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Old 04-22-2016, 05:30 PM
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Runs in the clear coat and longing for the old days

For 25 years I worked in and owned a custom automotive repair and body shop business. I have done all aspects of the body and paint repair business and thoroughly enjoyed the work. I've been out of that business now for 20 years and to say things have changed a lot is an understatement. Back when I was doing it the pinnacle of paint was Imron Polyurathane. I employed a painter that was truly amazing and he would shoot a car and walk away. Two days later the car was delivered to the customer right out of the gun without any additional work. While I was never as good as this gentleman I could paint this product with amazing results and when you put the gun away you were finished with the paint. I just recently had one of my cars painted by a very talented gentleman but this was a color coat clear coat combination. I was aghast when I saw the runs in the clear coat. He assured me it would be just fine and the finished product was top notch after the "cut and buff".

In my study of this "problem" I find that runs and sags are kind of the order of the day now and are easily repaired; I have the proof to prove that. But it seemed a waste of material and labor to me to put the material on and then "cut and buff" it off. I have one more car to do and I wanted it done with the old school Imron but my painter doesn't want to shoot it for a variety of reasons. So I thought I would ask the question of others that are painting today and see what you say. I don't know anyone today that is in the professional body shop business that I could ask if when they repair a panel do they "cut and buff" the finish product to get the car ready for delivery. Old school was maybe polish and blend the painted surfaces around the car to give it all a nice finish but the "cut and buff" was reserved for mistakes.

Any thoughts on this gentlemen? Granted the show quality paint jobs of today are beautiful to stand back and admire but we were putting out pretty good paint jobs too back in the 70's and 80's too with a single stage product. Educate me please.

Thanks for taking your time to respond to my questions here.

Best regards,

Lisa

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Old 04-22-2016, 05:56 PM
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I started out with lacquer, so cut & buff was part of the process. The "up side" was that the glassy finish was superior to anything you could spray!

As things changed over the next 50 years, I obviously could not use lacquer any more. It would not last out here anyway, as I had moved to the Southwest!

I used many clears over time, and that included Imron. As I recall, it did NOT sand and buff well at all!

I never could spray a finish that looked as good as a sanded and polished finish anyway... so I stopped trying.

Today they are reformulating paints so fast that once you learn to use them... they suddenly don't work well any more!

Today I recommend SPI Universal clear. You can spray a pretty good finish is you get the activator and some extra reducer just right... but it is forgiving if you need to get rid of either some orange peel or a run! It is like the best of both worlds.

I stopped using Dupont when I started having too many problems with it in the eighties!

The last time I used a Dupont clear (that the owner had already bought) it had a couple runs, and after about a week of warm-temp dry time, I block them out and buffed it. The clear was so unstable that the parts that had run continued to shrink after I leveled them. I came back later... recleared it... blocked it.. and with time it STILL continued to shrink! To say I was mad is an understatement! I will never use it again! Too unpredictable!

That is all I can offer.

Last edited by TucsonJay; 04-22-2016 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 04-22-2016, 06:05 PM
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Your big deal in getting a job gun done with minimal cut and buff is gun adjustment hands down. To get that takes shooting some test panels to get you pressure right and air volume and fluid control spot on for the materials you are shooting. Sure there may be a spot or so to repair but not much. In todays world to survive as a painter in a production shop you would need to be gun done on most jobs as cut and buff is extra labor and slows down production. Of course we now have urethane peel to contend with at times and show jobs are cut and buff to get to perfection. The real painters hang out at the Southern Polyurethane forum and they can set you straight..

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Old 04-22-2016, 06:12 PM
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A run is a mistake, period. What level of polishing the customer wants greatly affects pricing. If a texture-free finish is desired, extra clear is applied in anticipation of much sanding. If a "factory peel" texture is OK, that gets just two coats and will only be sanded where nibs from lint or dirt exist. If defects exist that must be sanded on a low-buck buff job, the lack of texture gives it away. On a show buff job, a run can be cured with less or no visual impact.

A run does not mean a wasteful sprayer, more often than not its a result of a patterning or equipment adjustment error on a large, complex job.

Polyurethane automotive clears as a general rule, are not intended to be sanded or polished. Most spray environments are not good enough to do that in, and "as-sprayed" texture is in the hands of the person mixing the paint and swinging the gun.

If you like single stages and lacquer topcoats and think polyester is better for your car than acrylic, I can't help you understand. Acrylic urethane clear will do anything you want.
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Old 04-22-2016, 06:40 PM
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Thanks so much gentlemen for taking your time here. To back all the way to Tucsonjay, yes we all had our turn with lacquer and that was the last clear I ever shot. Lacquer taught us all our finish buffer technique also. But all these points here are well taken. Imron, if my memory serves me was designed to shoot and walk away. It smoothed out and had a tough skin you could straighten nails on. I saw it cut an buffed once and while it was beautiful the tough skin was gone and it weathered like other paints of the time.

You nailed it with getting the job "gun done". In the shop that was what we always looked for and we were matching the original paint and orange peel anyway. But that is good for 99% of the work and I guess that is where my standard is. As a shop owner I was paying the bill on the time and having a painter that could do it right the first time was magic. But again, there is no comparison to a nice level cut and buff for a show car. But that is expensive today.

I do appreciate the advice and feedback. As mentioned, the gentleman that did my paint work here recently really wanted to do a perfect job and he worked so hard to get that accomplished. But I thought with my old school experience that he shouldn't have had to work so hard to make it perfectly smooth and shiny.

I liked what you said "onemoretime" about getting everything set right first on some test panels. This kid seems to shoot a lot of paint and I think the factory rep should be showing him a trick or two also. I know if we had trouble with a product we would get the "factory guy" over to figure out what changed and how to fix it. But I agree, with a complete there can be a glitch here or there but the entire car shouldn't need to be worked over.

