Apprentice Visitor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎08-06-2010

Auto paint on wood

I just built a new cart to use with my horses. A few years ago I build one and painted it with auto paint. I called my local auto parts store today to check on which primer I should use. They handle Sherwin Williams auto paint. The paint man called his rep to check for me and he was told that the paint is not to be used on wood.

I think they are just saying that to protect their rear end in case something goes bad. I know several Amish buggy shops that use auto paint.

Any one with experience?

I am not using the water based paint system


Posts: 170
Registered: ‎10-23-2009

Re: Auto paint on wood

Auto paints tend to be very hard and brittle they end up cracking when the wood moves due to humidity.


The type of wood will be a factor.  Some woods may be OK others will be terrible.




Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.
Veteran Contributor
Posts: 80
Registered: ‎11-16-2009

Re: Auto paint on wood

Sherwin Williams may be covering their butt or they may be correct in their assessment. I think it would depend more on the specific type of automotive paint rather than a saying all auto paints are too hard for wood. Remember that a large portion of cars are plastic and plastic flexes a bunch, so the paint needs to be able to move along with it. I have actually looked into automotive clear coats and have been told by serveral sources that with the proper product selection it can and has been used with great success. I would talk to a body shop. They can probably help you in this area. 

Community Manager
Posts: 6,182
Registered: ‎10-23-2009

Re: Auto paint on wood

Back when I did body and fender work (early '80's) we had to put a flex addative into the paint when spraying plastic parts.   The metal parts didn't need that addative, but nothing bad happened if the metal was shot with it.   Doing strictly metal body panels didn't require the addative at all.

If that's still the case thirty years later, it implies that 'automotive paint' can have some wiggle in its formulation and you might have to investigate what you're actually getting and/or mixing together.


Matt Seiler
Forum Moderator

Posts: 811
Registered: ‎10-23-2009

Re: Auto paint on wood

     being how this sounds like something that is going to be in the weather, and if it is wood it will expand and contract more that metal, i would suggest  using something like rustoleum instead . you could use s.w. auto paint, but it is more expensive, is best when sprayed, and a respirator SHOULD be used when spraying.

     how did the paint job on the last one hold up?? i bet that there is a chance the amish would be willing to let you know what type of paint they are using.

 and welcome to the forum!!!

no matter what i build or how many times i build it, it's all practice.


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