16. Once the basecoat has been allowed sufficient air-dry time, masking can be removed in reverse order. With paper removed first, the 1/4-inch stretches come next. This is where 3M vinyl tape truly shines, as it cuts the fresh base very much like a razor blade.
17. After all tape is cautiously removed, the paint edges will be seriously scrutinized. If any fuzzy or bleed-through conditions are spotted, they’ll be dealt with before clearcoats are applied.
18. This hood and decklid were abraded for a solid “mechanical bond” early on. The fresh black stripes and clearcoat to follow are compatible components of a “chemical bond” system. These panels are now ready for clear, with no further sanding required.
19. Here, PPG’s Global D8188 “Glamour” LV clearcoat is Andy’s clear of choice. In our area of California, such choices are often made according to VOC content of available products. For shops, there are daily limits that must be considered. Careful measurements are recorded and logged during the course of every job.
20. Triggering his loaded gun so only air escapes, Andy gives both panels a final wipe-down—once again with surgically clean, disposable toweling. It’s showtime!
21. As Andy begins to spray the first of three coats of clear, one can’t help but notice how well the downdraft spray booth exhausts. Even so, the clear is sticky stuff, so a shoot suit helps to protect the painter as well as his work.
22. Fresh from the booth, the difference ’tween new custom paint versus old factory vinyl is very much apparent. The application is clean and dust-free. However, we’re not finished ’til the texture matches that of the car.
23. Here, a wooden paint stick, wrapped in 3M 1000-grit wet sandpaper, occasionally dipped in a bucket o’ clean water, is the hot tip for smoothing away slight ridges where black now overlaps greeen. This procedure is then repeated using 1500-grit ’paper. These grits are very fine, but care must still be taken to avoid the panels’ extreme edges.
24. It wasn’t that long ago, nobody would ever consider colorsanding with a DA (dual-action) sander. Yet in better shops today, the practice has become a common standard procedure—even for high-end jobs. Here, Andy begins with Carborundum 1500-grit on this water-dampened hood. Next, he’ll switch and continue with 3000-grit.
25. Before compounding begins, the colorsanded panels are washed and dried with modern microfiber toweling. You could spend top-dollar on such specific-purpose cloth, but truthfully, the kind that comes from Harbor Freight does the job as well as the leading brand.
26. When it comes to buffing and polishing, there are different schools today. Andy is up to speed with the latest from 3M. From left to right, in the order they’ll be used: Perfect-It rubbing compound #06086, Perfect-It machine polish #06065, and Perfect-It Ultrafine machine polish #06068. These products call for different pads.
27. For a speedy demonstration, Andy will guide us through the steps on one small area of the hood. Here for the first step, he applies Perfect-It rubbing compound. Pint-size condiment bottles handle better than gallon-size jugs, so Andy transfers his compounds and polishes as he goes. This practice over time saves material.
28. After a quick spread with the attached 3M #05703 compounding pad, Andy spins his DeWalt variable-speed buffer up to 1,400 rpm and makes the first cut. Because these panels were colorsanded all the way to 3000-grit, buffing operations move along very quickly.
29. Next, Andy switches to a different condiment bottle—this one is filled with Perfect-It machine polish. For this second step, the pad has been switched as well. This foam-polishing pad is a 3M #05725.
30. We’ve now reached the stage where we’re no longer compounding—we’re polishing. This is where Andy prefers a slower buffer setting. From this point on, the variable-speed dial will remain set to 1,000 rpm.
31. Up to this point, the incremental differences from step to step have been obvious. For this third step, a 3M #05733 pad is used for Perfect-It Ultrafine machine polish.
32. Remember what we started with? Assembly-line vinyl pales in comparison to deep, ridge-free custom paint. Now we know it’s very tempting, so please just take our word—this glossy surface is perfectly smooth. At Hot Rods & Custom Stuff, rally stripes are better seen but not felt.