Body Painted

FINALLY… The body is painted! Three coats of acrylic urethane and it’s finally all one color. I painted this a little later in the season than I’d like to have. Since it’s been getting colder outside and I need to suck fresh air into the shop while painting, I wanted to do this while it was still in the 60’s outside. Unfortunately I’ve run out of time and I can’t wait any longer, so I just did it… even though it was only about 50 degrees outside. The shop furnace did a decent enough job keeping the temps up to a workable range, but the fact that the side of the car nearest to where the air was coming in was probably a good 5-10 degrees cooler than the other side, is far from ideal. I suspect this contributed to why I ended up with some runs on that side of the car… the paint wasn’t “kicking” as fast as the rest, so even though my paint wasn’t necessarily going on any heavier than anywhere else, I ended up with some runs just below where the bottom paint divider trim goes. No big deal, I can fix it! I think it’ll sand out just fine. Also, I got some solvent-pop on the top surfaces… so all along the top of the quarters and in front of the trunk opening. Again, I think the colder temps contributed. I was not waiting long enough between coats, since it was curing a lot slower than normal. Applying the last coat, the solvent-pop dimples appeared. They look kinda like fish-eyes, but not as deep.  But, I can fix it! When I color-sand, they should all come out. They aren’t deep, I think just in the final coat of paint. Of course I got plenty of dust again. Painting in my shop is certainly not the cleanest environment, but it’s ok… I can fix it! It’ll be gone when color-sanding.

I used 28oz of color to finish the body, that’s the quarter panels, rocker panels, top of quarters and the tail light panel area. So far I’ve used a total of 50 ounces of color doing all the shiny parts (not counting the door jambs, firewall or inside the trunk). I have 78 ounces of color left, which will be enough to finish the doors, hood, front fenders, trunk lid and other small bits. However, it doesn’t leave me any room for mistakes! I already bought the extra quart that I used for the jambs, etc, so the full gallon I bought would have BARELY gotten the job done, if not come up a bit short. Hindsite being 20/20, I should have bought a gallon and a half all at one time. Then I’d have cross-mixed them to guarantee it would all be the exact same shade. As it is, the extra quart I bought is slightly more creamy colored. Not exactly happy about that, but since the areas it was used are separated from the rest, it doesn’t really show. The most noticeable area is were you can see the rear door jamb against the quarter panel (see pic).

The tape line between the door jambs and the quarters came out okay, but not great. I used the 3M aperture tape, which is designed for this job. However having used it now, I can see that this stuff probably works a lot better with basecoat than it does with single-stage. When shooting basecoat, its thin… a LOT thinner than single-stage. So by the time I piled on 3 coats of paint, it started to bridge the tape in a few areas which makes for a harder line than If I had just masked it off with regular tape!  Oh well… I was able to knock the edge off by rubbing along the line with my finger after I unmasked the car and pulled the tape off. Paint was still rubbery enough to do that. Good thing I opted to unmask everything before calling it a night! Trying to knock that edge off with sandpaper would have been difficult.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the result. Definitely need to color-sand and buff. It has enough defects that it’ll need it, but I was already planning to do it because I really like that super flat and glossy “show car” look. It’s why I put on three coats, not two.  One thing I’ve learned about doing this in my shop without a paint booth…. next time, build a paint booth! Especially if I’m doing a base/clearcoat job. With so much dust, some of it is bound to be visible if it were entombed inside a clearcoat.


body in paint-4

The body of the car, finally in paint! Still have to do the black stripe.


body in paint-6

Glossy quarter panel up against the satin finish door jamb for a factory-ish appearance.

Factory Paint Runs

While sorting through the pile of parts I brought home, I noticed that this interior “knee knocker” cover which butts up against the dash has a big ole’ run in the paint! I guess the run is down low where ya don’t see it so much, but even so, would you accept this on your brand new Chevy? So much for GM quality!  Truth is, during dismantle of this car and several parts cars, I’ve noticed a lot of sloppy work. Maybe there’s truth to the slogan “beat to fit, paint to match!”  I’ll have to do a post some time on that subject.

Factory paint has runs. Also not the not-too-glossy finish. Maybe a little bit shinier than "egshell".

Factory paint has runs. Also note the not-too-glossy finish. Maybe a little bit shinier than “eggshell”.


