Monday, April 25, 2016

Becoming Captain America: Part 3 Finishing!

Part 1: Stripping
Part 2: Painting

OK, so here we are. You've got a great shield, its got some awesome colors down, and it looks super sweet right? How could you possibly make it better? Clear coat it. Why? because it makes the finish look even better, it protects it and it feels like a new car when you're done. Lets go!

So the first thing you should do is pull up that last little bit of tape you've left down. You left it down right? right?! good. Hopefully, it looks like this. It might not, and thats ok. I mean you've probably got to start over, but the painting part is the easiest bit to do. One thing I've learned over the years is don't skimp and by cheap tape.  I don't buy the fancy frog tape, but I do at least buy the 3M painters tape, the generic stuff just doesn't stick as well and that will cause you problems with stuff seeping under the edges. Now if you rushed and didn't let the red paint dry long enough you may have marks in your red paint from where you taped over to do the blue. You can take the chance and move on, sometimes those work out once the clear coat is over it, but there's no promise so you're taking a bit of a chance.

When it comes to clear coat you can use just about anything. Some people will use lacquer, some take it to an autobody shop and pay them to spray it like a car and finish it off for them. I like doing the work myself. My personal favorite clear is Rustoleum 2X clear. No real reason other than I had it and it works well. Just like before, read the directions on the can, but usually I'll spray down about 10 coats about 10 minutes apart from each other. That leaves just enough time for the previous coat to get dry to the touch. You can also determine the overall sheen a bit at this stage. LOTS of layers mean there's more to sand through which means a glossier finish at the end. A few layers means there's less to sand through which means a slightly more satin finish at the end. Both are nice, its just personal preference.

THE BIGGEST TIP that I can give for this section is take your time and don't go too heavy. If you work to fast or hover and spray too much clear on and area it will drip and run causing a nasty sag that you can't do anything about till it dries. They are best avoided because it means more work. Here's one now!

Once you've done a bunch you have to play the waiting game and let that all cure and cook through. I won't lie, I don't wait a week on this process either, I usually move on in a day or two because I get momentum and (knock on wood) so far it hasn't bitten me. Some people would be happy to stop at this point. It looks great, its glossy its nice, BUT 90% of the time you'll have whats called orange peel from the way the spray lands, it'll be a texture just like orange skin, still smooth, but not perfect. If you make this picture large you can see it in the reflections where the lights are. If you're ok with it, move on to step 5 now.

Here's where things get fun. Once things have cooked through, take some wet sandpaper. Some start at a rougher grit and work up, 1000 and then 2000. I usually do just one grit, it works just fine. I keep a spray bottle of water around. Wet down the paper and the shield, rewetting as needed to keep things moving and work your way around the shield. With the water you can feel how smooth the surface is and you can tell if you need to hit an area more to even it out. IF you got to heavy and had sags during the clear coat, this is where you can sand them down and even them out. When you finish, don't be discouraged. I know the first time I did it I immediately regretted it because I thought I had ruined everything. I'll leave off today with the sad state of things that you'll have after wet sanding because step 5 is what I call the "restoring the finish" stage where you use products and elbow grease and it pays off.

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