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12/2/14 6:29pm - Original Message: 'Prep and Paint'
tb2k82ce Lifetime Member
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Lemon Grove, CA - USA

Vette(s):
1982 C3 Collectors Edition 44000 miles, sat in the sun most of it's life, My wife purchased it for me for fathers day in 2007 from her girl friend that had it for 19 years. It is on the road again. I'm retired but it is now my daily driver.

Joined: 10/17/2007
Posts: 2007

To make it easier to see my questions I started them with "-"

I'm starting on stripping and painting my 82CE.  I will go with the original paint but will have the faders painted instead of purchasing the decals.  The shop I'm going to use has done that on three cars and they do a good job.

My car is my daily driver good paint job but not show quality.  I have never prepped a car for painting before but I have searched the forum and found a lot but not all of the answers I would like to have.  I will let the painter do any final sanding on the car.  I can spray primer at my house if I'm careful. I do not want to get caught (the environmental California police must be avoided).

Background on my car's previous paint.  It was repainted once.  They primed it and painted it silver with black where the CE faders went (faders on the hood and side panels). 

On the front bumper I can easily peel the silver paint off of the primer using a razor blade.  The primer underneath is slick like glass.   It is however almost impossible (using a razor blade) to peel that primer coat off of the original paint or to peel the original paint off.   I have heard talk of people removing paint from their C3 using a razor blade and this does not seem like it will work except in certain areas and only to remove the last coat of paint.

 - Do people really use a razor blade to remove paint down to the original primer or gel coat?

- What are the advantages of going down to the original primer or gel coat.  It seems to me going down to the original paint would be satisfactory for the most part or even going down to the primer for the second coat.  It seems to be attached real good.  If anything I thing they did not sand the primer before the sprayed the final coat. 

- Opinions please?

 There does not seem to be a lot of flat surfaces on our cars

- So what is the purpose of using large sanding blocks? 

 I know I need to be careful about making waves when sanding but using a 18" sanding block???

I understand that 240 to 320 grit would be a good place to start prior to priming the car.

- Is that true or can you go coarser to remove the paint.

- I prefer dry sanding at this stage of the game is there a problem with dry sanding in paint preparation?

 - What type of primer should I put on when I'm trying to smooth the car. 

What I use needs to be compatible with the painter.















|UPDATED|12/2/2014 4:29:38 PM (AZT)|/UPDATED|


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11/26/14 1:46pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
ebo Lifetime Member
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Holland Patent, NY - USA

Vette(s):
#1 *1980 White, Red interior 14,000 mile #2 *1980 Red, Oyster interior 93,000 miles Resto project car, rebuilt to 383 stroker

Joined: 6/3/2008
Posts: 4395

Wow my brother Gilbert you are long winded!

Start looking at youtube, also Eastwood site. I bought a sanding block kit that has multiple sizes.

A lot of times you are sanding sideways so it's not like a 18 inch long stroke, your more perpendicular to the panels. I do not plan to strip mine at all just to block sand it. Then a good sandable filler primer sealer.   They make sand paper for the blocks that come in a roll and self stick.

Sounds like you'll have your hands all over those curves.

Take mucho pictures!

Lemon grove........who has it better than you?!

ebo



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11/26/14 2:39pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
tb2k82ce Lifetime Member
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Lemon Grove, CA - USA

Vette(s):
1982 C3 Collectors Edition 44000 miles, sat in the sun most of it's life, My wife purchased it for me for fathers day in 2007 from her girl friend that had it for 19 years. It is on the road again. I'm retired but it is now my daily driver.

Joined: 10/17/2007
Posts: 2007
I'm a 42 years in the Federal Government working on the Pacific Fleet headquarters staff.  I have been trained to be long winded.  If it can be said in 10 words you can confuse everyone by saying it in 20 words.  Better to confuse people so you can turn around and answer their confusion thus you have a longer more involved job.

If I was not clear on this Ebo, let me know and I can go into it in more detail.  

Yes Lemon Grove is great the week is going to be in the mid 80's it has not gotten below 65 so far and the nights are a little cold they are in the low 50's.

