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The Detail Department
Detailing tips, tricks to keep your bimmer in showroom condition.

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  #1  
Old 09-08-2003, 04:46 PM
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RKT BMR RKT BMR is offline
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The great paint chip repair project has begun!

I dove in yesterday, and started on the rather big project of fixing as many rock chips, door-ding scratches, etc. as I can or care to on my beloved finish. Keep in mind that the finish looks fabulous already, except for those little annoyances left from two years of daily driving at freeway speeds.

I am using the Ripnort method with some modifications. Documenting the whole thing with high-res digital photos and filming with my DV camera. I plan to edit down a series of MPEG shorts (using Ulead's DV Studio) showing the process for a DIY writeup. It's great what sort of production work an amateur can do on a PC these days with digitial video... I'll be able to add overlay graphics and narration. Cool.

Anyway, I had originally thought I would do just ONE small damaged spot first, to get my feet wet. So....

I started filling in the most egregious chip (which went through to the white primer), with BMW touch-up paint (OB metallic). After I finished that one, I just couldn't stand another near it that was also chipped to the primer. So I filled that one in too. Then there was that binary star-system chip about 20 inches from the interior air grill on the hood okay, I'll get that one too. And on and on it went...

When all was said and done, I had filled more than two dozen blemishes ranging from pinpoints to 1-2mm gashes down to the primer. I had used some of the clearcoat that comes with the touch-up kit (thanks, BMW!) to fill a one inch long V-shaped scratch that only penetrated the clearcoat layer. By this time, all the paint corrections had dried to the touch, so I went back and filled the remaining craters with clearcoat, enough to form a slight bulge (in prep for sanding).

And at that point I decided to stop. There's more pinprick-sized damage that I will get to if this all works out. If not, I'll have to have the hood repainted in its entirety.

Decided to let the paint dry and cure for 48 hours. Tomorrow night I begin the wet-sanding process. After that, polishing the entire hood with Griots #2 followed by #3, then an inspection/assessment. If all goes well, a few coats of wax, then on to the other micro defects elsewhere!

Progress pics to come as I go along. Stay tuned...
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  #2  
Old 09-09-2003, 08:04 AM
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Artslinger Artslinger is offline
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Excellent, I will be looking forward to reading your write up. I plan on doing this next spring, and I'm sure this will be a great help to me.
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  #3  
Old 09-09-2003, 11:21 AM
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RKT BMR RKT BMR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artslinger
Excellent, I will be looking forward to reading your write up. I plan on doing this next spring, and I'm sure this will be a great help to me.
I haven't started any of the other steps yet since applying the paint, but I can already say this: Clearcoat is essential! Make sure your OEM touchup kit comes with a bottle in addition to the color.

The consistency (i.e. thickness) and glossy nature of the clearcoat material is very different from the paint. When dry, any naked paint touchup is dull. The stuff is also thinner. The clearcoat is qute a bit thicker, so it "domes" better when applying, creating a nice blob that rises above the flush level of the surface, a necessary condition before sanding.

So, rather than having to do several applications of color to build it up, I did just one pretty thick later, then after drying went back and used the clearcoat in the little pit to build up a dome-blob with a single application of the CC.

I feel much more comfortable sanding down and polishing this clearcoat material than the paint.

Anyway, pictures tonight!
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  #4  
Old 09-09-2003, 09:43 PM
CascadeTelcom CascadeTelcom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RKT BMR
I haven't started any of the other steps yet since applying the paint, but I can already say this: Clearcoat is essential! Make sure your OEM touchup kit comes with a bottle in addition to the color.

The consistency (i.e. thickness) and glossy nature of the clearcoat material is very different from the paint. When dry, any naked paint touchup is dull. The stuff is also thinner. The clearcoat is qute a bit thicker, so it "domes" better when applying, creating a nice blob that rises above the flush level of the surface, a necessary condition before sanding.

So, rather than having to do several applications of color to build it up, I did just one pretty thick later, then after drying went back and used the clearcoat in the little pit to build up a dome-blob with a single application of the CC.

I feel much more comfortable sanding down and polishing this clearcoat material than the paint.

