Tack Cloths

For years painters relied on tack cloths to remove dust and debris from surfaces intended to be painted. These loose-woven sheets owe their name and their effectiveness to a tacky residue that literally grabs stray particles. The cruel irony is that the residue in these dust-grabbing cloths often sloughs off in tiny flakes, creating a contamination issue of its own.

It's All In The Wrist

This is an oldie but considering how often we see people violate this age-old rule, apparently people don't heed it. To put it simply, don't swing the gun in an arc.

Painting rewards consistency: consistent pressure, consistent mixture, and, not the least of which, consistent spray distance. Reducing the spray distance concentrates the sprayed paint in a smaller, denser area; increasing spray distance distributes the paint over a larger, thinner area. Well, swinging a gun in an arc increases the distance at the ends and reduces it through the middle.

Instead, move the gun along the panel. Use your wrist, your elbow, and your shoulder to maintain the optimum shooting distance along the length of a panel.

Reflect Upon Your Work

Looking headlong into a mirror will tell you a lot about how you look, however, it won't tell you a thing about the surface of the mirror.

The same principle applies to paint: looking straight into it won't tell you a thing about the surface you just applied. Instead, look at it from an oblique angle. What reflects in the painted surface will tell you volumes about the quality and consistency of your work.

Develop An Abrasive Personality

Adhesion issues relate directly to a finish's ability to achieve a bond. They achieve their bond in two ways: mechanically and chemically. Mechanical bonding is simple: most finishes key into roughened surfaces like a barnacle takes to a pier. Chemical bonding is a little more complex. In this case a finish's solvents will attack incompletely cured existing finish merging the two layers into one.

We refer to this period where an existing finish will partially dissolve in the presence of solvents the recoat window. Though most finishes' recoat windows can be measured in days they lose more of their willingness to achieve a chemical bond as each hour passes.

Hutton discourages relying exclusively on a chemical bond if a finish sits overnight. Instead, he recommends giving the surface the bonus of a mechanical bond. According to Hutton, the combined methods will increase adhesion remarkably and ensure the best possible outcome.

Dry Paper For Dry Repairs

Just as it's guaranteed that a slice of toast will land butter-side down, it's just as likely that something will land on a freshly painted surface. Luckily the remedy is simple: sand out the offender and recoat the area.

But don't just grab at any old paper. While wet or dry papers will work on dry surfaces they really rely on water to prevent the sanded material from clogging the abrasive. The trouble is that most repairs and nibs occur on dry surfaces. What's more, the incompletely cured finish can increase the potential to clog the paper. For such dry repairs, Hutton recommends papers formulated for dry-sanding operations. Abrasive manufacturers incorporate stearates or dry lubricants to prevent the paper from clogging with uncured resins during dry-sanding operations.

The Eastwood Company
PPG Automotive Refinish