But my commute to work used to take 30 to 45 min to go 18 miles mostly freeway.  I have to drive 30 minutes to get to good corvette driving areas.  Then it is all brown few trees.  It take an hour to get to the pine trees.

Thanks for the info on the sanding.


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11/30/14 5:27pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
73shark
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Overland Park, KS - USA

Vette(s):
1973 Orange Metallic Coupe (orig owner), L82, 4 spd (WR), PS, (A/C & PW (I installed from wrecked 73)), leather, AM/FM Stereo, ran with '65 FI unit earlier & will again some day.

Joined: 7/9/2003
Posts: 398

All of my paint aware friends told me to strip the car to the factory primer when I painted mine. I didn't do this and just sanded and sprayed a sealer over the factory paint. About 10 years later, the original factory paint started to come through in the form of spider webbing. I would strongly advise you to remove the factory paint down to factory primer.  Most Corvette painters use a DA or soda blasting to strip the car.


The one area I did remove the paint was on the driver's door because it had several coats put on it due to some kind of screw-up at the factory. I used a paint stripper on that and other than being nasty to work with, it took the factory paint down to the factory primer. And that door still looks good.



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1973 L-82 4 spd

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11/30/14 7:36pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
tb2k82ce Lifetime Member
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Lemon Grove, CA - USA

Vette(s):
1982 C3 Collectors Edition 44000 miles, sat in the sun most of it's life, My wife purchased it for me for fathers day in 2007 from her girl friend that had it for 19 years. It is on the road again. I'm retired but it is now my daily driver.

Joined: 10/17/2007
Posts: 2007
Thank for the info. If it lasts 10 years that will most likely take it out past the time I will own it that would put me in my 80's.  But it would be nice to have it last a little longer than that however.  

I wrote this first line then did some quick research on Soda Blasting mostly hot rods (metal bodies).  Just to let you know if you are thinking about it you need to so some more research. 

This is what I found out.  The soda leaves a film that inhibits flash rust which a lot of these guys like.   It is worth the extra time it takes to clean and prepare the surface for painting.  If the film is not completely cleaned off (stress completely) and neutralized your paint will peel.  I found two paint shops that use different manufactures paint and they both say it will peel one shop will not even paint a soda blasted car they have had so much trouble with the product.   Most that soda blast used a chemical neutralize with or without water.  I would want to research more about because of our fiberglass cars.

What I have found out so far tells me I will not use soda blasting on fiberglass anyway.


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11/30/14 7:51pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
73shark
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Overland Park, KS - USA

Vette(s):
1973 Orange Metallic Coupe (orig owner), L82, 4 spd (WR), PS, (A/C & PW (I installed from wrecked 73)), leather, AM/FM Stereo, ran with '65 FI unit earlier & will again some day.

Joined: 7/9/2003
Posts: 398
I agree, I don't like the idea of blasting anything on plastic.

Did you research glass bead blasting?


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1973 L-82 4 spd

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12/1/14 8:13pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
tb2k82ce Lifetime Member
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Lemon Grove, CA - USA

Vette(s):
1982 C3 Collectors Edition 44000 miles, sat in the sun most of it's life, My wife purchased it for me for fathers day in 2007 from her girl friend that had it for 19 years. It is on the road again. I'm retired but it is now my daily driver.

Joined: 10/17/2007
Posts: 2007
Yes I did and fiberglass is only a little harder than the softest material.  Which to me means you had better know what you are doing or you will damage the fiberglass.  I found a number of shops with good reputations that use bead blasting.  Even saw one on TV show.  It was noted that in one area he had gone through the gel coat and was going to have to repair that.  So even in the hands of a professional you can do damage to a Corvette.

I think I'm going to have to do the sandpaper thing.  I only wish I could get some help on what grit to start with I'm fairly sure that high mid 300 for finishing before painting is correct.  The car only has a second coat of paint over the factory.  It was primed then painted.  So I have to go down at least down to that layer.  There is a couple of spider areas and one where a rivet bubbled the glass so I have to drill that out and fix it.


