Paint Prep, Sanding, Painting


I sprayed on the second coat on the hood after wet sanding for about 2 friggin hours, I sanded, sanded, sanded….did I mention I sanded. I know I said it will be a 10 footer when I am done, I am not looking to win any shows, but when I get down on the paint I see little things I want fixed, so I sand. I found that most orange peal was easily removed with elbow grease and 600 grit wet sand paper. Once the sanding was done I sprayed on the second coat, It all went on real nice except for one little corner in the front where there was a little fish eye and two other small fish eyes. The on in the corner also had a little over spray and a slight run (about 1/2 inch long). When I saw it I stood back about 5 feet and could not see it, when I got close I could, this is supposed to be a ten footer and practice paint job so I should have left well enough alone….I did not. So being of short patience I decided I could make this area dry quicker with a blow drier and then wet sand and shoot it again……bad idea. All I managed to do is dry it then sand it obviously to wet as a small area peeled up (about 1/4 inch square). I managed to really annoy myself. So I stopped and walked away for a few hours.

After cooling down I put the hood to the side and started working the passenger fender that I had already primed. Again not listening to my own 10 footer rule I saw some minor imperfections I wanted to fix. Now that it was all one color I saw a bad fix someone had done in the past, also I saw two new little dimples that I had missed before. The car had been in a hail storm once and there were some dimples from that. I had bought a kit from Harbor Freight to remove them. It consists of a metal hammer and some heavy flat metal blocks to place on the other side you are hammering. I was really surprised at how I could remove the dimples with this setup. Most I got out so good I cannot find them. Those that I could not completely remove got a little bondo to flatten them out the rest of the way.

Again I spent a lot of time sanding and I could not leave well enough alone I tried to remove every blemish I could. More than I had to. I then removed the other fender and started working on it. It is not as bad as the passenger side and is going quicker, I plan to primer it then allow it to dry.

My plan is to now get both fenders base coated with paint, clear the hood then prep the cowl area and headlight area on the car. I will then paint and clear the fenders and cowl etc. Then the entire front clip is done with paint. I will put it all back together for real this time. At that point everything from the doors forward will have new paint and already I can tell just by placing the hood in place it is going to look GREAT. Once the front clip is on I will remove the passenger door, put new hinge pins in fix any defects and then paint. Then the rear quarter on that side and from that side of the car it will all be new paint! Then the drivers door and quarter, the rear and I am done. I want to have it all done this month. I may or may not make it. So far the hardest part is all the sanding. It is a close second on my list of things I do not like to do, only surpassed by drilling out spot welds….but not by much..


I found a really good web site by a guy who paints his own cars in his garage here is the link:

He goes into a lot of detail on how he does it and I am doing very much the same so I am not going to detail every step you can get that info from his site. BUT I am going to give some detail on my experience and the use of this particular RAYFLEX paint. I will also detail mistakes I made, or will make :^)

I have so far painted the trunk the under side of the hood and primed the top of the hood. I am priming, putting on two base coats, and two clear coats. I did the trunk first and to spite thinking it was OK I am not happy with it now. I put the primer and paint on the under side non-reduced to see if I could get a good look that way and to practice. Well I am not happy with it. There is orange peal (or a ripple look) in the paint but it is good enough for the under side of the trunk. Next I painted the top of the trunk. This time I did thin the primer and paint. It was better but still not good enough. At 10 feet it looks OK but it is no where near a mirror finish. There is orange peal (the paint is not pealing just the texture/ripple of orange peal). If you get closer than 5-10 feet you can really see it….it is not acceptable. In doing the trunk I learned one other thing, it takes a LONG time to dry. It dries to the touch fairly fast, a few hours, but it takes a good week before you should really do anything to it, until then you can take a fingernail and scratch a line in the paint. Not baking the paint you just have to wait and be patient. I put three coats of base coat on the trunk to practice with the gun. I have a small compressor 1 1/2 horse and 3 gallons I knew it was small and I did paint the trunk with it but I really needed more. So I bought a 3 hp 21 gallon compressor from Harbor Freight for $149….a real deal, and it works great. Also I bought a filter to remove water/dirt for the compressor.


New compressor and filter set up.


The gun would actually drip water as I was using it without this. This also came from Harbor freight and was on sale for $29. Now I was ready to paint the under side of the hood. I thinned the RAYFLEX primer about 3 to 1 with paint thinner I got from Home Depot. It sprayed on much better and much smoother. I let it dry but did not sand it as I have no patience and sprayed on my base coat. I was only going to put 1 coat on the under side of the hood. I thinned the paint out exactly as the manufacturer recommends using all Rayflex products. The paint went on much better than on the trunk, there was much less orange peal and it covered well. I let it flash (15-30 minutes) and then put on a coat of clear, again thinning it as the manufacture recommended. The under side of the hood looks ok but is not good enough for the outside. I plan to thin the paint when I do the top of the hood more than recommended, I will thin it 3 to 1 as opposed to 4 to 1. I am also going to wet sand between all coats of primer, paint and clear coat. I think I will put the clear on 4 to 1.

Bottom line is that the under side of the hood came out much better but there were some defects I should have sanded off, also there was a slight sandpaper like finish. Ok for under hood but not for the top. I think thinning more and sanding between will fix this.

I Primed the top of the hood and I thinned the primer out at about 3 or 4 to one. The primer went on very nice. I plan to sand it down tonight and maybe put on the first base coat.


Top side of the hood. 1 coat of primer.


