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Urethane Painting


Well-Known Member
I have a question/problem and I decided I would come to the experts; you guys!!
First, let me say this. Over the years I have painted a good number of cars or other things.
They've all been lacquer or enamel jobs.
My first experience with urethane didn't turn out as good as I wished. It was a dent repair on my daily driver. The body work came out OK, the paint, no so much.
It was two part paint and activator from Summit racing. That was last year.
My next attempt was on my bucket. I painted that 40+ years ago. Lacquer, clear coat, wet sand and buff. That came out fine as with most of my other paint jobs.
Now, I needed to do some touch up due to rust and chipping. Clear lacquer tends to crack over time.
So, heres the problem.
I used the same brand, Summit, two part paint and activator. It was just the single stage type.
The spray job came out fine. I wanted to wet sand and buff/polish it to get rid of the little orange peel.
I sanded with 600, 1200 and 1500 grit wet sandpaper. As much as I buffed it, I couldn't get it to shine
like I wanted. That paint is hard as hell! I ended up re coating it and I'm going to use it as it is. It's not bad but there is some orange peel. It does have a pretty nice shine but no show car finish.
Any thoughts on what I'm doing wrong or anybody have any experience with this new paint?
How do the experts get that show car shine?
I feel your pain, as I painted my bucket with the Summit urethane system, and for me, it worked great. However, it is really impossible to polish it like the acrylics or lacquers, so you're pretty much stuck with the finish you now have. I guess there may be a way to clear coat it and polish the clear, but that info is above my pay grade. :rolleyes::p
1500 grit sandpaper for the final step is fine. Did you cut and buff with compound(s) to bring up the shine? You should be able to get a mirror finish with 2 - 3 step compounds and a gray foam pad on a buffer. I use Meguiar's Mirror Glaze 100, 105, 205 and finish with 3M 05996. Just make sure you get all the scratches from the grits below 1500 out. I never sand with anything but 1500 to avoid this problem, your mileage may vary.
I sanded with the grits as I listed. Buffed with the 3M stuff. It didn’t seem to phase it. With all I spent on supplies, I might have been able to have someone do it.
The next thing I paint I’m going to clear coat it. Maybe I’ll have better buffing luck. I have Meguires #1,3 and 4 and 3M 05973. Good for P1200 and finer scratches. Can I still buy lacquers?
I think base coat / clear coat is the easiest. The last time that I bought lacquer was in 2015. I'm not sure if it is available today.
My first paint job with bc/cc was on a customers H/D. I shot the color and it looked great. Went back to the booth 30 minutes later, and it had a dull finish. Shot another color coat on the tank and looked great until a bit later. Called the paint suppler and told him the problem. He asked if I had cleared it yet. Well, I learned that lesson with a red face. The clear solved everything.
Always something new to learn. Just when you think you have figured out, they come up with something new! I'm going to have to practice on something with base coat/ clear coat! Off to the garage!
I've done a few urethane jobs and found that air pressure had a huge effect on the finish and gloss. I did my daily this spring base coat clear coat. We had a paint guy at work so I asked him about blending. He told me about a spray to use over the last coat that melts everything together. Worked out very well.
The product was from SEM - called BLENZ-IN (#38403) blended my 13 year old daily and you can't tell it was done. Hope this helps out.
It depends on the type and quality of paint gun, fluid tip size, etc. Gravity fed requires less than siphon feed, thus produces less overspray and less waste.
I have 2 Harbor Freight guns. Both gravity feed. The small one has metal cup mounted on top and the other one is the next size up. It has a plastic cup on top. They both work well.
I'm doing a test right now. I have a piece of sheet metal about 1 x 1-1/2 feet. I primed it, sanded the primer and gave it a couple of coats of the base color. The color is NOT base coat/ clear coat type. Summit says you can clear coat over the single stage color. When it dry I will give it a few coats of clear and wet sand and buff it to see how it turns out.
The paint for my body is a urethane also not base/clear. I plan on clear coating just to try to preserve it longer. It's a nice black metallic pearl. The last time I used it I did not clear it and it started to have issues a few years later.
Urethane Update:
I completed my paint test. Primer, a few coats of the color and a few coats of clear. I wet sanded the clear up to 2000 grit. Buffed it out and the finish looks good!
The color is yellow as is my bucket. Yellow is not very reflective so it doesn't shine like a mirror but theres no orange peel and its a nice gloss. Just for kicks, I might try it in black. That should give mirror finish!!
Glad it worked out for you! I have to agree with 409T that basecoat/clearcoat is pretty easy if you follow the paint specs. I talked with the paint guys I know and you can still get lacquer but you'll need a 2nd mortgage on your home. My first paint job was lacquer. Easy to apply and such but just cracks too soon/much. Did a handful of imron jobs too. Nasty stuff, Never again. That stuff is why my brother can't paint any more and we had high quality masks! I really think uerathanes are a touch more difficult than base/clear.
The lacquer with clear coat was easy to make it look good! As you said the problem with cracking and other failures happened a lot. My bucket lacquer color with clear coat was done 40 years ago. The body is holding up pretty good. The other parts, not so much. They probably have more clear than the body. Seem the smaller parts tend to get heavier costs of color and clear. The experts say the urethanes hold up better than lacquer finishes.
I relate single stage to acrylic enamel as far as application. Clear coating definitely adds to its appeal, but if you are going to clear it, base clear is better. Definitely easier and more forgiving to apply with the advantage of ease and time to redcoat or repair, etc... I am in awe of the cost of body supplies and work today. It makes me sick thinking how little I used to charge in relation. Time marches on. It’s almost unaffordable to have anything done anymore.

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