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................- Bodywork & Painting Page 3 -
.......................- Sealer, Base & Clear Coats -
Paint can be a real personal thing, so bearing that in mind I'll tell you what I use and why and also how I put it on, but these step can be done different ways with different products and still achieve good results.
CAUTION: You are going to be painting with products that can KILL YOU. I would only recommend spraying with a supplied air system. This could be the best $400 you ever spent.
If you have used a guide coat while sanding the high build primers and feel good about your surface being flat then you are ready for the sealer, base and clear. I would pick a sealer from the same brand as what ever the base and clear you are going to be using. I would follow the mix instructions on the sealer, base and clear to the letter. Don't experiment and don't listen you your buddy until you gain some experience. Definitely go with a base/clear over the older single stages. Much better end finish and you can repair it easy and fix mistakes easy.
Mask the car with good masking paper (not newspaper) and use good 3M tape, you won't regret spending the money on it.
Before the sealer use a good wax/grease remover (PPG 330 I think). Put it on wet with one paper towel and take it off with another clean dry towel. Don't let it dry or you haven't accomplished anything. Then blow the car down good to get stuff out of any cracks and use a good tack rag.
After the sealer tack it and apply the base in the appropriate time interval. Don't put the base on heavy or real wet. You just need to make sure you have good coverage with no thin spots.
Put the base on with normal gun distance and air pressure as recommended. (remember not heavy wet coats). At least 2 coats and 3 if you are worried about good coverage. Then you need, if you are using metallic, to cut the air pressure back on the gun. Say if I shot the first 2-3 coats at 45 lbs. I would cut it back to about 30 (your paint spec sheets might tell you). Then you need to pull the gun back to 12-14 inches (at least this is what I've done) and lay a coat on where you apply the paint in an "X" pattern over the other coats. You are just trying to lay the metallic on at this point so it lays up on top you are not trying to get coverage.
If you have any runs in the base now is the time to fix them. After they are dry (matter of minutes or an hour or so) sand the runs flat (600 wet paper) and spray more base in that area and blend it by pulling the gun back like before.
Read your paint spec sheets, but you can probably use a base/clear tack rag between coats or at least before you go to the clear. Use it lightly.
After the right time period (see spec sheet for your paint) start with the clear. Don't try and put the first coat on real wet, just wet/tacky. Now the following coats can be as wet as you can get without runs. Someone who is really a good painter and if you aren't going to color sand can make it with 2 coats. If you are new to this put on at least 3 coats if you aren't going to color sand I would recommend at least 4 if you are going to color sand. This is not like the old lacquers so you don't need and don't want more clear on that you need to get the job done. This clear if too thick is going to rock chip a lot easier than if it is just right.
If you get runs you can get rid of them later (see below). Make sure your passes with the paint gun overlap each other and make sure the different coats aren't laid down in exactly the same pattern to avoid "tiger stripes" (do this also with the base coats). Keep the gun moving at all times and watch the paint behind the gun to see if it is wet. If you can't watch another painter to develop technique I would strongly recommend buying one of the videos just to watch how someone handles a gun.
Try and avoid painting back into areas that have dried. Start on the roof and do one side, then the other side. Switch back and forth as you go around the car and try to keep it so you are always painting back into wet paint as you move on. If you can paint the hood, trunk, doors off the car it will help with this.
Don't be afraid of high pressures at the gun. The paint will atomize better and not orange peel as much. Just keep the gun moving to avoid runs. They can be fixed. If you get the paint on too dry, but thick enough you can color sand and still make it look good. There isn't anything you can't fix, but follow the instructions for the paint you are using (mixing ratios, reducer, etc.) . Like I said before don't mess around with this and don't listen to your buddy. After you are real good you can experiment.
If you don't want to color sand, but want a finish that is about as good as color sanding do this. Put on at least 3 coats of clear. Wait until they say you can sand it (look at the spec sheets.). Then sand the paint flat with 600 wet on a hard sanding pad. Use lots of water with a touch of dish washing soap in it. One way to do this is with a big sponge. Fill it with water and as you sand hold the sponge above on the body and squeeze out water all the time so that it runs past the sandpaper and carries the grit away. Keep the sponge wet all the time. They also sell hose systems to do this, but the sponge works good.
Work one area at a time. It will go fast with the 600. Take a squeegee or towels and keep drying it to check. You just want to sand the orange peel flat, not through it. You are done when it is dull and there are no bright specks at the bottom of the orange peel. We are sanding the orange peel flat here. Stay away from the edges and body lines (tape them). If you do break through the clear anywhere and into the base, just dust some base in that area with your gun. You will think you ruined the car, but you haven't
After you have the car sanded flat clean it with the wax/grease remover (PPG 330 I think) and tack it off. Be sure and blow it off good and re-mask if you think you have sanded paint where it will blow out. Remember put the wax/grease remover on wet with one paper towel and take it off with another clean dry towel. Don't let it dry or you haven't accomplished anything.
Ok now you have the car sanded flat with the 600, cleaned and tacked. Spray on one more coat of clear wet. Stand back and admire the job. Since you removed all the orange peel that developed spraying the sealer, base and other coats you now only have orange peel from this one coat and the paint should look very flat with little orange peel if you used a high gun pressure and a good gun and technique. If not you can color sand and buff it out to a really great finish. Even if all along you plan on color sanding and buffing this trick of sanding with the 600 wet and then adding one coat will save you a lot of sanding time.
You are now done. If you are going to color sand and buff wait the appropriate time and get with it.
If you have any runs in the clear they can be sanded out (use something much lighter than the 600). Use the same papers you would use to color sand. They also have nib files, I haven't had much luck them them though. After the run is sanded flat you can use the buffing and polishing compounds to finish.
Well I hope all of this has helped you get a good paint job on your vehicle,
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