Build Log: May 27, 2013

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After putting a beautiful-looking paint job on the car, I immediately started to un-beautify it:

Thus began the process of wet sanding. I began with 1000-grit paper and plenty of slightly soapy water. The 1000-grit takes down all of the surface imperfections such as orange peel, dust nibs, or even the errant insect. The idea is the bring the high spots down to the same level as the low spots, leaving a nearly perfectly flat surface. This is a lot of work. I found that I could work an area and then squeegee it off and if there were still glossy areas, then I needed to do more work. The sanding block I used has a fairly hard rubber surface on one side, and a half-inch thick layer of “memory foam” on the other side. For most of the blocking, I used the hard side, but for the areas with tight curves, the foam side worked nicely.

The remaining sanding that follows the 1000-grit is simply for the purpose of removing the previous grit’s scratches. After the 1000-grit came 1500-grit, 2000-grit, 2500-grit and finally 3000-grit. It might seem like overkill since most rubbing compounds can easily take out 1500-grit scratches, but sanding is much more precise than buffing, and by following the progressive grit schedule, I only remove the amount of clear that I need to.

Next came the buffing process. Here, I used the 3M Perfect-it system. It consists of three stages of compounding - a rough rubbing compound followed by two progressively finer machine glazes. Each stage uses its own buffing pad. The wool pad and the white pad in the background are used for the rubbing compound (stage 1) with the wool pad being the more aggressive approach. The black pad is used for the middle compound, and the blue pad (not shown) is used for the final stage.

Here you can see the sanded body and where I started the first Perfect-it stage:

Many hours and a lot of elbow grease later, I was done:

So now it was time for some final assembly. The doors got their cards and hardware:

And the scoop and hood louvers went on:

That’s all for now.

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