Top side of the hood. 1 coat of paint.
Now I have to wet sand it, I will use 600 grit after it dries, I plan to let it dry until tomorrow, A am going to start on the passenger fender once I can move the hood today. I mixed the paint 3 parts paint to 1 part reducer and the results were much improved. I also sanded down the primer with 320 grit wet sand paper, then wiped it down with denatured alcohol.
The hood looks good. A freaking gnat landed on it while the paint was setting up but I plan to sand anyway. Much less orange peal and sandpaper look. It looks like it is going to be presentable. Much more mirror like. Not perfect but it does look good!


Well I finally started working on the paint again more a bout that in a sec. I Also took the Stang to the auto club I belong to and put it up on a lift for the first time since the rebuild. I have read nightmare stories on the net about guys who put their stang on a lift only to see it bend and watch the mechanics run in fear of their lives from under it. Well I lifted her up and listened for any odd noises, watched for any flexing (this is especially hard on convertibles) and guess what… Nothing, it was fine, did not squeak, moan, grind, bend or anything else bad. So I raised it up and got a good look at the under side for the first time without laying on my back in the garage. It looks good, I was very pleased. Another guy in the garage even complemented me on how much like a new car it looked. I have not under coated it yet as I want to do that on the lift. Also there are some welds I need to finish that I wanted to do it on a lift instead of on my back. Nothing big but I need to get it done. By and large I was very please with how it all looked. I checked all the bolts to double check myself and discovered that I had not tightened one on the sway bar. Other than that it is all good. I am going to take some pictures next time and post them.

So I started to paint the car today. I started with the under side of the trunk. Here is a picture.


Under side of the trunk. 1 Base coat of paint.

I used the Rayflex paint I talked about earlier. I used it straight, did not use any hardener or reducer I just sprayed it on straight from the can. I also bought a new paint gun to solve the sandpaper like finish I was getting. I was using a siphon feed regular gun that I got from Harbor Freight as it said for “Automotive” paint…..well… sucked. So I got an HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) gravity feed paint from Harbor Freight and what a difference. The finish was much better on the under side of the trunk.

This is a learning experience for me and I just wanted to see how thick I could put the paint on, how the gun worked etc. so the under side of the trunk seemed like a good place to start. Now I was ready to do the top side. This time I did use the reducer and hardener. That made the paint go on even smoother and easier. I had already primed it with the new gun the Rayflex primer, again straight and not reduced. I filled some minor dings and primed and wet sanded the primer then shot my first base coat, Here is a picture


Top side of the trunk. 1 Base coat of paint.

I am going to shoot one more coat of paint and then two clear coats, it already looks great, I cant wait to see how it looks with the clear on it. I plan to do that tomorrow and also start the hood. Then the front fenders, then doors, then the rear, then I am done!

Lessons learned:
1) The hardener and reducer make the paint go on much nicer.
2) I can spray on the primer straight from the can.
3) It took about 3.5 – 4 ounces of paint mix to do the top of the trunk.
4) When you paint in the garage at night bugs will fall on the freshly painted surface.

I have to also add that the HVLP gun causes almost NO over spray. There was no paint on the floor when I was done or anywhere else except for the trunk. This gun does a very nice job.


Well as the regular followers know I have not gotten a lot done on the car in the last month or so. I have been on vacation, busy with work, been driving the car, and well….been lazy. I do have a good story about driving the car though.

The Stangs first RACE!!
I was driving the Stang to get groceries, and fill her up last night. It was a warm summers evening, top was down. As a side note I have been doing city driving and it is getting 17.5 miles per gallon. I have just rolled over 500 miles on the car since the first drive, so the engine is starting to get broken in. At 800 the manufacturer says the break in is complete.
The car is really running great, tranny shifts smooth, engine does not miss a beat. I was sitting at a stop light and a white Honda pulls up next to me. Not sure what it was but I did notice it as it was a sporting looking thing, looked like it had some get up and go. The guy driving it was about 27 or so and I heard him rev the engine but did not think anything of it. Well he lit it up and took off.. hmmm…
I have not pushed the car to hard yet but have done some fast accelerations, but not like I was racing. The car has 500 miles on it and the engine is feeling very strong. I have wondered how it would do against a newer sports car…maybe I could find out now.
Well the next light was not far and I pulled up next to him. I was not sure he wanted to race but I decided to take off at about 3/4 throttle in case he did. Well the light turned green and I took off….and so did he. He spooled the engine of his car up and I could tell he was trying hard. We were fairly even for a second or two and then I realized it was fight on. Yee Haw…So I mashed the throttle to the floor and the Stang pushed me back into the seat hard. I pulled away from him FAST. As I got into the upper RPMs it really started to show the power and pull away. It felt great! I was breaking the speed limit by …….several miles per hour very rapidly and he was far behind so I hit the brakes and slowed. He caught up to me and as he passed he gave me the thumbs up. My almost 40 year old Stang had won her first race against a new car! Awesome is a good word for it!

Ok now to the restoration part of the car. I did strip and prime the new trunk lid. I primered it with my new paint gun and well, it is a total mess. If the finish I was looking for was “sandpaper like” I did a great job….but I really was not lot looking to simulate a popcorn ceiling in my Stang’s finish. I need to play with the pressure settings, thinning the primer etc. and try again. I will post some pictures of the mess I made before I sand it off.
But mistakes are what it is about. I am doing this to learn. No big deal. It was only the trunk. I have a new trunk that I am practicing on. I want to work on it this weekend so I will update the site as I do it…

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