Saturday, December 23, 2006

Mixing Paint Accurately

The feedback that I get indicates that there is confusion about mixing ratios. We want to be as accurate as we can with out causing too much brain damage.
Common mixing ratios are 4:1, 8:4:1, 2:1 and 4:2:1. Let's use 4:2:1 as our example this is a common mix ratio for urethane clear. It means 4 parts of clear to 2 parts of reducer to 1 part of hardener. That means 4 ounces to 2 ounces to 1 ounce or 4 gallons to 2 gallons to 1 gallon or 4 buckets to 2 buckets to 1 bucket.
Using a graduated container pour the clear in to the 4 then the reducer in to the 6 then the hardener to the 7 then stir.
Before you leave the paint store make sure you know what the mixing ratios are and know what kind of reducer/thinner you should be using
I would like to see all paint companies have this prominently written on the label but it isn't always there so ask the paint store employee he should be able to provide you with a product data sheet
Thanks to Sherwin Williams for the diagram and to view more on the sbject including how to use a graduated stick visit Sherwin automotive mixing ratio page

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Flickr links to Great Car Pics

Looking threw Flickr this morning I came across a couple interesting new groups. and a Bog I think is just great.
For those not familiar with Flickr it is place to post your photos pictures of family, friends things we love (not surprisingly cars) I post there . This mornings finds are the car directory with more than 2,000 members and 20,000 photos cool cars, the Art of classic cars, and Classic/collectible cars and motorcycles
When your at car directory scroll down and it will show you the groups that are associated with it.
I also found a link to the Car [directory] that is a best of car pictures from Flickr

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ford's Bold Moves

Ford is in big trouble. I would hate to see them go away but they have real problems and I think they are dealing with them in smart and productive way. They are designing new vehicles that will, hopefully, get them through this rough patch.

Go to a clip from their Bold Moves internet marketing campaign

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Waterborne paint is coming

With the deadline fast approaching for the adoption of waterborne urethane in Europe, reported that General Motors has announced that "Sherwin-Williams' AWX and Akzo Nobel's Sikkens Autowave waterborne paint systems have received approval from General Motors for use in North American collision repair centres."
What does this mean for small repair shops and hobbyists? Well I guess I'm going to put a UV curing light on my Christmas list. Seriosly this is going to be an advantage to the biggest shops and another impediment to the small guys.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sandpaper for Every Step in Auto Refinising

The folks at Carborundum came up with a refinishes guide, let me paraphrase .
Use 36 grit grinding disks for grinding welds and preparing a panel before applying body filler.
For shaping body filler use 40 grit then 80 grit on a file board or 40 then 80 with an 8" mud hog.
For finishing body filler before use primer 80 grit then 180 girt usually on a 6" DA.
For stripping paint down to primer or bare metal use 80 grit on a 6" DA.
When you use replacement panels with the black factory primer sand with p320 on a 6" DA or scuff it with a maroon scuff pad.
When you feather edge use 80 then 180 then 220 once again usually on a 6" DA.
In general 40 grit will take out a 36 grit sand scratch 80 grit will take out 40 grit scratches 180 takes out 80, 220 takes out 180, 320 takes out 220 and 400 will take out 320.
For preparing primer basecoat use 500 or 600 grit and this is the point that I recommend you should use wet sand paper.
For preparing a blend area for your clear use p800 or p1000 again with wet paper or a gray scuff pad.
For clear coat problems like orange peel use p1500 or p1200 or minor clear defects use p2000 or p2500 grit also wet paper.
Now I know that people have other ideas about what sandpaper to use and when so please send some your comments

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Friday, September 01, 2006

How much does all this cost?

I recived an e-mail that asked just that question and this is in substance my answer

Are you down to bare metal anywhere? You will want a spray can of self-etching primer for the bare spots. Lets say $9.00 maybe a spray can of adhesion promoter to help paint stick to those problem plastics say $12.00 per spray can

You will probably need some bondo (generic name for polyester body filler) $10.00 to $20.00 /gallon.

Some polyester glazing putty (same thing as bondo but very much more refined very creamy and very smooth for easier sanding) $20.00 to 26.00 / qt

Primer I recommend urethane primer the generic primers are pretty good say $50.00 to $60.00 a gallon they mix a hardener $25.00 to $35.00 a qt and reducer $10.00 a quart. The name brand primers are going to be way more expencive but only marginally better.