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12/26/14 9:36am - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
cinor Lifetime Member
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, - Canada

Vette(s):
1975 L48 Stingray 1992 LT1

Joined: 12/24/2013
Posts: 285
great questions.  I look forward to many replies as I have all the same queries as you do, I've decided on the board sanders but also wonder what sandpaper you should use and what order to use it in. I will not be doing the final prep before painting, that's where I draw the line, but I want to have as much done on it as I can before it goes to a painter.

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12/26/14 11:37am - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
greybull
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Twin Bridges, MT - USA

Vette(s):
1972 Base Coupe

Joined: 2/16/2014
Posts: 9
A grain of salt with my answers here, I'm a former car painter, do it as a hobby on my own projects now so I'm not as up to date on all the products and techniques out today.  But, some things remain the same.

First, stripping the paint.  Fiberglass is different rules than metal bodied cars.  NO chemical strippers. These will penetrate further than just the paint, into the gel coat and the fiberglass itself and soften it.  That causes two major problems.  The first is your scrapper, putty knife or whatever will dig into the glass leaving nicks and cuts which then take serious body work to fill. The second is they weaken the glass and can ruin it to the point of needing to replace body panels.  NO blasting.  Same issues as chemicals, they can go through the gel coat and into the glass and damage it.

As to stripping completely... not always better to remove everything like it is on metal. Gel coat and primer act as body filler on fiberglass cars.  Paint CAN act as a filler if it has good adhesion (not peeling) and is "done". (this means that new paint and solvents won't lift or crack it as it reacts. This one is really hard to tell, if in question wipe some lacquer thinner over it and see what it does.) It is usually better to remove all old paint but leave all gel coat and factory primer as you can

So you are left with sanding to strip.  And this is the crux of the problem.  To sand efficiently you need to use a heavier grit, ie 36-80. BUT, if you are not experienced you can do the same damage as chemicals or blasting, as sandpaper will cut through paint, gel coal, and glass in a big hurry.  There is also a danger in using lighter grit, in that one tends to "dig" at imperfections and not remove the surrounding material as needed, giving you"bullseyes" in your surface which will show when the paint is applied. Use a power tool, like a DA. (Dual Action sander).

It is experience to know what can't be sanded out and what must be filled.  There are some excellent primer fillers that will help with this.  They can be used with "guide coats" which lets you block sand out smoothly.  A guide coat is a sprinkling of paint over your primer coat.  Say you spray gray primer, several coats, flashing properly in between, then after it drys take a can of black rattle can paint and just dust a sprinkling of black over that primer, very lightly. Then when you block sand, you sill see the high and low spots as the guide coat sands off high spots and remains in low spots, the bullseyes, and other imperfections will show as you block out.  Do your first blocking out with 180-220 grit.  Use the longest bock you can use on the body panels, and one can tape sanding paper to large round hard hose or cardboard rolls for sanding the inside curves. The keys here are when you are blocking, don't dig a hole, you must block evenly all around the imperfection to evenly remove material around the bad spot so it all comes out to a "flat" surface.  And second, when you sand through your primer, STOP SANDING. The old adage, if your're digging a hole, stop digging. You are going to need to apply more primer to fill it out further.  It may take several primer stages before you can get it to block out evenly everywhere.  The main thing to try and do is fill in low spots with heavier primer coats, lightly primer high spots.  You are using primer like body putty

After you have blocked out with 220-240 grit, a couple more even coats of primer overall and turn it over to the painter to finish sand.

HTH


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12/26/14 3:29pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
cinor Lifetime Member
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, - Canada

Vette(s):
1975 L48 Stingray 1992 LT1

Joined: 12/24/2013
Posts: 285
greybull said: A grain of salt with my answers here, I'm a former car painter, do it as a hobby on my own projects now so I'm not as up to date on all the products and techniques out today.  But, some things remain the same.

