The process of painting a car is deceptively long. Most of the variance between reality and fantasy comes from the fact that the actual painting occurs in a relative blink of an eye. The really hard, and time-sucking part, is getting the car ready to enter the spray booth. This is why good ol' Earl Schieb used to be able to paint any car, any color, for $29.95. The prep work they skipped takes time, and as we all know, time is money.
Most of the hardcore bodywork has been done on our '68 project car, but the difference between a great finished product and mediocre one is getting all the little details right. Trim needs to be fitted, gaps made just so, and a host of little items, that in their entirety, can make or break the quest for a good looking ride.
The good news is that the process doesn't cost a ton in terms of materials. The bad news is that it does require some skill and, more importantly, a truckload of sweat and equity. Prepping for paint is not a task for the slothful, so over the last few months we've been busy sanding, coating, and massaging Project Track Rat in preparation for finally getting it into Best Of Show Coach Works' (BOS) spray booth.
Final prime is a beautiful thing. The bad quarter-panel is now a distant memory. BOS also laid down a guidecoat which will help with the final sanding.
The fist step is to go over the whole car with 220-grit 3M paper. The aggressive 220 will knock down the orange peel in the primer and leave a smooth surface in its wake.
The process is done wet, so we thought this would be a good time to try out the Wet Wedge. The embedded tubing in the Wet Wedge simply connects to a standard garden hose, and a valve controls the flow of water. Jon Lindstrom is an old-school kind of guy, so he was a bit skeptical, but after a little time with their short block (PN 5WW, $19.95) he definitely saw the benefits and thought it worked pretty darn good.
Once an area had been worked with the 220 paper, Jon used some 3M Dry Guide Coat. The guide coat is used to show all the scratches left by the 220 paper. These scratches could wreak havoc with a metallic or pearl paint job, so it’s imperative to make sure they are all gone. Our satin paint is more forgiving, but we still want to do it right.
Jon then worked over the panel with some 600-grit paper making sure to remove all the scratches left behind by the 220 paper. Some shops follow this up with 800 grit, but since we’ll seal the car before paint, it’s not really necessary.