Feb 21st: It always amazes me how much time there is between updates. I suppose when it became apparent that the car wasn't going to be ready for the Monterey weekend last August, I lost momentum. I've also had quite a number of... distractions (some unpleasant, one quite attractive :-) in my life since then, but things have calmed down a bit so I'm back to the work. And that means - you guessed it - more sanding! One advantage of seven months passing is that the paint has fully cured and shrunk, so the surface will stay very flat for a long time.
I started with the front bonnet by drawing lines on it with a Sharpie permanent marker. The ink acts like a guide coat and won't get rinsed off by the water from wet sanding.
Then I sanded it off with 1000 grain sandpaper and lots of water. This makes the surface perfectly flat. The first time I color-sanded a car was pretty traumatic. The beautiful gloss of new paint is quickly replaced with the dull, sanded surface. I thought, "I've ruined it!" but the shine does come back. Eventually.
I sanded the headlight buckets, doors, trunk lid, and started on the car.
Can you find the hidden message below?
This is the last "shaping" of the paint. The rest of the work is about bringing the shine back. Once the whole car is sanded with 1000 grain, it's done all over again with 1200, then 1500, and finally 2000. Then the REALLY fun part: Buffing - first with a wool pad, then cotton, then foam and each time with finer compound.
Feb 22nd: After a couple more days of sanding, here it is all sanded to 2000 grain. The paint is completely dull. After this, I polished out a couple of test areas, but found the reflection wasn't as mirror-flat as I wanted, so I'm going to do a bit more sanding with 2000 grain to get the reflection really flat.