Wetsand, cut, and buff - how to?

thethee

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Recently I painted my 1975 Imperial myself. It was the first time I did something like that so while I'm super happy with the results, the finish could be better. There's bugs, dust, overspray, and orange peel. It was recommended to me that with wetsand, cut, and buff the finish could probably be greatly improved. These things are also completely new to me so I started reading up on them online and that's when I got a little lost...

So I thougth it best to seek some advice from the hive mind that is FCBO.

For now, what I understand is that I should sand the orange peel out starting with 1500 grit then 2000 and follow that with maybe 3000. I take it that should be done by hand or can I use a DA? And it's probably best to take out all the peel on the 1500 pass and just refine the surface with the 2000 (and maybe 3000) right? Then after that is clean and dry comes cutting and buffing and as I understand it, that should be done with a machine to get the best results. Aside from what machine to get (there's so much of them) it's a maze of different cutting compounds and polishes. I assume that it doesn't really matter what you get and it's mostly down to preference. But what I would really like to know are the practical things like, how much compound do you typically need for a four door? And how many pads can I expect to go through?

Any and all tips, tricks, pointers, and personal experiences will be appreciated, I'm here to learn. Thanks in advance!
 

Loadrunner

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Don't blow though the paint, watch body lines, even with a buffer you can go through.

Use a drop of dishsoap in your water to wetsand, it breaks the surface tension of the water.

How to Wet Sand a New Enamel Paint Job

It needs to be properly cured, maybe 6 months, before you should do this.
 

MrMoparCHP

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How many coats of clear?
I've done 3+, with this I'm able to start with 600 or 800, I have only done it by hand, never used a DA.


Alan
 

Loadrunner

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Enamel, Acrylic Enamel, i.e. real paint, the instructions posted are for.

With base/clear - clearly invented by Satan - i.e. not real paint, find appropriate instructions and good luck.
 
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1970FuryConv

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You should ask the paint supplier when you can cut into it. Drying conditions will play into it. I assume it wasn't baked
I agree with asking the paint supplier.
I also like Loadrunner's linked directions, but I'd be afraid to mess up a lot of hard work, so I'd talk to the paint supplier first.
 

CBODY67

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Glad you got it this far! Let it cure well, probably into next spring, just to make sure.

Used to be that 600 grit (red Scotchbrite pads) was "the standard" for wet sanding. Shallow bucket of water with a touch of soap in it to keep the abrasive damp To start with and then use the "worn 600" for "not much cut" final situations. Then buff to shine.

The sanding material with 4-digits in the grit number will take a LOOONNGG time to do as they were initially designed for "finesse finishing" of smaller spots, not an entire car. You WILL need an orbital buffer for best results. So start looking around and asking Santa for one, hinting.

With an obrital buffer, do NOT get the fluffy wool pads (which used to be "the standard" for non-orbitals, too) as all the buffer will do is sit there and move/shake as the pad is stationary. Been there, done that!

One place you can find lots of these things is Griot's Garage website. About all they sell is buffing and detailing equipment/supplies.

As mentioned, taking the LEAST amount of paint off is the best -- period. First with a scuff with the abrasive sheets and then with the buffing operation. Slow and easy is best!

In the mean time, start working out your upper torso for more strength and endurance! Both for the wet sanding and also to better control that buffer. LOTS of sheet metal on those Fuselage Cars!

Just some thoughts,
CBODY67
 

bnz84

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I agree that fresh enamel is a complete mystery to me. Yes a painter should have a suggestion on time to wait and maybe temperature. Having said that Ive had good luck with trying less aggressive techniques and then if it didn't work go over it again with a more aggressive approach. Yes you will waste time if no peel comes out but if you only do a lower quarter it's not that much wasted time. Without a doubt a professional would know exactly where to start I didnt/dont.

beer
Here is a modified less aggressive version (no wet sanding yet!) of what I did to my hard base and scratched up clear. Blue painters tape the obvious edges that could accidentally get more action. Not so obvious edges are hood, trunk and door seams if they are not aligned to the body height. I think really its the fender tops and door edges near the windows (on my fury) that I taped because after I started using the DA I got less worried about the more subtle creases and body lines. The brands I'm going to suggest are more for example. I did use a lot of Meguire's stuff mainly because I could get it easily and replenish at walmart. It worked well for me but everything but the compounds can be had cheaper with a little shopping.

