Having finished the paint work on our '53 Roadmaster, it was time to buff. The paint system I chose was PPG's Delstar Acrylic Enamel used with hardener (see our Archives page at www.southernwheels.com for the paint article) , and buffed, it looks like lacquer. It's deep with a smooth gloss. We applied a total of eight coats, blocking down with 400 wet paper after the fourth coat. Putting on this much paint is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you can color-sand and buff until it looks like glass without buffing through the paint. But on the other hand, if it gets a stone chip, you will have to build up 8 coats of paint to repair it. Ours turned out so nice that well worry about any touch up later.
To begin the buffing process, we laid out ourTools and Supplies:
Dynabrade Orbital Sander #2105 It's an American-made, tough, 12,000 RPM sander that's the best weve found for feather-edging as well as sanding.
Hookit I & II Systems. These are available in 6 multi-grit disks to be used with the Dynabrade sanders. They are easy to change and can be re-used, and are great for removing cross grain scratches.
Buffer with wool and foam pads.
Bufflex black pad with Kovax paper for getting into tight places.
Compounds, wax and paper (multi-grits, wet or dry)
Sanding blocks and Shop Lights all around the car
Restorer Jeff Coe has been specializing in paint and body work for 30+ years, and used this system on our 53. Here's the system:
1. Wash down the car with soapy water (a couple of drops of dish washing liquid). Then, wax remover--Acryliclean for PPG and Prepsol for Dupont products. Wipe off (we use blue paper shop towels or terry cloth cotton towels).
2. On the first sanding, Jeff used 800 grit wet with no paddle. This is not for leveling.
3. With the Dynabrade Orbital sander and Hookit II with 1000 grit, he went to work, going over the whole car.
4. Next, with 1500 grit, hand blocking, using a hose or spray to keep the work wet. This is where you need thick paint on the car, or you will buff through.
5. Next, he used 2000 grit, hand blocking wet.
6. Next, the Dynabrade with Hookit II 3000 grit.
7. Next, he used the Bufflex pad with 3000 grit paper. This eliminates sand scratches and reduces the need for using as much cutting compound later.
8. Now, using a buffer with a wool pad (wool cuts a little faster and gets into corners unlike foam pads that can come apart). This was used with 3M's Perfect It 3000compound. Jeff buffed the car all over three times.
9. Then, he went over it with Perfect It III Trizact once, helping to eliminate marks in the paint.
10. Now, he used 3M's Perfect It III Machine Glaze using a foam pad (waffle type) and Perfect It Plus Ultra Fine once over.
11. The final step is to buff with Perfect It 3000 Final Glaze and hand wax. We waited about three weeks from the time the paint dried, then used Meguiar's Gold wax.
A note on buffing with wool pads: Always slightly tilt the pad up (not flat on the surface) in the direction you are working, or it will leave buff marks on your paint. Foam pads are used flat to the car.
Yes, it's a lot of work, but it's worth it if you want a show finish! In a future issue, we will cover a more abbreviated system with fewer steps for a factory finish. Enjoy your cars, and keep 'em driving!