By Mike Peake
OK, I left the last blog with the car ready to spray. Or so I thought. You see, apparently 180 grit isn’t fine enough before the primer coat and I need to use 240 now. Yes, my paint Guru had already told me that but I forgot, ok? So, Saturday found me spending another day rubbing down again with 240 grit. This was mostly by hand as I’d had a row with my sander. It sanded my knee and we weren’t talking anymore. Also, as Anita had already masked the car up, I wanted to keep dust to a minimum. Of course my Guru was quite correct and everything felt much smoother now and I was ready to get the primer out.
To be honest, after my temporary success with rattle cans last year and everyone telling me it’s easier with a spray gun, I was expecting this to be the easy bit. Oh how wrong could I be?
It started badly when I plugged in my compressor. Nothing happened. I remembered my compressor Sugar Daddy telling me not to press a particular off button as the corresponding on button was broken and it was really fiddly to switch it back on. Well I hadn’t pressed it but it had been pressed. I’m guessing in the car on the trip back. Anyway, after much fiddling, panicked messages for help and the removal of a cover, I eventually found the hidden emergency on switch and normal compressor service was resumed. It’s a lot quieter than I expected.
The next problem occurred when I connected my brand new hose and was treated to the sound of a Hissing Sid convention. The hose leaked at the tool end. Tightening the connection didn’t help so a trip to my local hardware store was required and roll of PTFE tape was procured. It was liberally applied to the problem connection thread and tightened back up. It worked. The leak was cured. It would seem compressed air plumbing is pretty similar to water plumbing after all.
It was now time to assemble the brand new spray gun with the brand new pressure regulator and the brand new water trap. Every joint leaked and required further use of the magic tape but eventually, it was all airtight and I was ready for the paint.
It’s a messy business is paint, isn’t it? Eventually though, after thoroughly stirring the pot of primer and shaking the hardener as instructed, I had my 500ml of 2k primer 4:1 mixed and filtered into the paint pot at the top of the gun, all the spills mopped up and clean gloves applied. The pressure regulator at the gun was set at 3.5bar. (instruction was between 3 and 4 bar.) I pointed the gun at my test piece of metal and pulled the trigger. It was horrible. It was all spotted and spattered and not good at all. I then spent an eternity aimlessly fiddling with all the controls but whatever I did, I couldn’t get it any better at all.
Now the instructions for the primer stated “for high build use minimum thinners, however, up to 10% maybe needed”. I added 10% of thinners to my pot and stirred. It was still all spotted and spattered and not good at all. I spent another eternity aimlessly fiddling with all the controls but whatever I did, I couldn’t get it any better at all.
So, I added another 10% thinners to my pot and stirred. It was still all spotted and spattered and not good at all. I spent another eternity aimlessly fiddling with all the controls but whatever I did, I couldn’t get it any better at all.
My test piece was now completely covered in a horrible layer of paint and I couldn’t really tell how the new paint was going on so I did something really stupid. Yes, for some completely unknown reason, I decided to try it on the car. For another completely unknown reason, I had painted the inside of the boot, the back deck and the fins before finally coming to my senses and realising it was all horrible.
So, I did the only thing left that I could do. I left the tent, flung my PPE in every direction, sat on my drive and blubbed like a girl. Then I put my PPE back on and strip cleaned the gun, reassembled it and went to have a bath, a pint of G&T and a heart-to-heart with my paint Guru.
Sunday morning had me back in my tent and rubbing the back of the car down again to remove all evidence of my bumbling incompetence. This involved rather more of the car than I had anticipated. You wouldn’t believe how far it had spattered! Anita helped me again but I think this was to stop me committing suicide as I was really quite depressed.
Poppy was now ready for paint again and getting really quite impatient with me. Armed with start point settings for the gun (Paint flow at max, airflow at min and pattern turned down) I mixed up some more paint with 10% thinners, pointed the gun at some scrap cardboard and pulled the trigger. It was horrible. It was all spotted and spattered and not good at all.
I then spent an eternity methodically taking all the controls through their complete range but whatever I did, I couldn’t get it any better at all. Every single piece of cardboard in Wiltshire is now white and speckled, and I couldn’t really tell how the new paint was going on so I did something really stupid. Yes, for some completely unknown reason, I decided to try it on the car. On my doomed boot lid this time.
I stopped much sooner though with just half of the top of the boot lid looking like a photo of the night sky. I know, you don’t have to tell me. I have reached previously unattainable levels of bumbling incompetence.
When stripping down the gun for cleaning, this time I noticed that there appears to be some damage or swarf in the nozzle paint hole. So, like all bad workman everywhere, I leapt at this opportunity to blame my tools and ordered another gun for next day delivery.
In the meantime, I did some research on the interwebby thing and found a great website run by Hot Rodders that explained gun set up in simple steps that a bumbling incompetent fool could understand. I know, but if there is one thing Hot Rodders know how to do well, it’s paint. So, here is the link if you are interested. http://www.how-to-build-hotrods.com/set-up-hvlp.html
So, with the new gun set up as instructed by the Hot Rod chaps there I was again with it pointed at yet another piece of cardboard. It wasn’t the gun.
Another 3 hours was wasted fiddling with settings and pressures on the new gun, as well as another half a litre of paint and acres of cardboard covered in what could only be described as seagull poo. I was still no closer to a decent spray. Was I down hearted? Well yes, I was devasted. Especially as I had sprayed seagull poo all over the boot lid because I’d run out of cardboard – again! It is also now very unlikely that Poppy will be ready for the Cotswold Tour.
That evening, Anita and I had a bit of a brainstorm. Could I really be this incompetent? (Don’t answer that!) So, we hatched a plan. I had booked the following day off work as it was my birthday. I planned to have a nice relaxing day with Anita, have a nice Pub lunch and enjoy the sun. Well, change of plans. Anita volunteered to rub down the boot lid, while I would have a crack at spraying the red paint to see if I could get a decent pattern with that and thus prove if I am completely incompetent or not.
My Birthday morning found me in my tent on my drive, setting up my 1.4mm spray gun. I dropped a small amount of my “ready to use” top coat into the gun. Surprisingly, It turns out that I am not completely incompetent. A perfect spray pattern was achieved almost immediately.
So whilst cleaning this gun, I got to thinking about the quality of my primer. It was CONSIDERABLY more viscous than the top coat appeared to be. Maybe, just maybe, I had a dodgy batch of primer?
Well, there was only one way to find out. I bit the bullet and went and bought a new 2k primer kit, this time from a local supplier.
On picking up the can, the difference was immediately obvious to me. When shaken, you could hear the liquid sloshing about inside. This didn’t happen with my original batch. I was starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
As soon as I got home I was back in my tent. Poppy was tack clothed and panel wiped yet again. The primer was mixed 3:1 as per the instructions and filtered into the top of the gun. With great trepidation, I pointed the gun at yet another piece of cardboard and pulled the trigger….
To be continued…
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