Use a DA with a foam interface pad. You only need 1 and you dont need the ones with holes as they are for wood sanding. But they will work. My opinion is that a DA with an interface foam pad is very safe. Make sure you have a light source positions on the your first body panel thart reveals the peel. Alot of time its moving your head around to get the right angle. You will need to see the peel before you start so you can compare afterwords.

beer
Put on a microfiber cutting pad. You will need at least 2 as they cut the paint and get dirty. I used the not overly course Meguires Ultimate Compound. Just a little oily and does not powder up. One will suffice but this will be your first repurchase. Set the polisher to medium speed (5 ish ) Apply to the pad and blot on to the car surface. Dont start it off the car or it goes everywhere even on a DA. With NO OTHER WEIGHT/FORCE ON IT except your hand to support start in lines up down and then left right. If you are cutting anything you will see black paint. The compound will not leave a hazy finish so you will need to feel with your hands or find that same head position to look for the peel. You have to be the judge. IF you decide its better then do the rest and be happy. You can always redo it. But if its not doing much then apply a little force and try it again in one area. If still no flattening of orange peel you feel confident that with fairly safe polisher with an averagely aggressive compound and an aggressive pad.... is not enough. BTW the cutting pad will get black and grungy. You can wash with warm water and a little dish soap and squeeze out. You can dry with an air compressor or just squeeze between towels. There are pad cleaner tools but at most i used a beat up screwdriver (no sharp edges) on the pad while the running the DA to kind of rake out the spent paint.

beer beer
I had to go to wet sanding but instead of wet paper I used foam sanding pads. 2000 grit Mika Abrilon or the cheaper generic. Generic was not available when I was doing this. You could go more course that 2000 but again the risk is mainly time lost if its not enough. Remember you can always put more force on it.I used 3000 second. Maybe 3-4 of each. Use the foam interface pad again. Again, foam sanding pads and fam interface to make it safer and lessen the manual work. . Most people dont do it this way. With moderate force and 2000 grit I was able to remove most blemishes and orange peel from my 12+ year old clear coart from PO. Just water with soap in a spray bottle. Just enough to keep it wet not dripping. Can be done in the garage easy without a mess. Again, use only the weight of the machine at first. You will definitely see the high bumps turn hazy while the valleys stay shiny. The goal is everything should be dull and hazy, no shiny depressions. Will make your pooper pucker when you see your shiny work get hazy, Put a little more pressure if you want but I would suggest before you do this just dry off a small area and go back to the microfiber and compound to see the haziness disappear. Kind of take one area to the end of the process where it is shiny again. This will make u feel good. If not ...more beer.

After you are satisfied with how much peel is gone then orange pad (at least 2) with ultimate compound again to take away the haze, blue pad (u will need at least 2) with ultimate polish and then black pad with whatever wax you want - yes I used Meguires stuff, but not always. If all of this seems expensive it kinda is but I use it on all of my other cars - 2 black and one grey. Wash the microfiber and pads or they get crusty. Foam pads only last a year or 2 before start shedding. I'm S
sure I missed something. For me I did this whole process once and then the next year repeated it for hood, trunk and upper doors. I wont do it again. NO pushing my luck.
 

thethee

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I agree that fresh enamel is a complete mystery to me. Yes a painter should have a suggestion on time to wait and maybe temperature. Having said that Ive had good luck with trying less aggressive techniques and then if it didn't work go over it again with a more aggressive approach. Yes you will waste time if no peel comes out but if you only do a lower quarter it's not that much wasted time. Without a doubt a professional would know exactly where to start I didnt/dont.

beer
Here is a modified less aggressive version (no wet sanding yet!) of what I did to my hard base and scratched up clear. Blue painters tape the obvious edges that could accidentally get more action. Not so obvious edges are hood, trunk and door seams if they are not aligned to the body height. I think really its the fender tops and door edges near the windows (on my fury) that I taped because after I started using the DA I got less worried about the more subtle creases and body lines. The brands I'm going to suggest are more for example. I did use a lot of Meguire's stuff mainly because I could get it easily and replenish at walmart. It worked well for me but everything but the compounds can be had cheaper with a little shopping.

