Laziness or a lack of metalworking skill is no excuse for piling on body filler. "Anything over a quarter inch of filler is way too much," explains Rodney. "We try to keep it below 11/44 inch, and 11/48 inch is preferable." While too much filler is never a good thing, sometimes you have to improvise because of the way a part is shaped or the lack of parts availability. "Odds and ends like doorjambs can be hard to locate, so you have to make them yourself. That's where fabrication skill and tools like plasma cutters and welders come in." It takes more time, but it's still better than using a big hunk of filler that will eventually lead to problems.
"A single-stage paint is a solid color that has nothing in it but that color. A metallic has actual aluminum shavings in the paint. Lots of people confuse metallics with pearls, which are different paints altogether. In a pearl, mica particles in the paint reflect light from different angles. Consequently, the color shifts slightly as you walk around a car with a pearl paint. With kandy paints, a metallic is laid down first, then a clear tint of color on top of that so you're actually seeing the metallic through the clear tint. That's what gives it a 3-D look. The sun is going through the paint and you're seeing the metallic flake underneath. A true kandy is a tri-coat paint with a basecoat of silver, gold or white metallic, a transparent kandy tint, and then a clearcoat on top. Kandy is the most labor intensive of all paints, and I would never recommend it for someone trying to do it at home, because it takes lots of experience to apply it correctly."
Our cost for paint and clearcoat on a car runs between $1,000 and $1,500. Obviously, you're not getting the same quality at a shop that only charges $300 for paint and labor.
Reducers & Hardness
Except for waterborne paints, which aren't widely used just yet, most paints must be mixed with reducers prior to application. That means enthusiasts must purchase additional materials on top of the paint itself, so why not know what you're paying for? "Paint right out of the can is very thick, like syrup," explains Rodney. "Reducers thin the paint out to make it sprayable, ensuring a nice and even application. Hardeners are used in clears, primers, and sealers to aid in the curing process." The concentration of reducers and hardeners must be adjusted to compensate for changes in temperature.