Anyway, pictures tonight!
What type of brushes are U using to apply the BMW color and clearcoat?
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  #5  
Old 09-10-2003, 05:43 PM
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apar330i apar330i is offline
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Have you ever looked into the Langka method for repairing scratches and chips? http://www.langka.com/ I was reading about it on their site and it looks interesting.
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  #6  
Old 09-10-2003, 09:12 PM
purplehays purplehays is offline
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I did autosharp and langka

I have an oxford green II mettalic finish, and I was happy with the match between the autosharp pen recommended by the website and my paint. I also used Langka instead of detail sanding and polishing. I was happy with the Langka as well, and the visibility of the touch-ups was very minimal when I got it right (you tended to miss them at more than 2 feet). All in all, it worked well.

If (when) I do it again (it's getting to be time), I'll probably try to do more thin coats of paint and wait longer between the touch-up and using langka. I had a tendency to get it almost perfect, but then to keep going until I'd "dished out" the paint filling the chip. Langka will happily dissolve the touch up paint below the surface of your factory finish (but as far as I can tell it doesn't do anything whatsoever to the factory paint, no matter how long you go). Of course, you can re-fill the spot again with touch-up paint and start over easily, and since it won't touch your factory paint, Langka is a very low-risk approach. You essentially can't widen the area of damage. But several of my touch-ups are basically a little, perfectly color-matched crater because I got overzealous and didn't stop when it was more nearly flat. I think drying longer will give me more leeway, and that's been recommended in posts I've seen about Langka as well (like, up to several MONTHS of drying!)

One note, I ended up mostly using a wooden paint stirrer wrapped in t-shirt material to buff down the touch up with langka, rather than the included plastic card (about the size of a credit card) wrapped in fabric as specified in the langka instructions. I feel like I was able to come closer to a flat finish with the flat, stiff paint stirrer, but the card was handy on some chips that were on concave places on the body. I might try some old sheet material next time also, as it's less nappy and stretchy than the tee shirt material and may lay flatter to the stick.

I suspect that a well-done sanded and polished touch-up might be even less visible than a langka'd touch-up, but I'm not terribly confident of my detail sanding technique (or even my general grace and detailed manual skills). As long as I have some langka left I'll probably use it (you need very little), and maybe I'll try a spot-sanded and polished touch up after I practice some on a lesser car...

Larry
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Last edited by purplehays; 09-10-2003 at 09:15 PM.
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  #7  
Old 09-10-2003, 09:50 PM
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apar330i apar330i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehays
I have an oxford green II mettalic finish, and I was happy with the match between the autosharp pen recommended by the website and my paint. I also used Langka instead of detail sanding and polishing. I was happy with the Langka as well, and the visibility of the touch-ups was very minimal when I got it right (you tended to miss them at more than 2 feet). All in all, it worked well.

If (when) I do it again (it's getting to be time), I'll probably try to do more thin coats of paint and wait longer between the touch-up and using langka. I had a tendency to get it almost perfect, but then to keep going until I'd "dished out" the paint filling the chip. Langka will happily dissolve the touch up paint below the surface of your factory finish (but as far as I can tell it doesn't do anything whatsoever to the factory paint, no matter how long you go). Of course, you can re-fill the spot again with touch-up paint and start over easily, and since it won't touch your factory paint, Langka is a very low-risk approach. You essentially can't widen the area of damage. But several of my touch-ups are basically a little, perfectly color-matched crater because I got overzealous and didn't stop when it was more nearly flat. I think drying longer will give me more leeway, and that's been recommended in posts I've seen about Langka as well (like, up to several MONTHS of drying!)

One note, I ended up mostly using a wooden paint stirrer wrapped in t-shirt material to buff down the touch up with langka, rather than the included plastic card (about the size of a credit card) wrapped in fabric as specified in the langka instructions. I feel like I was able to come closer to a flat finish with the flat, stiff paint stirrer, but the card was handy on some chips that were on concave places on the body. I might try some old sheet material next time also, as it's less nappy and stretchy than the tee shirt material and may lay flatter to the stick.

I suspect that a well-done sanded and polished touch-up might be even less visible than a langka'd touch-up, but I'm not terribly confident of my detail sanding technique (or even my general grace and detailed manual skills). As long as I have some langka left I'll probably use it (you need very little), and maybe I'll try a spot-sanded and polished touch up after I practice some on a lesser car...

Larry
Thanks for sharing that. I'm considering Langka as a possible solution for a couple of scratches I have. I anxiously awaiting RKT BMR's assessment once he completes his paint repair.
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  #8  
Old 09-16-2003, 02:20 PM
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RKT BMR RKT BMR is offline
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UPDATE:

Good news and bad news. I have pictures, but need to find time to get them from camera to 'fest. Hopefully 2nite...

