When building a street rod there are a variety of milestones that make all the effort expended worthwhile. A big one for us was shooting primer on the world's longest running magazine project, the RamRodder.
Painting a car is a huge undertaking. Maybe if our budget could have handled it we would have dumped the thing off at the door of the nearest body shop and told them to call when it was done. However, since so much of what makes a good paintjob is the labor prior to shooting the final coats of color we figured that we could do a good deal of it to save money, plus we just wanted to be able to look at the finished project and feel as though we were at least partially responsible for the results. Fortunately, we have a pro looking over our shoulder—Jake Brazille of Jake's Place in Florence, Oregon, is keeping us from making any major mistakes and will be the man with the gun when the spraying commences.
Some time ago the body of our Plymouth was chemically stripped, new floors were installed, and the preliminary bodywork was done. Then as often happens with our projects, it sat, then it sat some more, while other responsibilities got in the way. But when our once-pristine Plymouth sheetmetal began to develop minor surface rust it was obviously time to get serious.
Fortunately the protective coating that had been applied after stripping had, for the most part, done its job. But, like the rust that was forming, it had to be removed as well, so we went over the entire body with 150-grit paper on a dual-action sander and red abrasive pads. There were some areas that were difficult to reach, like the rain gutters and the recess around the trunklid, so we resorted to abrasive pads on a die grinder and a small handheld sand blaster from Harbor Freight.
We're going to keep this short and to the point: Don't mix products from different suppliers as compatibility can be a serious problem. When it comes to thinners, reducers, activators, and clearcoats don't fall for the "this is just as good as the name brand" sales pitch. There are a number of cheaper "universal" products on the market but refinish materials are a great example of getting what you pay for. To make sure all our efforts to get the RamRodder ready for paint won't be wasted, we'll be using PPG products exclusively.