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hey, it’s purple!

no, wait, it’s gold!

shop light in the garage isn’t doing it justice

These shots were side lit, so they show what almost looks like a gradient from purple to gold. Yum. Better pics coming, though.

starting to look pretty good

check the noticeable orange peel though

the panel really shows orange peel

What looks somewhat like lint on the pieces in some of these pictures is the sparkle effect. When using flash, it’s really overwhelming. The eye does not see those bright specks the same as a camera. They seem to be bright enough to overwhelm the CCD in my camera. Oh well, it’s a dynamic range thing I guess. I still like my camera.

The can talks about avoiding applying the system during humid conditions, because the clear coat can trap moisture and develop a haze. I didn’t seem to have a problem with that. However, since I was painting in the garage, I did get a few dust nibs sticking to my panels.

Well those look all right so far. But there’s a very slight orange peel effect that you always get from rattle cans. It was ruining my enjoyment of the mirage effect. So I let my clear coat cure for 48 hours (per the can directions) and started to wet sand. There pieces were flat due to having been prepped well, so I started off on the clear coat with 1500 grit. A few passes with medium pressure were enough to “chop the tops off” the orange peel. But you could still see a gloss pattern in the “valleys” of the orange peel. In working my test pieces (really!) I had found that rubbing out the finish only looked totally sweet if you could the whole surface even with the valleys. Otherwise, you get a kind of acne-scarred look (ugh) that is less attractive than the orange peel was. Sorry I don’t have a lot of pics of my sanding process, I’ll see if I can remedy that soon. A big concern was that I wanted to avoid cutting through the clear coat. I did that with a couple of test pieces, and let’s just say I said a few bad words (and leave it at that).

So, once I had a flat, well-scuffed surface on my panel, with a minimum of glossy valleys in it, I got out the 3M rubbing compound. Using a clean cotton sock, I rubbed out the panels pretty vigorously. I stopped seeing a big change in the finish pretty fast. I probably only spent 20-30 minutes per panel. I don’t know how that jives with other’s experience, but it seemed like a good place to stop. I had to really watch getting specks of crud on my polishing cloths. I said some more bad words when some grit scratched up my panel, but I caught it before I had mutilated the thing. The scratch did compound right out once I got a clean rag and reapplied.

The compounding leaves a very faint haze. When I saw my test pieces, my reaction was “oh, that’s so close.” I just couldn’t stand to stop the process at that point. So logically enough, I went back to the auto paint store and got some glaze. The rubbing compund has a little bit of cut to it, but the glaze doesn’t. It’s great at removing the haze and any swirl marks from the compounding. I’m not going to blab on about how to use the stuff, you can read the bottle for that. I know you’re all itching for more pictures (if you’re even reading this at all), so here’s what you get when you’re done with the hand glaze:

no trace remains of the orange peel after finish sanding

Who’s that bozo with a camera?

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