Friday, 29 June 2012

Matching Paintwork at long last!

Our TR6 had a little nest of metal weevils in the lower rear corner of the passenger door. As you may know, these delightful insects live on door skins and if left uncontrolled will rapidly turn metal into lace.
We chased them out and removed all sign of the rust before making good with filler and repainting.  This was originally done around 3 years ago. The problem was that the paint was not a good match and the difference in colour was very obvious.  It has irritated me ever since.
A few weeks ago, I decided to deal with it properly - or at least as properly as I can until I replace the door with a new old stock one that is sitting around somewhere with my name on it. So, the cellulose filler was scraped out and replaced with marine epoxy and prepared for a repaint.  Originally in the "wrong" colour front out of a rattle can, but fully intending to repaint in the correct colour.

I had acquired a tin of the correct paint from Autopaints in Brighton (well recommended supplier, by the way) and used this to repaint the offside sill last winter. The colour match was near perfect. However, as you know, I have another Triumph, finished in French Blue -and mostly faded, original paint.  I also have a 500ml tin of French Blue from the same supplier, but it is ever so slightly too dark and therefore, I have obtained a small tin of plain while cellulose paint to "tint" this to get the colour right.

You're ahead of me at this point, aren't you.  Yes - in a moment of dippiness, I "tinted" the wrong tin and so needed to get another half-litre of Sapphire Blue.  Well, we all have our moments.

Now with the correct paint, I set up my spray gun and repainted the door in the right colour.  I wasn't happy with the finish.  My "big" spray gun, a pro Sealey job needs more air volume than my compressor can really manage at the pressure it needs to atomise correctly and so the paint came out in blobs.  There was only one answer - a tin of "Nitromors".  It seems that they have removed the active ingredient from Nitromors as it didn't seem to work (I recall reading something about this and the old stuff being carcinogenic, hence the change to another recipe). So, the paint needed to be removed the old fashioned way with a sanding disc, right back to bare metal.  I lost count of how many layers of paint came off, but there were a **lot**.

And eventually, having put on 3 coats of zinc based etch primer, I was ready to respray, this time using my little touch-up spray gun - the sort that is sold to spray tan salons to spray people, but it is brilliant for spraying cars, just a little slow.  37 coats of paint later, 2 weeks for the paint to harden, 2 hours with 1800 grit wet'n'dry and the bar of soap from the utility room then an hour or so with the electric polisher first with G3 and then 3M "Finesse" and we have the finish as shown in the picture below. The paint isn't perfect, but the colour match is! It did take a little while to remove all the dust and old paint shrapnel. Next time I do a paint job, perhaps I'll put the hood up and shut the windows...