Good news: The project has been spectacularly successful with the rock chip damage. What was once a splattering of small, white 0.5-2mm specks all over the nose of the hood is now a beautiful, glassy, pristine surface. I still have a dozen spots to go, and plan to finish them despite the bad news.

Bad news: Will have to repaint the entire hood. Screwed up on the V-shaped scratch by sloppily over-applying clearcoat, which resulted in a rather visible distortion in the reflection of the surface after initial sanding and polishing. While attempting to fix it, I sanded all the clear coat off. This has left a 1x1" patch (thereabouts) where the color looks different. Subtle, but quite visible to the OCD maniac, which makes it a total disaster. The only way to fix this is to spray, and I'm not going to get in to that. So, given that a hood paint job is in the neighborhood of $200-300, I'm just gonna have it repainted. If I can afford it, I might as well get that air package I've been lusting after, and have the front bumper replaced and painted too.

Regardless, it's been an excellent experience. There are small blemishes elsewhere on the body that I have good confidence I can fix now. And, when I get new rock chips in the future, I'll be able to stay on top of them.

Pictures soon!

Last edited by RKT BMR; 09-16-2003 at 03:41 PM.
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  #9  
Old 09-16-2003, 06:18 PM
Guest84 Guest84 is offline
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I had a similiar experience with the clear coat product on a small chip, RKT, so I've not used it since.
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  #10  
Old 09-17-2003, 07:16 AM
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Artslinger Artslinger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ripsnort
I had a similiar experience with the clear coat product on a small chip, RKT, so I've not used it since.
Ripsnort, so you think its NOT a good idea to apply clearcoat when touching up a chip?
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  #11  
Old 09-17-2003, 08:13 AM
in_d_haus in_d_haus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artslinger
Ripsnort, so you think its NOT a good idea to apply clearcoat when touching up a chip?
RKT,
You need to apply the clearcoat in order to get a proper color match.
While Rip may be able to get by without it on a black car I doubt you would on blue...I know I absolutely needed it on my Bright Red 325 or it looked like my car had pimples.

As you found out you need to be very careful with the sanding, you want to barely fill the chip above the level of the paint (with the clear) and only sand where you filled in with paint and not on the surrounding finish to avoid burning through the clearcoat.

You may want to try Langka at some future time. I saw a demo of it a couple months ago, it worked well for chips (not scratches) and wont harm the surrounding paint.

EDIT: Some folks use a hobby airbrush to apply the paint/clearcoat in a thin coat. I'm going to try this myself the next time I fix chips.

Last edited by in_d_haus; 09-17-2003 at 08:15 AM.
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  #12  
Old 09-17-2003, 03:38 PM
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RKT BMR RKT BMR is offline
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Pictures finally!

Here you can see some of the spots touched up with paint and clearcoat (#1). #2 is a few spots I had already sanded:


A close-up of a blob of dried, cured clearcoat. Very hard stuff:


Here's a close-up of those same sanded spots in the first picture:


And here are three pictures of the partial results. The outcome was fabulous. The repair for each spot is invisible. Indeed, the only visible indication that anything was done is a very slight distortion in the reflection, kind of like a fun-house mirror effect, but I'd have to show you exactly where to look to see it, it is so subtle. Even my most OCD buddies here would be hard-pressed to find these spots without some guidance:






Now, I'm not completely finished... I have about a dozen more spots to sand down and polish. You can find some of them on the previous pictures if you look around. I will be completing these as well, in the coming week or two.

On to the disaster. Here's a shot that really exposes it. I have to emphasize that it really doesn't look nearly this bad. In fact, unless I point it out, the average Joe is unlikely to notice it. The severity of the damage is greatly enhanced by camera angle, lighting, and reflection. It took me 5 shots to find just the right angle and position to get it to show prominently like this:


So, to wrap this up, here's what I want to share...
  • What next for the RKT BMR? Well, the screwup damage is really quite innocuous, which is apparent from some of the results photos. I can live with it for a while. The improvement in appearance having the rock chips repaired more than offsets this small annoyance. However, I will have to get it fixed in the not-too-distant future. I'm going to see if a good paint shop can just repair it, or if an entire hood repaint is the only option. I'm guessing the latter. Since the RKT BMR has been pestering me to get the OEM Coupe aero kit, I'll wait and have it done at the same time they paint those parts. The RKT's been haranguing for a hardtop too, so we'll just have to see what Santa brings.

