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"fine tuning" your paintjob

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  • "fine tuning" your paintjob

    quite often I have seen someone do a paintjob, only to end up with alot of orange peel, and they assume the job is scrap and has to be done over again. providing you have at least THREE good solid coats of clear, it can be fixed. in fact, even the "big money for a paintjob" pros will get orange peel in their work. you just never see it cuz a quality paintjob is only half the work. there is another whole process after your clear has dried. I usually never share this part because it is an easy source of revenue. On a few occasions I have had someone bring me a car or some bike parts that they have painted on their own, and figured it had to be repainted cuz of all the orange peel, or dust....or runs.....or whatever. More often than not, it just needs a good polishing.

    Here is an example of orange peel. notice how the paint/clear is not real smooth, and actually have an appearance like the skin of an orange.....hence the term, "orange peel.

    now, providing you have applied an adequate amount of clear to your parts, which you should always do anyway to allow for a good buffing, which you REALLY need to do anyway if you are going for a mirror-like is time to smooth it up. the following procedure with the utmost caution.
    Assuming you have a good healthy amount of clear on your parts, you need to wetsand all the orange peel out of the clear. I use U-POL clear with fast hardener, which allows me to sand and buff 24 hours after the application. if you are unsure about your brand, give it a good 48hrs to be safe. personally, I wetsand with 400grit because it is faster, plus I have at least 4-5 coats of clear to allow for some heavy buffing. but most folks don't apply that much clear, so go with 600 grit on the flat surfaces, and 1000 on the corners and sharp edges. corners and edges are where you need to be careful that you don't sane through the clear.

    as you can see here, this is after the wet sanding. it looks shiny, but that is only the water that makes it appear like that. once sanded, it should look dull like the two dull spots you see near the large opening in the fairing. hosing it off with water not only cleans it, but also lets you see your progress and water will act as a fresh coat of clear.

    now it is time for the buffing. as you can see in the pic, I use a big buffer for this. and the best polishing liquid I have found to date is made by Mopar. it cuts well, but yet is not too course as to leave swirls and such. you just spread on a fair amount to a section, then buff while it is still wet. the places you can't get to with the buffer, you can do by hand with a rag.
    Just be careful around the edges and sharp corners that you don't buff through the clear.

    once you are done, it should look like this:

    and this:

    so there you little "secret" that I do not usually share with folks. well, it's not like it is my own personal secret, but many DIY painters believe they can get a perfect job straight from the paintjob itself, and end up disappointed when they don't. the pros take care to get the spraying as perfect as possible, but they don't fret the little things cuz they know it can be buffed out.....and has to be buffed to bring out the best of the job. This is also the difference between a $500 job, and a $1000+ rember that next time someone quotes you $800-1000+ for a paint job. Chances are they are going to give you a quality job comapred to a $500 or less job. And it is alot of work. so ya...prep work and the spraying are crucial to a good job, but it's the buffing and polishing after the fact that really brings it to life. And some good wax after all that, and you're golden.

    just be careful if you attempt it. keep an eye on the polishing liquid and how much it cuts. I suggest going to the chrysler dealership and buying a bottle of their stuff. and you need to put some muscle into it, but in the right fashion. again, it is like's all in the technique.
    I don't have a short temper. I just have a quick reaction to bullshit.

  • #2
    Great tip, Mojoe. I found this out over the last week while repairing my busted tail piece. As I was giving it a fresh wet sand (new color going on), I notived how the orange peel slowly went away. Now, even before buffing, the paint looks better (and closer to the factory color than before). After that, I know that it takes a little more work even after painting and I won't make the mistake twice.
    Pain is just weakness leaving the body.
    -Unknown Author

    The quarrels of lovers are the renewal of love.


    • #3
      I just recently finished painting my '66 Mustang (I am not a pro by any means, the only other time I painted a vehicle was this same car back in 1984) and I can vouch for the effects of properly polishing a paint job. I too got a fair amount of orange peel in the finish (the temperature changed too much for my reducer) but I have a few friends in the business so I knew I could make it work. I had my three coats of clear but chose to start with 1000 grit working to 2000 and then using the polishing compounds. The difference is night and day. This method also works on solid colors if you accidentally chip the finish (smartguy me dropped the shop light). Touch up the spot with a small sable brush and overlay a few coats of clear until the touchup is higher than the paint level. Sand and polish and it becomes virtually invisible. You can see some pics here:

      BTW, great write up and pics. Nice work!


      • #4
        +1 thanks for the info.


        • #5
          Originally posted by koncsolt
          BTW, great write up and pics. Nice work!
          tyvm....and those are some nice mustangs you guys have.
          I don't have a short temper. I just have a quick reaction to bullshit.


          • #6
            mojoe, or anyone else, do you have the part nuber for that mopar stuff....the dealer had a hard time finding's not in their mopar catalog they had. so If anyone can post the PN that would be awesome.
            Florida, the only place where you need your windshield wipers and sunglasses. At the same time.

            05/02 1216 Kabandit
            18v Rigid Drill
            Craftsman Rubber Mallet with duct tape mod
            New Balance 765 running shoes from 10th Grade, with duct tape and super glue mod


            • #7
              great info
              Watch for your Guardian Angel
              750 '04 Kat (blue)


              • #8
                Damn... those parts look familiar...

                But seriously - good write-up M.
                There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.


                • #9
                  nice write up! i buff my bathtub repairs with micro mesh sand paper. start at 600 (just regular 3m stuff) then just work down the grades... 2400, 3200, 4000, 6000, then some polish and the wheel. check out this site for for the paper and polish. [][/url] under KITS PLASTIC (HAND) it makes it all shine like glass
                  carpe diem


                  • #10
                    sorry try this.
                    carpe diem


                    • #11
                      We need a sticky over here please!!


                      • #12
                        I don't have a short temper. I just have a quick reaction to bullshit.


                        • #13
                          Who does the stickes? I noticed that quite a few treads need to be sticked that are not. This is definately a must read for the paint section. Thanks for the great writeup Mojoe!
                          Roops Photography|facebook|
                          03 GSXR 1000
                          04 Honda Aquatrax Jetski
                          Past: 92 Yamaha Seca II -> 04 Kat 600 -> 92 Kat w/gsxr 750 swap -> 01 GSXR 750 -> 03 GSXR 1000


                          • #14
                            you're welcome. I can't insist it be stickied, but I do believe this topic can be very helpful. I will just keep bumping back to the front page
                            I don't have a short temper. I just have a quick reaction to bullshit.


                            • #15
                              i am getting ready to paint my bike thanks for the info i did not know anything about that.
                              your suzuki qualified tech

                              flinstone little block mod