Kenwood Painting and Touch-Up Tips



The cabinets are fairly easy to re-paint.  All you need is the proper paint, a detail gun, and a small air compressor.  It's very important to properly prep the case top and bottom sections, which consists of cleaning, sanding, and priming.  The nicer the prepping, the nicer the overall paint job - This is probably the most important step.

Begin by cleaning the case top and bottom thoroughly with a product such as "Greased Lightning."  This will remove all dirt, smoke residue, oils and greases.   Wet sand with a fine wet-dry paper like #320.  When you are happy with the appearance of your sanded case, dry thoroughly and prime with either an aerosol automotive primer, or a quality primer you have mixed for your detail gun.  Light grey works best for Kenwood Hybrid equipment.

While the primer is flashing, mix up some final paint color and ready your detail gun. A single heavier coat is best, as it most closely duplicates the original texture of the Kenwood cabinets. You can mix your paint on the "dry" side, less lacquer thinner, to accentuate this effect.


Many time, we only have small scratches or scuffs on the visible cabinet surfaces, and we only need to blend those into the rest of the cabinet paint.  The best way to approach this problem is to PLACE PAINT ONLY WHERE IT IS NEEDED TO COVER THE IMPERFECTIONS!  That is to say, if you sloppily cover a large, irregular area with paint you've brushed onto a scratch, it WILL be a visible repair.   The reason is that your original paint is 20 to 35 years old, depending on the model, and a perfect color/lightness match is darn-near impossible!  If you could only fill in the darkened areas or the scratch with a closely matching paint, it can hardly be seen.

To avoid putting on WAY too much paint over too wide an area, for a scratch that is only 0.003" wide, a simple technique will help.  Take your brush in one hand, a Q-tip in the other, and as you carefully paint in the scratch with the brush, follow along with the Q-tip and clean up the excess paint either side of the scratch.  This will blend the new color into the old, and cover the unsightly dark or even rusted scratch area completely.  A small amount of lacquer thinner on th Q-tip may also help.

Scuffs can also be handled the same way, by trying to confine the fresh touch-up paint only to the areas that are visibly discolored.  Following behind your touch-up with a Q-tip or similar never hurts, only helps.  Blend, blend. blend.


For any number of reasons, we cannot completely re-shoot the front panel on a Kenwood rig.  Replacing the lettering on the little attached sub-panels comes to mind . . .

Fortunately, Kenwood front panels survive very well!  I have rarely seen panels that required a total re-shoot, most of them are actually pretty great looking!  The part of the panel that takes abuse is the outer edge.  It gets scuffed in the same way that the case gets scuffed. 

Most times, any paint imperfections in the Kenwood front panels takes the form of scratches or scuffs along its outer edge, parallel to the cabinet sides, top & bottom.  Thanks goodness!   In oder to repair smaller scratches & scuffs, some touch-up paint is all that is needed.  Applied in the same fashion as the cabinet paint as described above, with a Q-tip follower, most scratches can be dealt with quickly.

If the damage is more extensive, sanding and prepping a side or top edge is necessary, and the touch-up paint can be thinned with lacquer thinner and applied with an air brush to the prepped area.  A little masking tape will protect the face plate.  It will look like new when the tape is removed!

I can repaint cabinets and air-brush front panels - But my backlog is severe at the moment, so I ask that you try these techniques on your own, heck, that's half the fun of the hobby!  Write if you need more help.


There are only three type of paints that are in wide use at the moment.  They are Lacquers, Enamels, and Two-Part paints.  Here are the differences:

LACQUERS:  These are paints prepared by dissolving "something" in a solvent.  When the solvent evaporates, the "something" is left, and it is usually has a rather hard surface.  It can be sanded easily and a second, third, or twelfth layer applied (ask me about my '61 Corvette), dissolves the last, leading to a "single layer" no matter how many coats have been applied.  PROs - Easy to repair and blend - CONs - Will always redissolve in it's solvent.

ENAMELS:  These paints cure by reacting with CO2 from the atmosphere, and quickly form a "skin" on the top surface.  PROs - When cured, enamels cannot be redissolved in their own solvent.  CONs - Multiple coats form "onion skins," depending on mechanical instead of chemical bonds as lacquers do.

TWO-PART:  Characterized by "epoxy paints,"  a chemical reaction begins to occur when the two parts are mixed, and they harden without evaporation or CO2 reactions.  They will indeed harden in a vacuum.  PROs - Tough surface, long life.  CONs - Onion skin for mutiple coats, depending on mechanical bonds between layers. 

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