Brought Home More Parts

Maybe I’m jumping the gun a little, but I thought I’d bring home more parts from the storage shed. I was mostly after trim, but I also brought home several heater assemblies and two steering columns. I’ll go through it all to choose the nicest parts for restoration. I have parted out several cars in the past, so as a result I have spares of everything. This is the way to go! It sure beats trying to fix damaged parts or having to buy stuff as-needed via eBay, etc.


bring home more parts-4 bring home more parts-1 bring home more parts-2 bring home more parts-3

Door Jambs Painted

Shot the door jambs today. Masked off the rest of the body, and even the floor inside. Not because I wanted to keep overspray off the floor, but because I wanted to minimize how much dust I’d kick up while spraying. I still ended up with a fair amount of dust in the paint, but ya can’t even see it unless you get up super close and really look for it. I guess that’s one of the advantages of using a satin finish here. Glossy paint would surely show ever spec of dust!  While I was at it, I decided to spray the inside of the quarter panels in the trunk back to body color. I just wasn’t happy with the sloppy look of the black undercoating overspray edges… not that it really matters, since it all gets covered up with a mat and cardboard side panels anyway.  Oh, I also sprayed the bottom side of the rocker panels too. That’s why I have the back end jacked up like you see in the pic… to allow me more access to spray under there. I figured this area could be shiny like the body panels, but spraying this area would risk kicking up dust, so why not just spray it when I do the door jambs so I don’t have to worry about it. Naturally, the facing side of the rocker panel will be glossy. I’m going to use some 3M aperture tape to ensure a soft transition line between the glossy and the satin painted jambs/rocker bottoms.

door jambs painted-1

The masking around the vin tag came out awesome. Looks like the tag was applied after the paint! Very happy with that.  Check out that satin finish. It looks very clean and factory-ish! Totally happy that I decided to put in the extra effort to do the jambs/firewall/trunk this way.

What I notice however when looking at the photo of the drivers front door jamb (with tag), is that the area inside the cowl is actually visible from this angle! You can see the ugly factory undercoating in there. I think I may see if I can squirt some rattle-can black in there to hide it.

door jambs painted-3

Roof Painted

Got some paint on the roof today! This was the big test, since it’s the first large panel I’ve painted that is supposed to be glossy and “perfect”. I shot three coats of PPG Concept Acrylic Urethane (DCC) which should be enough to allow me to cut and buff it later. I am very happy with the results. I only got one bug in it and a few specs of dust. Not too bad considering my paint-booth is just my shop with the big door open and the exhaust fan to my bicycle-size paint booth running for cross-ventilation. It worked decently… I’m glad I decided to do it this way instead of wasting a lot of time and money building a plastic tent contraption which may not have even yielded better results.

I ended up mixing up two batches of paint, because I wasn’t sure how much it was going to take. With 3 coats, I ended up using 18 ounces of paint plus the hardeners and reduces which made for a total of about 32 sprayable ounces. This also covered the bottom ledge of the roof just above the rear window with two coats.  I went light (just one coat) on and below the drip rail because these areas get covered up by stainless trim and the rubber weatherstrip. I suppose I could have left it in bare primer, but I didn’t want to take any chances in case some tiny part of it is visible between trim pieces or something.

I used my Iwata LPH400-LV for it’s intended purpose for the first time doing this. Up until now, I’ve shot the other parts of the car (firewall, trunk) where it didn’t even really matter how my technique or gun settings were. This time it really mattered because I want (of course) the paint to come out as smooth as possible with no runs and good coverage. I read up in forums about what experienced painters were suggesting regarding the usage of this gun, plus watched a few Youtube videos. I ended up setting the pressure at the manufacturer recommended 16psi (I know, that’s low) with fan and fluid knobs turned wide open, with the gun about 5 inches from the surface, moving somewhat slowly. Worked out great! Not perfect… that’ll take practice, but I did get it to flow out pretty good. I did notice a decent amount of overspray was happening, which surprised me because I was under the impression that this gun didn’t perform like that, but my frame of reference is pretty limited so maybe it was just as it should be… I dunno, I’m a rookie!

Should I color sand it and buff soon? Many pro’s suggest doing this asap before the paint gets too hard. If you wait too long, it is much more difficult to sand and buff… but, I dunno…. I am in no hurry, and honestly I’d rather take it slow and not risk sanding through or having the paint shrink back and dull-out after a while because I was in too big of a hurry.

roof painted

Trunk Painted

Wow! More actual PAINT on the car! I spent several hours scuffing and sanding all the areas inside the trunk in prep for the paint.

Factory paint in the trunk area is pretty spotty… most of the photos that I’ve seen of original un-molested cars show that they really only paid attention to getting coverage on the wheel wells and on the backside of the tail-light panel and gas filler tunnel. These areas are all that really shows when the trunk mat and sidewall carboard is installed. Oh, and of course the trunk hinges and such were sprayed too. Most cars didn’t even get paint on the floor, but some did. Usually you just see overspray on top of red-oxide primer when the mat is lifted. Where I’m confused about, is the back side of the quarter panels. They received some pretty heavy undercoating, but was this applied before, or after the color was sprayed? Some cars seem to show that it was after, others before PLUS some more after? Makes no sense! I opted to just spray some fresh undercoating after I had finished spraying all the color. Some of it got on the painted areas, just like factory. I guess it looks “original” now? As planned, the color was flattened down to a satin finish (with the PPG DX685 additive), just like I did for the firewall.

