Friday, October 21, 2011

Another Milestone for Ringo and Me

In my book (the book of it-doesn’t-need-to-be perfect-to-be-finished), all the bodywork is officially done when the primer goes on. I cannot afford the time, nor do I have the patience to apply a guide coat, block sand, fill low spots, re-sand, re-prime… My hand has already told me my filler job isn’t perfect; I don’t need to go through more hours and dollars verifying it.

After this last weekend, that’s the point Ringo is at. The primers are on, all two coats of epoxy and three of urethane. Thank goodness, too, because weather warm enough for my painting setup is very quickly going away until spring.
Here are the details. Friday night I did some staging by removing some stuff from the garage like the window glass, spare tire, and boxes. I hung the passenger’s door from the rafters, the grills on a piece of cardboard leaning against the back wall, and placed the driver’s door on a concrete block. I moved the car into final position and masked off the wheels. I cleared off the back workbench and moved all the cans of primers and activators as well as the other painting supplies to there. I moved my tool chest, welding wagon, dollies, bike, grinder, and heaters right in front of the door in preparation for relocation to the driveway while I’m shooting. Finally, I collected four concrete blocks and dug out a fourteen foot long 2X12 from the back garage to cut in half to make the two walkboards to stand on when I’m shooting the roof.

Saturday morning I was up early to drop Mikhaila off at her soccer. With a half-hour to kill before the game started, I ran to Home Depot and bought cartridges for my respirator mask, an air filter for the air line at the gun, and a furnace filter to put in front of the box fan I’d used for ventilating the garage. After the game was over, I changed into my grungies, cut the 2X12 in half, moved the staged stuff into the driveway, filled the air cooler bucket with water, placed the fan with filter in the one window, opened the other with the screen in place to keep bugs and such out, uncoiled the for-painting-only rubber air hose, and got out the HVLP paint gun I’d borrowed from Bill and my old conventional gun. Next, I blew off the car one last time before closing the garage door and wiping every inch of Ringo’s exterior with grease remover and paper towels.

With my long-sleeved welding shirt all buttoned up and my fashionable head sock in place, I put on the mask and mixed up my first batch of epoxy primer. I filled the reservoir of Bill’s gun and did some adjustment shots on the big piece of cardboard. All I got was little droplets rather than the fine mist I needed. Sadly, this was just as Bill had warned me about. I hooked up my old gun and poured the primer from his gun into mine and did the adjustment shot again. Perfect. I went through the entire quart of primer and its required quart of activator to get the first coat on. It was more than I’d expected to use, but my gun’s large (2mm) nozzle puts out a lot of product quickly. I kept the gun moving swiftly over the surfaces, so I did not get any runs. Thank You Lord. After letting that coat flash for about an hour, I mixed and shot the second coat of epoxy primer with the leftover black I’d bought when painting Bill’s wheels a couple years or so ago. I adjusted the volume setting on the gun and was able to get the entire second coat done without depleting the nearly full quart can.

Now, on to the 2k urethane primer. The epoxy primer seals the surfaces, the urethane primer is what will get sanded smooth. With the same setting on my gun, I laid down three medium coats using up the rest of the can from Heidi’s last paintjob as well as about a quart from the recently bought can. At this point it was nearly eight in the evening and I figured I'd been shooting primer for about five hours.

Next up, ordering a gallon of Black Cherry Pearl and activator. Once I know when that will be her, I can plan the time I’ll sand, so I can shoot the paint within 18 hours of sanding. At this point, I’m looking to sand Friday night and Saturday morning with the paint and subsequent clear going on in the afternoon.

I’m nervous about shooting the doors off the car. I would hate for them not to match the rest of the car. My latest thought is to paint the jambs of the door openings and the mating surfaces of the doors with them in their current locations; then paint the roof, engine lid, and hood, front and rear; and then move the doors to sit on blocks in front of the openings. This will allow me to sweep the spray from the gun along the entire side to get a uniform finish. I’ll repeat the process when spraying the clearcoat. I’m not thrilled about handling the doors with wet paint on them, so the jambs will and edges will only get one coat of paint and clear.

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