  • Lessons learned: Arrogant laziness in just slopping clearcoat on the blemishes. I should have followed other's advice and carefully filled just the damaged area with a coat or two of paint, and then clearcoat. This would have cut down on the sanding considerably, and left the surrounding clearcoat in better shape. I might have had a fighting chance with that V-shaped scratch too. I just figured I could sand the stuff down and it would be a no-brainer. Clearcoat is much harder than the paint material!!!!! The paint sands away like balsawood. The clearcoat is like diamond. But hey, that's what we want, right?
I learned and experienced enough to feel confident repairing all the chips elsewhere on the body, as well as the few remaining on the hood that I haven't started on yet. All of those will get the meticulous, careful filling treatment, rather than the bull-in-a-china-shop-slap-a-blob-of-clearcoat-on-and-sand-it-away treatment.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with the result, with the exception of the scratch snafu. I don't plan to tackle the front bumper, since I'll be replacing it in the next 12 months anyway. After that, I plan to use this technique to stay on top of rock chips on an on-going basis. It's a bit of work, but the look is much better than Xpel.
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  #13  
Old 09-17-2003, 03:47 PM
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RKT BMR RKT BMR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_d_haus
You need to apply the clearcoat in order to get a proper color match.
While Rip may be able to get by without it on a black car I doubt you would on blue...I know I absolutely needed it on my Bright Red 325 or it looked like my car had pimples.
Yes, absolutely correct. In fact, this is why the screwup looks bad... The color is off, even though it's the factory paint. The only thing missing is the factory clearcoat that used to be on top of it

I suppose that a real good, experienced, artiste could prepare and respray that spot with clearcoat, and get it back to where it should be. However, I'm guessing that the labor involved in such a venture is only a bit less than that to repaint the whole panel (hood), which would give far superior results. So a total repaint is probably in the cards.

In the mean time I was quite encouraged that my wife could not find the blemish (it is shiny after polishing, just like the rest of the paint) after looking extensively, until I pointed it out to her.
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  #14  
Old 09-17-2003, 04:27 PM
tgravo2 tgravo2 is offline
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Which products and DIY did you use, I will have to do this one 1 chip

I have a blob on silver so what is your take on using clearcoat or paint.

Any help is appreciated

Last edited by tgravo2; 09-17-2003 at 04:31 PM.
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  #15  
Old 09-17-2003, 04:40 PM
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Artslinger Artslinger is offline
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RKT... did you buy the BMW touch-up paint from the dealer?


Has anyone used the Griots Touch-Up Paint Applicators for $12.93... Is it worth picking up?

http://www.griotsgarage.com/catalog....1500&SKU=50406
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  #16  
Old 09-18-2003, 06:41 AM
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RKT BMR RKT BMR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artslinger
RKT... did you buy the BMW touch-up paint from the dealer?
Tgravo2 (didn't you used to be tgravo? ), Artslinger: I used the BMW touch-up kit, which is just two little bottles, one color, one clearcoat. As I said in the posts, the clearcoat is a very different animal than the paint -- much thicker going on (you can see that from the blob effect), and much harder when dried and cured.

Grav, you'll need the touch-up paint, a new pencil with a good eraser tip, some 1500 and 2000 grit wet sanding paper (got mine at PepBoys), a cup with some distilled water, and a means to polish the spots when you've done the main repair. Optimum is a Random Orbital and some polishes. I have the Porter Cable, and I use Griots polishes and pads.

I basically followed Rip's process in the sticky in this forum, so review that procedure. Where I made a mistake was in sloppiness in applying the touch-up materials, assuming I could just sand the excess away. Not a good idea (although you can, you have to be real careful, and it takes a lot of time and effort).

Instead, you should use a toothpick to apply tiny amount of paint to just fill in the chip, and do your best to avoid any excess beyond the edges. A tiny bit of overlap is necessary to completely eliminate the appearance of the chip.

When filling, use one or two layers of color; do not build the color layer up flush with the top surface of the clearcoat -- you need some room for the clearcoat layer. After the paint has dried (ten minutes), using the same toothpick method, apply clearcoat to build a small dome that rises above the flush surface. Again, try to keep it in the chip, with just a tiny (the width of a few cloth threads) overlap beyond the rim of the damage.

Let dry and cure for a few days.

