Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fixing small paint blemishes...

There is nothing worse than getting ready to show a bike to a customer, or in the case of Nahbs, the world, and find a small scratch or dust nib in the paint.  EEEK!  What to do?

Although the world of paint can be a scary place to trod, such small issues can be competently handled by even the most brutish builder with a little knowledge and patience.  So, to enlighten those that wish to learn, follow along below as we enter the magical world of "making small ugly blemishes in your fancy paint disappear with grace and ease".

Here's what you need to get going...

- freshly washed hands with no dirt or oily residue
- 1200 grit wet/dry sand paper
- Bounty paper towel (leaves little to no lint, dyes do not transfer...good stuff!)
- 3M Perfect It rubbing cream
- a little patience

We start off with an annoying dust nib, captured in the final layer of clear.  In this case, it is top dead center of the top tube.  While most would have a hard time seeing it on casual inspection, I know it's there and it bugs the crap out of me, so let's fix it.

We'll start off by washing our hands and then cutting a small square of 1200 grit paper...

Lightly sand the area, starting from the origin and gently working your way out in a circular motion.  For scratches or larger blemishes, I will apply more force at the origin and then decrease the pressure with the paper as it moves away to the periphery.

Once the area is sanded to a smooth uniform surface, it becomes our job to begin to make the area less noticeable.  We are basically using a smaller grit of abrasive and making the scratches smaller as we work the area until it is undetectable with the naked eye.  In this case, we will use 3M's Perfect It, a nice smooth rubbing compound made just for this application.

A little bit goes a long way.  Put a dab on a paper towel and mimic your previous motion...working out from the origin in a circular pattern.

I usually go through two or three applications, gently increasing the diameter of my working area, feathering the existing finish into the repaired area.  You can see below that the area is already blending together smoothly, yet still is a bit dull.

After my paper towel applications, I put a dab on my clean finger and rub it down again.  The area will glaze up.  Keep working the area over the entire length of your fingers area until it wets out again and goes to glass, leaving a smooth, glossy finish that matches the surrounding clear.

And Wah-lah, you have a perfectly repaired area, devoid of detectable blemishes.

A simple process that can save you a lot of stress before the big reveal.



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