Step By Step Orange Peel Eliminator

Michael Yount

Mustang Master
Apr 10, 2002
9,039
6
79
Charlotte, NC
Excellent helpful post Paul. Here's one thing I'd add. Sometimes folks get excited about something like this and proceed only to get a little surprise. And here's where the surprise can come in. When you cut/buff or 'color' sand one, it's critical that the BODY WORK and PREP that was done BEFORE the paint was laid on be perfect. Otherwise folks sometimes find that their now smooth paint is revealing not so smooth body work. If the same care wasn't given to the underlying prep (how smooth is it?) then a little orange peel can actually be a good thing.

Not saying don't try it -- just saying that if you do try it, it will definitely reveal how good (or not) the paint prep was. I've known a few people who color sanded theirs only to wish they hadn't because their underlying body work wasn't up to snuff.

I'd also add that rookies may find it best to actually mask the sharp body edges for the 1000/2000 wet sanding to avoid not only cutting through the clear, but actually cutting through the paint. Happens all the time to those new to paint finish-work.
 
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Paul Perreca

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Mar 30, 2005
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good additions - and a good way to kind of veer from showing "AS" much bad body work would be to instead of using a DA sander, to absolutely use a long (6-7") HARD BLOCK wet sand - DA will just go into the crevices of bad body work (or not bad, butnot perfect) but a hard block can smooth things out - DEF good tip w/ the taping off sharp edges - they burn soooooooo eazily lol
 

ninety1gt

New Member
Aug 27, 2005
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san antonio
Paul Perreca said:
sounds like a good system - we just use 3M but i think some parts of the country don't even have 3M buffing equipment - i dont know lol - neway - i made this post a long time ago, n figured i'd put it in my sig so people could see it, instead of not finding it when they did a search- it is very helpful - and i'm glad ppl have had success -

This blue pearl, is it in the clear coat, and what color is the pearl coat sitting ON TOP of? If it's on top of white, it's easier to notice, but if it's on top of any darker color, they are hard to notice, but trust me, it adds a little special something, that you'll be glad you added it -!!



we put a coat of sealer, 3 coats of ford performance white, to coats of pearls, then 2 coats of clear on top of that, and people dont beileve me when i say it has pearl, just wondering why it did'nt really show the way i've seen other cars
 

Paul Perreca

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Mar 30, 2005
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yea i guess it's either the pearl that you picked wasn't a heavy enough one, or if you didn't put enough in, but since your not planning on painting it again i hope, i hope you are still happy with it... I'd be able to tell in a heart beat if there was pearl in it lol it's just not obvious to some people man - it may be the ppl u tell - i'm sure w/o it it wouldn't be the same...
 
Good info man, that's the way I used to do it. No one ever really taught me the right way though....I had to kinda teach myself. My car was painted at a Maaco before I bought it, and it does have a number of runs and orange peel, even a few fish eyes that I noticed. Now I always wanted to wet sand it myself, but I didn't know how much clear was on the car and didn't want to risk it. I always keep the car looking good, but I do notice the imperfections. If you would want to take a look at it sometime and you think it would be safe to wet sand I would pay you to do it. I would trust your opinion since you are around this type of stuff all the time. I detailed for three years while in college, but I only ever had to wet sand a car maybe 5 times. They always came out good, but they were always newer cars and I was touching up the factory paintjob. If you want to take a look at it sometime let me know. I work in King of Prussia and live in the Willow Grove area.
 

gt40_2003wes

I did sound a wee bit gay there.
Aug 14, 2005
461
2
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ky
ive got a question is the single stage paint any good seen a couple cars with it but never got to look at one up close do they shine good or is it just crap?
 