First, stripping the paint.  Fiberglass is different rules than metal bodied cars.  NO chemical strippers. These will penetrate further than just the paint, into the gel coat and the fiberglass itself and soften it.  That causes two major problems.  The first is your scrapper, putty knife or whatever will dig into the glass leaving nicks and cuts which then take serious body work to fill. The second is they weaken the glass and can ruin it to the point of needing to replace body panels.  NO blasting.  Same issues as chemicals, they can go through the gel coat and into the glass and damage it.

As to stripping completely... not always better to remove everything like it is on metal. Gel coat and primer act as body filler on fiberglass cars.  Paint CAN act as a filler if it has good adhesion (not peeling) and is "done". (this means that new paint and solvents won't lift or crack it as it reacts. This one is really hard to tell, if in question wipe some lacquer thinner over it and see what it does.) It is usually better to remove all old paint but leave all gel coat and factory primer as you can

So you are left with sanding to strip.  And this is the crux of the problem.  To sand efficiently you need to use a heavier grit, ie 36-80. BUT, if you are not experienced you can do the same damage as chemicals or blasting, as sandpaper will cut through paint, gel coal, and glass in a big hurry.  There is also a danger in using lighter grit, in that one tends to "dig" at imperfections and not remove the surrounding material as needed, giving you"bullseyes" in your surface which will show when the paint is applied. Use a power tool, like a DA. (Dual Action sander).

It is experience to know what can't be sanded out and what must be filled.  There are some excellent primer fillers that will help with this.  They can be used with "guide coats" which lets you block sand out smoothly.  A guide coat is a sprinkling of paint over your primer coat.  Say you spray gray primer, several coats, flashing properly in between, then after it drys take a can of black rattle can paint and just dust a sprinkling of black over that primer, very lightly. Then when you block sand, you sill see the high and low spots as the guide coat sands off high spots and remains in low spots, the bullseyes, and other imperfections will show as you block out.  Do your first blocking out with 180-220 grit.  Use the longest bock you can use on the body panels, and one can tape sanding paper to large round hard hose or cardboard rolls for sanding the inside curves. The keys here are when you are blocking, don't dig a hole, you must block evenly all around the imperfection to evenly remove material around the bad spot so it all comes out to a "flat" surface.  And second, when you sand through your primer, STOP SANDING. The old adage, if your're digging a hole, stop digging. You are going to need to apply more primer to fill it out further.  It may take several primer stages before you can get it to block out evenly everywhere.  The main thing to try and do is fill in low spots with heavier primer coats, lightly primer high spots.  You are using primer like body putty

After you have blocked out with 220-240 grit, a couple more even coats of primer overall and turn it over to the painter to finish sand.

HTH
this is exactly the kind of info a person needs.  great post




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12/27/14 10:06am - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
dwa175 Gold Member
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oakville, CT - USA

Vette(s):
1979 coupe and now 2007 c-6

Joined: 7/19/2014
Posts: 183
just did mine  you MUST strip down to black factory primer, use fiber glass brush striper, and get at a ship yard or car paint store,its going to take time,dwa175 

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12/27/14 8:55pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
greybull
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Twin Bridges, MT - USA

Vette(s):
1972 Base Coupe

Joined: 2/16/2014
Posts: 9
Depending on whether the car has ever had any bodywork done, and most older Corvettes have had some work, then you may not have factory primer, or even gel coat. Depending on whether the repairs used OEM parts, hand-laid parts, or just repaired existing glass, the factory primer and gel coat can be gone on part, or most of the car.  

This is where you have to be careful when stripping.  If you get into a repair area proceed with caution.  If the repair was using OEM, or even hand-laid parts, you may be able to follow the bonding strips along the panel edge, if they did a complete panel replacement. There are a lot of section replacements, ie front end fender forward top surrounds, center fender forward splices, etc.  If the existing glass was repaired, then there can be all kinds of complications depending on how the repair was done.  I have seen some seriously bad repair work which in most case had to be completely removed and redone.  Your best bet is when stripping, do a factory panel area at a time, starting at one edge and proceeding to the others. This will let you work your way into damage areas with some warning.

