If you don't have the right tool for the job, make one. Here, Gillis used a Tupperware canister to form the shape for this gas filler opening. When it comes to using objects for sanding, the key is to make sure that you cover as much surface area on the back of the paper as possible to even out the pressure.
Make A List, Check It Twice
Make a list of all the steps for each piece of sheetmetal for your car. Once you complete a step, cross it off. That way, if you stop working on it for a while you can remember what you did last. It can be overwhelming if you try to work on the whole car at one time, so it's easier to work on one thing at a time than cross it off your list.
Just as we were putting this story together, Rusty Gillis was completing the paintjob on his '67 Mustang coupe. You may have seen it on the cover of the June issue of MM&F. Since everyone who has painted a car has his/her own process, we decided to show you the steps that Rusty Gillis of Gillis Performance Restorations took to paint his own personal car. Granted he has no intentions of it being a six-figure Ridler winner, it will serve as a model for his shop's body and paint prowess.
When you are finished with the bodywork, wipe it down with 700 wax and grease remover, wait 30 minutes or more, then use a tack cloth and wipe it down. Remember to use gloves so you don't contaminate your clean surface. Whenever you are using wax and grease remover, use two clean cloths--one to spread and the other to wipe it off. You may have to do this a couple of times to get the panel clean.
Order two gallons of paint so that you have some left over in case a problem requiring a repaint comes up. Future accidents or even issues with the paint or clear might require a respray. Also, get yourself four clean, empty quart-sized cans, open one gallon of the base and mix thoroughly. Then empty the gallon into the quart cans. This is very important for metallic and pearls, especially if you are painting many of the panels off of the car. It certainly doesn't hurt to do this with solid colors as well. Use the other gallon for the first two basecoats, then use the paint from the quart cans for the final coat. Be sure to mix the paint the same every time, and have your spray gun and air pressure set the same.
Order two gallons of paint so that you have some left over in case a problem requiring a repaint comes up. Future accidents or even issues with the paint or clear might require a respray.
If you are planning on shooting your body panels off of the vehicle, make sure you hang the fenders, doors, and more as they would hang or sit on the vehicle. This is very important to get a good color match with metallics.
The time period for this will differ between paint manufacturers, but the general rule is not to wax the vehicle for at least 90 days or more. The paint needs time for the solvents to cure, and this means the paint finish must be able to breathe. If you wax right after painting, you are preventing this process from occurring, which can cause problems down the road. While we're talking about letting the paint breathe, leave the car cover on the shelf for a while, too.
If you don't work at a body shop, and can't borrow or rent a paint booth, just build your own. Some plastic sheeting hung from the walls and a good soaking of the floor with the garden hose will keep the dust down and the paint from giving your garage a nice new color. Companies like Summit Racing and Eastwood even sell kits for the DIY'er that accomplish this as well. Keep in mind that if you are in a high-humidity location, wetting the floor can promote solvent pop and paint blisters. Good air movement is key here.
Just as we were putting this story together, Rusty Gillis was completing the paintjob on his '67 Mustang coupe. You may have seen it on the cover of the June issue of MM&F. Since everyone who has painted a car has his/her own process, we decided to show you the steps that Rusty Gillis of Gillis Performance Restorations took to paint his own personal car. Granted he has no intentions of it being a six-fgure Ridler winner, it will serve as a model for his shop's body and paint prowess.
Gillis uses SPI products exclusively,...
Gillis uses SPI products exclusively, so your paint's manufacturer may require different dry times or flash points. That being said, Gillis started with the car in SPI black epoxy primer, and the body panels off of the car. With the SPI epoxy, you have seven days to paint before you have to sand and spray another coat. Once the bodywork was complete and the car was in epoxy primer, Gillis started wet-sanding with 400-grit paper (400 for solid colors and 600 for metallics) to remove any imperfections. He then wiped the car down with wax and grease remover and a tack cloth.
A day after spraying the epoxy,...
A day after spraying the epoxy, Gillis applied three coats of the Viper Red base, waiting one hour between coats. After the basecoat sat overnight, he tacked off the body and then applied a wet coat of clear. Thirty minutes later, the second coat went on, followed by another 30 minutes and a third coat of clear. After spraying three coats from two days to two weeks, Gillis wet-sanded with 400 to block out any orange peel or dirt. After spraying three coats, Gillis waits at least two days and then wet-sands with 400 to block out any orange peel or dirt. After wet-sanding, the Mustang basked in the sun for a day before re-masking and degreasing for another wet coat of clear. Two more 30-minute periods, and two more coats followed. Gillis then let the car rest in the sun for the next two to three days to get all the solvents out and settle the paintjob.
Now the fine wet-sanding begins,...
Now the fine wet-sanding begins, starting with 1,000, then 1,500, 2,000, and 2,500. Gillis uses Presta products when it is time to buff, and starts the process with the Ultra Cutting Cream with a black wool pad. Next, he uses the Ultra Polish with a green wool pad, followed by a blue foam pad for the Swirl Remover. The last step is to spray a little Spray and Shine and wipe it off with a clean micro-fiber towel.