It was back to the school of higher learning at Meguiars' Headquarters-literally. We spent the day in the classroom and listened with open ears to get the real gist of paint theory and practices with marketing director Mike Pennington playing teacher and leading the way. Pennington drilled us in the process of wet sanding and explained, "a lot of imperfections lie under the clear, between the paint." He went over evaluating the paint surface and deciding if wet sanding is right for you. Pennington didn't try to fool us; he told us wet sanding takes time-and patience-but moreover, just plain practice.
Pennington showed us what to look for and the process through which many paint shops go to get that high-end, show-car quality. Pennington even suggests visiting a local junkyard to practice the fine art of wet sanding. It's too easy to get carried away and end up burning right through your freshly painted sheetmetal. Practicing on a junk panel is a great idea. "It will give you a feel of what and what not to do." No big deal if the panel gets worse. Take it to a paint shop and have them respray it.
While we were at Meguiar's, through its two-liquid-stage cutting and polishing compounds, we achieved a show-car-like finish on even the most measly of paint jobs. This isn't a sure cure for the paint, as some jobs really do need to be repsrayed. But for most jobs, wet sanding and polishing can relieve you of those nasty swirl marks, orange peel, overspray, and fisheyes.
What it is
Meguiar's two-stage cut and polish compounds
It's not that hard to get a high-end, production finish.
Mike Pennington first prepared...
Mike Pennington first prepared the hood by cleaning the area and removing any surface material. This step is important, as it will reveal all the imperfections in the top layer of paint. Things like orange peel (uneven texture), fisheyes (small indentations), swirl marks (minute scratches), and paint runs become much more apparent.
Cleanliness is key, and cross...
Cleanliness is key, and cross contamination of particles and materials can further ruin the paint. Minute fragments can actually be recycled in the water you use and reapplied and smashed into your paint. This can lead to a larger job than originally anticipated. To combat this, soaking the wet/dry sandpaper in water will do the trick. The water will soften up the paper. Plus, contaminants will be washed off and the paper can remain clean.