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Old 12-21-2004, 09:22 AM
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What to finish with?

Been browsing around here for the past few hours - tons of great information!! Thanks to all who contribute. Ok, now here's my question: I'm new to body work and everything that goes along with it. I can fix a motor, but don't really know the first thing about the exterior. My bike is in dire need of some fresh skin. From searching the internet and reading through this site, I think I've got a grasp on priming & sanding and color sanding. Now here's where I think I'm confused (or maybe I've got some information overload???); upon completion of color sanding do we hit it with rubbing compound and then polishing compound? If we go that route, is there still a 30-60 day waiting period for appying a good quality wax? When it comes to wax, what's the differences between Carnuba Wax and something like Maguires Gold. Now let's say once the color sanding is done, would I be better off to apply a clear coat? If so, what guidelines should I adhere to when applying clear coat? Are there any additional steps to do before applying clear coat?

I apologize if these questions are repetative of what's been posted and let me say "thanks" in advance for your patience with me as I learn. I'm stationed in Okinawa Japan, so I don't have the luxury of going to shops out in town for instruction that I can understand. The people over here are wonderful people and would be more than willing to teach me, but the languge barrier makes it difficult until I become more fluent in Japanese.

Merry Christmas,
Mike

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Old 12-21-2004, 12:15 PM
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Mike, first let me say that I am proud to have you join this board. Thank you for your service to the country.

You are getting into the really finer points of top quality paint jobs when you start talking about color sanding and polishing. If you are fairly good in your spraying technique, it is possible to put on a coat of paint that requires no sanding and polishing and still look very good. If you want to go to the next step, you must use a paint that hardens all the way through. Nitrocellulose lacquer used to be the standard but is illegal in many places and old-tech - not a very durable finish. Nowadays single step acrylic enamel (illegal in California) and single step or base-coat/clear coat urethanes with a hardening catalyst are the standards. Plain old enamel is a no-no since it does not harden all the way through and color sanding ruins the hard outer coat and kills the shine forever. The catalyst in the other paints mentioned cures it all the way through like epoxy so the paint can be sanded and polished to bring out a great shine.

Color sanding and polishing is done only to eliminate any imperfections in the paint. Use the finest paper possible to reduce the work of getting out all the sanding scratches with the polishing step. To achieve this you normally need to sand in stages i.e., 600grit to eliminate the surface defects, then 1000 grit to get rid of the 600 scratches then 1500 grit to get rid of the 1000 scratches. The final sand should be done with ultra-fine paper like 1500 or 2000 grit so the abrasives in the polish can takeout those very fine scratches. There are many quality rubbing or polishing compounds on the market like the 3M Perfect It series. These can be used by hand but since the new paints dry so hard, it is much easier to polish with a machine and sponge rubber pads. After the surface has been perfected with the polish there will be faint swirls visible in certain light. To eliminate them, a second polishing step is required using a glaze compound like 3M Perfect It II. This stuff doesn't really take off any paint like polishing compound does, rather is kind of a liquid clay stuff that fills in any microscopic scratches and give the surface that liquid look.

Most premium waxes in the market like Maguires Gold and Mother's, etc., have a base of carnauba wax base. Always look for that ingredient in the wax you buy. Since paint emits solvents for quite a while after the paint dries, people like to put off the first wax job for several months just to be safe. Fresh paint is tough enough that there won't be any damage done from exposure if you wait.

As far as whether you need clear or not, that depends on the paint system you use. Acrylic enamel and single stage urethane is formulated to give great shine with no clear coat. If you go the premium route with urethane base/clear, then of course you must clear coat it since the base color coat is not designed ot serve as a stand-alone finish.
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Old 12-21-2004, 06:46 PM
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Thank you and it's a pleasure to be here. The Marine Corps has sent me all over the world and Okinawa is by far my favorite place. This is my second time here and this time I've got the family with me for a 3 year tour.

And thank you for your detailed response. I don't want any orange peel at all - I'm going for that mirror-like finish, so in your opinon would I be better served by using compounds?

Merry Christmas,
Mike
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Old 12-21-2004, 07:16 PM
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okinawa

my uncle was stationed over there he is still working it the air force i believe there but as a civilian. he has a 57chev that is pretty much restored back to factory. his name is Danial larson he lives over there with his japanese wfe and kids.
Jesse
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Old 12-21-2004, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Shooter Mike

And thank you for your detailed response. I don't want any orange peel at all - I'm going for that mirror-like finish, so in your opinon would I be better served by using compounds?

Merry Christmas,
Mike
Absolutely. That is how the show guys get those finishes that hurt you eyes!
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Old 12-22-2004, 06:01 AM
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Thanks again for the informative responses. In regards to clear coating, should I use it or not? I've heard it said before that a clear coat is a good idea to help protect the paint from various "road hazards". I ride this motorcycle every day that I can, unless of course, it's raining. At this point I've got the base coat color sanded and it's smooth as glass with no sign of orange peel remaining. If it were your bike you were refinishing what would be your next steps - considering that it's a "daily driver"?

Thanks in advance and I'll be sure to post some pic's when I get her finished. Sometimes I wonder though if I've gotten in over my head on this one, since I really didn't have any experience before I started this project, but hey - I guess I'll never learn unless I just jump in and start somewhere and since it's a motorcycle, there isn't too much work in terms of surface area.
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Old 12-22-2004, 08:06 AM
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What type of paint did you use? Base coat/clear coat urethane of course requires clear. If your current paint is CATALYZED one stage acrylic enamel or CATALYZED one step urethane, you can over-coat it with three coats of CATALYZED urethane clear. This stuff is great in every way, appearance, UV protection, weather protection. Once dry, you can polish it to a mile deep super gloss finish. By all means, clear it.
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Old 12-22-2004, 10:26 AM
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Alright - that solves that. Now one last question.......I think. Rubbing compound has been my last step. Should I, Can I, What would be the result of, using polishing compound before clear coat? Is it a no-no, is it recommended? How will it affect the adhesion of the clear coat to the surface? Should I not have used rubbing compound now that clear coat should go on next? What steps should I take next?

Ok, now I realize that wasn't really "One last question", rather it was a few; so thanks in advance - you all have been a great help.
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Old 12-22-2004, 11:17 AM
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You should wash it down with wax and grease remover to take off all the surface contamination. Also it would be a good idea to sand the entire surface with 400 grit to give the clear a good tooth.
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Old 12-25-2004, 08:09 AM
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Thanks. Now after the Urethane is on how do you go about treating it? Do you hit it with 2000 grit or compound, or both?

Hoe you're having a Merry Christmas and hope ya'll are warm too. I see it's pretty cold back home about now. It was way down around 58 last night over here, so we're getting a touch of cold weather too
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Old 01-22-2005, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by willys36@aol.com
That is how the show guys get those finishes that hurt you eyes!
Willy possesses a wealth of information. And, having shown cars for many years, we use Rod & Custom Show Gloss Creme to protect our finish. It provides a deep lustrous shine, a mirror finish and it has 86% UV block in it, too. When looking at a vehicle that has Rod & Custom applied, you're almost blinded by the shine!

Good luck with your project. Welcome to Hotrodders.com and thank you for protecting the wonderful land that we live in -- The United States of America!!!
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