What every new painter must read!


Paint Fanatic
Staff member
As some of you know I get 30-100+ calls a day for tech help and a lot of these calls are from shops that don’t even use SPI and usually the rep from the paint company has just left and expounded his brilliance that you may have done something wrong. “You think?”

My idea here is some of the highlights of this week, so a newer painter can read and get off to a good start that is why there are no explanations, just keep it simple.

*Never use a rust converter of any kind. NO MATTER WHAT IT IS.
*Never clean metal or paint with lacquer thinner.
*Never use a metal prep UNLESS you are fully aware of how to neutralize properly.
*Never use an acid etch primer, unless you are doing used car work for a dealer or rental car work.
*Never even look at an aerosol can of primer.
*Never Soda blast UNLESS you fully understand how to neutralize it! Call us first so we can make sure you do it the right way.
*Never leave the top off an activator can any longer then it takes to pour it.
*Never store an activator in a refrigerator.
*Never use the by eye or glug method when mixing activators, use a measuring stick or a painters pail.
*Never try and fill an imperfection with a base coat.
*Never try to fill fish-eyes, if fish-eyes start, then stop.
*Never think a faster reducer in base is faster, use correct grade.
*Never wet floor if you live south of Mason Dixon line.
*Never mix more primer then can spray in 20 minutes.
*Then clean gun before mixing more to be safe.
*Before spraying check gun for spraying and adjustments, check air supply for water and air pressure.
*Never use a major’s low end base line, it is not cheaper and the potential for problems outweigh any savings.
Next update.

Problem calls:

After the car has been painted and being driven the number one problem call is bubbles showing up and hands down, it is always, "I used RUST CONVERTER or METAL PREP type product in this spot" when I say these names there are many other names and products similar and I'm grouping them altogether. There is no other problem call that even comes close to the number of calls on the mention subjects.
Well over a 100 calls a year.
The calls all seem to take place in a month to 1 year after car has been finished and a number of them the first week on the road.

The third ranked call and way down the list of maybe only 20-30 calls a year is spot bubbling because of lacquer thinner being used to clean the metal.
Next update.

Never mix more of any 2K type primer then you can use in 20-30 minutes.
At this point the gun needs to be cleaned before you add more primer.

If you start shooting the primer and then it starts dry spraying, you have a small blockage in the "fluid tip" and primer will build on the speck very fast and start restricting flow real fast. Adding reducer will not help, clean gun. ONLY TAKES ONE LITTLE DRIED SPECK.
Options for when in the middle of painting to fix fish-eyes.

Fish-eye eliminators can help in some style paints and the lower the grade the better they will work, problem is when you get to the very best clears fish-eye additives are less effective and if too much used will actually add to the problem.

Lets assume we have the first coat of clear on and we have fish-eyes on some panels, of course letting it set and wet sanding out will work but sometimes the shop does not have the time to wait.

For safety sake I'm referring to SPI clears but should work with most clears.

Let the fish-eyed panels set 20-30 minutes, then with the clear you have mixed up add 50-100% medium urethane reducer.
Spray one medium coat over the problem areas and walk away for 15-20 minutes, then repeat, at this point two to three medium coats should have the problem solved and let set 15-20 minutes and now finish spraying the vehicle with unreduced clear.

Usually this will solve the problem and if not totally the remaining imperfections can be easily wet sanded and buffed.

Crash can maybe add to this from his experience.
Two new ideas I have thought of because of my tech call involvement.

Never cover a new paint with plastic and if you do, make sure there is no moisture on or under the plastic and get it off as soon as you are done spraying the panels you touched up.

Never leave masking tape over a fresh paint job for extended time.
If two toning , paint it and get the tape off asap.
""My 2K high build primer cracked, you must have a bad batch"".

OK, the above pretty well sums it up, so I go last week and look at the car.
Now, this is suicide for me as every time I’m honest about something I get it shoved in my face a year later, someone will call and say my primer cracked and I read a year ago you had the same problem.
That is why the majors say nothing about acid film or Soda as they sell product when the guy reads SPI’s warnings, so they instead of researching they just buy another brand and that company could care less as they are not responsible if it comes off, it is your problem.

This is for your education and I think its an important one as there are a lot of cut and pasters out there that promote these different acids and don’t have a clue why or why not.

At least three times a week I hear, my car has been treated with acid, why can’t I use you epoxy.
My answer is always the same, neutralize it or please use one of the major’s epoxy.
You see, if a majors epoxy falls off, it must be something I did, If SPI epoxy falls off it must be the SPI stuff, being a smaller company.

