Paint finishing/detailing, I don't know what I'm doing.

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elwood440
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Paint finishing/detailing, I don't know what I'm doing.

#1

Post by elwood440 »

I'm just looking for suggestions and warnings from the pros. I'll try to explain what I'm trying to accomplish, and if I am doing something wrong, hopefully someone will stop me. :roll:

A while back I bought a cheap orbital buffer and some bonnets from Harbor Freight, with the intention of buffing out the scratches on my car from a fender bender. (my drunk neighbor ran a stop sign and t-boned me 200ft from my house :evil: ) Well I never got to it. However, I do have a full set of nice condition body panels for my project bike and I would like to smooth out and brighten the finish rather than strip and repaint. Now I have to learn what to do and what not to do.

I started by cruising Youtube for instructional videos, and that gave me some basics but really didn't give me enough detail for my exact situation. So I decided to pull out the buffer and start with some practice pieces. I picked up a bottle of compound and started with one of my backup panels from a parts bike that a PO sprayed black.
IMG_1559.JPG
IMG_1559.JPG (47.35 KiB) Viewed 150 times
The compound I chose says it cuts like a traditional compound, but shines like a polish. I expect that claim just means that the abrasive will break down quickly. Should be good for my needs, and bonus, it's one step!

I tried rubbing by hand first, and got nowhere. :IDTS: Then I tried the buffer with a terry bonnet. I applied some compound to the bonnet, smeared it on the left side of the panel, and ran the buffer for a minute or so. I'll be hornswaggled if it didn't shine up that Krylon! :orange
IMG_1561.JPG
IMG_1561.JPG (45.9 KiB) Viewed 150 times
not perfect, but a good indication that I'm doing something right.

Next, I figured I ought to try it out on the car because there's a bunch of scrapes on it. And besides, that's the reason I got the buffer in the first place! Same procedure, and it seems to have worked there too. It's nearly impossible to photograph shiny things well, especially with a phone camera, but the scrape is just below the crease in these pics (behind the left rear wheel)
before
before
IMG_1564.JPG (28.13 KiB) Viewed 150 times
after
after
IMG_1565.JPG (33.3 KiB) Viewed 150 times
So far, so good! When I was walking back to into the garage, I decided to try buffing the headlight lenses just for kicks. I had tried one of those polishing kits on them about a year ago, and it lasted a whole 3 months and turned cloudy again. Amazingly, (or maybe not, I'm new at this) they came clear with just a little buffing:
Drivers side done, passenger not
Drivers side done, passenger not
IMG_1567.JPG (59.12 KiB) Viewed 150 times
continued...
83 GL650i parked for maintenance
79 GL1000 "Bad Idea" current ride
I do all my spannering myself

"There's no excuse for the things I'm about to do"
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elwood440
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Re: Paint finishing/detailing, I don't know what I'm doing.

#2

Post by elwood440 »

So the next thing I tried was buffing out sanding marks. I grabbed a scrap of 1200 wet/dry, and scuffed up another backup panel:
IMG_1568.JPG
IMG_1568.JPG (38.17 KiB) Viewed 146 times
Not the greatest sanding job, but a good test of the compound. Next I buffed it using the same procedure:
IMG_1569.JPG
IMG_1569.JPG (38.3 KiB) Viewed 146 times
Not Bad! I'm starting to feel like I will be able to save something if it gets scuffed.

So then, I looked at my user panel and I didn't get very far, because I'm still a little scared I'll screw something up.
IMG_1570.JPG
IMG_1570.JPG (49.52 KiB) Viewed 146 times
But the first step is getting the panel stripped. Once I got the emblem off, it showed me the ~40 years of dirt, wax, and other stuff that slid behind it.
IMG_1571.JPG
IMG_1571.JPG (48.94 KiB) Viewed 146 times
That stuff was not easy to remove. I got a lot of it off, but not all. I guess that's one of the next bits of advice I need. Should I wet sand the rest off?
IMG_1573.JPG
IMG_1573.JPG (30.77 KiB) Viewed 146 times
The other part is there are a bunch of tiny "bubbles" around the edges of the front panels, which look sort of like little pimples. I sanded off a few along the bottom of the panel, and they left white dots behind. Is there a good way to deal with these? is there a way to make the white dots black? (other than re-painting)
83 GL650i parked for maintenance
79 GL1000 "Bad Idea" current ride
I do all my spannering myself

"There's no excuse for the things I'm about to do"
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Re: Paint finishing/detailing, I don't know what I'm doing.

