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Paint Scratch Repair - 60 LeSabre


TexRiv_63
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I am dual posting this, put under Technical but hope for some additional interest in Buick land. I have a pretty unsightly group of scratches on the right front fender of my 60. I actually did this almost a year ago right after I got the car, its large width plus a metal box sticking too far off a shelf outsmarted me and I have been too embarrassed to discuss it until now. The front end is painted with what I assume to be acrylic lacquer as the scratched area shed paint like little chips of glass. I also assume it to be the original code CV-9 Arctic White but not absolutely sure. I can smooth this out and prep it keeping the total area as small as possible and I know spraying will be needed but I do not want all the problems associated with a full on spray gun. Here are my two main questions:

Can an air brush be used for applying both primer and color?

How can I obtain original style lacquer in a matching color?

Thanks for any assistance you can offer.

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Don, look into something like these. They'll give you a little more paint capacity than an airbrush. 94572_W3.jpghusky-pneumatic-paint-sprayers-h4910dsg-64_1000.jpg

 

I've had a siphon type (bottom picture) for many years and it has come in very handy for touching up small areas. If I thought I was going to do much more painting in my lifetime I'd probably look into a gravity feed HVLP type (top picture).

 

Best thing is unless you spring for a Binks, DeVilbiss or the like one of these won't break the bank and will do a good job.

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I am no expert but I believe you need to know its a laquer based paint before any spraying. I thought laquer over anything will crack. Meanwhile enamel over laquer may work.  Again, I am no expert. 

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Acrylic lacquer over the original acrylic lacquer is totally repairable, just like when the car was "a used car".  You will probably need to remove the nameplate, though.  KEY is going to be the necessary sanding to get the finish smooth (down to the factory primer, usually) and then re-build from there.  Keeping the spray area and BLENDING AREA such that they don't really "catch light" and appear like something has been done there.  End result, you might end up with a good bit more area on the fender affected than just that smaller area.  Not to forget about all of the masking and protective plastic over everything else!

 

IF you might take it to a repair shop, finding somebody who can spray acrylic lacquer "single stage" might be a trick, in these days of BCCC paints and such.  Or even knows that single stage acrylic lacquer even exists.  FWIW

 

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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If you have never painted or blended an area, get some help.  Auto lacquer is available on the internet, but finding a match will be near impossible and no local paint supplier will have the compatible tints  Even with modern paints the paint color is matched and the whole panel is painted.  Single stage will match well, but most shops use the BC/CC system that will not match.  A restoration shop would be the best bet vs collision shop.

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22 hours ago, rocketraider said:

Don, look into something like these. They'll give you a little more paint capacity than an airbrush. 94572_W3.jpghusky-pneumatic-paint-sprayers-h4910dsg-64_1000.jpg

 

I've had a siphon type (bottom picture) for many years and it has come in very handy for touching up small areas. If I thought I was going to do much more painting in my lifetime I'd probably look into a gravity feed HVLP type (top picture).

 

Best thing is unless you spring for a Binks, DeVilbiss or the like one of these won't break the bank and will do a good job.

Thanks, but I do not have the equipment to handle full size guns and do not want to deal with all the overspray, etc. I understand an airbrush does not put out mass paint quantities but it seems as if it would work for something like this by slow building of multiple paint coats.

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Overspray on a relatively small partial fender scratch touchup repair like this would be negligible to almost nonexistent and IMO shouldn't be a deciding factor in what kind of spray equipment you use for the repair. You'll only be applying a few light coats to a very small area. Tape off the surrounding areas well and throw a car cover or some clean blankets/sheets over most of the rest of the car. I wouldn't be afraid to do a tiny minor repair like this outdoors on a calm day if I had to. The single most important part of this whole repair as I see it is how talented the mixing person is that's color-matching the paint. How do you know the existing paint on the car is lacquer? The paint on your Buick looks fairly recent and I haven't seen any cars of that vintage that were done in acrylic lacquer for a very long time (decades).  If it were me, I'd get the new paint mixed in single stage acrylic enamel and blend it in as best I can. If you're unsure of your preparation & painting abilities have a professional handle the repair. 