Use a DA with a foam interface pad. You only need 1 and you dont need the ones with holes as they are for wood sanding. But they will work. My opinion is that a DA with an interface foam pad is very safe. Make sure you have a light source positions on the your first body panel thart reveals the peel. Alot of time its moving your head around to get the right angle. You will need to see the peel before you start so you can compare afterwords.

beer
Put on a microfiber cutting pad. You will need at least 2 as they cut the paint and get dirty. I used the not overly course Meguires Ultimate Compound. Just a little oily and does not powder up. One will suffice but this will be your first repurchase. Set the polisher to medium speed (5 ish ) Apply to the pad and blot on to the car surface. Dont start it off the car or it goes everywhere even on a DA. With NO OTHER WEIGHT/FORCE ON IT except your hand to support start in lines up down and then left right. If you are cutting anything you will see black paint. The compound will not leave a hazy finish so you will need to feel with your hands or find that same head position to look for the peel. You have to be the judge. IF you decide its better then do the rest and be happy. You can always redo it. But if its not doing much then apply a little force and try it again in one area. If still no flattening of orange peel you feel confident that with fairly safe polisher with an averagely aggressive compound and an aggressive pad.... is not enough. BTW the cutting pad will get black and grungy. You can wash with warm water and a little dish soap and squeeze out. You can dry with an air compressor or just squeeze between towels. There are pad cleaner tools but at most i used a beat up screwdriver (no sharp edges) on the pad while the running the DA to kind of rake out the spent paint.

beer beer
I had to go to wet sanding but instead of wet paper I used foam sanding pads. 2000 grit Mika Abrilon or the cheaper generic. Generic was not available when I was doing this. You could go more course that 2000 but again the risk is mainly time lost if its not enough. Remember you can always put more force on it.I used 3000 second. Maybe 3-4 of each. Use the foam interface pad again. Again, foam sanding pads and fam interface to make it safer and lessen the manual work. . Most people dont do it this way. With moderate force and 2000 grit I was able to remove most blemishes and orange peel from my 12+ year old clear coart from PO. Just water with soap in a spray bottle. Just enough to keep it wet not dripping. Can be done in the garage easy without a mess. Again, use only the weight of the machine at first. You will definitely see the high bumps turn hazy while the valleys stay shiny. The goal is everything should be dull and hazy, no shiny depressions. Will make your pooper pucker when you see your shiny work get hazy, Put a little more pressure if you want but I would suggest before you do this just dry off a small area and go back to the microfiber and compound to see the haziness disappear. Kind of take one area to the end of the process where it is shiny again. This will make u feel good. If not ...more beer.

After you are satisfied with how much peel is gone then orange pad (at least 2) with ultimate compound again to take away the haze, blue pad (u will need at least 2) with ultimate polish and then black pad with whatever wax you want - yes I used Meguires stuff, but not always. If all of this seems expensive it kinda is but I use it on all of my other cars - 2 black and one grey. Wash the microfiber and pads or they get crusty. Foam pads only last a year or 2 before start shedding. I'm S
sure I missed something. For me I did this whole process once and then the next year repeated it for hood, trunk and upper doors. I wont do it again. NO pushing my luck.
Awesome stuff!

So if I understand correctly, you tried cutting the orange peel with compound first but that didn't have the desired effect so you stepped back and wetsanded it with the 2000 grit? Did you use just your regular DA or did you get a separate one especially for wetsanding, i.e. can I use the DA I already have if I clean it properly?

