First some business…. here are the freshly lined and derusted fuel tanks for Nancy W. Even though the insides were clean, the outside rust made the steel so thin that soon pin holes would form Sorry, they had to be replaced. You can see in that last pic also the extent of the damage to the hoses under there. They weren’t leaking but hey…
In an effort to impress,
folks say “I buffed it out to 3000”.
Lets say you really weren’t into paint finishes, how might you translate that to what you might know? It actually could sound weird…. Hey, I buffed off that guy at the bar… knocked him into the year 3000!”? What does “wet sand and buff to 3000” mean? A bunch of you know all this, some maybe less but for those that wanna know what the heck we’re talking about…. how bout if I try and explain it. And what Kevin just finished doing to Tim S. coach is a great example of this.
So why is a wet sanded and buffed finish a really good thing to do… not only yo make the paint finish shiny but better in other ways. If this is totally boring to you this may be time to go out and smear some grease on your face and go do an oil change or something….. maintaining and having a nice vintage RV that really is as good as it can be not only drives great but also feels nice and looks nice on the inside but is also appealing to more than you on the outside. Sorry guys, the gays of driving around with primer spots is well, just not that cool today. Today we also know that that flay grey primer soaks up dirt, holds humidity and basically screws up whatever body work you did under it unless you get some real sealing paint on to the primer before all that happens. My Dad gave me his 65 Belait 2 door whan I was just driving. That white 2 door just didn’t look cool enough so I shot some primer around the windows like I had seen on other cars thinking it was cool. Actually, those cars ruster in the showroom around the rear windows so my porous primer held nasty dirty stuff and water around the window and my back window bout fell out!
Don’t do that…. and this brings me to why I said such a stupid thing…. If your paint surface is dull, it holds dirt and water which attack the soft UV burned paint surfaces causing corrosion. A slick smooth, non porous paint surface sheds water yes but it also doesn’t allow dirt to penetrate the surface. The paint finish does not see the attack of those germs and stuff and thus will last longer.
When you shoot the final coat of clear and it cures up, the first wash job and scrub takes off the first layer we call “nubbies”. The nubbies is all that stuff in the hair that stuck to the wet clear as the solvents dry out. So after the shoot and the coach comes out of the booth it looke shiny and everyone goes Wow. Then you wash it and a second Wow comes out. That’s because the first layer of dust and absorbing material has been taken off the finish.
At that point many people and paint shops lay on a layer of glaze…. that’s a wax of some type be it silocone based that really gives a great shine for a while or basic paste wax. That stuff temporarily fills the pits and high points of the now “clean” paint surface and as long as that stuff stays on and smooth the finish will look pretty good AND somewhat protected. That’s way you can take an old paint finish, rip off the old dead paint on the top and fill in the “nooks and crannys” and come up with a descent shine…. as long as you keep it up. Eventually you’ll build up a thicker layer of the stuff that may keep it shiney or it may suck in dirt and water if you don’t keep it up and WHAM, the finish goes to crap again!
Now some shops will take the paint job another step in finishing when they “wet sand” taking say a 1000 grit sand paper, wet the surface and bring the entire finish to a 1000 grit finish. This will be a bit of a duller finish at first because even a new, washed surface may be twice as glossy some areas may be a 2000 grit sniny finish. Taking the entire surface to 1000 now using a 2000 grit sand paper say you wet sand everything to 2000. Now, the entire finish will be shinier than it originally was. THEN you take 3000 grit sand paper and grind off even more of those really tiny nubbies giving you a 50% shinier finish than you had before. Not just shiny because it was those nubbies that held the dirt and water that screwed up the paint over time. NOW you have very tiny nooks and crannies… one result is the shine but the big news is the finish will not attract and hold nearly as much bad stuff.
THEN Kevin uses a really hard finishing glaze that really bites to the final clear finish and will really protect the final closed cell, glossy paint surface and NOW you get out there with a beer and some good “wipe-on-wipe-off” McGuires or Bush wax and Bob’s your uncle!
You wonder why an expensive paint job looks so good??? The nubbies are missing! So why doesn’t all paint shops do this? It’s the labor to do all that rubbing out. There is simply no short cut to produce the different levels of friction needed to reduce the nubbies. You just take 3000 gret wet sanding and you get a smoother moon surface. The bigger nooks and crannies make the finish look “orange peal” as you may have heard it.
You have to remove the big nubbies before you can get to the smaller ones…. or you could trawl out some goo and plug the holes for a while but it just will not shine and protect the way a finish with very tiny nubbies will… sorry, that’s the 20-25 hour labor short cut many shops have to take to make a living and to hit your low quote price to you. Guys, it’s just a function of now much labor it takes. Now if a paint shop says they wet sanded and buffed a finish out but took the lotion short cut… that would be a rip-off because they short cut the labor. It’s all about the money, money is time and time spent by someone… the guy deserves more more pay for the more labor… it’s just that simple.
So doing the math, out of an average 150 hour complete refinish job, there is @ 20-25 hours spent wacking out the nubbies… no way around it.
So lemme get on to the example to show what I’m talking about. Kevin just wet sanded and buffed out Tim S. coach that’s getting ready to be shipped to the UK. A couple of years ago we painted the coach which by design would be a more generic, commercial duty finish. Tim wasn’t interested in the shiny finish rather a hard, long lasting commercial truck paint job.
Back then even more we would do anything a customer wants… and still will but over time as Tim saw other coach restorations and understood more about paint finishes and why you do all that. Last visit Tim told Kevin to go ahead and wet sand and buff please even his “commercial” finish. Understanding it’s about a pile more than the pretty face he saw the finish reliability aspect. Being at home in the UK where it’s chilly, rainy, slushey black guk on really old roads it now made sense to have his coach finish wet sanded and buffed.
So I’ll get some better shots but here is Tim’s 26′ Minion wet sanded and buffed to 3000 then glazed:
………………………………………………………………………………………Check out the reflection in the gloss finish and here The gloss means the finish is smooth and free of nubbies, the finish will last longer and be easier to maintain ……. and look really good!