As mentioned, if you do have factory primer and gel coat, then removing however many paint jobs may be on top of it is the best course.  Any layers of paint *can* cause issues because of the penetration of the new paint solvents.  Primer is porous, so it is not a sealer and will not guarantee that old paint underneath will not eventually effect the new paint. A sealer coat, immediately under the paint and over the primer will help with most of those issues, but again, no guarantees. 


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12/27/14 9:32pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
73shark
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Overland Park, KS - USA

Vette(s):
1973 Orange Metallic Coupe (orig owner), L82, 4 spd (WR), PS, (A/C & PW (I installed from wrecked 73)), leather, AM/FM Stereo, ran with '65 FI unit earlier & will again some day.

Joined: 7/9/2003
Posts: 398
Sage advice, wished I had followed it when I painted mine.  Used a sealer and primer over the factory paint and in about ten years, the spider webbing started to appear on the top surfaces but not on the sides.  Assume caused somewhat by the sun since it was a daily driver.  Will strip to factory primer this time.  Learned my lesson.  Beer

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1973 L-82 4 spd

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12/27/14 10:10pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
greybull
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Twin Bridges, MT - USA

Vette(s):
1972 Base Coupe

Joined: 2/16/2014
Posts: 9
73shark, I'm not sure the factory paint underneath is the cause there because of the fact you say it is only on the top surfaces and not the sides. Depending on the type of paint used and the direct sunlight exposure 10 years may have been the life of that particular paint. What colr and type of paint was used? Question, when you say spiderwebbing, can you describe a little more? For instance on the cracks are the edges of the cracks lifted up or recessed? Is the pattern check-like, or fractured like glass or just random wandering lines?

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12/27/14 11:47pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
73shark
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Overland Park, KS - USA

Vette(s):
1973 Orange Metallic Coupe (orig owner), L82, 4 spd (WR), PS, (A/C & PW (I installed from wrecked 73)), leather, AM/FM Stereo, ran with '65 FI unit earlier & will again some day.

Joined: 7/9/2003
Posts: 398
We repainted it with the stock color which was orange metallic lacquer and put a clear coat of  lacquer on top of the color coat. What I called spider webbing looks more like crazing defect. Someone who was a painter told me that was caused by the factory paint being underneath.

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12/27/14 11:52pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
rod7515 Lifetime Member
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Red Lion, PA - USA

Vette(s):
1974 White 350 Corvette, TH400 Automatic 1972 Tangerine /Go Mango Convertible 383 Stroker, 2004r Automatic

Joined: 10/27/2006
Posts: 1172
Gilbert, Greybull has given some very accurate and detailed information. When I employed someone to do my 72 I found out a lot of good information about working with fiberglass versus metal body. Two totally different surfaces! The very first thing I learned was hiring someone to do the job was my best option. He stripped mine with the DA, then would fill and prime then block sand and prime and block sand and prime. Seemed like a never ending process! But as I learned its the only way to get a flat smooth finished product. My first thought when we started was to use a paint stripper. He strongly advised me not to do this because of the same reasons that greybull mentioned. I bought a soda blaster (same time Ebo did and Im not sure either of us used them! Did you Ebo?) and I was going to blast it but he told me the same as greybull said about the film it would leave. His only acceptable method was to sand, prime and sand and prime and sand! I found out I hated sanding so I left him do it all. The amount of time/hours it took was beyond my wildest dreams. I know others have done it using the methods I was recommended not to and had success. I guess this is why the cost of refinsihing our fiberglass cars is so costly. I wish you the best with your undertaking. Looking forward to following your progress so post as you go!
Best of Luck
Rodney


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12/28/14 12:05pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
greybull
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Twin Bridges, MT - USA

Vette(s):
1972 Base Coupe

Joined: 2/16/2014
Posts: 9
Lacquer is a paint that is not going to last real long especially in direct sun.  10 years is a very good lifetime for that kind of paint.  And crazing is what it does over time.  The factory paint underneath will have shortened the life a little due to the fact lacquer is the hottest pain you can use, meaning it penetrates the deepest, so you would have lost some of the solvents from your paint back into the old factory paint, which then doesn't let your paint cure out as it should.  But still 10 years is a good life for lacquer.  You maybe could have prolonged it a little longer by copious amounts of waxing to protect it.

