easier. The primer flows into itself nicely. See a rough area, blow on another coat. EZ!

Finally, the gloss. In my limited, but growing experience of airplane paints this Ranthane stuff is an absolute joy to work with. It goes on like liquid gold and flows out into a perfect "out-of-the-gun" shine. My painting was done under difficult circumstances. I'm not that experienced and I used a $39 harbor freight HVLP gun. I was outside on the ramp with dust and bugs blowing around. It was windy as hell, was getting dark and the security gaurd was rushing me off the airport. Far from ideal to be sure. I missed the second coat on a few spots, and there are some dust specks that'll have to be polished out, but the overall result is absolutely excellent, even with my limited skills and adverse conditions. The base is ok, but it isnt perfect. Even so, in the areas I got right, I can honestly say I have never seen a better finish - anywhere - not even on a car in a showroom. It's truely spectacular and I've very proud of it. In some areas - well I could have done a better job of prep here and there, and another coat of gloss would certainly help, but still - it'll certainly do for now. I hate to think how good it'll look if I color sand it.

Finally, the trim paint. Char chose "Stinson Maroon" which is a very deep rich color. Again, it went on smoothly and I watched as it flowed into itself to create a perfect shine. The slick kitten is now aka "Purple Pussy".

In summary, I highly recommend Polyfiber as a company that stands by its products and values it's customers. I do not recommend Aerothane primer, but I do strongly recommend Ranthane gloss paint. It's considerably less expensive than PPG Concept and, while PPG has an excellent reputation, I can't imagine that it goes on easier or generates a better finish under much less than ideal conditions. How well the Ranthane lasts for me is yet to be seen. Apparantly it's a well established product in the market and has a good longevity record.

So ends the story of Polyfiber, their Policies and their Plane Painting Products.