Now you may not need to use any bondo or primer but you will need some wax and grease remover to get it really clean $12.00/qt

Okay now to the important question the paint. Dupont, PPG and Sherwin Williams all have thier top of the line paint that is great for color match and if you were painting the fender on a 2004 BMW I'd say go with the paint that is going to match the best. It's the hours of paint matching tecnology that you pay the premium for. But you're doing a complete paint job onan old Chevy Pickup right? Lets use the lower priced paint in Dupont Nason is the economy brand for PPG it's Omni and Sherwin Williams it's Dimension. These paints are substantially less money.

White and black are less expensive than red and yellow and any color that has a lot of pearl is going to be expensive. A gallon of white base coat is going to cost about $100.00 and a gallon of the premium red is well over $500.00 Urethane Clear coat sells from $45.00 to $300.00/gal or more for the high solid European clears. The paint and clear need reducers and hardeners that range from $35.00 a gallon for reducer and $25.00 to $85.00 a quart for clear hardener. Confused yet? I'm not even considering custom paint like House of Kolor or Alsa the sky's the limit with them.

Where I work at Allen Paint we sell a paint kit that has 3 quarts of color 2 quarts of reducer a gallon of clear the hardener for the clear and we throw in a couple of rolls of tape and a couple of sheets of sandpaper for $189.95. We can't make all the colors for that price but we can make about 12,000 colors. We are not the only or even the first paint store to put together a paint kit like this it has been good for our business, we sell a lot of kits every week.

When your shopping for supplies remember that the big paint companies want you to use their system from top to bottom and that makes a lot of sense to them if they are selling to big shops that want the paint companies to stand behind them if there is a paint failure. However no mater what they say any urethane clear coat will work over any urethane base coat and any base coat will work over any urethane primer.

There are lots of little things little expenses sandpaper, tape, masking paper, tack cloth, lacquer thinner for cleaning your gun and please wear a good charcoal respirator. These are serious chemicals not to be taken lightly in some people breathing this stuff even once has been know to bring on chemically induced asthma

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Aluminum Repair with Mike West

Mike West likes to say "Aluminum repair isn't difficult it's different" read his great article in this months Body Shop Business were going to see more aluminum parts and Mike's article with great photos will be a great help to any one taking on this new challenge.
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Friday, July 14, 2006

Self-etching Primer

When doing major or even minor work on older cars your going to run into rust. The steel that is your car wants to turn itself back into the puffy red iron oxide that it was when it was mined. Whether you’re sanding, sand blasting or chemical striping to get rid of the paint and getting down to the metal the first thing you need to apply to the steel is self etching primer.

Self-etching primer is composed of an acid and zinc. The acid, usually phosphoric acid, forces the zinc down into the top couple of molecules of the steel. Chemically impregnating the steel like this cannot reverse the rust but it can stop in from getting worse. So it’s important that you get all of the scaly rust off.

Wipe the surface with wax and grease remover to get it clean enough so nothing interferes i.e. fingerprints. The self-etching primer is usually gray or olive drab gray but the color is just there to show you where you’ve put it on and it is very thin and one thin coat is enough. Putting more of the primer won’t make it work better. You can apply it over paint or bondo but it is only effective on bare metal. You can apply your high build primer or body filler over the self-etching primer but be careful it is not a finished product by it self.

In other words you can’t apply it and then push the car back outside, it has to have a sealed surface over it, water will reverse the reaction and will pull the zinc back out.

Self-etching primer comes as two parts or ready to spray and also comes in aerosol.

I use it when ever I see bare metal or if I’m putting one metal against another. For instance steel screws in aluminum or on welds.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Slow for Summer Fast for Winter

Now that summer is here we increase the stock of slow reducer and slow urethane hardener at the paint store. There seems to be a good deal of confusion as what slow means.
Automotive paint has a mixture of different solvents and we can adjust the solvency so in the winter when were painting at 60 degrees Fahrenheit we want the solvent to evaporate fast so the paint doesn’t run on us. Now that summer is here and were painting when the temperature is getting up to 90 or 95 we want to slow that solvency way down so the paint droplets will flow out one into the other so we have gloss.

I don’t think it is a good idea to paint when it’s colder than 60 because the chemical process of urethane just about stops at 50 degrees and your paint may never get hard.

