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Buffing faded lacquer paint?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2023 8:39 am
by Chiphead
Hi all, new member from the Carolinas.
A guy from a Pontiac forum recommended this site for paint and body advice. I'm restoring a '67 LeMans. 2 door coupe with vinyl top. The car had a restoration and repaint in the early 90s, the paint is a single stage lacquer. Of course its faded. The PO had installed a new vinyl top and done some polish work, but it needs more. I'd like some advise on what I can do for the paint. I've got to finish the mechanicals before I worry about a full respray. What are some good ways to restore some shine? The hood and trunk are pretty faded.
I'll post pics when I take some good ones that show the paint. Thanks!

Re: Buffing faded lacquer paint?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2023 11:09 am
by chopolds
In general, lacquer can be quite thin. So sanding and buffing may be tricky.
I always start with the least aggressive methods first, then going to more aggressive ones if that method doesn't produce results.
So, first I would try rehydrating the paint, and hand polishing it. Meguire's hand glaze is perfect for bringing up lacquer that's dull, but not completely oxidized. There was even a procedure they used to publish telling you how to apply it, maybe several times, then hand buff it. Many times it works well enough for an old finish you dont' want to redo.
Failing that, use a buffer with a swirl removing polish next. If that doesn't work , buff with a fine compound. Next would be to try a light (1500 or 2000 grit) sanding, then compound. Then use the fine polish to finish up.
If that doesn't do it, it may just be the paint is shot. You could try using a coarser grit sandpaper, 1000, and going back up the stages, but I would be pretty hesitant on doing that, with old lacquer. Esp. with no experience doing this.
Try your attempts on an inconspicuous area. Remember, that the top surfaces may need a more aggressive approach than the sides. If you aren't' experienced, use a DA type buffer, instead of a full size rotary. Foam pads are less aggressive than wool pads. Even foams have degrees of hardness that relate to how aggressive they are in removing oxidation.

Re: Buffing faded lacquer paint?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2023 10:04 am
by Chiphead
So what DA buffer and pads should I go with? I'm reading very good reviews of the Griot G9 DA buffer/polisher. There's a galaxy of pads, backing plates, polishes and cutting compounds. How do I know what to use?

I see what you're talking about thin coats. It looks like they shot this red color as a scratch and shoot over the original mariner turquoise. So if I cut it too much, it'll start to show the original color underneath. I'm going to replace the flat LeMans hood with a repainted GTO hood. So I can practice on the LeMans hood to figure out what works best for the rest of the car. But what compounds and polishes should I try first?

Re: Buffing faded lacquer paint?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2023 8:23 am
by chopolds
I understand about making choices, among so many different brands and types of equip.
As for buffers: Griots is very good, if expensive. If you aren't going to do this very often, go with a cheaper one. On Amazon right now, there are loads of Makita copies, for around 65$, and a 2 handle Armor all buffer for 38$, Black Friday special.
Pads, Lake country, 3M, Meguire's, are good. Many of the buffers on Amazon, come with pads. Use the harder ones for more aggressive compounds, softer with polishes, softest with wax.
Compounds: if you look at Meguire's line of products (and certainly, there are as good or better ones, but that's another story) go for the professional ones, in the tan bottles. One the left side of the label, is a scale that shows how aggressive it is. Makes it easy to chose.
When I used them, and some I still do, I used (in order of most cutting action, to the least) the 105, 205, then #7 or 9.

Re: Buffing faded lacquer paint?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2024 9:17 pm
by Ralph_III
Hey Chiphead. I was going to give some input having recently buffed and painted my JD tractor. I see your post has been a few months though. How did your project turn out?