Meguiars Two-Stage Compounds - To Perfection
What Does It Take To Achieve Flawless Paint?
From the February, 2009 issue of Chevy High Performance
By Sean Haggai
Photography by Sean Haggai
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.
Pennington wrapped the flexible...
Pennington wrapped the flexible block with 2,000-grit wet/dry sandpaper and liberally sprayed it with a mix of water and Meguiar's detailing solution (dish soap with water will work just as well). The solution will lubricate the paper for a smooth sanding action.
Next, he covered the hood...
Next, he covered the hood liberally with solution. There's no maximum amount sprayed; in this case, more is better. The idea behind using the spray is not only to keep the area lubricated but also to prevent the paper from loading up with paint material and clearcoat. Be sure to sand in the direction of the panel. A hazy color appeared as sanding began and the clearcoat began to wash in with the water. It's OK, it showed that the sanding was working and the very top layers of clearcoat were lifting.
The sanding action was completed,...
The sanding action was completed, and to get a peek at what was happening, Pennington squeegeed off the water and let the panel dry. It was only then that we could actually see where the sanding still needed to be done. Take the time to fully examine the panel-your hand is a great implement for feeling unevenness. The high spots, like the one shown, will still need more wet sanding until they are flat like the rest of the hood.
After wet sanding and examining...
After wet sanding and examining the results, all the high spots are smoothed over with the sanding block and the tedious task of cutting can begin. Pennington first laid a strip of Meguiar's 105 cutting compound onto the hood; it's a liquid that contains super-microabrasive technology, which allows for ultrafast cutting-essentially removing the marks caused by wet sanding. He set the buffer to 1,800 rpm (to prevent burning), but not before adding the wool pad to the end. Using minimal pressure, he slowly moved the buffer back and forth over the hood and created an even pattern. Using a high-quality microfiber towel, we wiped the hood clean and examined it again.
Once the cutting was completed,...
Once the cutting was completed, the polishing could commence. The polishing compound from Meguiar's is specifically designed to remove small scratches. Pennington made sure to swap out the wool pad in favor of the polishing foam pad and slowly massaged the polishing cream into the hood. Just as before, with minimal pressure he worked slowly and set the buffer to an unhurried 1,400 rpm-letting the buffer do the majority of the work.
He then wiped down the excess...
He then wiped down the excess polish with a microfiber towel and again reexamined the hood. Once it was given the seal of approval, we could apply a fresh coat of wax. To our amazement, the orange peel, fisheyes, and imperfections were all gone, and the hood looked show-shine fresh. CHP
Paint Depth Gauge
Although expensive, paint depth gauges can keep an eye on the thickness of paint. The gauges can guide you and display when the paint is too thin to continue wet sanding or even cutting with compound. Think about it: $400 for a depth gauge or the cost (not to mention labor) of repainting the panel that's too far gone to fix.
|THE SHOPPING CART |
|ITEM ||PN ||PRICE |
|Cutting compound ||M10501 ||$30 |
|Polishing compound ||M8232 ||$15 |
|Wool pad ||W5000 ||$30 |
|Foam pad ||W8000 ||$14 |
|Detailing spray ||M3416 ||$7 |
| ||TOTAL ||$96 |