m) Paint

Here are a few shots of the car in “etching primer”  I need to fit the doors and make sure that all of the panels are properly aligned.  When complete I will sand all of the surfaces with 220 grit paper prior to spraying with high build primer.  You can follow along with these next steps.  I have never painted a car before, this will be a learn as I go.

In preparation to this section I purchased and read the following book.

——–  Painting ———

I made my own paint booth from a temporary garage (Shelter Logic 12 x 20 unit from Home Depot).  I modified it by installing Lights, Compressed Air Controls, Filters and Fans.  Just before painting began I lined the floor with plastic from Lowes.  I also built a couple saw horses to help hold some panels.

This is the compressor that I am using.  Small but OK for the tools that I am using (the reason why I used a bottom feed gun).

Now for the Painting Process:

Etching Primer from Eastwood,  This is a pre-mixed product that is used to chemically bond with the exposed metal surfaces.  All of the panels were cleaned with Wax and Grease Remover then I sprayed the Etching primer.

I used a Devilbis siphon feed gun (cup on the bottom) with a 1.6 tip.  My air compressor is a Sears 35 gallon two cylinder but it does not have the volume needed for a LPHV gun.

After scuffing the panels with a Brown Scotch brite pad, I re-cleaned them with the Wax and grease remover and a tack cloth then sprayed two coats of Eastwood high build primer (4:1 mix).

after about two hours I removed everything from the booth and sanded all of the panels with 400 grit paper then hit it with the scotch brite pads again.  After a complete cleaning I moved them all back into the booth.

After cleaning again and again with Wax and Grease remover then tack cloth again I began to spray 4 coats of color coat.  British Racing Green from TPC Global (a great company).  4:1 mix ratio.

Seriously…..I’m not that fat

Safety First in all cases. Mask and coveralls (TPC Global)

The flash time is 15 mins.  The paint needs to be sprayed and the gun cleaned in that time.  During the entire process I used 3 masks just to make sure that I was not breathing in any of those nasty s.  Spraying paint is something that just requires experience.  Its good to read and watch as much about painting as you can but when you actually start to paint you will learn the most.  What I learned (unfortunately towards the end) was, The best way to minimize the orange peel effect is to make sure that your last coat is a real good wet coat.  This is easier said than done as the wetter the coat gets the greater chance of creating runs exists.

After a day of drying I pushed the car out into the sun to have a look at the results.  I hung the front wings for effect.

 The next step is the color sand and polish.


This part was a lot of work, a real lot of work but just take your time and be patient.  First I picked up the wet/dry sand paper from Eastwood along with a special sanding sponge.  1000, 1200, 1500 & 2000 grit papers.

Soaking the paper in a bucket of warm water (some dish soap can be added if you like), I did not see a difference with or without it, also a squirt bottle of water was needed to continue spraying the paper clean and keeping the surface wet.

Cleaning well before each grit change using a very light touch to sand.  I did as many of the panels off the car as I could, it was easier to work on them.

I worked a 24 x 24 inch section at a time, being very careful near edges and transitions.  Each grit was worked in opposing directions to see when the previous sanding lines were gone.  The 1000 grit was used until about 80% of the orange peel was gone.  Then I went onto the next grit.  I sanded with the 1200 grit until almost all of the orange peel was gone. then finished up with 1500 and 2000.   I discovered than once an area no longer had orange peel to stop sanding it until the next grit or it would wear through, just focus on the spots were the orange peel is.   When completed I began the polish>

I used the ICE kit from Norton (Purchased from TPC Global).

2 speed buffer from Sears worked fine

Working in 24 X 24 inch sections again and making sure the rotational direction is buffing OFF (away from) the edges.  Once each panel was complete I went over the entire panel with an even stroke.  The final passes I misted a little water onto the surface.

See, I’m not Fat………Just Old

The pictures are of the 2nd step in the polish.  The first step is almost the same but you use a wool mop instead of the foam pad.

Here are some pictures of the completed 1st stage.  I stopped at this point so I could touch up all of the areas were I sanded through.

Not to bad.  I only used step #1, Step 2 & Step 3 still to come.

I did end up with a few areas where I sanded through the paint.  I have a plan to mix up some of the paint and carefully brush over these areas then lightly sand and buff these areas again.


Run a strip of masking tape along the very edge of a seam or finished edge when sanding.  It helped to prevent wearing trough.