Paul Perreca

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Mar 30, 2005
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whiteheat - a good way to find out how much clear is on the car -

If the car was painted w/o taillights- take out one of your taillights, and there will be paint behind them - sand there where you cannot see until you break through - than you know how far you can go - if not a taillight, a head light or some other place - i hope they took the taillights out to spray your car, but it IS Macco - good chance there is not clear and its single stage - ppl I know said they paid for clear, but when i sanded their cars, they all turned up w/ no clear, just turned my pads and wet sand bucket the color of their cars lol but single stage isn't a bad thing at all - it's just cheaper - and harder to blend if your not painting a full car-
 

NoSloCoupes

"I would do anything for a FREE muffler"
Founding Member
Mar 4, 2000
2,705
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stangnet.cardomain.com
How do i remove dried up buffing compound(pretty sure thats what it is)? Bought this car, it was recently painted and i guess they didn't do a very good job of cleanup. Its kinda thick in some spots(white and seems pretty dang hard), mainly in the gaps(trunk seems to be the worst) but underhood as well. Thanks
 

RMODEL65

Member
Jul 6, 2005
313
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brunswick ga
Paul Perreca said:
I've seen a million people with the same problem. I want to help. Their body shop they paid to paint the car did not "Cut and Buff" their car. In fact, cutting and buffing are the same thing, so this expression means nothing. Sanding and Buffing is the term we use at Paul's Auto Body. Here are our STANDARD PROCEDURE step by step...

Orange peel is not when the paint drys before it hits the surface. It is just the clear coat, it will always be in every single paint job ever. There is no getting around it. These were all questions I had when I first started painting. There will also be dirt in the paint as well. The dirt doesnt look like "dirt" at all, it just looks like a fish eye (where clear lands on a silicone-like chemical, and lays around it not on it, and you cant fix it w/o repainting, ppl often add Fish Eye Eliminator which helps, but if that silicone is on your surface of painting, your forked)

I am going to jump to the final steps of "FINISH" work --
Remember when buffing, the buffer speed is VERY VERY important -

Step One- Paint car and clear it -
Step Two - You WILL HAVE ORANGE PEEL!!! (not much of a step) Wait till the clear is dry, according to the directions on the can, every clear is different. We have clears at my shop that dry fast enough to sand and buff within 2 hours. Others 2 Days.
Step Three - Wet sand or DA sand (dual action) with 1000 to knock the orange peel down. Do not go TOO far Because if you do, you wont have enough clear left to sand when you need to recess to finer grits, which is in the next steps.
STAY AWAY FROM EDGES (body lines, ends of panels, sharp curves, etc...) WITH DA. Only Wet sand carefully near edges.
Step 4 - Dry off car where wet, and look over it, clean it up w/ a terry cloth towel, and look over, you will know where you missed, and where you need to go over again, usually you will have to.
Step 5 - Dry off again. Your 1000 grit sand paper is too rough to fully buff out with compound. You can get away with it on light colors (white, lights silvers, beiges) But on darker colors, BLACK ESPECIALLY!!!. Go over entire car with 2000 grit paper. Now, 2000 grit is VERY easy to buff out, and going over the entire car with it will make your back breaking buffing much easier and faster.
Step 6 - Once 2000 grit wet sanding is done, clean car and dry with air blower or by any means nesessary. (Wool pads do not like water)
Step 7 - Now you are ready to buff - Buff with a wool pad first (only do 1-2 square foot sections at a time)(on light colors, when your done w/ the wool pad, all thats left is polish, but when working w/ dark colors, there are too additional pads, each foam, and of different textures) WHEN YOU THINK YOU ARE DONE BUFFING AN AREA, DO IT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!! You are not done with one shot. YOu must go over a square foot area at least 2-3 times thoroughly in order to buff everything up to a luster w/o missing anything.
Do the entire car like this, it will take time. And Do not rush.

BUFFER SPEED for Step 7 = 2000 RPMS at the MAX, feather the trigger when near edges (meaning let on and off frequently, in case the buffer grabs an edge, the wheel will stop rotation, instead of power through and burn you edge, than your screwed)

Step 8 - Once entire car has been gone over, clean off excess compound before polishing, and go over for dull spots. Buff them with Wool wheel.

Step 9 - Clean again, with terry cloth towel, and you are either ready to polish, or go onto your next pad (due to lightness and darkness of your particular color). Polish with a polish that is fresh clearcoat safe, ask your local auto body supplier and they will know. DO NOT WAX.