Again thank you gentlemen for taking your time to respond with your expertise and share your experiences and thoughts. These are the kind of discussions I miss on Friday afternoon to brainstorm for the next job. I so appreciate it.

Best regards,

Lisa
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Old 04-23-2016, 06:05 AM
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I started with lacquer and then on to acrylic enamel. Yeah, when Imron first came out it was the shizz. I used a Binks 62 with a 16 hole air cap. Layed it out like glass. The problem with Imron was, that when it chipped....it chipped.

An acrylic enamel with a gloss additive hardener was my go to paint then. Durable, you could cut and buff it to a show shine, and had some real depth. 45-55# at the gun and you'd get a nice finish.

BC/CC was an easy transition, and really made for today's guns. I'm kinda torn between the look of the old acrylic enamels versus the BC/CC of today. On some of the older cars, it just looks too plastic. Great shine but to me it seems the depth is lacking.

On my current project I'm going to go the single stage acrylic with the gloss additive. It's going to be a metallic. And yes, if you've got the experience, you can cut and buff, with great results. Done it numerous times as I'm sure other old-timers here have also.
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Old 04-23-2016, 08:41 AM
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Well AirwolfpJ that was a walk down memory lane. Never got talking about the Acrylic Enamals. I still have my Binks 62 and a 16 air cap. As I mentioned I was not the professional daily painter but with that set up and good paint it made me look good. I found it interesting that on your current project you're going to go back and do it old school and shoot the acrylic enamal and gloss additive. Should come out beautiful and that is exactly what i'm looking for. I may have to put that set up together again, get some paint and let my painter try it. I may have a convert then.

Thanks again for your time to respond to my questions. I so appreciate the answers here helping me to understand how much we've "advanced" with todays paint and guns.

Regards,

Lisa
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:54 AM
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In the late 80s-early 90s, I sold a LOT of Centari along with 793-S, and even more Starthane and Delstar with DXR-80. As I recall, clearcoats designed for acrylic enamels were available but not terribly popular. Single stage acrylic urethane was gaining popularity. To this day and for this pair of eyes, theres nothing as deep and wet looking as a single stage urethane job in a solid color and clearcoated. Simply due to film thickness and clarity of the urethane clear. Today's simple base / clear urethanes have all the answers for any paint needs except one:

The retro look. I am beginning to understand, allow me to make an analogy please:

By the same token that todays standard-equipped Camaro is better than one made in 1970, acrylic urethane base / clear is better than lacquer or enamel. However if you want to drive a '70 Camaro, no 2015 model will do despite the improved specs. I can comprehend this, and am beginning to realize why people might want the product that they understand and remember. Nothing will change my stance about urethanes, but my understanding of wanting old things is growing as I age.

I rebuilt dozens of those Binks siphon guns and they were an absolute pleasure to operate. They worked very well! A Sata Jet 90 (gravity fed but just before the HVLP craze) is another example of an evolved and fantastic but dated design. Talk about fine atomization!

Enamel with hardener might make a comeback as the people who remember it come of age and want to do builds that are familiar in every way. But just remember that unlike urethane, you can't set your thinner rag down on the car!
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Old 04-23-2016, 04:01 PM
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Cant recall ever setting a thinner rag on the car. Made the mistake once of tucking a thinner rag in my back pocket. Only once!

Urethane clears are great. The pic in my "last photo" is an acrylic enamel with the last coat mixed 50/50 with a integrated urethane clear reduced and activated.

I don't know. There was always that great feeling of pride knowing you laid down a clean, smooth paint job when you walked out the booth, knowing it needed nothing more.
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Old 04-23-2016, 09:00 PM
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Well I have left a rag with lacquer thinner in it sitting on a finished Imron black panel and it sat there for 30 minutes before I rescued it in a panic. The paint looked just fine. I have dripped break fluid on it too and nothing. The tow truck in this picture was painted in the mid 80's and the paint still looks like the day it ways painted and this is a shoot and walk away; no such thing as cut and buff then. The truck worked every day too for our shop and it's amazing. The diamond plate on the back even gets walked on occasionally and it's glossy. Just can't say enough about the toughness of the Imron and the years of service and gloss you get out of it too.

With what a paint job costs today I'm looking for a product that I can live with and not worry about.

Also "there was always a great feeling of pride laying down a clean smooth paint job when you walk out of the booth" could not have been said better AirwolfPJ.

I'll upload a picture next of a big car with the latest two stage paint job on it. Truly a masterpiece too.

Thanks for the comments gentlemen.

Lisa
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Old 04-23-2016, 09:11 PM
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Here's a restored '66 New Yorker with the factory color. It's color coat/clear coat and one of those LONG rear panels had a colossal sag in it and the cut and buff of the entire paint job you can't find it. This big land yacht gets the most comments of my show cars but there was a ton of after gun work to get it smooth and finish. Yes indeed it's nice but again I wanted to have the pride for the painter of shooting it and walking away but it didn't work that way. This car also lives under a car cover and in a garage.

As "idrivejunk" said you can't beat the technology of today but I long for the old ways as that is what I truly understand. I never thought of it as the "retro look" but it was just the quality paint job of the day that the "little people" could afford and it was something you could be proud of.

Thanks for the continuing education gentlemen.

Lisa
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Old 04-26-2016, 05:10 PM
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here's single stage acrylic urethane just shot it a couple days ago. haven't decided whether to buff or not.
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Old 04-26-2016, 06:07 PM
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Nice Job!!
Now that is what I am talking about.
As AirwolfPJ said "Great feeling about laying down a clean smooth coat and walking out of the booth".
Couldn't have said it better.

Thanks for sharing.

Lisa
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