No matter how much time you spend on finessing panels and surface preparation to get your car ready for the spray booth, you’re still far from done once it comes out wearing its new vibe. Look closely at the paint and you will see "orange peel" across the surface. This can easily be addressed by a final cut and buff to make the surface as smooth as a piece of glass. This stage takes plenty of patience as you work to finesse the surfaces to give your car the final brilliance that will have onlookers talking about how wicked the depth of your paintjob is.
Peter Newell of Competition Specialties in Walpole, Massachusetts, took on this project from its humble beginnings and is a master of this domain, so we followed along as he worked his magic on Orange Krate’s body as it was prepared for final assembly.
Stepping back in time, automotive artist Ben Hermance is credited for bringing the vision for Orange Krate to life with his signature rendition of the car. When taking on a project of this magnitude it’s always a solid idea to have the artwork in place to follow as the build proceeds. Newell held true to every aspect of the original rendering and it was finally time to create the distinctive hockey stick-styled stripe for the side of the car.
To prepare the surface for the striping, the doors and fenders were first wet-sanded with 3M 500-grit wet-or-dry paper. Then, using 3M 1/4-inch blue fine-line masking tape he set forth to lay out the flowing lines, thus capturing the exact essence as seen in the rendition. Our pal Ray Williams at Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes then worked his special voodoo in the paint room to come up with a one-off custom blended Planet Color Midnight Lightning Pearl to bring life to the stripes. By the time Newell had applied the color and clear the car looked like it had just stepped out of the rendition into the spray booth.
Stay tuned as we will be bringing you the final assembly of Project Orange Krate in our next installment.
01. To cut the paint surface and make it as smooth as glass, a variety of 3M Auto wet and dry sandpapers ranging from 1,000- to 2,000-grit (as well as their flexible abrasive sheets) get the job done along with Dura-Block flexible sanding blocks.
02. In preparing the surface, Peter Newell of Competition Specialties first made sure the panel was free of any surface debris. He then proceeded to wet-sand the surface with 1,000-grit paper in a front-to-back motion, keeping his movements consistent.
03. The backside of the sanding block was then used to squeegee the water and sludge clear to allow inspection of the surface and its flatness. These steps take time to achieve a perfect finish.
04. The surface was then rinsed with clear water and dried with a fresh microfiber cloth to prepare for the next stage.
05. Newell then continued on with 1,500-grit wet and worked the surface in the same fashion.
06. Here, at the halfway point, you can begin to see the definite changes to the surface as the sanding continues. It’s now apparent that the orange peel is almost gone.
07. The final round of blocking the panels is now completed with the wet-sanding of the surface using 2,000-grit wet.
08. The panel was then final washed with clean water to remove any remaining sanding debris from the surface and dried with a clean microfiber cloth. The panel is now ready for the next step.
09. To bring the surface to its final brilliance, 3M Auto’s 3-Step Perfect-It Paint Finishing System includes (from left to right) rubbing compound, machine polish, and ultrafine machine polish; each with its own unique buffing pad.
10. Using a wool buffing pad, Newell applied rubbing compound to the panel surface and began lightly buffing in left to right as well as up and down motions, working his way across the surface.
11. It’s amazing the difference that the first step brought to the panel by starting to bring the brilliance to the area.
12. It’s very important to clean up the residue left from each and every step, including in the doorjambs and other related body areas. Once dried, the compounds can be very difficult to remove.
13. With the black foam pad secured in place, the machine polish was then applied to the panel and buffed lightly across the surface. It was then wiped down with a clean microfiber cloth.
14. Finally, the blue foam buffing pad was used to apply the ultrafine machine polish to the surface lightly working its way across the panel.
15. With the cut and buff completed to the quarter-panel, not only is the surface as smooth as glass, the brilliance of the Sherwin-Williams Planet Color vibe looks bitchin.
16. To prepare the door and fender for the custom striping, the panel surface was first wiped clean of any debris. Newell then followed by wet-sanding the area with 500-grit.
17. Here you can see the surface ready for the spray booth to get its new stripes.
18. To prepare the car for striping, there is quite a bit of back-taping, masking, and bagging required in keeping the car’s fresh paint perfect.
19. To keep any overspray out of the freshly painted doorjambs, masking tape was used over the entire jamb as well as the door handle and lock openings.
20. By spending the right amount of time in preparation, the final outcome of the job will not only be perfect, but all surrounding surfaces will be unaltered by any potential overspray issues.
21. The panels were then wiped down using a 50/50 mix of prep-sol and water to remove any final contaminants from the surface.
22. With Orange Krate’s artwork at hand, Newell makes the first pull of 3M’s 1/4-inch blue fine-line masking tape to establish the top line of the hockey stick-styled side stripe.
23. Working from the other end of the car, the lower line of the side stripe was then pulled and adhered in place.
24. It was then time to start working the front of the stripe into place. The fine-line tape is very flexible and lends itself well to working with the tight curves required in the stripe. The graceful curves of the stripe are almost completed as seen here.
25. The final outlines of the stripe gave Newell the opportunity to step back and give them further inspection to be sure he was pleased with their proportions and layout before proceeding.
26. The layout of the stripe was then final-masked in place using masking tape to ensure everything was perfect. The remaining areas were then masked and taped with body shop paper.
27. Using a custom blended Planet Color hue by Ray Williams at Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes called Midnight Lightning Pearl, Newell loaded his spray gun and worked his way to the front of the car, laying down a light to medium coat.
28. Once the basecoat was sufficiently dry, the stripe was unmasked. The fine-line was then pulled away from the panel at an angle to retain the sharp edges of the lines.
29. Here you can see the full stripe as it is prepared for the final stage.
30. A 3M tack cloth was used as the final surface preparation to make sure the panels were free of dust and debris.
31. The car was then final masked with added paper being put down on the floor to keep to a minimum any debris from the floor becoming airborne.
32. Newell donned his full paint suit and went to work laying down a number of coats of clear, bringing the design to life.
33. With the final icing laid onto the body, Project Orange Krate came to life mirroring its Ben Hermance rendition to perfection. Stay tuned as next we’ll be in final assembly and rolling soon.