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I put 4 coats of Spi Universal clear on the Mustang. Came out pretty slick, started wetsanding with 1200 grit Meguires paper. Panel at a time ( actually maybe 2 ft at a time cutting all trash/dust nibs, peel until all dull.

Then used 1500 grit finishing film dry on one panel , no pigtailing , occasionally cleaned disc with white scotchbrite pad. Refined scratches of 1200 grit , tried on a couple of spots ( dust nibs ) didnt seem to remove them but I was using an interface pad. I removed them by hand with 1200 and continued. Might have removed them with 1000-1200 FF dry ??

Then I tried Trizact 1500 wet , I like the way it sands. Very nice. I used Abralon 2000 wet after that . I will use the Trizact 3000 wet after that. I also have some Abralon 4000. I guess once you hit 3000 and above almost polishing the surface to save time buffing.

Keeping track of time , I will probably have 10-12 hours wetsanding and maybe 8- 10 buffing . Most of the time was from 1200 grit by hand, but not sure of a better way to remove imperfections ? 1000-1200 FF ??

I think Len sells Trizact 1000 grit , has anyone tried it ?
How well do bodyshops wet sand , cant imagine them spending this kind of time and effort on a car ?
Does Maaco wet sand and buff, I guess if you pay extra , but what kind of procedure do they use ?

Maybe I am just slow and deliberate, Do this part time and maybe 4 hrs one day, 6 the next, 8 if I am real motivated. When I lose my enthusiam for the day , put it down and wait another day. Thanks for letting me ramble on .

Your thoughts and ideas appreciated.
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Cox Custom Cars
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498 Posts
First of Maaco uses Single Stage Acrylic Enamal. No color sanding.

Second, It's best to start with 800 grit wet then graduate to 1000 grit, 1200 grit and 1500 grit.

Then a good cutting with a wool pad and medium compound, finish with a foam pad and micro fine compound.

It will take a lot less time, and come out very nice.

Frank Cox
Cox Custom Cars
 

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I worked in both body shops and detailing several years ago. On most cars we did not buff a car after paint (tried to make the re-finished panel match the rest of the car) usually only to get the dirt nibs out. on occasion, when we did a much more detailed paint job, or any custom work we would do the whole car. I actually did a custom 66 Chevelle that was going to be a show car (owner of the car was a friend of the shop manager) the process for buffing and polishing that i used most often and on the chevelle is as follows;

*we always sprayed 2 light coats and 1 wet coat of clear.*
I always used 3M products so you can fill in with your own choice of polishing compound

1. dry sand with 1500 grit on the DA with interface pad

2. Buff with white 3M heavy cut pad and the white perfectit cuting compound.
2a. this would remove all of the sand lines and leave the finish nice and smooth, ready for polishing.

3. Buff with Grey 3M polishing pad and Grey prefectit polishing compound.
3a. this would leave a mirror finish and ready for wax.

4. Hand polish with 3M paste wax to remove any possible swirl marks.

Since I assume that you are doing the whole car i will list the time i spend on most full car paint jobs.

sanding would usually take approx 1 hour sometimes a little longer depending on how much orange peel and dirt there was.

Buffing (whole car) would usually take around 3 hours... again depending on how fresh the paint was. remember the longer paint sits after being sprayed (we always baked) and drying the harder it gets to sand and buff. i usually got to it the day after being sprayed.

with the chevelle, i sanded and buffed it 2 times. sand, buff, polish... then sand, buff, polish. this allowed me to see what areas needed more attention that others, some came out perfect the first time, and others needed a second shot. all together i spend about 3 hours on sanding and 8 on buffing. with that car.

Hope this helps, if you have any questions please feel free to ask.
 