And you don’t want to paint when it’s hotter than 95 or so it’s just too uncomfortable wearing protective clothing and respirator. And there is nothing to ruin a good paint job like a drop of sweat falling onto the hood of the car.

Set your self up with 3 or 4 different reducers and cocktail them together to give yourself good flow out and good gloss to meet the conditions of the day.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Lacquer Primer does not Protect

Every year some one comes into the store and wants to buy a gallon of lacquer primer and says, " I'm just going to prime it now and I'll paint it next summer."
Sounds good, seems to make sense the thing is lacquer primer does not protect the metal and because it is porous it actually holds water against the metal. This is the result.

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

OSHA alert

If you have a shop in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas or Missouri you could have a visit from OSHA. Dupont Refinisher News reports that "OSHA's Wichita office began randomly selecting area auto body shops for comprehensive site inspections".
The article goes on to say that the main thrust of the OSHA crackdown is isocyanate comliance.
Keep those MSDS handy and make sure all labels are clear.
Just a heads up

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Paint match problems

Now that spring is upon us it’s hard to work inside. But I’m lucky enough to be able to walk out into the parking lot to look at paint codes or admire or to customers paint jobs. I always tell my customers to bring in their cars when they get them done. I like to see great looking cars and I learn a lot.

In the past week I’ve taken a close look at two cars with the same problem. One was a 2004 Buick and the other a 1934 Ford Hot Rod.

It is my understanding (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that Buick bodies are made in one plant and the doors hood and trunk are hung on at the Flint Michigan plant. The Buick was a pewter color that had a warm reddish cast to the fenders and roof and a gray green cast to the hood and doors.

The old Ford was a bright Yellow that a green cast to the body and a more orange shade on the doors. I asked the Ford owner if he had painted the doors separate from the body and he said he had.

When you have the car apart paint under the hood and do your door jams and any other parts that need to be painted but put it all together when you paint the outside. The other point I’d like to make is if you’re doing a repair and are having trouble getting the paint to match it may not be your fault.

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Abralon by Mirka polish your clear coat

When we think of sanding we usually think of cutting the finer the grind of the rock the finer the scratch. Mirka the Finnish abrasive manufacturer makes an innovative 6 in DA disk that uses knotted nylon instead of aluminum oxide or Silicon Carbide. Abrilon (no I have no idea what it means maybe it’s Finnish for something) comes in 800, 1000, 2000, and 4000 grit. I don’t know the application of the 800 grit but the 2000 and 4000 have some very enthusiastic fans for polishing clear coat. There is real attration for me to use my DA rather then hand sand. However not every one that tries it likes it. Here are Mirkas’ suggestions for use

  The following information is designed as a starting point when repairing
clearcoat defects such as dirt, orange peel and runs. Final grit selection
may be changed to meet specific application requirements. Abralon should be
used wet....
Place sander on the part before starting. Using moderate pressure, level
sand the surface....
2000 grit Abralon must be used wet. Place sander on the part before
starting. Using moderate pressure, feather the leveled area to match
the sheen of the surrounding surface. Abralon will remove the grit marks
and bring the finish of the repair area to the desired gloss level.
For ultimate gloss, repeat with Abralon 4000 grit.

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Friday, March 31, 2006

New Hybrid Saab uses No Fossil Carbon

I think that there is a basic misunderstanding among many people about the globalSaab 9-3 warming crisis that’s looming. The problem is not about heat production i.e. concrete gives off a lot of heat as it’s curing, it’s not about burning wood, it’s not about humans or animals breathing or farting. What it is about is pouring tons of fossil carbon in to the atmosphere. Fossil Carbon is the carbon that has been locked up as oil or coal for millions of years; we are releasing it faster than it can be locked up again.

The earth is not heated by human or animal activity it is heated by the sun. The sun warms the earth and that energy is radiated back off into space. Over the past million or so years there has been equilibrium between the amount of carbon that enters the atmosphere and the amount of carbon that is locked up again as plant and animal, biomass. Burning wood does not change this burning fossil fuels does change the balance. Pouring tons of carbon into the atmosphere changes the amount of heat that the earth radiates back into space.

