Daily Archives: December 9, 2011

The doors

No, this is not a post about some drug addled rock group from the sixties. If that was what you were expecting when you arrive here, brother, you are in the wrong place.

Anyway, yesterday I primed the fenders and trunk lid. Today … the doors and the radiator support. The first five pictures show the two doors off the Chevelle in their raw metal skin. Fortunately the doors are not pitted as the trunk lid was so they should much easier to get ship shape.

The next three pictures, numbers six through eight, show first the radiator support and then the doors in their bare metal primer. The bare metal primer is sprayed over, oddly enough, bare metal and is used to seal the metal to prevent rust. Further it provides a surface so that the following layers have something to bite into to for good adhesion. This is a most important step to ensure that the paint that follows later is both beautiful and long lasting.

The last last two photos show the outside of the doors in Slick Sand. Slick Sand is a high solids primer that is used to smooth any surface irregularities out of the metal so the paint that follows looks its very best.

Very few cars, and those that do are very expensive, have perfect body work. Just assembling a car and welding up the panels introduces slight waviness into the body work. That waviness becomes visible as distortions in the reflections visible in the paint.

The High Performance Finish, which this Chevelle is going to receive, is know for it’s razor sharp reflections. When the reflections are that crisp, reflected lines that should be straight distort and twist unless the body is dead straight. The odd thing is most people don’t even notice the distorted reflections … until they are not there. They may not even be able to put their finger on what is different about the paint, but people do notice.

The way the Slick Sand accomplishes this is really quite simple. The primer is sprayed on, and because of the high concentration of solids, it dries rock hard. Then the real fun starts when most of the primer is sanded off using a method called long blocking. 

Long blocking is nothing more than attaching sand paper to long flexible blocks. The length of the blocks smooths the surface, removing the Slick Sand primer from the high spots and leaving it in the low spots. When the sanding is completed the slight waviness is removed and the panels are perfectly straight.

It’s dirty, time consuming and tiring work, but it is an absolutely necessary step to obtain the type of finish the High Performance Finish is known for.

Now that the fenders and doors are done, that leaves only the rest of the car to be primed. Nothing to it.

And so it begins

Today we began work on Hugh’s 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle. Kelly and Josh over at Murphy Rod & Custom have finished repairing the rust damage, so now it is up to me to put a paint finish on it that makes all the work that has gone into the car to this point shine.

The first couple of pictures show what we are up against. The first photo shows what looks like a kid’s finger drawing in a foggy window. Those marks were made by a wire brush as I made sure that some rust pitting in the metal was cleaned out. You can see the pitting up close in the second picture. I have doubts that Slick Sand, the high solids primer I use under my High Performance Finish, will be able to hide this, but we will see. If it does, great, but if it doesn’t we will skim it over with a thin layer of body filler. That will take of it for sure.

Pictures three through five show a fender coated in a new product called DPLV. Long time readers of these posts know that when starting with bare metal we have always first covered the metal with an etching primer to give the epoxy primer that follows something to bite into. The etching primer also protects the metal and prevents rust.

This new primer combines the etching primer and epoxy primer into one product. It goes on directly over the metal and seals it just like the two products did before, but in one layer. I don’t pretend to understand the chemistry behind all these different coating, I’m just a simple paint and body man after all, but this product has been getting great reviews so we are trying it out. By saving the me time, since I only have to spray one coating instead of two, it is saving the customer money. And trust me when I say customers like it when I can save them money without sacrificing quality.

The rest of the pictures show the parts, the fenders and trunk lid, in the Slick Sand primer. Slick Sand is a high solids primer that I use to make sure body panels are dead straight. Slick Sand is sprayed on thick, and because it contains a lot of solids, it dries to coating that is rock hard. This coating is then sanded away, filling in any low spots, so that when the process is complete the body panel is laser straight.

With the exception of a few very high end cars, automobiles like Rolls Royce, Ferrari and perhaps a few other über-cars, all cars have imperfect body panels. Even new cars fresh from the factory have slight waviness in their bodies than you can see if you look closely. There is nothing wrong with them, it is just a function of the manufacturing process.

The problem is, the better the paint job, the more the waviness is visible. You can’t really see the imperfection, but you can see the imperfections manifest themselves as distortions in the reflections in the paint. Because the High Performance Finish, as is being applied to this car, produces razor sharp reflections, any imperfection really pops off the car. When a customer asks for our High Performance Finish, they don’t want to see reflections with curvy lines and fuzzy edges. They want to see reflection so sharp you could shave with them. Slick Sand allows me to give them those reflections.

Today we primed the fenders and trunk. Tomorrow we repeat today’s work on the radiator support and doors.

Then the real fun starts … sanding all that Slick Sand back off. Yipee!

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