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One thing about taping off the repair area is that i notice no matter how little you spray, a taped area will result in a paint edge, which then has to be wet sanded off.  A lot of extra work that can lead to further damage.  Best to let the spray of paint feather into the surrounding areas. 

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30 minutes ago, JohnD1956 said:

One thing about taping off the repair area is that i notice no matter how little you spray, a taped area will result in a paint edge, which then has to be wet sanded off.  A lot of extra work that can lead to further damage.  Best to let the spray of paint feather into the surrounding areas. 

John's advice is spot on, never spray up to a hard tape edge like in the first picture because you will never be able to sand that crisp line flat without damaging the surrounding area. Back-tape the paper around the surrounding area like shown in the second picture and avoid spraying heavy coats under the paper. Try to leave a little "grainy overspray" under that backtaped paper edge and let the paint completely dry. That way it will be much easier to color sand smooth, compound, buff, and blend in. I might add that experienced painters never use newspaper to mask! (it's full of lint). Use masking paper from a body shop supply store and quality tape. 

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Edited by The 55er
Added last 2 sentences while we're on this subject. (see edit history)
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5 hours ago, TexRiv_63 said:

Thanks, but I do not have the equipment to handle full size guns and do not want to deal with all the overspray, etc.

These are actually pretty small. They hold only a few ounces of paint in the cup and a small compressor with a good inline water and air filter will operate them. The siphon type I have is actually referred to as a touch-up or detail gun.

 

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An airbrush, by design, is for things like touching up door dings and such, not an area as large as you have (as small as it might be).

 

Overspray was much worse using the old high-pressure guns.  The paint particles bounced off the surface and went everywhere, whereas the lower pressure hvlp guns use a lower air pressure so that doesn't happen nearly as bad.

 

There is a method of taping the paper on where you put the tape down lightly, then bend the adhesive side back on the side of the repair, then attach the paper to THAT adhesive.  No hard line of paint to worry about, but makes it much better to feather the paint in the blend area.  By the same token, you can also use the tape line as a blend-stop line, meaning that you let that end the blend area, not the paint area.  Using a buffer rather than a sanding block to smooth things.

 

You can also get the PreVal sprayers rather than use normal spray guns.  Get the paint mixed to match, then mix the paint/thinner to spec and put into the spray bottle, screwing on the pressurized sprayer unit.  With some practice, should work pretty well.  Should be able to do some primer that way, too.  BUT still tape everything off well so that you minimize clean-up time.

 

Enjoy!

NTX5467 

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Thanks for your responses. I should say that I painted cars for about 30 years until 1992 when I moved to Texas, around the same time lacquer paint lost most of the lead that made it wonderful to paint with. I refused to paint with the new isocyanate paints due to their toxicity so that was the end of that. I still have most of the equipment and can definitely prep the scratch correctly and mask the car. The paint on my car looks very uniform but is actually from two distinct vintages. While the body and doors are done in modern urethane the front clip was repainted in the original white color long ago. I assume this to be lacquer because when it scratched the paint chipped off like pieces of glass. Before anything is done I will verify with some lacquer thinner. Totally correct about the importance of paint type and color matching, I can use the headlight rim to color match. I was hoping to find others who had used the airbrush successfully but that does not appear to be happening here. If it turns out I can't do this myself I will farm it out but I REALLY do not like to do that on my cars.

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35 minutes ago, TexRiv_63 said:

If it turns out I can't do this myself I will farm it out but I REALLY do not like to do that on my cars.

And that is where I stand.   Isocyanates don't agree with me either.  And you are correct that acrylic or nitrocellulose lacquer without lead is junk.  On my last project we used PPG shopline acrylic enamel with hardener and I had someone else shoot the paint after I prepped.  The local supplier was able to get a good color match.  Probably the most inexpensive paint around and I could use my old tools and techniques, including using lacquer primer, red putty, non-HVLP gun, etc.  You will have to do the entire panel, but after color sanding and buffing it will look like a lacquer finish.

