Jim Smart
June 16, 2004

Last month, we showed you how to go about achieving a perfect paint job on your vintage Ford. We got into the science and physics of dent removal, working the body filler, guidecoating and block-sanding, getting down to the business of perfect paint. When all guidecoating and block-sanding is finished, we need to lay down a final primer coat as a sealer and paint foundation. Once this is accomplished, we're ready for painting. But, getting ready for painting is never easy. The body and the area where we will apply paint must be hospital clean. The body must be washed again and again until all dust and fallout has vanished down the floor drain. Areas not being painted should be masked to keep overspray away.

When it's time to go inside the paint booth, it must be hospital clean. To achieve a dust-free finish, a paint booth must have a clean filtration system. To further ensure freedom from dust, the floor should be wet during all phases of painting, as should the filters. Wet them down before painting. During the painting process, all doors to the paint booth should be closed and remain closed. Doors should be opened only when the filtration system is turned off and the air is very still. Dust winds up in the paint and clearcoat whenever we open a door, allowing dust particles around the door and doorframe to become airborne. This is why we stress an antiseptic paint booth. Ideally, you will have a high-tech, downdraft paint booth with a heating system to bake on the finish after the application of paint is over.

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Sand, Rub, Buff!

If you're satisfied with a factory orange peel look, color-sanding and a good rubout aren't necessary. But if you are seeking a show-car persona, a good color-sanding and rubout are the only way to go. When we color-sand the clearcoat surface with 1000-, 1500- or 2000- grit paper and lots of water, we are scoring the surface in preparation for the rubout. Color-sanding is actually a disappointing step because it dulls the finish. We've taken a shiny surface and wet-sanded it dull--which tends to alarm us. But, it shouldn't. With qualified hands and skill on a buffer, the scored surface will come alive in a matter of minutes.

Once color-sanding is complete and we have a dull surface, the rubout comes next with two types of rubbing compound: one fine and the other very fine. Here's how it all comes together to achieve a show-car shine.

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