Daily Archives: June 23, 2012

Don’t cut yourself

Yesterday we started wet sanding the Chevelle as we transformed a merely great finish into a High Performance Finish. Today, we finished the wet sanding and polishing … and now this paint has reflections so sharp you could cut yourself.

The first photo shows what the paint looks like after we finished wet sanding the car. The car is first sanded with 1000 grit sandpaper, then completely sanded again with 2000 grit sandpaper. The abrasives on these papers are so fine the paper actually feels smooth to the touch, but the papers are still enough abrasive enough to cut and smooth the paint. No matter how fine the sandpaper, sanding fresh paint is obviously going to remove the shine … so the next step is to put it back.

The next four photos demonstrate how you use a polisher to put the shine back after sanding it off. Like wet sanding, the paint is polished using progressively finer polishes. The first step is a heavy cutting compound that removes the sanding marks, but itself leaves swirl marks in the paint. This is the step seen in these photographs.

After the sanding marks are removed, the car is polished again with a finer compound which removes the swirl marks left by the cutting compound. After this step the paint looks very, very, good. But for the High Performance Finish we go even further, using a third and even finer compound to bring the shine up to the highest level possible.

In the second photo I am dumping out an obviously  carefully measured amount of polishing compound. It looks like a great glob of it, but I will smear it around a bit before I start polishing.

The  third photo has me giving the compound a squirt of water. Not all compounds require the water but I find this compound works better if I add a bit of water to help it remain smooth and not cake up on the buffer pad.

The fourth and fifth photos show me working the paint with the high-speed polisher. The entire car is polished, one section at a time until the entire car is polished. The I switch to the next finer polish and the entire process starts over again. I notice in the fifth picture I look a little red in the face. I think that is because the car is red but also because it was hot out there today.

The last four shots, numbers 6-9, are of the car after all five steps, two sanding and three polishing, are complete. The paint shows its maximum depth and the reflections are crisp, clean and razor sharp. Take a look at the last photograph. There is nothing sneaky or tricky going on, that is exactly how the camera captured the moment.

Now that is a High Performance Finish reflection.

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