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Thread: An Old Man's Guide to Painting a Corvette Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-30-2019 05:37 AM
gtr1999 very detailed work and outstanding result. I wish you were closer to me to do my 69!
05-30-2019 04:06 AM
The Torch Awesome. I bet he is one happy camper
05-30-2019 12:06 AM
Finished Video

Owner brought car by today and I got a movie of the finished car. It's been sitting in storage so the careful eye will notice some dust here and there.
03-19-2019 04:01 AM
The Torch Thanks Bud. This whole write up is awesome
03-18-2019 07:02 PM
7TRoadster Outside photo 6
03-18-2019 06:59 PM
7TRoadster Outside photo 5
03-18-2019 06:58 PM
7TRoadster Outside photo 4
03-18-2019 06:57 PM
7TRoadster Outside photo 3
03-18-2019 06:57 PM
7TRoadster Outside photo 2
03-18-2019 06:56 PM
7TRoadster Outside photo 1
03-18-2019 06:55 PM

I hope this series of posts has passed along some information you can use. In the extreme, given you the push you needed to give it a try. It's a big step, requiring a commitment in tools and materials. At the same time it isn't rocket science either.

At the very least having read this blog you have a respectful understanding of the amount of work involved in painting your Corvette. If you just don't have the desire to try it yourself, at least you shouldn't be shocked or surprised at the usual 5 figure sum of the paint shop quote.

My intent was to post a video of the finished car sitting outside in sunshine. The weather prevented that and the customer picked up the car before weather improved. I had taken a few stills earlier and will post all. If the opportunity presents itself later on I'll grab a video and post.
03-17-2019 08:08 PM

This is the part I dread the most. Installing window trim, emblems, bumpers, door handles, mirrors, all come with the risk of damaging the new paint. Good adhesion really helps, that's why surfaces in underlying areas are prepared for paint just like the outer surfaces.

Seems ridiculous to try and tell you how to put pieces back on your car, so I'll just add a few tips.

Tape the edges of chrome bumpers and the install areas, if the tape does touch it usually won't chip the paint. Two people makes bumper installing much easier.

Emblem holes will have shrunk with the application of paint, resize the holes with a correctly sized drill bit before installing emblems or trim clips.

Clean, repaint and polish trim as needed before installing.

Window trim will usually go on pretty well, the problem comes when it has to be removed because the piece installed wasn't put on in the correct order. Lay out the parts, test fit and understand how they assemble. Compare that to the shape of the window gutter. It's usually apparent in which order they must be installed. For example: On this car the top of the rear window trim was one piece, bottom front corner on one side to bottom front corner on the other. The lower trim had to be inserted into each side and slid forward inside the upper trim to fit into the lower gutter.

Clean all bulbs and any exposed sockets before installing them. Special attention to make sure ground clips are not covered with over spray.

Re-threading capture nuts and bolts takes a little time but it allows you to screw bolts in with your fingers. This reduces the chance tools will slip and chip freshly painted surfaces.

New gaskets and seals on door handles, locks and mirrors add a professional touch.
03-17-2019 06:02 PM
The Torch Using a carabiner is a good idea. I need to remember that one
03-17-2019 08:57 AM
Cut and Buff (6)

Buffing techniques

The wool pad is used for the compounding, the medium foam pad for the swirl mark removal/polish on two stage system and a white foam pad for polishing. I run my large buffer at roughly 800 rpm to do compounding. About 1000 rpm for swirl mark removal and about 1200 for polishing. Apply compound sparingly to a small area, start the buffer spinning before you touch the surface with it. Let the buffer pad slide into the compound working it back and forth using one side of the pad with moderate downward pressure. It's not necessary or desired to dig the edge of the pad into the paint, keeping the opposite side 1/2" off the paint is enough. Keep the buffer moving at all times. Raise the buffer off the surface before letting off the trigger. WARNING: Stay off the edges, it takes less than half a second to burn through an edge. As you buff the resistance creates heat, there is a potential to burn the paint surface, keep the buffer moving to limit heat build up.

Let's consider edges for a minute, assume we are buffing a fender. The edge runs the length of the fender along the top outside corner. The buffer spins clockwise, as you approach close proximity to a top edge make sure you're buffing with the right hand side of the spin so it buffs away from the edge. If you're buffing the side use the left hand side of the spin so it spins away from the edge. Never use the side that would be spinning into an edge, you'll burn through the paint so fast it's almost impossible to prevent. Compound right up to the edge with the buffer pad spinning off the edge. Do Not angle the buffer such that you actually compound the edge, you'll be sorry.......

As you work the compound back and forth you will notice the surface become shinny again. The dullness from the cut being compounded smooth, use light reflection and look for scratch marks to determine how much compounding is necessary. Keep working the buffer back and forth using only one side of the pad. As you work you'll notice the compound drying out, use the squirt bottle to dampen the pad, continue buffing until your satisfied with the surface finish. Add compound as the effectiveness of the operation decreases. Clean the pad when the buildup on the pad gets 'sticky', the compound and paint removed from the surface will stick to the pad. Eventually enough of it sticks to make the pad harder to slide around, sometimes it will even reduce the RPM of the buffer or becomes hard to control. Take the pad cleaning tool and with buffer spinning run it across the surface of the pad a few times.

Move to the next small area, apply compound and buff. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat..... Eventually the car gets done, it takes 12-16 hours to compound an average size car. Use the small buffer in tight corners or in areas the larger buffer cannot fit into safely. Once the compounding is done you should be left with a smooth shinny surface but it will have swirl marks left from the compound. On nice thing about Presta products is they clean up with water. Do this between each step, removing dried compound from door, hood, jams and seals where splatter tends to gather. Some of the other compound materials are not water based and very hard to remove if you let them dry on the edges.

The second step will remove those marks and polish the surface. Remove the compound (wool) pad and attach the medium foam pad to the buffer. Swirl mark removal and polish goes much quicker than compounding, I can usually do a complete car in about 4 hours. For polish (if a separate step) use the softest foam pad.

At this point the car looks great, surface is polished and reflections are consistent. The temptation is to give it a good coat of wax. The trouble with that is the top coat in ambient temperatures will continue to cure for about 6 weeks. Wait at least that long before sealing the surface up with wax.

Photo shows part of the hood buffed, the difference is obvious.


In tight areas slow the buffer down to better control the spinning pad.

Keep the pad spinning and buffer moving at all times. Remember the pad rubbing on the surface creates heat, letting it stand in one place will potentially burn the paint.

A soft bristle tooth brush and water works great to remove material from body seams and crevices.

Throw the cord up over your shoulder when leaning out over the car. Keep the cord off the finish as much as possible. I use a carabiner to latch the cord into my center rear pant loop.

Stay off the edges, although you can usually get away with a quick touch of polish a quick touch of compound is big trouble.
03-16-2019 10:22 PM
Cut and Buff (5)

Buff Stuff

There is probably less to learn about buffing than applying paint but no less critical to results. The buff is historically done in three stages, compound, swirl mark remover and polish. The Presta materials I use are changing that with a 2 step version. A quick cutting compound and a combined swirl mark remover with polish. Results are good, cleans up with water and saves time.

Materials shown below

Buffers and pads, compound, swirl mark remover/polish, microfiber rags, cleaning tool, shop shades and a spray bottle.

I have two buffers, a larger variable speed for general use and a smaller 3" for tight spots or close work. The smaller one is pneumatic so it needs a way to limit speed. I used an air valve off an old spray gun but any type of inline valve or regulator would work.
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