Daily Archives: May 3, 2012

Sand man

Today Mike and Jordan gave the hood and trunk lid the High Performance Finish treatment, completing all the parts of the Chevelle painted thus far.

The first photo shows Mike (left) and Jordan wet sanding the hood. Wet sanding is a technique to remove the tiny, invisible, imperfections in the paint. No matter how good the painter, the paint will only go down so smooth. It is the nature of painting. A good painter can lay down the paint at least as smooth as, if not smoother, than the factory applied paint. Paint applied at this level looks very good, certainly good enough for the average daily driver. But on a car like this Chevelle very good is not good enough.

Wet sanding is a technique of using very fine grit sandpaper, first 1000 grit then 2000 grit, to carefully smooth the paint to perfection. Sandpaper this fine feels smooth to the touch, but there is enough abrasiveness that the sandpaper evens and smooths the surface of the paint. The water acts as a lubricant on the surface and prevents the sandpaper from removing too much paint because sanding through the clear coat would be … unfortunate.

As you would expect, no matter how fine the sandpaper, sanding the paint is going to dull the shine. So the next step, polishing, restores it. The second photo shows Mike using the high-speed polisher to polish out the fine scratches left by the sandpaper.

Polishing works just like the sandpaper. The polishing compounds smooth and level the paint, removing the imperfection, the sanding marks in this case, until the paint gleams. The effect of all this smoothing of the paint are razor sharp reflections in the paint.

The last two photos show some of the results of Mike’s work. The hood, fenders and trunk lid are all polished and ready to install on the car as soon as it is painted. The doors, not shown in these pictures, are also ready but are stored in the office.

Taking paint to the next level, the High Performance Finish level, is a dirty, tiring and time consuming job. But when a High Performance Finish is placed next to a regular paint job, even my own, it is easy to see that the High Performance Finish is a step above the everyday. The extra deep gloss and razor sharp reflections of the High Performance Finish … they speak far louder than words that this paint is something special.

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Tired

Sometimes life just isn’t fair. Here is this brand new 2012 Nissan Sentra, and all ready it is mangled up. The first picture shows what happens when a small Nissan hits a big truck tire. In short, the Nissan loses.

The second picture shows the car after Jordan removed the front bumper assembly. Most the damage is cosmetic, but there are some broken pieces in there that are going to have to be replaced.

The bumper took the brunt of the trauma, but the fender received a little nick too. After cleanup up the wound with a little bit of sandpaper, we smoothed it over with a dab of body filler. The third photo shows the filler after it had been sanded smooth.

The last photo, number four, is the same little nicked place masked off and a squirt of primer applied to seal it up.

It has to be frustrating when your new car is banged up so early in its life. It’s nobodies fault really, but it is enough to make you tired all the same.

Don’t be rash

Yesterday this Altima arrived at the shop to have a bad case of road rash mended. Because there wasn’t anything that needed repair it didn’t take long to get the car  prepped and ready for the booth.

The first three photos show the car after the application of the base coat. In a two stage paint system like the one we use here at JMC AutoworX, the paint is actually applied in two steps. The two steps work together as one to produce the actual finish on the car.

The first step is the application of the base coat. The base coat is the actual color of the car. You will notice that the car looks rather flat and drab. That is because the car is rather flat and drab. The base coat dries to a chalkboard like near flat finish. But since this is only the first of two steps, there is an opportunity to change that.

The last three photos shows what happens when the second step, the application of the clear coat, is completed. A big difference, eh?

The clear coat not only provides a tough layer of protection to the base coat, it is also what amps up the finish. No dull chalkboard like shine anymore. Now the paint pops with the depth and luster that automotive finishes are so well known for.

When this car arrive at the shop the paint was looking a little tired. Rock chips, acid rain and the occasional bird dropping had all taken its toll on the finish. But now …?

I don’t think it would be rash to say it looks a lot today better than it did yesterday.

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