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  • Kevin's Korner - Painting Tips & Tricks

Every Rose has its thorns. Yeah, I'm a disciple of the 80's... So what! But Brett Michaels got it right. Every paint system has its quirks. There are subtle differences in mixtures, dry times, and other idiosyncrasies that give us a learning curve to be absorbed. Such is also the case with the New Eastwokod Low VOC Basecoat Clear coat paint system. This is the paint system used on JADED, not only the topcoats, but all the coatings on the car so I wanted to share some of the tweaks I learned that helped me get a world class finish on what has turned out to be a very popular car. After media blasting, I used the 1-1 Epoxy (Black) to prevent flash rusting while bodywork went on.

Contour fillers were used to shape the surfaces after metal replacement, and then Contour Polyester primer-surfacer was sprayed on for blocking, repriming, blocking, repriming, blocking, repriming, blocking, and repriming until the body was straight, flat and ready for paint.

A VERY important thing to remember with Contour Polyester surface is to shake the living daylights out of it. Poly has tons of talc and filler, and it settles quickly. When this product sits on the shelf it settles to the bottom of the can, and if it’s not shaken A LOT it separates and you’ll be spraying a weak mix of the product for the first few quarts, and then thick pea-soup for the last couple. Regardless, when the mix is wrong, you’re not getting the full benefit of a poly-primer, which is a VERY thick, fat coating that won’t shrink, and can be blocked to perfection without risk of mapping through your topcoats. It’s what I and a lot of serious car builders and restoration shops count on for a long lasting and outstanding finish.

Contour poly tips:

1.) Always shake your can!

2.) Use a sharpie to mark correct mix of catalyst.
(If the air temp is over 90 degrees, cut your catalyst in half and give extra dry time. It can kick in the cup and mess up your day.)

3.) Use 4 fat coats max, block and reprime if necessary. even with poly, excessive film build in one coating can crack. Multiple re-primes after blocking are much better, and safer.

4.) Size matters! Use a 2.0 fluid tip or larger.

5.) Concours has multiple (affordable) fluid tips that make it a very versatile gun.

6.) If you have to compensate for a smaller fluid tip, you can use acetone to thin the poly and change the viscosity to a more sprayable form. Keep in mind, you need to allow the acetone to evaporate, so extend your dry and cure times.

2-K urethane surfacer:

Eastwood's 2K Urethane Primer sands much easier than poly. I like to use 2K over poly to have a nice product to final-sand. It just seems to like 400 to 600 grit, has better surfacing, and frankly, it’s easier to prep for topcoats than poly Keep in mind that you need to stay with no more than three coats in a priming session. Urethane surface needs 90 days to fully cure. So if you stack it over and over again, you can experience shrinking of the surfacer and that can map through your topcoats. Use a 1.6 or 1.8 fluid tip. This product is thick, and needs a large orifice to pass through.

Low VOC basecoat:

This is a catalyzed basecoat system. This is good! Catalyst allows the basecoat to CHEMICALLY bond with the clear on top of it, and really locks it together, eliminating delamination or separation over time. This is a 4 to 1 ratio, with no reducer. It’s an easy mix.

Bottom line, this is good system! Here are a couple of tips:

Use a larger 1.4 fluid tip, especially with metallic colors. This gives your atomized droplets a larger size, and allows the micas and metallics to “self-orient” and lay in a natural and consistent pattern. Use a distribution coat on the last coat. Drop your pressure in half, and double the gun distance to the surface. Spray the distribution coat immediately after your last coat while the base is still wet. This allows the base color to settle into the underlying coat and the larger droplets will, again, help the metallic particles, and distribution. Solid colors don’t need a distribution coat.

Euro Clear:

I found that using a 1.3 fluid tip works well with this clear. HOWEVER, I found that it tended to dry quickly and die back, losing some of the gloss. I fixed this with Eastwood Urethane Reducer Slow and adding an extra half-part, making it a 2-1-1/2 mix. 2 parts clear, one part catalyst, and one half part reducer. This allowed great flowout, and solved the problem of dulling. Having said all of that, I use the technique of flow coating. This is when you coat your panels, then sand them flat with 600 grit, then coat them again with a slightly slower reducer. This lets the clear “self level” like BUTTAH! Giving it a mirror finish that takes almost no aggressive colorsanding to really give the panels a show-car finish.

Sanding and Buffing

There's no shame in buffing your paint job! Every vehicle from every car factory goes through some sort of refining process to eliminate surface defects. Sanding an entire vehicle flat is an extreme example, but a very effective tool to refine ones finish. I use Norton's "LIQUID ICE" system, one compound and three pads. This system works very well, and since it's water based, it's easy to clean up and rinse out of crevices, even when it's fully dry. The system uses a wool pad to start, a blue pad for the medium grade cut, and finally a white ultrafine pad for final buffing. I follow up with an orbital buffer to eliminate swirls, and hand glaze afterwards to finesse the surface.

My sanding recipe is as follows.

1000 grit to start. level the surface, completely dulling it
1500 to eliminate the 1000 grit scratches
2000 to eliminate the 1500 grit
3000 to provide a very nice surface to buff to full gloss, which happens very quickly

Bottom line. This paint system is excellent! The bonus is that it’s also quite inexpensive. I’m proudy to have used Eastwood products on JADED. The proof is in the pudding, and I know that I can get repeatable results with the same low cost. I’m going to DRIVE this car. And I’m not afraid of a little Road Rash!! After all, there’s more paint in the can! See ya on the road!!