#3

Post by Whiskerfish »

The other pieces you worked on were straight paint but the last one was a factory paint with a clear coat over it. So you will be buffing the clear coat not paint unless you intend to remove that.
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elwood440
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Re: Paint finishing/detailing, I don't know what I'm doing.

#4

Post by elwood440 »

Whiskerfish wrote:The other pieces you worked on were straight paint but the last one was a factory paint with a clear coat over it. So you will be buffing the clear coat not paint unless you intend to remove that.
Thanks for the response. I do know that the junky pieces are straight paint and that the good stuff has clear coat. The straight paint parts were just to practice on because I know I can't possibly ruin them.

Since nobody stopped me, or has even said "you should do X first," or "do Y after that" or "prep with ZYX" or ANYthing else, I guess I'm flying blind. However, I think I'm doing pretty darn well for just winging it. Check out what that panel looks like now:
IMG_1578.JPG
IMG_1578.JPG (42.16 KiB) Viewed 87 times
The edges and angled surfaces are not done on it, just the main side-facing portion so far.
I did end up VERY lightly wet sanding with 1500 to smooth out some crinkles and bumps. Then I took some time with the buffer and it cleaned up REALLY nicely. Better than I had imagined. I had to learn for myself that a little goes a long way with the compound. There are still some of the bumps that I flattened that are leaving white dots behind, but I think I'm going to "sharpie" them and then wax over top so you don't notice them. The worst of it is on the bottom side, which I guess is the best place to have them..
IMG_1574.JPG
IMG_1574.JPG (26.85 KiB) Viewed 87 times
on one end, I scraped them off, sanded and polished. It comes out smooth, but with these white dots
IMG_1575.JPG
IMG_1575.JPG (29.58 KiB) Viewed 87 times
here's some more on the very front of the panel that is going to need the full sanding treatment:
IMG_1576.JPG
IMG_1576.JPG (26.05 KiB) Viewed 87 times
And some clear coat bubbles near the gas filler that I'm not certain I can fix:
IMG_1577.JPG
IMG_1577.JPG (27.77 KiB) Viewed 87 times
As always, suggestions are appreciated
83 GL650i parked for maintenance
79 GL1000 "Bad Idea" current ride
I do all my spannering myself

"There's no excuse for the things I'm about to do"
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Track T 2411
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Re: Paint finishing/detailing, I don't know what I'm doing.

#5

Post by Track T 2411 »

In the last pic, the clear coat is separating from the base coat. There isn't really a way to fix it without sanding and repainting. As for the white spots, have you tried to gently clean them using a mild cleaner and a soft toothbrush? They look like small dimples filled with wax/polish residue to me.
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elwood440
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Re: Paint finishing/detailing, I don't know what I'm doing.

#6

Post by elwood440 »

Track T 2411 wrote:In the last pic, the clear coat is separating from the base coat. There isn't really a way to fix it without sanding and repainting. As for the white spots, have you tried to gently clean them using a mild cleaner and a soft toothbrush? They look like small dimples filled with wax/polish residue to me.
That's what I figured with the clear coat bubbles. I'll just have to deal with it for now.

The white spots actually start off as little RAISED bumps. Kind of like braille. They turn white (and powdery) after I scrape or sand them down. You could scrape them off with a fingernail. They kind of crumble. The second picture in the last post shows the worst of them. I think there's not a good answer to those either, apart from starting over with new paint. I have not tried to get to the bottom of one yet, but I think it will just leave a hole where the powdery stuff was.

If this was a show bike, there would be no question what to do with it, send it off to the painter. But I like to see how nice I can get things in original as found condition without replacing them. I'm hoping for a good "10ft" bike when I'm through.
83 GL650i parked for maintenance
79 GL1000 "Bad Idea" current ride
I do all my spannering myself

"There's no excuse for the things I'm about to do"
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Re: Paint finishing/detailing, I don't know what I'm doing.

#7

Post by CYBORG »

I feel that painting is a "learn by doing" type of thing. There is no substitute For practice. Different types of paint need different treatment. And different temps, and humidity require a different mix . These things are learned by doing it under different conditions. Secret is practice, practice, practice.
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