Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Who Remembers High School Chemistry Lab?

Spent last night reading paint "p-sheets". These are instructions from paint manufacturers detailing how to mix their paint. Automotive paint sure has changed over the years. Long gone are the days of mixing paint and thinner sloshing it around, spraying it and waiting for it to dry.

Modern paints require an exact amount of paint + activator + reducer. For primer it's 2-parts paint, 1-parts activator, 1/2-parts reducer. Basecoat is 3-parts paint, 1-parts activator, 1-parts reducer. The surfacer, clearcoat and sealer are three different mix ratios. You get the idea.

Dr. Oey... thanks for teaching me how to carefully mix up my chemicals in highschool chemistry lab! I'm gonna need the experience.

And to top that off, for each paint type I'm using, there are about 3-4 choices of activator type, depending on temperature, baking method, and topcoating time. Temperature being the most important. Who can predict what the temperature will be in Texas this time of year?

Just like highschool chemistry lab, I'm going to have to buy several activators and experiment. At $60+ per quart this going to be some expensive experimentation.

This project's grown out of hand. It started out that I was going to do the prep work and hire out the painting to a shop. But shops either a/wouldn't touch a car prepped by someone else b/wanted to do a el-cheap-o $500 job or c/ wanted to do a $5,000 restoration show-quality job.

After the frustrating experince of looking for a shop, I decided to tackle this myself. Painting was the one area of a car I didn't have a working knowlege of. I can do just about anything mechanical on a vehicle, but paint and bodywork were a mystery to me.

I've taken it as a great opportunity to learn something new. Like so much in life, the experience has taught me a thing-or-two about myself.

Before this, I never realized what a perfectionist I can be! Body work will bring out the prefectionist in you, for sure! There are always blemishes somewhere on the body to be removed. It's an interesting self-struggle to decide when to say "good enough".

It's always fun trying and learning something new!