Trunk hinges have the spring tension rods removed, so they flop around freely. I wanted to be able to move them up or down as needed. Mainly, I didn’t want them sticking up in the way when I shoot the color on the body, but it also gave me the benefit of getting good paint coverage inside the hinge box.

trunk prepped-1

trunk primed

trunk painted-1 trunk painted-2 trunk painted and undercoated-1

K36 Wet Sanded

I was agonizing over how long I should let the K36 urethane primer cure before I started wet-sanding with 400 grit. I wanted to wait two weeks, even though the product is designed to be sanded the next day. I waited one week and was tempted to get started, but then something came up that distracted me for 2 more weeks, so it ended up not being a problem after all… It cured for 3+ weeks before I was able to get started. Blocking with the 400 wet was very rewarding… it’s a step I had been envisioning for a long time. It’s the LAST step before the body gets color on it! Still need to take care of some nooks and crannys, plus the rockers then it’ll be ready for three coats of PPG Concept, Ermine White. I’m very happy with how the bodywork is turning out. Very flat and smooth! The countless hours of work look like they’ll be paying off. Now, if I can manage to apply the color without screwing it up!

wet sanded k36-2 wet sanded k36-5

PPG K36 Urethane Primer on the Body

Finally! Urethane primer has been shot. This is the LAST stage before getting color. Body work looking pretty good…. when the primer was still wet I could eyeball down the sides at a sharp angle and see that it was looking very straight and smooth. All the hard work is paying off!  Next thing to do, is let it cure for a while in the sun. I’ll wheel the car outside every day and let it bake. I’d like to go for two weeks, but can I be that patient? I’m revved up to start wet-sanding with 400 grit!

Body Primed with K36

Final Coat of Epoxy on the Body

After a lot of hours sanding every square inch, nook and cranny with 180 grit, I was finally able to spray on some epoxy (DPLF). I had planned to just spot in the areas where I had sanded through to bare metal. I actually did this but I mistakenly didn’t mix up enough primer to do the job. As I was looking at the car, I saw that it had a lot of spots sprayed all over it! I figured, well if I’m going to mix up another batch anyway, I might as well mix enough to shoot the whole car. So I did. I had thought about doing this anyway beforehand, just for the fact of having an extra layer of corrosion/moisture protection and to give it a different color between the Featherfill G2 polyester primer and the PPG K36 urethane primer. Since the end product should have no sand throughs at all, this different color will let me know if I break through the K36 when I’m wet sanding it with 400 grit.

Body in Final Epoxy

Block Sanding

I want to get the body painted before the nice weather ends this year, so the past week I’ve been working on the car a lot. I’ve been block sanding the quarter panels and roof with 80 grit, dry, using various Durablock sanding blocks. I’ve applied polyester primer (Featherfill G2) a couple times more between sanding sessions. MOST of the stuff ends up sanded off, so my build thickness overall is still pretty thin. Since my blocking skills are nearly non existent, I’m having to do this in several passes, where an experienced pro could do it in one or two. Regardless, it’s getting pretty darn straight!

The roof has been a challenge since day one, since it has waves in it and it deflects very easily when sanding. I basically can’t put much of any pressure on the sanding block, or it will flex the roof panel creating the opposite of flat and straight. So easy does it, and it’s slow going.

Blocking the Roof

The pictures show it finished with 80 grit, which will now get top coated with one last coat of Featherfill G2 (thinned a bit with some Acetone). I’ll sand this last coat with 180, which is a much finer grit. This last session of blocking will be more about leveling off those 80 grit sand scratches than it is about fixing waves in the panels. However, some more last-minute flattening will happen too. Fine tuning, I guess!

After the final coat of Featherfill is blocked with 180, I’ll take special care to sand every tiny nook and cranny to prep for the final two coats of PPG K36 Urethane primer. The Urethane primer, since it is also a high(ish) build primer and a moisture barrier will allow me to do final blocking with 400 grit paper, wet. Wet sanding is almost essential at this stage, since 400 grit is fine enough that dry sanding with it would load the paper with dust very quickly. It’d be a real pain in the ass to dry sand the whole car in 400! I won’t get much flattening action using 400, but that’s ok… it should be pretty darn straight by this time.

I’ll also be sanding the door jambs and the visible areas inside the trunk. They’ll get some K36 on them too, since I’ll want to wet sand them with 400 grit as well.

Featherfill almost done