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I looked at the picture and I would have gone over the damage with some mild compound by now and cleaned off the red. A lot of the scratches would have come out doing that as well. It looks like just the three areas that show gray would be left as big offenders. I have used a soft artist's brush to lay white paint into spots like that. Give a few coated of paint and a light buff and you would be surprised. My white '60 Electra has many brush touched spots. This year I hope to lacquer them in myself. Try the easy way before you break out the sandpaper and get in deeper than you expect.

 

On my car that's the stuff I save for point numbers 98 and 99 on my 100 points. Or the appropriate priority with the 400 point judging system.

 

Here's an interesting thought, I'm real fussy about lining up boxes on shelves and clocking screwheads. But I will brush touch a boogered paint spots for a couple of decades. My wife has notice the same mentality on some things around the house.

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On 5/31/2022 at 6:45 PM, 60FlatTop said:

I looked at the picture and I would have gone over the damage with some mild compound by now and cleaned off the red. A lot of the scratches would have come out doing that as well. It looks like just the three areas that show gray would be left as big offenders. I have used a soft artist's brush to lay white paint into spots like that. Give a few coated of paint and a light buff and you would be surprised. My white '60 Electra has many brush touched spots. This year I hope to lacquer them in myself. Try the easy way before you break out the sandpaper and get in deeper than you expect.

 

On my car that's the stuff I save for point numbers 98 and 99 on my 100 points. Or the appropriate priority with the 400 point judging system.

 

Here's an interesting thought, I'm real fussy about lining up boxes on shelves and clocking screwheads. But I will brush touch a boogered paint spots for a couple of decades. My wife has notice the same mentality on some things around the house.

Thanks Bernie, I took your advice and used the compound but it really did not look much better and in some ways looks worse. These are nasty rough edged scratches and I now see one of them includes a shallow dent. I totally agree with you on brush touchups especially on a white car, my 63 Riv had a LOT of that. Unfortunately doing that here would still be very noticeable. 

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Don, Thank you for taking the first steps. I wouldn't give up without trying. I have floundered with too much professional advice that got me in trouble. In the end I found out that most of those cars the body shop guys owned had been done 3 or 4 times before they got it nice. You have a little room for experimentation before you drop it off and let some professional charge you for however many hours it takes for him to get it right.

 

I looked at mine and I have a couple of scuffs in the same location. Yours is near the limit but I would try massaging it. You won't do any damage the guy with the DeWalt 849 spinning an 80 grit disc won't remove in seconds.

 

I would wrap some #600, maybe #400 on a paint stir stick and smooth the edges, try to bevel the edges. Then (watch them gasp) use a nice little 4" roller and lay down a few coats of single stage nice and gentle. See how it looks and follow up by laying in the depressions with the camel hair artists brush. Skip the little dent for now. When it dries compound it and see if you need to build up some spots. If it makes you gag at least you will know not to take my advice again.

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21 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

Don, Thank you for taking the first steps. I wouldn't give up without trying. I have floundered with too much professional advice that got me in trouble. In the end I found out that most of those cars the body shop guys owned had been done 3 or 4 times before they got it nice. You have a little room for experimentation before you drop it off and let some professional charge you for however many hours it takes for him to get it right.

 

I looked at mine and I have a couple of scuffs in the same location. Yours is near the limit but I would try massaging it. You won't do any damage the guy with the DeWalt 849 spinning an 80 grit disc won't remove in seconds.

 

I would wrap some #600, maybe #400 on a paint stir stick and smooth the edges, try to bevel the edges. Then (watch them gasp) use a nice little 4" roller and lay down a few coats of single stage nice and gentle. See how it looks and follow up by laying in the depressions with the camel hair artists brush. Skip the little dent for now. When it dries compound it and see if you need to build up some spots. If it makes you gag at least you will know not to take my advice again.

Thanks Bernie, I never give up. Your "Dewalt 849 - 80 grit disc" description fits my trepidation regarding "professional" help. Never thought of the 4" roller scenario...

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