Daily Archives: October 22, 2012

On the flip side

Friday we painted the backs of the doors along with the fenders, hood and trunk lid. Today, we flipped the doors over and painted the other side.

The first two shots are of the valence panel and the doors in their coat of sealer. The sealer seals and protects all the primers underneath and provides a surface for good adhesion for the paint that follows.

The next two pictures, numbers three and four, are of the doors and valance after the application of the base coat. The base coat is the color layer of the finish and dries to a dull finish. It is the clear coat that provides the pop! and zing! of the finish as well as a tough protective coating.

The next three photos, numbers 5, 6 & 7, are of the same pieces, but this time with the clear coat applied. You can see how the clear coat takes the parts from dull and lifeless to vibrant and full of pizzazz.

While Chase was painting, the rest of us got busy sanding. You can see in the eighth picture Jordan and I sanding the fenders to bring out the best in the paint. The fender in picture nine is a work in progress while wet sanding.

Wet sanding is performed with very, very fine sandpaper wrapped around a block on a wet surface. The sandpaper is so fine that it feels smooth to the touch, but there is enough abrasive qualities to gently smooth the paint. Just like blocking the bodywork, the block allows the sandpaper to cut away any imperfection until the paint is glass smooth. Keeping the surface wet provides lubricating properties that prevent the sandpaper from taking off too much paint, clear coat actually, and it also washes away the removed clear so you can tell if additional sanding is required.

We will sand each body panel twice, once with 1000 grit sandpaper and then sand it again with 2000 grit sandpaper. The 1000 grit sandpaper removes the imperfections and the 2000 grit removes and smooths the fine marks left by the 1000 grit sandpaper.

I think it is obvious to anyone that if you sand the paint on your car, no matter how fine the sandpaper, it is going to dull the shine. And it does. The panels are polished after they are sanded to restore the luster lost during the sanding process.

Picture ten shows Chase polishing the hood. As you can see it already looks pretty good because it has already been buffed once. Just as we sand the panels twice, the second time with finer sandpaper, we also buff with progressively finer abrasives until the true beauty of the paint is revealed.

The first polishing step removed the sanding marks and dullness left by sanding. This is the most aggressive of the three polishes and while it does quickly remove the sanding marks and dullness, itself leaves behind marks in the paint … the dreaded swirl marks.

That is where polishing step two comes in. Using a finer polish the panel is polished again, this time with the intent to remove the swirl marks left by the step one polish.

After all the swirl marks are moved we could stop. In fact, on some light colors, we do stop at this step because additional polishing is pointless and undetectable. But this isn’t a light color, this is black, and it requires the full monty to look its best. Step three is an ulta-fine polish that removes the near invisible haze left after the second step. The haze is so fine and so light that you can’t even see it … until it isn’t there.

Photo eleven shows the final results of all that sanding and polishing … a mirror like finish that, in black, is … well … like a mirror.

Over the next few days we will get the rest of these pieces sanded and polished until they reach their mirror like potential. Then we can start all over on the car.

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Reflecting on a job well done

Because we have two polishers in the shop, Chase spent some time after he finished painting the doors polishing the header panel for the El Camino.

As soon as the car returns from having the motor dropped in we will be ready to start assembly.

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