OK for your education, the car was epoxied last winter by a shop and primed and blocked, eight months later cracks are showing up in the 2K primer all over the car as the shop that did the body work went out of business, so car is setting in owner’s garage.

The ex-shop owner is there and I question first the procedure on the epoxy of we used ospho or whatever it is called on the bare metal, I ask about neutralizing and got blank stares. Right away I was cut off at the knees and told the epoxy is sticking like glue but no broken spots to see??

So the owner of new shop is also there to take the car and this guy is good and does great work as known him for years and a rather famous shop so will not mention name.
Well he calls me Friday and says, epoxy at the metal is soft and the body filler at the metal is also not cured and gummy, no doubt its acid for sure as he has seen it many times also.

Yep that is what happens when you apply filler or epoxy over an acid film, outside dries great but part hitting the film does not.

There is a reason we give out these warnings and they are for your protection, not because I want practice writing, yea, I know I need it but!

Another thing that should be pointed out here, as this car setting like it did is a rarity, if it had been painted in a normal fashion the the odds would be the primer would not have cracked.
Don't get me wrong, the primer could crack under the paint but the odds would have been better that the first few months out in sun a gassing would take effect with the uncured epoxy and body filler and a large bubble(s) would appear instead.
when doing a long term restoration have your paint mixed and poured into qrt cans. this will ensure correct color all the way through. the last qrt in a gal can is useless...........
There are at least 5 items in the list and updates that this tall bald guy had to learn the "hard way"

the two that come to mind. . .rust treatment products, if you want you paint to fail, then use some zinc phosphate salts mixed in water on your bare, rusty metal. I had a major paint blister form on my '70 Camaro, when I finally cut it off, 7 years later, under that spot was irredesecent looking spot that had been rust treated and not sanded. The acrylic lacquer primer I used failed to adhere to the spot!

Cheap base, my nemisis is OMNI by PPG. Over the years, white has caused me the most problems. I spray epoxy primer as a sealer and if I do not let it cure overnight, when I spray the first or second coat of cheap base it cracks like lightning strikes!

I switched off of the cheap base and have fewer problems. When it takes 5 coats of base to get coverage you are inviting more problems! I am still looking for a value priced base that I can get good results with.

There are so many good pieces of advice here. A lot of times if you see a problem arise, it can be kept from worsening by just stopping what you are doing. I feel like once I start to get on a roll, I just want to finsih spraying, untape and take a shower. . .sometimes that mindset makes more problems than just stopping and getting advice or help!

I am a rookie and still make rookie mistakes!

dont see this mentioned, and is pretty much a given but.......NEVER touch bare metal with your bare hands. This just isn't for a freshly blasted vehicle. See alot of guys while doing bodywork have their greasy hands all over the metal where they have broken through the epoxy. Bondo/primer dust on your hands doesn't count as wearing gloves!! wear gloves!!

While watching some of these tv shows it always KILLED me when they would be talking about the car, while leaning against freshly blasted metal with their hands all over it........JEEZ. 1 fingerprint can ruin an entire job.
I see that wetting the floor south of the Mason Dixon line is a no no, Why is that? I am assuming it has to do with humidity.

In my neck of the woods, Seattle area, humidity comes in the form of rain which raises the humidity. Will wetting the floor mess with epoxy application?
Here is what can happen, first Iso's cure with moisture and air, if the conditions are just right and you wet the floor, when the gun atomizes the clear, it can mix too much moisture and can cause ISO clumping, they look like specks of dirt and come in white, gray or black, most painters just think its normal dirt.

This does not apply to enamels, most medium solid clears or clear with lower grade resins.
The reason is, the better the clear the More Iso's it takes to cure it, so the tin is stuffing an excessive amount of moisture in the clear and the moisture is acting as an accelerator.
Why, worry about the floor, has no effect on how clean the car is, dirt does not jump from floor to car, dirt in paint comes from car and painter, not floor.

Did you see that $600,000+ Gto, black base, three coats of ms clear, wetsanded with 800 and three more coats of MS clear and through the whole process, no water on the floor.
Hum I wonder if my Packard would be worth that much since I used all SPI from the epoxy to the SS Black well expect for the Mahogany Red. :)
What about the dirt that is stirred up from the exhaust fan drawing air across the floor? Do you recommend not running the fan during spraying?
and the dirt comes from the cowl vent and when you make that last pass on the bottom. your blowing dirt off the frame and out the other side. i very rarely see anyone wash one like i do before paint. i pressure wash them good top to bottom.