Clay the surface again, then wet sand flush using the Ripsnort method with 1500 grit. Have a soft cotton towel handy to repeatedly wipe the area and inspect while sanding. Sand in a ciircular motion, keeping the areas affected as small as possible. I'd sand for 3-6 "strokes", then wipe and take a look. Sand 3-6 more, wipe, take a look. Repeat over and over. Every third or fourth repetition of this cycle you've got to dip the pencil/sandpaper in water to re-wet it.

When the repaired paint is flush with the rest of the surface, switch to 2000 and do a brief sanding (2-3 cycles) with that.

Then, polish out, and wax. You're done, it looks awesome, and you're chest will swell with pride!

Last edited by RKT BMR; 09-18-2003 at 06:45 AM.
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  #17  
Old 09-18-2003, 08:09 AM
Guest84 Guest84 is offline
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GAK! Just noticed another scratch to the primer on my door. One of the kids bicycles caught the door. New process for bike storage now Looks like I'll be doing some touch up this week end.
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  #18  
Old 09-18-2003, 08:10 AM
in_d_haus in_d_haus is offline
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I have and have used Griots applicators. I find I have better control with an "00" paintbrush
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  #19  
Old 09-18-2003, 08:51 AM
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Artslinger Artslinger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_d_haus
I have and have used Griots applicators. I find I have better control with an "00" paintbrush
Okay, thanks.
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  #20  
Old 09-18-2003, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_d_haus
I have and have used Griots applicators. I find I have better control with an "00" paintbrush
I may try the paint brush method instead of my tried-and-true toothpick technique. Where do you find such paint brushes?
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  #21  
Old 09-18-2003, 08:59 AM
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johnlew johnlew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ripsnort
I may try the paint brush method instead of my tried-and-true toothpick technique. Where do you find such paint brushes?
Try an artist supply store.
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  #22  
Old 09-18-2003, 09:13 AM
in_d_haus in_d_haus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlew
Try an artist supply store.
Art supply stores, hobby shops, and craft stores such as Michaels
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  #23  
Old 09-18-2003, 10:38 AM
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RKT BMR RKT BMR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_d_haus
I have and have used Griots applicators. I find I have better control with an "00" paintbrush
Any chance you might snap a pic and post it? set it next to a dime or something to give relative size.

If you can't, no big deal
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  #24  
Old 09-19-2003, 01:51 PM
tgravo2 tgravo2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RKT BMR
Tgravo2 (didn't you used to be tgravo? ), Artslinger: I used the BMW touch-up kit, which is just two little bottles, one color, one clearcoat. As I said in the posts, the clearcoat is a very different animal than the paint -- much thicker going on (you can see that from the blob effect), and much harder when dried and cured.

Grav, you'll need the touch-up paint, a new pencil with a good eraser tip, some 1500 and 2000 grit wet sanding paper (got mine at PepBoys), a cup with some distilled water, and a means to polish the spots when you've done the main repair. Optimum is a Random Orbital and some polishes. I have the Porter Cable, and I use Griots polishes and pads.

I basically followed Rip's process in the sticky in this forum, so review that procedure. Where I made a mistake was in sloppiness in applying the touch-up materials, assuming I could just sand the excess away. Not a good idea (although you can, you have to be real careful, and it takes a lot of time and effort).

Instead, you should use a toothpick to apply tiny amount of paint to just fill in the chip, and do your best to avoid any excess beyond the edges. A tiny bit of overlap is necessary to completely eliminate the appearance of the chip.

When filling, use one or two layers of color; do not build the color layer up flush with the top surface of the clearcoat -- you need some room for the clearcoat layer. After the paint has dried (ten minutes), using the same toothpick method, apply clearcoat to build a small dome that rises above the flush surface. Again, try to keep it in the chip, with just a tiny (the width of a few cloth threads) overlap beyond the rim of the damage.

Let dry and cure for a few days.

Clay the surface again, then wet sand flush using the Ripsnort method with 1500 grit. Have a soft cotton towel handy to repeatedly wipe the area and inspect while sanding. Sand in a ciircular motion, keeping the areas affected as small as possible. I'd sand for 3-6 "strokes", then wipe and take a look. Sand 3-6 more, wipe, take a look. Repeat over and over. Every third or fourth repetition of this cycle you've got to dip the pencil/sandpaper in water to re-wet it.

When the repaired paint is flush with the rest of the surface, switch to 2000 and do a brief sanding (2-3 cycles) with that.

Then, polish out, and wax. You're done, it looks awesome, and you're chest will swell with pride!
Thanks RKT, as soon as I get a free day or so and order some Griots products, I'll give it a try.


BTW I've always been tgravo2
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