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Problem Child,Hard Case
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Bodyshops don't "cut" anything except some trash with 1500 dry FF and then buff and out the door.You think about cutting & buffing an OEM and you already screwed up.They have that lovely o'peel effect already and you want things to match,Right. :drunk:
For the cheap,"nice" jobs,I use the 1200 FF,1500FF,3K Trizact.
I'm not going for the custom,cut flat with low grit and then flow coat here.
Using the 2K Abralon is wasting time and material unless you use their 4K. The 3K Trizact is designed to cut 1500.With Abralon,they don't have a 3K so their using the 2K for the next step to 4K.Different "systems" to get the same end result.
If you do use the 1200 FF,you do need to go 1500 FF as the 3K will NOT remove the 1200.
The lower gt Trizact pads are mainly for spot refinish work,as very few bodyshops do wet and these are used "damp" shall we say,and in some areas the water run off from sanding has to be contained and these disks allow for wet but no "big" mess plus no dust to speak of. As for using them for a complete,I suppose so but not sure exactly how "flat" they are going to cut compaired to FF or w&d with a block. I have some my jobber gave me to try out and they do cut well but due to cost,and mainly dry sanding,I'll stick to the FF but of course,that could change. :D
 

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Cox Custom Cars
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498 Posts
I've been building and painting cars for 43 years and I have never heard of "2 light coats and 1 wet coat of clear". :nono:

If you don't apply meduim wet coats of clear you will end up with a very rough clear coat. The coats must be thick enough that the droplets will run together.

With a "light" coat you have what is called a dry coat of clear.

The standard procedure for clear is to:

Apply 3 meduim wet coats of clear.
Color sand with 800 wet with soapy water. Wiping the surface with a squeegy often to see progress. You just want to sand off any dirt nibs and orange peel.
Continue with 1000 grit wet to remove the 800 scratches, and continue with 1200 to remove the 1000 scratches and proceed to 1500 grit wet. Always squeegy the area often to see your progress. When you get to the 1200 you should start to see the shine coming back, with the 1500 you will see the gloss coming back into the surface. You can sand with 2000 and make the buffing process easier, but I rarely go that far.

Buff with a heavy compound keeping the surface damp as well as your wool pad. Proceed with a foam pad and a micro fine compound, keeping it wet also. Not real wet but damp.

It doesn't take much compound and you should be able to do a whole car in 8 hours.

Frank Cox
Cox Custom Cars
 

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Robbins Racing
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51 Posts
I haven't been able to produce the finish that's 100% flat with a DA and interface pad using the lower grits. Even on flat panels I can still see waves, though they're not huge, I always strive for perfection. What I do is start with a paint stick wrapped in 1000 for the sides and 800 for horizontal surfaces because of the greater thickness. I have two sizes of cut paint sticks to utilize 3 2/3x9in. paper, one matches the width for smaller areas and the 9in. for larger areas. After I get most of the orange peel out I switch to 1500 on a 3M sponge pad #05526. I bought a second pad to cut various shapes to match odd pieces. I then jump to 2500 to finish the sanding. For buffing, I use Megs105 on a Lake Country Orange pad w/ DA and finish with 3M polish on the Blue pad. We all have our different techniques we adapt and different tools, this is just what I've adapted to using. People come to me every so often to do this cut/buff and charge ~$30-40/hr. For some, that seems inflated, for the ones that have no problem know my work and have no worries about sanding through the clear, waves, orange peel, nibs, leveling build on edges, and picking up a car that looks amazing. I've put in hundreds of hours color sanding alone, so I have no problem charging for my experience and honest hard work that I put into everything I do.
 

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Robbins Racing
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51 Posts
It all depends on the size, number of body lines, amount of peel and nibs. I would say at least 8 hours minimum. I've spent as many as 3 hours on one fender that was very complex. If it's a high end car that I've painted and doing the sanding on, I will take my time and devote a full week to this step with a lower rate simply because it's self promotion in making my work look it's best. Also, when I get a car for only finishing I will generally work faster(less breaks)/longer to get product moved. I get paid and the customer is happier with the fast turn around without the decline in quality of a "rushed job".
 
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