Monthly Archives: July 2011

Another happy customer

This Mustang, resplendent in it’s new coat of paint, along with new hood and rear spoiler, is done and ready to go back to the customer.

In fact, here he is now … and he seems pretty happy with the results. And why not. This car is nearly as hot as those Jalapeño pickles he brought me.

That’s better

After almost a month my office is finally back together and better than ever. Because of the water damage the office was going to have new paint and carpet anyway, so I decided it was time to freshen the place up with a new look.

Out with the dirty blue carpet and dingy cream colored walls and in with a gray and black paint scheme that I like much better. A nice big logo on the back wall, so customers know who make the check out to, and a television to entertain while I work up the estimate complete the look.

I still have a few things to do before the office is completely finished. I plan to get a couple of new chairs for customers as the old one doesn’t really match the new look and it is a little worn. I also have to finish the Cool Wall, a wall containing “glamour” shots of customers cars sent to me by the customer.

Since the flood of June 22nd I have been embarrassed to have customers in my office, but no longer. The customer may not have cared that office looked like it had been turned upside down and shaken, but I did.

In the booth

Friday this Mustang finally got its turn in the paint booth.

The first three pictures show the car all taped up with the color layer applied. The color looks rather flat because the clear not only protects the color layer underneath but it also provides the shine.

The fourth photo shows me applying the clear coat to the car after the color coat had dried. Now you know why painters wear respirators.

The last three pictures show the car after the clear coat has been applied. Same car, same location, but a big difference in the way the car looks.

This is the second Mustang we have had in the shop this year in this color and I think this blue really flatters the car.

Hey! It looks like a car again

Thursday we started putting the ’69 Mustang Mach I back together. There is still a lot of work to do on the car, obviously, but now it is starting to look like a car again instead of a collection of parts.

The front fenders and hood will go on after the engine is dropped in. Waiting to install those prevents me from have to repaint or repair something because that brute of an motor got a little frisky while being installed.

Water, water everywhere … Nor any drop to drink

Friday we wet sanded and buffed the paint on the Mustang to bring the paint gloss up and give it that classic High Performance Finish shine.

Wet sanding is just exactly what it sounds like. We sand the paint of the car with ultra-fine sandpaper while the paint is kept wet. The water acts as a lubricate to prevent the sandpaper from removing too much paint and it also washes the sanding dust away so we can identify when an area is perfect and when it still needs more work.

As you can imagine, no matter how fine the sandpaper, wet or not, sanding the paint of your car is going to dull the finish. Therefore after the car is sanded, and all the imperfections are removed, the car is buffed with progressively finer polishing compounds until the luster is restored.

Wet sanding is a time-consuming and messy job, but it is absolutely necessary to make the paint look its very best, to produce the High Performance Finish that a car like this deserves.

Primed and ready to go

Here’s the Mustang with all the little dings and dents filled, sanded, and covered in primer.

Now it is just waiting for its turn in the paint booth so we can tape it up and get some color on it.

Is it me or is it hot in here?

I love my job. I get almost as much satisfaction as the vehicle owner in taking a vehicle that is need of a little TLC and making it look new again. But on days like today, being behind a desk doesn’t seem so bad.

What the thermometer shows is the actual temperature in the shop today. I use the thermometer to know how to mix paint for proper drying because the temperature significantly affects the drying time. But since it a big thermometer, and it hangs right out where you can’t miss seeing it, it mocks me when it gets really cold in the winter or really hot in the summer, like today actually.

I can’t remember if 109° is an absolute record in the shop, but it is certainly the hottest it has been in shop this year.

A nip here, a tuck there

This Mustang is the shop for a little nip and tuck. What I mean is the owner is installing a new carbon fiber hood along with a rear spoiler from Saleen.

The owner decided it would be a shame to put the dress-up items on the car without tidying up the few dings it had picked up over the years so here we are, polishing the shoes before putting on the suit so to speak.

A little body filler here and there, a bit of sanding, and this car will be ready for some paint. The pictures make the repairs look much more extensive than they really are. The large gray areas  are just sanding marks to smooth the repair and to rough the paint to provide good adhesion for the primer.

After the new paint is applied you will never know anything had been done to the car. Well, except for the awesome new hood and spoiler of course.

Technical foul!

This poor Altma was treated quite rudely by  a basketball goal … a flagrant foul I am certain. The goal was toppled onto the car and the rim of the goal made the nicest little dent right in the middle of the trunk lid. An easy repair, if that is any consolation to the owner.

The first picture shows the trunk lid after the dent has been filled with body filler and sanded smooth.

The second picture shows the lid removed from the car. The trunk lid was removed so that I don’t have to mask off the undamaged areas of the car which speeds the repair. Just like most businesses, in auto body repair time is money and this is a quick and easy way to save the customer a few bucks on this car.

The third picture shows the trunk lid with urethane sealer over the repair to provide a uniform color for the color layer to follow to ensure an exact color match. The reason the repair still stands out is the sealer is actually only in the center of the lid, feathered out to the edges of the primer. The light in the booth sometimes plays tricks on the camera and colors it sees.

The last two pictures show the lid cleared. As soon as the clear is dry it will be ready to reattach to the car.

A clear improvement

Because there are only so many hours in the day and paint will only dry so fast, I wasn’t able to spray the clear layer on the Mustang yesterday. When I left for the day the car was in color but the finish was nearly as flat as a chalkboard.

This morning, bright and early, I got into the paint booth and addressed that. After dressing in my smurf suit I started spraying on the clear, which appears as a white fog in the first two photos.

The last four photos show the end result. If this were our standard paint finish this is where the paint work would stop. After all, it looks pretty good and is the equal of most factory paint in application and superior in thickness. You might find better paint on a Rolls Royce, but not a Ford or Chevy.

But this Mustang isn’t getting our standard paint finish, it is getting our High Performance Finish, and as good as it looks in these photos, it will look even better after the wet sand and buffing brings out the true beauty of the paint.

After the paint dries for a couple of days we will get to work on really making this Mustang prance.

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