Dark Colors ---- TURN BUFFER TO CORRECT SPEEDS AS NOTED
Step 9 - Note - Buffer speed 1800 max, but I use it at 1500 - Switch buffer over to the velcro pad, which you will stick the White Foam pad onto. THis pad has a coarser texture, but not too coarse. (***NOTE*** New White pads come with edges that are not sharp to the touch, but are too sharp to use on your paint, you must get a peice of sand paper, and spin the pad using the buffer on the sand paper on the edge of the pad to kill that sharp edge, or it will cut through your clear - you will be glad I included that, trust me) ONce pad is ready, use little drips of compound, not nearly as much as when your buffing, and white pad the entire car, stay away from edges as much as possible, and be sure to feather the trigger around edges you need to.

Step 10 - When your done white padding, look at car, you will see swirls everywhere, this is normal. You are doing great. Next you are to take those swirls out. Switch to the black pad. This is a very soft polishing pad. Get a buffer safe polish, and do the same as you did with the white pad. You will feel like you have accomplished an amazing goal, this pad makes you feel very good about your job. (or very bad depending on how well your wool pad work was). Do the entire car, and than wipe excess compound with terry cloth towel.

Step 11 - Get a fresh clearcoat safe polish, and with a damp towel, apply to one panel at a time and use as directed on the bottle. Wipe to a beautiful luster and you have yourself a glass surface - (in accordance with very flat and nice bodywork)

I wish all of you the UP MOST LUCK with your finish work, because its alot harder than the actual paint job itself - it takes a touch, and a feel, and you must show it love, and affection, or it will burn you, it will burn right through and require repaint.

REMEMBER LET THE TOOLS DO THE WORK, DO NOT APPLY A TON OF PRESSURE CUZ A SPOT WILL NOT BUFF UP, IT IS LIKELY THAT THE CLEAR IS VERY HARD AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT, LIKE I SAID, SHOW CARE AND TENDERNESS - AND YOUR PAINT WILL RESPOND THE SAME!!!!!!!!
GOOD LUCK!

By Paul Perreca at Paul's Auto Body -


i like 3Ms new hook it system with the interface pad and the 300o grit paper for the da esp on a black surface!!!
 

soylentgreen

Member
Jun 17, 2003
102
8
18
Paul,
Nice advice. I painted my 92 a few years back. I wet sanded and buffed it out pretty much like you said. It was the first time I had done that sort of work, but I'm definitely a guy who was willing to work and be patient and do the job right. I recommend first timers don't use a DA, but instead to all the sanding by hand. It will help avoid moving too fast and screwing things up.

Anyway, the paint is the dark emerald green metalic color (same as stock) and it turned out beautifully...better than the factory. People comment on it all the time. It shines like a mirror. It came out so good, I converted the car from my daily driver to a summer only car.

Do you have recommendations on what compounds people should be using for the buffing part? I recall I used one compound with the wool pad that was by 3M. It had a light tan color. There was another compound I used with the foam pad that was formulated for dark colors. I think that was by 3M as well.
 

backfocus

Member
Sep 3, 2004
254
2
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48
Little Rock, AR
Nice write-up Paul,

I second the comments above though about not using a DA. I would leave that until people are a little more experienced. Until then hand sand.

Also not all buffing systems are the same as far as color of pads and steps. The eastwood kit is good, Groits is good as well and has a great buffer in the kit. But most pro use the 3M stuff. So read the kit instructions and be patience. It will look great.
 

Paul Perreca

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Mar 30, 2005
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yea - good additions - def use wet sanding, that da will burn through an edge n you will be very dissapointed -
3M is the compound we use, it is the best we have found so far, but there is off brand names that are quite good as well, but I've only used one other kind, and it didnt' quite measure up, adn i can't remember what its called - ! -
 

89redvert

New Member
May 31, 2003
29
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0
Memphis
Paul, How do I know when I am getting to deep into my clearcoat? I did not have my gun adjusted properly and have orange peel real bad in the clearcoat. I have been sanding with 1000 grit, but I do not want to sand too far. As I sand and wipe dry, am I trying to get a uniform dull finish? I still see some shinyspots along with some dull spots. I am pretty sure that is the reason for the orange peel. I am I going for a uniform dull finish? I put three coats of clear so I should have room to work with. Let me know your thoughts and I appreciate your help!