The beauty of this project is that after the new body panels are in place, the result is a bodyman's dream. Think about it, no major dents, no more rust to fill, and if done correctly, all body seams and gaps should line up perfectly, or as close to perfectly as is humanly possible. All of this means more time to spend fine-tuning the factory imperfections and, ultimately, less block-sanding to do. That's not to say block-sanding isn't the most important part of making any car, whether show car or not, have a straight body.
In fact, just because a body panel is new, doesn't automatically mean it's going to look straight after the paint is applied, especially when the color is black like this project Chevelle. Block-sanding your car is going to make or break the end result, no matter what color it is. Before we get too far on the block-sanding "high-horse," let's first look over the minor imperfections and discuss the best way to massage them out. When we say factory imperfections, we're talking about everything from spot-welds to machine-press creases or dimples, as well any slight dings and dents caused by shipping. To handle this type of work, you are going to need some specific tools and know-how, for sure.
The next step will be to coat the raw metal and body filler with a specific bare-metal sealer. With that in mind, it's always a good idea to use the same brand sealer, primer, and paint from the start to make sure all the different products will cover each other without any bad reactions, like bubbles or lifting. PPG paint products were used throughout this entire project. As mentioned before, the first coat to touch the bare metal will be the acid-etching sealer, then primer, and finally paint, with some block-sanding in between.
Also on the list will be to coat the underside of the car, as well as the entire inside sheetmetal area. One other aspect to restoring a car's body is using seam-sealer and drip-check. The factory used this goop for some very good reasons, and so should you. The sealer will help by creating a flexible surface over an area that might not hold paint, or would be hard to get the paint down into, for a secure bond.
Remember, paint grabs onto scratches in the surface of whatever is being sprayed. (This might also be an area that may flex to a certain amount, thus the need for a flexible coating like seam sealer.) If the paint does not bond in the crack or body seam, it will eventually lift and create an air pocket, leaving room for new rust. After all this work, rust would be the ultimate downer, if you know what we mean.
With all this in mind, take a look at how the experts do it and use the results to gauge how you want to tackle your own paint and bodywork.
Cool Tool For BlockingWe all know how important block-sanding is to the finished look of any car. So, equally important will be the tool used to block-sand with. There are many types and ways to block-sand, but the truth of the matter is that the block chosen to sand with can make all the difference in the world. John Wheeler has come up with probably one of the most user-friendly block-sanders out today. When we discussed how the body of the Goodmark Chevelle Project blocked-out with Craig Hopkins, owner of Metal Finish USA, he simply said that this was the best block he had ever used. After 30 years of experience, Craig knows exactly what he is talking about.
The Adjustable Flexibility Sander works with adjustable rods built into the block. These rods can be tightened or loosened to adjust the tension for almost any type of surface curve. With your choice of lengths and sizes, there is a block to work on any part of a car's body surface. Because the block is made of a soft, poly-based compound, the edges won't dig into the primer leaving gouges, like sanding scratches, over the entire car and is able to conform to many different surface shapes. To find out more information, contact: John Wheeler at Adjustable Flexability Sanders, 8120 E. Point-Douglas Rd. South # 305, Dept. SC, Cottage Grove, MN 55016, (877) 459-7167, www.adjustflexsand.com