The new Saab 9-3 is a hybrid that uses 100% ethanol. So here we have a technology that is carbon neutral. It is a technology that I hope General Motors, Saabs parent company, jumps all over. Read all about this new car at the auto channel

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Spray Max 2K clear has arrived and it's as good as advertised. This is the real stuff real urethane clear in a spray can. See my post about Spray Max 2K Primer

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I just recived the new issue of Fender Bender Magazine (Vol. 1 No.2) and I got to say I like it. Best of luck with your new enterprise. They of have a web site that is not active yet.
They have a little story about a
man sentenced in Colorado for 15 months for failing to disclose that salvaged cars were rebuilt....The indictment charged that he falsely and fraudulently misrepresented facts concerning the extent of the repairs made to the cars.
I won't say it's a common practice but alot of cars go back on to the street that should be parts cars.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Just for the record my bracket is totaly wrecked I had Duke going all the way and I loved Gonzaga.Villinava now got to be the strongest team but it would be great to see Wichita State in there.
Auto Blog reports that Volkswagon of Brazil will switch to 100% flex-fuel drivetrains that on ethanol, gasoline, or a mix thereof.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Spray Max Primer

I have a real excellent new product today. The German company Peter Kwansy has brought their Spray Max line of primers to the United States. The revolutionary step is Spray Max is real 2K primer in a spray can. We have been selling 1K urethane primer in a spray can for a while now and all though it is a major advance over lacquer primer it was still single component primer. With the Spray Max primer we are now able to a have real 2 component product in a spray can.
There are three different primers an epoxy, a direct to metal epoxy and urethane. The trick is in the can there is a smaller compartment in side the can and when you activate the two parts mix together.
These primers will give high build, good color hold out and great chemical resistance. Use the epoxy when you need the best adhesion, the urethane for maximum flexibility and the direct to metal when you are down to bare metal.
As you can see in the diagram the inner container is activated by taking the red plunger out of the cap and pushing on the bottom valve, this releases the second component and after shaking vigorously you have primer. The can says you have 8 hours to use it before it hardens.
They promise we will see 2K urethane clear soon. It's on the boat just over the horizon.
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Monday, February 27, 2006

I've been hearing about cars that were flooded in hurricane Katrina making there way around the country. I mean we all know this was going to happen it happens every time there is a flood. I tell people all the time that there are hidden problems in cars that were in floods increased corrosion and electrical problems.
With the cars that were in the New Orleans flood there is a new danger. These cars were in very contaminated water so contaminated that they are teaming with bacteria that can kill.

A Mississippi firefighter recently died from septic shock contracted through a slightly scratched finger suffered while extricating a victim from a crashed car.

The floodwaters that inundated The Big Easy tested at 50-times above the danger level for this type of toxin, which enters the bloodstream. Called sepsis, it spreads rapidly from just the tiniest break in the skin.

Thanks to Auto Body Repair News.

The Mississippi firefighter was Gary W. Kistler Sr., 65, a career firefighter with Saucier Fire Department

Read more about flooded cars at Auto Body Repair News and about Mr Kister at

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

C A Tecnologies

Yesterday I visited C A Technology in the high tech corroder between Denver and Boulder Colorado. C A Technology makes spray equipment. As a small company, put together in 1998 when guys from Binks R&D got together to start their own company, they have not concentrated on the automotive market. Very reasonably they are concentrating building spray guns for industry and woodworking applications.
That’s not to say they don’t build very fine spray guns for automotive applications. I was there to pick up one of their Techline guns. I was interested in an HVLP gravity gun with a 1.3-millimeter fluid tip and one of their 300 series air caps. The Techline is a mid range gun priced in the low $200 range.
I was taken on a tour of their facility and learned that all parts are made locally in Colorado machine shops. All fluid nozzles are then hand lapped and are custom assembled. Cliff Little assembled my gun. the body is mated with the Fluid nozzle. Then the appropriate air cap is installed and the guns are individually tested.
While I was there I also took a look at their top end gun the Jaguar SLP it is an HVLP gun machined from stainless steel then anodized. I also took a look at their newest gun the Techline Jr a mini gun that comes with both an aluminum cup and a plastic one and three needle and fluid nozzle set ups .08mm, 1.0mm and 1.2mm that will sell for $155.00

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Dura-Block the hand sand block caught on very quickly when it came out about 2 years ago.
It's no wonder they are affordable and if you have spent any time hand sanding you have thought there ought to be something like this. Dura-Block is made from EVA Rubber. The Ruey Lung Rubber Co tells us that: EVA Rubber is durable plastic foam material made of EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) resin.

