Daily Archives: April 10, 2012

Just a touch, please

Most people do one of two things with their car. They either touch up the road rash, the little pecks that you get in your cars paint, themselves … or they do nothing. But every now and again I get a car where someone wants a “professional” touch up. This Roush Mustang is one such case.

While to call the car beat up would be a huge stretch, like all cars that people actually get out, drive and enjoy, it has collected a few pecks in the paint from rocks and other debris being kicked up off the road. The owner wanted them fixed … fixed beyond the typical owners touch up.

The first two pictures show the chipped places sanded and smoothed. This is so when the new paint is spotted on it will smooth into the existing paint without the tell-tale bump of paint over paint. The last two are the sanded areas primed.

Tomorrow we will shoot the paint, blending the areas just like on a regular repair. So this job is more than a typical touch-up, but less than a full on repair since I didn’t really repair anything.

I’m not sure what to call this type of job. Professional touch-up? Touch-up pro? I know … Touch-Up Grande.

A near miss

English is a funny language. Why is it when something almost hits something it is called a near miss? Shouldn’t be called a near hit? This poor Hyundia is an example of what should be called a near miss. The shopping cart that ran into it in the parking nearly missed it.

But it didn’t, so this Sonata ended up with this nice little scratch and crease in the rear door. As you can see in the first two photos, it isn’t a horrible mark, but this is to nice of a car to not make the repair.

The third photo show the studs welded to the crease in preparation of pulling the dent out. The studs are welded to the body along the line of the crease, then by attaching a slide hammer, I can tease the metal back into it’s original shape.

The slide hammer works by attaching the slide hammer to the stud then sliding a heavy weight along the length of the tool until it strikes the stop. The impact is transferred from the slide hammer to the sheet metal. By varying the force of the blow, a body man can carefully move the metal back into place. It works much like a hammer, but it pulls on the stuck surface instead of pushes. Once the metal is worked back into position, the studs are then cut off and ground smooth. A slide hammer is a handy little device that is a must in any body mans tool box.

After I pounded the dent out, I then covered the repaired area with body filler. Body filler is ideal for these types of smoothing repairs. Rather than spend hours upon hours with the slide hammer and body hammer to tease the metal into perfect smoothness, you get the metal close then use the filler to provide the final smoothing. It saves me an enormousness amount of time and the customer significant amounts of money, and used properly, the repair will last the life of the car.

You can see in pictures four and five where I am smoothing and shaping the filler. I first rough the filler into shape using the Dual-Action (DA) sander. Once I get the lines close, I then use the sanding block to do the final smoothing and shaping.

The DA is great for removing large amounts of material quickly, but nothing can match the control you have with good old-fashioned hand sanding. Therefore once the shape of the filled area gets close to right, I switch to hand blocking for the final sand. This allows me to make sure all the body lines and creases remain which is what makes the repair, when painted, undetectable.

You can see the results of all the knocking and banging, filling and smoothing, in the sixth picture. You can easily see the repair, but if you were to close your eyes and run your fingers over the area you wouldn’t be able to detect the repair except as perhaps a slight difference in the texture of the surface. The repaired area and the original painted area blend seamlessly together with no detectable bumps or dimples to give away the repair.

After taping off the area to be repaired, the repaired area is sprayed with a primer, shown in picture seven, to seal the repair underneath and to give the paint, to follow later, something to latch onto for good adhesion. After letting the primer dry overnight, the car will be ready to paint Tuesday.

Picking up today where we ended yesterday, you can see in the eighth picture the side of the car has been sanded. Sanding roughs up the paint so the new paint will stick. You can see the first of several base coats, the actual color of the car, has been sprayed over the repaired area.

The ninth picture shows the car after the final application of base coat. The slight shine is the result of the paint still being slightly wet. Once it dries it will as dull and flat as a chalkboard.

Here is an interesting bit of trivia … I didn’t paint the entire area you see masked off here. I blended the paint from the repair into the original paint on the car. It is neigh on impossible to get an exact color match when mixing colors. I can get close, oh so very close, but an exact match is more luck than skill. Because the human eye is so sensitive to changes in colors you can’t get away with just painting the repair. To overcome this, painters blend the new paint into the old. Paint that looks exactly the same when viewed separately, if place next to each other, would look just slightly different. It wouldn’t be obvious, but it would be noticeable. By blending, the color change from old paint to new and back to old is so gradual that the eye can’t pick up the difference, if there is one, between the old and new paint.

After the base color is applied, the clear coat is laid on. The addition of the clear coat makes a huge difference in the presentation of the paint, as you can see in the last photo. Where the base boat is dull, lifeless and blah … the clear coat adds depth and luster. And it protects the base coat underneath from the elements ensuring a durable and long lasting shine.

No matter how you look at the term near miss, there is one thing for certain … the repair to this Sonata is such that anyone who looks at it will miss it. And that’s just the way it should be.

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