Making the best out of a bad paint job. [Archive] - Team Camaro Tech

: Making the best out of a bad paint job.

Jun 19th, 10, 04:50 PM
I have a 69 Camaro with a fairly fresh paint job that just didn't turn out very good at all. It was done about 3 1/2 years ago for $1900 including replacing both quarter panels (which I supplied). Anyway the actual bodywork is pretty decent and the car is solid, but the paint job is leaving much to be desired.

First of all it is base coat/clear coat painted silver with black stripes.

There are several spots where I can see sanding marks.
The paint seems very dull.
The surface doesn't have a very smooth feel to it like a higher end paint job. (not rough, it just doesn't have that glassy feel)

I know I can't make it look perfect but I was wondering if you guys could help give me a few pointers on how to make the paint look any better without taking it in for new paint.

I have no experience with any sort of bodywork or paint but I could learn to do a few simple things if need be.

I will post pictures later tonight.

Thanks for the help!

Jun 19th, 10, 04:57 PM
Sounds like it needs to be color sanded/cut and buff by a professional. After 3 1/2 years it may have shrink and nows the time for the final cut/buff. Do you know how many coats of clear you have, can you feel the edges of the stripes.

Jun 19th, 10, 05:33 PM
I just cut and buffed a customer's car that had a substandard shoot by another painter. It takes time and results vary from car to car. Sanding marks in the basecoat are staying there but wetsanding scratches left from an impatient person will come out. Buffing has to monitored so you don't go through and generally one can evaluate mil thickness by the peel. Avoid excessive material removal past the valleys and naturally stay away from edges. Buffing cured paint is more time consuming. Pics are tough to evaluate paint. I could show you two cars that look great in pics but one is poorly done overall. Cameras are great for that. Many cars look good till you see them in person.

Jun 19th, 10, 06:24 PM

Jun 19th, 10, 06:32 PM
I can feel the stripes but barely. And honestly the car really doesn't look that bad, I would just like to make it look a lot better if possible.

How much would a cut and buff generally cost? I don't want to spend too much on it because I plan on repainting the car in 2-4 years. So depending on the cost I will take that into consideration.

I realize that any marks under the clear are staying there. But is there anything I can do myself to really help the paint shine? Maybe a special polish or wax? Again depending on the costs I would like to see what I can do before taking it to the body shop.

Jun 19th, 10, 06:36 PM
Oh and the car actually already has been cut and buffed about a month after it was painted. I saw no difference, If anything it almost made the car seem even more dull. But like the paint job, I really don't think he did a very good job on the cut and buff.

Jun 19th, 10, 09:07 PM
Take the time to learn this skill.

If you let someone fix the work of another they will blame the first guy if you are not happy...... know what I mean....there are many hours needed to do this right and why your car is not to your liking. Paying to have it done again and right will cost more then the equipment and supplies to do it yourself....

Do a search to find info here on how tube is another source for how to......the equipment is a small investment and since the car is not to your satisfaction now and a repaint is in the is a great candidate for a first try.....another great learning tool for us novice painters is to get a used panel from a wrecking yard to practice on first...........

At worst you will have a new buffer, some very fine sandpaper and some nice compound and wax....... oh yeah do not forget the old fender or hood.....that is real shiny in a couple of areas..........

Let us know how you make out.....

Jun 20th, 10, 03:35 AM
I really will consider trying that. But I don't want to spend more than $200 on this paint job when I'm just going to get it done right in a few years.

So is there anything I can try before resulting to a cut and buff? Something like a wax or polish. Possibly even a small amount of buffing that won't risk going through the clear coat?

I know the current paint job will never look great but I want it to look the best it can.

Jun 20th, 10, 05:02 AM
Depending on the quality of the buffer, 2-3 hundred will set you up. Hand polishing will do little unlesss you have an extraordinarily large amount of time on your hands. Be careful and you won't go through. With wheel rotation, buff off the edges and not into them. And don't stay in one place too long. There is no hand wax or polish that is a panacea for paint problems.

Jun 20th, 10, 05:03 AM
You could buy the buff compound and do a small hidden spot by hand (very slow and tiering) but you'd only be out the $$ for the compound.

Jun 20th, 10, 03:07 PM
I'm really showing my lack of knowledge here but what is the difference between a cut and buff and just buffing the car out?

Jun 20th, 10, 03:20 PM
I'm really showing my lack of knowledge here but what is the difference between a cut and buff and just buffing the car out?
Cut = sanding (or coarse compound)
Buff = polish

Jun 20th, 10, 11:58 PM
in the new chevy high performance magazine they go through how to color-sand. it's worth a read if you haven't checked it out already.

Jun 21st, 10, 12:19 AM
You can save a pretty medicore paint job, if your a good buffer. I know, I've had to save more then a few of mine over the years.

The question is why is it dull, and how deep are-what are the scratches from?

If its poorly finished bodywork, that showed up (as the primer shrunk) because primer was applied too heavy, to fill too course of a scratch, very unlikely cutting and buffing will be able to do much.

If it is sanding scratches that weren't all removed after colorsanding with the compounding step and only filled in with glaze, its possible a rebuff could fix.

Why is it dull, problem with the paint, or mixed or improper use of that or other coatings, or could be Scratches not being completely buffed out or not following the compounding steps with finer polishes to remove the compounding scratches can also hurt the level of gloss. It could be there was some dieback in the clear after the compounding while still curing and solvents leaving. This could probably be fixed by a good buffer also.

Your next question is there enough clear to safely cut or buff and is it a clear that has now set up so hard after this time that it will no be like trying to buff concrete. Some brands do. There must be enough clear so you don't go thru to the base trying to remove the defects. Also the mil thickness of the clear left must be enough to provide proper protection to the base color.

Man I sure wouldn't want to try to buff one out by hand, and then don't know how great the results would be, not having the heat and speed of the buffer. Buffing is time consuming enough as it is, and when have to hand buff a small area can't get at with a buffer blows. A lot of guys seem to like the makita 9227 which isn't too terribly priced. An air one would be cheaper if you have the compressor, but also probably need to be even more carefull, because can turn at such high a speed. I still got my old heavy milwaukee electric-probably 20 years old now.

You might also want to visit a detailing forum, such as, which may help you understand the process better and products. We cut and buff in the bodyshop often, but its probably what a detail guy does a lot of the day every day. They could also probable tell you better what may be the going rate (and like anything else, I'd probably be wery if someone is a lot cheaper then that. Could be your getting a deal, but most often you get what you pay for like anything else. Sounds like you got a pretty decent price on the paint job- base clear job, two colors, cut and buffed, bodywork panel replacement, Yep 1900sound like a pretty good deal to me.