Saturday, June 4, 2011

Color Sanding

Color sanding removes orange peel, nibs (dust), fish eye (contamination), and other imperfections and it gives a smooth glossy mirror finish when complete.  Unlike what the name implies, color sanding is only performed on the clear coat, never on the color.

On the inside of our door there is only one area that's visible when the door is shut. It's the area shown below. All other areas are either covered with chrome, weatherstripping or door panels. We will color sand this area only.

If you click on this picture you will see we picked up a gnat.  Bugs can be difficult to remove because they can wiggle down into the paint.

I start by wet sanding with 1000 grit wet/dry paper.  I use a spray bottle with soapy water to lubricate and rinse the area as I sand.  I wipe the area frequently with a clean cloth checking the cloth to make sure I don't see any color.  If I see even a hint of blue I'll know I can't sand in that area anymore.  In this picture the gnat and the orange peel are still present and require more sanding.

I intentionally avoid sanding any area with rivets.  It's impossible to sand in these areas without sanding through a painted rivet.

The imperfections are gone.  Now it's time to remove the scratches left by the 1000 grit sand paper.

1500 grit sand paper removed the 1000 grit scratches.  2000 grit was then used to remove the 1500 grit scratches.  You can see where this is going. 

Cutting compound on a wool pad was then applied with an electric buffer.  That was followed by a swirl remover on a foam pad.

I think the results are spectacular.  Compare the first picture with this picture and judge for yourself.

What happened to the bug you ask?   Well... he's still there.  I stopped sanding when I saw a hit of blue on the wipe rag.  After long deliberation I decided to just leave him alone.  If he were on the exterior I'd have to re shoot the door, but he's not.  Besides, this guy is so small the only people that will ever know about him are those that follow this blog with a passion.  This will be our secret.

I think we should name him Wiggles.


  1. So what's the plan to keep wiggles other family members from joining in once you start to spray the entire car? Or r you heading into a booth when that day comes? Jimp

  2. When we do the exterior of the car we will hang plastic in the garage and set up a simple air filtration system. We will pull cool dry air into the garage from the house then exhaust it out through the doggy door. That should keep the critters to a minimum.