OK….so brushing over them doesn’t work all that well, I had a very low success rate.  You end up just wearing through around the perimeters of where you just painted so you end up just chasing it around.

The correct way, and it worked quite well, is to re-spray the area using a smaller detail gun or an air brush.  I chose a HVLP detail gun.

Sanding wear thru

Above Picture, Wear Through (see the light Green?)

Touch-Up Process

  After sanding with 1000 grit I scuffed the surface to be painted with a brown scotchbrite pad, cleaned it with grease & wax remover then a tack cloth.  I masked along the crease (I did not want a hard edge to sand, Its easier to sand a blended edge) and covered all the sections below with brown paper.  I set the gun at a very light misting setting and gradually blended the paint over the thin section.  The next step is the re-cut and polish this section, the good news in that I used a HVLP detail gun (it works well with my little compressor) so I can start the cut & polish with a finer paper.


This panel has been re-Sprayed (just below the fender crease).   I feathered a small section covering about 3X the targeted area.  I laid the paint on pretty thick (a good wet coat)

Color sanded and Buffed

As you can see, it worked out quite well.  One thing to watch-out for is to remember that the thickness of the paint around the repaired section is quite thin so be very careful when re-sanding.

This is the HVLP detail gun I used.  I got it at Lowes for about 35 bucks.  This gun worked very well and made the touch up easy.  Its not big enough to spray the whole car but is perfect for repairing a panel.

Some pictures of the final result.

The next step in the painting process is to paint the rear valence.  This is typically finished in a satin black color.  I picked up a rattle can of Satin Black, taped off the area, cleaned it up with some wax & grease remover and put down 3 coats.  It came out real nice.

 CIMG8069 CIMG8072


I have a few small areas where I’m going to touch-up with a small brush.  But other than that, I’m all done painting.

Published on March 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm  Comments (11)  

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Beautiful car and great information; I have a ’76 TR6 in the original green paint I’vu had 15 years, these cars are fun to drive and like you said easy to work on.


  2. Very nice, thank you for sharing

  3. This is what I was planning. I have a great mechanic shop with A/C, great lighting, a twin-post hoist, and almost every mechanic’s tool known to man. I’ve just never done paint and body work. My question is: Do you have your fans blowing in or out? Since these are not sealed explosion-proof fans, isn’t it a bit dangerous? I’m not trying to knock your idea. I had the same one. I have just been trying to figure out how to get around fans that cost $750 each!! Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Allen: The fans blow out. They move air thru the garage. The other side of the garage has a row of filters where the air comes in. I used the cheap filters that you use in a home central air system. I read the same warnings about sparks and explosions. I guess its possible but the amount of airborn solvents is very small and the airflow is good to keep them moving. I also did not clean the gun between coats in the booth, I went outside for that. I used a syphon type gun and the overspray cloud was pretty big, If you use a newer HVLP gun there is very little overspray cloud in comparison.

  4. I’m worried about the explosion hazard as well. That is what has kept me from building a booth. Wish I could find out more about flammability Air ratios. Any advice is appreciated.

    • Sorry: I’m no expert. All I can say is that the set-up and process I performed worked well for my purposes. There is certainly a valid concern. I heard that there are some body shops and / or schools that have proper spray boothes that they allow “do-it-yourselfers” to use. maybe there is one in your area.

  5. I was thinking of putting the fans near the top and aiming them to push air into the booth through the filters. Then I was going to filters around the bottom to filter out the overspray as the air left the booth. This would give me a downdraft in the booth to settle the overspray on the floor. What do you think?

    • I guess as long as you are getting 1) positive pressure in the booth and 2) adequate airflow. You should be OK. I focused on moving the air across the bottom of the booth so I did not disturb the spray pattern of the gun. Also, most solvents are heavier than air and will settle near the floor.

  6. My plan was to install the fans near the top of the temp. building with the fans set to pull air into the “booth” through filters. Then I was going to install filters at the bottom of the booth to contain the over-spray. My thought was that any explosive fumes would be pushed away from the fan motors and I would have a down-draft in the booth to push over-spray away from the car and down to the floor which I would keep wet to trap it. As for flammability calcs, I would check MSA (Mine Safety Appliance). They make detection equipment and should have the information.

  7. Also: There are different opinions about wetting the floor. Some people discourage it as it adds un wanted moisture to the booth.

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