At this point yes, you will have to strip all the way down to factory primer or gel coat to remove the crazing as it will penetrate all the way through and in fact you may have to remove most of the factory primer also.  As you sand you will see the crazing stay there as you sand down through the layers, blow off with an air hose often and you'll still see those lines.

Going forward, after re-prepping for paint, you'll want to at least use a good acrylic enamel, preferably a urethane paint. These may be harder to get your color in, that looks like Ontario Orange you have, which is a color I really liked on these Vette's, in fact is the original color of the one I am restoring myself right now. I have not yet decided on the manufacturer of the paint I'll use yet as I've not seen the color mixes to decide which is truest to the original color. 


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12/28/14 12:22pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
greybull
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Twin Bridges, MT - USA

Vette(s):
1972 Base Coupe

Joined: 2/16/2014
Posts: 9
Grin, yes, blocking out a car will give you shoulders and arms to match an NFL linebacker.  Patience is the key, when you get tired stop, and wait until you are rested to continue.  If you rush things it just means do-over time.

If you all would like, I can try and make some videos of how t do some of this process, (and maybe YouTube them if I can figure that out), or some other way to show how to strip carefully and how to prime and block sand.  I am not really to the point of doing the bodywork and paint prep on my 72, (I'm still restoring the frame and suspension and getting the engine built), but I can step out and do a little of this kind of work to demonstrate the process, if that would help?

Just to qualify myself, I did body and paint, specializing in Corvettes for many years in the 70's and 80's.  I have stripped probably 40-50 Corvettes and painted well over 300.  I stopped doing body and paint in the 80's because I wanted to keep breathing and one did not see many old car painters in those days before we knew toxicity of the industry.  Now I do restorations or customization's as a part time hobby.  This is why I am not up to snuff on some of the latest techniques as I simply have not worked with some of them. 




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12/28/14 10:12pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
73shark
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Overland Park, KS - USA

Vette(s):
1973 Orange Metallic Coupe (orig owner), L82, 4 spd (WR), PS, (A/C & PW (I installed from wrecked 73)), leather, AM/FM Stereo, ran with '65 FI unit earlier & will again some day.

Joined: 7/9/2003
Posts: 398
Actually the color in '73 was called Orange Metallic and was a brighter orange than Ontario Orange was.

Plan the repaint to be a base coat/clear coat.  Hope to match the color as close as possible.  I did block sand using a guide coat before the last repaint.  Will strip to factory primer this time.  Experience is a good teacher.   Wink

I'm going to leave it to a professional this time.  Thanks for the offer of assistance.


|UPDATED|12/28/2014 8:12:38 PM (AZT)|/UPDATED|


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12/30/14 12:27pm - Reply: 'Re: Prep and Paint'
greybull
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Twin Bridges, MT - USA

Vette(s):
1972 Base Coupe

Joined: 2/16/2014
Posts: 9
Yes, I remember now, the 73's changed the color slightly, less red, more gold, and added some of the bigger flake into the formula.

BTW, was doing some research on these colors and I see that some of the paint manufacturers are going to be discontinuing the original formulas soon, at the end of this year for Ontario Orange.  That may cause some issues with who and where one can get the paint work done.  Most painters are a bit particular to a brand and if their manufacturer of choice has discontinued the formula then that may remove a particular painter or shop form the options... and there are few enough painters willing to deal with fiberglass cars anyway.  

I may have to do some scrambling to see about getting that formula and/or paint beforehand... or just go with something like Firemist Orange in a 2-stage paint as I do like the way that one looks.  I'm not going for NCRS certification anyway.

Good luck on the repaint when it happens, do post pics as I'd like to see what you find out.  I'm probably a year to a year-and-a-half away from paint on mine as I don't get as much shop time as I'd like.




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