There is actually no rubber in the EVA foam material. The word rubber was misused for the similarity of some characteristics of EVA foam and rubber foam materials.

The foam is fairly rigid (the technical spec is 20 PCF). It does have some give to it and will conform to say the curve of a roof. The blocks take stickit long board paper.
There are three new sizes 10 7/8" teardrop shape and two new long blocks.One of the blocks is 24 inches and the other is 30 inches. Tne best web link I could find is Trade Associates Inc. If any one has a better web site please let me know.
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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Prevost a Better Coupler

I spent a little time the other day with Brad Wolford he’s the Regional Sales Manager for the Prevost Corporation. Prevost is a based in France with worldwide distribution. The North American headquarters are in South Carolina. They make really superior products for fluid delivery.

It’s their hose connectors that impress me. These people have taken one of the small but vitally important pieces of the auto body repair reworked it taken it to a new level. Their Prevo.S line of couplers are safer, stronger, more reliable, and compatible with all the standard couplers. I especially like the swivel option I tried out. Next time your fighting with the couplers your using and wondering when someone will make something better give these a try. My Daddy told me one time "It only cost ten percent more to go first class". Some times it makes all the difference.

I’m going to try out their air filtration and control unit next; I’ll let you know.
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Friday, January 20, 2006

Detroit Car Show

I’ve been looking at all the reports to come out of the North American Auto Show. The Detroit Auto Show is the biggest and most prestigious of the car shows at least on this continent and the manufactures, form all over the world, show their latest and greatest. The Mazda Kabura was probably the most exciting design. There were sub compacts from the Asian automakers including the Chinese Geely. I love the idea of the Nissan Urge. This is the car that Nissan is aiming at the Gen Yers. They have partnered with Microsoft. You drive around town and when you park you can fold down the Xbox 360 screen and play your road race game using the cars steering wheel brakes and gas pedal.

All the car companies were showing off their new technologies the new Toyota Camry will offer a hybrid. And the European carmakers are pushing their new cleaner diesel cars.

Ford has the new Super Chief that I wrote about earlier and the Reflex concept car. Ford seems desperate to show they will do something. While the cars they will be selling will be more of the same.

The bigger problem, it seems to me is General Motors. Even though their stock seemed to recover a little last week and their sales in China are good many analysts see serious and persistent problems at GM. In Detroit GM unveiled the new 400hp V8 Camero.

This is hardly innovative thinking and from what I’ve heard it was designed and built in Australia. If they decide to build it where will it be built in the Cadillac plant in Lansing they sure can’t build it in Flint.

Until American carmakers take up the challenge and start giving us smaller, safer, more fuel-efficient and more reliable cars. Things are not going to get better for them. Trouble for GM means trouble for the Midwest and for America.

Lets not forget that when GM made a deal the UAW to lower the total employment from around 600,000 to the current 150,000 or so and become more efficent the people that were let go were to keep thier health insurance and retirement bennifits. The idea was that GM would sell more cars because the cars would be better cars. It seems they just don't listen to what people want.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ford's big truck will run on 3 fuels

Gizmag reports on a the Ford Super Chief a concept veicle based on a Ford F-250. It is a bold design that has a V-10 engine that will run on gasoline, ethonal or hydrogen.I will make a big splase at the Detriot ato show that opens to the public next week.
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Friday, January 06, 2006

Sherwin-Williams announces new stabilizer

Sherwin-Williams announced a new RHF series of integrated Basecoat Stabilizer for the Ultra 7000 basecoat system.

I love the Ultra 7000 system it is very user friendly has great color matches and the standard stabilizer has no reactive reducer so the paint I mix up today I can use a week form now or a month from now. For "“better bite"” on urethane bumpers or increased chip resistance I have recommended that my customers put a capful of hardener in their base.

Digging into MSDS I see that the RHF integrated stabilizer has two diisocyanates that are going to give great bite. The trade off is you lose the indefinite pot life (it goes down to 8 hours). But they still recommend using a little hardener to improve chip resistance.

There are two little things I am wondering about in the product data sheets; they say the recoat time is 7 days. Yikes can that be right I always figured is 4 hours was a long time.

And the other thing is when doing multiple colors "“light colors dry faster than darker colors", really?

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