After a good flatting with soapy water and the old P2000 grit, the paintwork was looking smooth and, well, dull. Taking care on the curves and edges not to rub through the red, you're aiming for paint that is uniform all over without any orange peel.
The scary part is taking your nice shiny paint finish and ruining it.
But if it worries you, just run water over the paint and watch how it shines again — that's what the lacquer will do.
I didn't want to use any form of cleaner on the top coat before lacquering because it would probably react, or melt it, so I was a little wary of silicone and dirt being present. But I just used a clean rag to thoroughly clean each part, and used a tack rag to get rid of any dust. It worked well. A couple of the edges had rubbed through on the mudguard so I sprayed a little more red on before the lacquer, keeping the parts warm at all times with a small fan heater.
Because this is all being done in a garage with loads of junk and dust around, it's hard to get the perfect finish. On top of that, the aerosols often spurt tiny particles as well, but there's not much you can do but keep on applying and polish it out later. This happens in professional spray booths too, so don't feel like you're having a bad day when the inevitable takes place.
I also used some green scotch pad (obtained from the supermarket) to rough up any areas that were hard to do with the wet & dry. It's probably a little rough at this stage of the paintwork but soaking it in water and bending/crushing it several times makes it a little less harsh on the paint. The end result was good so more than happy.
Applying the lacquer.
Everyone has different ideas when painting. For me I stay around five inches from the piece, and make sure I overlap every line I've just done. Never start or stop spraying the paint while you're over the piece you're spraying on. Get used to keeping the same angle as you spray too so the finish is uniform (don't bend at the wrist, keep your arm straight and move your whole body along the piece).
For me, the first few coats go on light and the orange peel/dry finish gets a bit scary for a while, but I try to finish with a very wet coat so all of the coats of lacquer begin to blend as one to give a glossy, sharp finish. Just need to be a bit careful with runs on that last coat.
After a few coats, I take it up a notch and get it wetter. Keep it warm in between coats and keep an eye on the texture. If it goes like glass after a few seconds, there's a good chance it'll run, but if it takes a few minutes you've probably hit the sweet spot. Unfortunately, only practise will get this right.
It's starting to look nice.
Probably as close as I'll take it without risking runs. It looks pretty good in the flesh and now I need to leave it a week or so to go off.
It's winter here at the moment so I'm also turning the fan heater on between coats to keep the aerosol and paintwork warm. There's nothing worse than getting a great finish on your paint, and watching it turn white and dull because it's so cold.
Horizontal areas are great because you can really lace it on, knowing that there's little chance of getting a run. The vertical sides are another story.
In fairness, the tailpiece came up pretty good too. There's a few bits in it from the aerosol itself so a gentle flatting with more 2000, and then a polish, will hopefully have it looking spot on.
And then disaster!
I nicked off down to Supercheap to get some more lacquer and they were out of the big 350g cans! Hmm, I took one small can to go with the big one still at home, hoping it would be enough. First coat, nice and steady as before.
All going well, then time to wet it up a bit.
Then I had to break into the small tin and all hell broke loose! The small tin starting spurting frequently, which wasn't so bad in itself, but it run out all too quickly. Where I wanted to dose up the top of the tank to get it nice and smooth, it left a horrible dry finish with quite a few bits of shit in it.
Oh well, nothing I could do but leave it to dry and inspect the next day. Some of it looks reasonable but a good flatting with 2000 is very much in order here. Maybe even another coat of lacquer, I'll leave it a couple of weeks to settle and then have another look.
I decided to fit everything back on the bike to prevent accidental knocking over, and also to see how it all looks. I'm very impressed considering it's been done with aerosols. Yes it needs polishing, but it's transformed the bike from how it was. The front mudguard looks great with no evidence of the filler work. Yes, I'm chuffed.
More soon folks...