Why did you use the microfibre pad with the ultimate compound at first but after sanding did you use an orange pad? Is the microfibre more aggressive? I was looking at compounds and noticed that most of the ones I see available over here come in 250ml packages (around 8.5 fl oz?) and I have no idea how far that'll get me. Did you need the full bottle of that Meguiars?

Since I'm sure the only stupid question is one you don't ask, did you use the same DA for the wetsanding and buffing? Or did you use a rotary buffer?
 

thethee

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No metallic, just basic acrylic single stage
To be more precise, after looking at the technical data sheet, it is 2K Glossy Acrylic Polyurethane Single Stage.

In the TDS is also mentioned that, with respect to drying:
"The product reaches its maximum performance after 15 days of drying in the air (ambient temperature 18-22ºC) or in a shorter time
at a higher temperature"


Daytime ambient temperature will have had that probably but at night it will have been colder so best to wait another couple of weeks.
 

azblackhemi

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To be more precise, after looking at the technical data sheet, it is 2K Glossy Acrylic Polyurethane Single Stage.

In the TDS is also mentioned that, with respect to drying:
"The product reaches its maximum performance after 15 days of drying in the air (ambient temperature 18-22ºC) or in a shorter time
at a higher temperature"


Daytime ambient temperature will have had that probably but at night it will have been colder so best to wait another couple of weeks.
Catalyzed or 2K paint does NOT need months to dry or harden before sanding and buffing. In fact waiting too long can make it harder to do. Once the solvents evaporate out in a day or two get on it. Here in HOT Phoenix I'm color sanding and buffing after 24 hours. In a cold climate maybe 36.
 

bnz84

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I used the same DA throughout the process with compounds and sanding foam pads. For everything and all compounds. I really like it and the ability to change speeds and pressure gives me options on how much I want paint/correction I want to remove. The one I used was from Harbor Freight but mine was cheaper and 5 years old. They all do the same thing. If you have one for body work or wood sanding sure use it after getting it clean. If you get something in the pad you will see a million little pigtail squiggles and maybe have to wet sand that area., DAs are safer, but slower, to use. Professions use a rotary for big areas, but I was/am too worried to try it. For them time is money.
Beer pics:

1665575875910.png


Yes, before trying the scary sanding I wanted to try removing paint with a machine (avoid hand sanding) and a relatively course microfiber pad and compound used for paint corrections. It did not work well enough for me on my hard clear. It might for you. When I was done sanding I could have used the microfiber again to get out the haze but it was dirty and I wanted a fresh pad. I tried a clean orange pad and it worked. Not scientific process. A clean microfiber would have worked too but again wanted to err on less aggressive side first. BTW Wool is also course and Denim is also very course. For me I just read more about microfiber cutting pads.

8.5 oz might work and will be enough to get you tired. But likely you will need a second. If you look at the meguirs forum you will see all kinds of processes that have been more tested than mine. I looked at them and created this version and am very happy with the results. I'm sure the guys here have many other suggestions with different processes, this is just one that worked for me.
1665577361330.png


And again for sanding I wanted to try the less aggressive (but lazy using machine) method using foam pads to sand and only 2000 grit. I see plenty of wet sanding videos of dudes start using 800-1500 wet paper on a block doing it by hand. Maybe you need this. I'm betting not. For compounds I used store bought stuff instead of an entire online "$ystem".

Oh right I forgot to say before you start, if you have particles in your paint that you can feel - dust, bugs, etc - use a clay bar and the same water and soap bottle first. I was skeptical of a clay bar at first but it does work and will catch these particles and prevent them from being trapped in your pads and creating more curlies. If you can feel them with you fingers, after the clay bar, you should not. If the particles are indeed paint then don't worry, the process should level them. In the end you will go over the car multiple times and get a workout. I used a creeper to sit on while I did the lower half of the car.

more beer
1665577776992.png
 

Loadrunner

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Good beers.

Two that were always high up on my list for special occasions were Spaten Optimator and La Fin Du Monde by Unibroue.
 

thethee

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Was looking through my phone and I found that I did in fact take one detail shot. So, for reference, this is what I'm working with:

20221007_105108.jpg
 
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