When you look up 'hard paint' on wikipedia there should just be a photo of a Corvette. We've got a few of this bad boys under our belts now but, still every once in a while a curve ball is thrown at us...in this case...it was the hood...i'll explain.
Rick had seen some of our work via write ups, but was still up in the air about who to hire to polish out his beloved C6. From what he told us, he almost hired Euro Detail out here in Arizona, but after talking with another club member, who spoke highly of our work (as we had done his Z06), he decided to give us a call.
His car may have been many things, but dirty it was not. It was obvious he was very particular about his car, but the hood, the hood is what bothered him! We took a look at it when we first got there and could see right away what he was talking about, there were some very deep scratches/swirls in the paint. The whole car was covered in them, but the center point of the hood turned out to be the worst by far (we found that out part way through the detail).
But first thing as first, had to wash it and prep it to get it ready for polishing. So tires, rims and wells were cleaned first...followed by stripping the paint of any old wax and then claying the car free of any bonded contaminants.
Lots of clearance...
After they were done it was time to do the prep wash...gotta remove the license plate though, there is always lots of dirt hidden up behind there:
See, told ya...nasty stuff
Half way through our wash a truck drove by...and what was written on the back window was too damn funny to not get a picture of lol:
Ah love, isn't it grand? I say freedom = ex-swirls lol
You could tell he kept the car waxed...the water beaded up very nicely. But a waxed car is not enough....wax doesn't eliminate these:
And these were what we were there to get rid of.
After examining the car...the consensus was....there were swirls....LOTS of them....everywhere:
As you can see above there was also a bit of damage beyond our repair...looked like someone had bumped into the Vette from behind and left some nice wrinkles in the paint....
and little swirls:
And the good ole hood..
These here were quite deep as well...
Not so pretty...
These weren't half steppin' either
We even found these little suckers hiding between the bottom runner near the rear passenger tire...how they got in there i dont know but they sure were fun to get out without scratching the paint:
So, by now i think you get the idea...though it was pampered...it still was in pretty bad shape. Paint in this condition didn't make Rick happy, didn't make us happy and damn sure didn't make the Vette happy! But it's ok....thats why we were there.
As always our first step would be to tape off a test spot and figure out what combo of machine/pad/product and technique would work best.
My sister Dani who was taping off all the trim did the honors of taping off my test spot so i could get our process dialed in while she finished up the remainder of the taping.
After testing our test area with a new microfiber cutting pad along with a cutting compound, it knocked down the swirls quite well...but as was expected, a VERY light haze was left. This is why lighting is SO important...under most circumstances...the paint would have looked awesome as if all defects had been removed, but having multiple light sources we were able to see the haze...which is why we always follow up with a second polishing step to further refine the paint.
The results of this will speak for themselves i think...here is a side by side before and after shot:
THAT is what red is suppose to look like.
A couple deeper ones still remained along the tape line, but they would come out when working on the undone section of the hood, as we always overlap a few inches into the section that we have already worked on, just to make sure if we did miss anything or if there were a few being stubborn, they would still get worked out:
All n' all, the test spot was showing many good things to come, here is a 50/50 shot of the test spot:
One more look...this was before:
And this was after:
Much clearer don't you think?
We continued to make our way around the car, I was doing the compounding as usual and Dani was doing the final polishing.
We kept running into these....
But made them look like this:
Here she is finishing up on the drivers door:
Eventually we ended up on the other side of the hood, the unfinished side....and for WHATEVER reason, center going towards the passenger side was in horrible shape. I didn't really realize this until i did two compounding passes using the Flex on the center section of the hood...and the hood STILL looked like it had just been gone across with a steel rake. Again, Vette's = hard paint...and thus deep scratches are very difficult to get out. So, it was time to kick it up a notch.
I hooked the makita up along with a Lake Country Synthetic Wool Pad (blue). I had used this baby a few times before and found it to leave lighter marring than other aggressive pads. It still marred, but it was a much easier clean up process than coming behind standard wool.
After going over the center of the hood with the rotary, i noticed a drastic difference, the results were much better. Almost all the deeper scratches had gone the way of the dinosaur, a few remained that required a second pass, but i was seeing much more progress.
I worked the remaining area of the hood...getting rid of the Rick's nightmare lol. I understood his frustration, thats for sure. After compounding the hood looked like this:
Leveled...or what many detailers and paint and body shops would call 'Finished' lol. This of course was not even near acceptable...it was good the deeper scratches were gone, but the haze/halo look left from the rotary had to be worked out next.
After a couple of polishing passes, all haze/marring had been removed...and the hood was looking the way we expected it to:
Well worth the extra effort....a bit closer...
Excuse the slight blurriness, red is SUCH a hard color to focus in on once it gets dark! Don't worry though, sun shots are coming up soon
Now being that this was a convertible, once we finished all the visible paint...it was time to put the top down, because there was more paint to be polished that was hiding on the inside
Gotta be sure to polish every inch of paint...no corner cutting or exceptions. And of course using a towel to cover the cockpit area so that there was no chance of any polishing dust or polish sling gets on the interior.
The reflections as the sun started to go down were beautiful...enough light to really show the color, but faded enough to not drown out the reflections
Turned out pretty good dont ya think?
After untaping the Corvette emblem...the polished paint surrounding it really made it pop:
Here is Dani doing some final touch up behind where the license plate attaches:
As you can see, there are cords running everywhere! Some of them ran to fans, Rick was kind enough to hook up a couple of his smaller fans to help keep the air circulating in the garage....because for 90% of the detail, we kept the garage door down to allow our lights to highlight what we were working on and to block out the sun that was trying to sneak in and drown out our work lights.
Note that it was about 100 degrees that day, add in halogen work lights and the fact the garage was closed up and guess what....we were working in an Easy Bake Oven! (though in retrospect, after working in 112 the other day, 100 doesn't seem so bad).
Lighting is SO important. We use LED, Halogens and a sun gun....what looks great under a halogen often times will look marred under and LED. Halogens are awesome for seeing deeper defects, the sun gun is good for pin point checking areas for left over swirls/scratches, but the LED is the ULTIMATE marring inspection light. Any light haze or marring or scouring left over after polishing may be able to hide under most lights, but not highly concentrated LED's.
Last but not least, we did another wash to remove all leftover polish/dust and then we applied Fuzion, dressed tires, cleaned rims and windows etc. All the little stuff that makes the detail 'complete'.