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  1. #1
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Tips on Taping Off Thin Paint and Chipped Paint

    Tips on Taping Off Thin Paint and Chipped Paint


    When I first brought the 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass to the shop I had originally planned to carefully Dampsand the paint to remove all the swirls and sanding scratches left by the other guy...

    The first project I did was an article on how to restore and preserve antique and original vinyl tops using 303 products. As I worked on the top I became more familiar with the entire car and started to notice all the thin spots on raised body lines, corners and edges. I also found to blend lines.

    To me these were indicators of trouble if a person were to attempt getting too aggressive with the correction process for the paint on this car, so i nixed sanding the paint and instead decided just to machine clean and polish the paint.

    When CLOSELY inspecting the hood and front clip I found a number of places where the paint was buffed for too long and primer was either showing, of ghosting through and buffing in these areas will only remove more of the top coat exposing more of the primer underneath.

    So to avoid doing more damage than has already been done I decided to carefully tape-off any areas with thin paint. In some places I was concerned that when I go to remove the tape, the adhesive on the tape may have more pulling strength over the adhesion of the paint to the panels, for this reason I chose to only tackle JUST the hood from beginning to end and then get the tape off the paint to reduce the potential for pulling paint off with the tape.

    Short Time
    Leaving the tape on for only a short time can help reduce the chance of pulling any good paint off the car in damaged areas. Another tip is to take your tape and before you apply it to the paint, place the adhesive side on your pant leg or on your shirt where the adhesive will pull off some fuzz or fiber particles and the effect this has is to reduce the stickiness of the tape. This is a little tip that can also help reduce the potential for pulling any paint off the car when pulling the tape off the car. Also be sure to pull the tape off at an angle, perpendicular to the panel and not straight up and off the panel.

    Let's get started...


    First the fresh air intake grills have a trim piece surrounding them with hard, sharp edges. There are a number of places someone else has already burned completely through the paint to expose both primer and sheet metal.



    Here you can see bare metal and touch-up paint applied to where paint was chipped off.



    Just down a ways from the above picture you can see where paint is lifting and chipping off... I don't want to get compound and polish residue in the seem surrounding the fresh air intake grill but I also don't want to pull off any paint when I pull off the tape.



    Here's another area where the paint has been buffed on too long with a rotary buffer and the result is the paint has been burned-through exposing both primer and bare metal.



    Same there here in on this edge close to the chrome fins that make up the grill.



    Here you can see where no paint was sprayed at all, just red primer. This is an indicator as to the quality of the paint job overall. Not a strong indicator, just something to Raise the Red Flag of Caution .


    To be extra careful, I'm going to place the adhesive tape against my shirt a few times to attract some fuzz and fiber off the shirt and onto the adhesive thereby reducing it's stickiness and thus it's adhesive strength. This is called,

    Burning the tape

    For any place where paint is seen to be flaking or chipping off, I want to take some extra precautions.






    Now I place the painters tape down and carefully work my way to cover all of the grill.



    Someone asked me how to easily get the tape onto just the areas you want cover and my answer is you can make it as complicated as you want or as simple as you want. If you want to get complicated here's a simple tip, use a pencil to outline where you want to make your cut, (don't push hard on the tape or you might leave an imprint in the paint), then lift the tape up and back a little and make your cut.











    In this shot I've taped off the fresh air intake grills and also laid out a taped-off section for the Reverse Test Spot .



    There are a number of places on the front clip where the paint has been burned-through. Buffing on them just a little will cause the burn-through area to creep or enlarge, so I don't want to be responsible for burn-through-creep so I'm going to carefully tape these areas off.




    First I open the door, this makes it easier to tape this area off and actually when I'm buffing this area I'll have the door open too.





    Here's a thin spot along the hood edge...



    You can place some tape on the adjacent panel as a marker so you don't forget about it as you buff this area...





    Or tape the edge off, I chose to tape the edge off by opening the hood, taping the area, then folding the tape down the side of the hood.



    Just out from the edge of the hood there's a thin spot on the raised body line of the front driver's side fender. This is a COMMON place to find burn-through paint as detailers tend to buff the easy panels too much, easy being the horizontal panels here it's easy to stand their and run the polisher.



    If you don't have thin tape you can make thin tape to enable you to only cover the part you want to protect.


    Then remove your marker or leave it there as you're buffing the top, the idea being not to forget about thin areas and buff on them too long.




    Open doors, hood and trunk lid tip
    When it comes to classics, a lot of time the body panels don't line up perfectly and you'll have one edge of a panel higher or lower than an adjacent panel. for these situations you can open the hood, doors or trunk lid and then carefully buff the panel in a way that you can safely buff on the paint without the risk of at the same time buffing on an edge that would be higher if the hood, door, or trunk lid were closed.

    Along the edge where the hood meets the fender there are places where the hood is higher and also lower than the edge of the fender. By raising the hood just a little I can buff on the hood without also having the buffing pad touching, or buffing on the fender.





    If I open the hood higher, (and cover the engine compartment to protect it from splatter), I can then buff the edge of the fender without having the buffing pad touching or buffing on the hood.

    This takes a little more time but will help you from leaving your Signature on the car.

    Signature = Mistake


    See this article,
    Your Signature - Don't leave one...


    And here's two related articles...

    Tape it off and avoid a lifetime of ugly...

    TOGW = The Other Guy's Wax



    On Autogeek.net

    3M Automotive Performance Masking Tape 3 Pack

    Meguiars Professional Masking Tape

    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Porsche Pilot's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on Taping Off Thin Paint and Chipped Paint

    Great tip as always Mike. I burned through a sharp edge on my 944 the other day. Luckily I caught it in time and it isnt too noticible. I will need to do this taping technigue from now on. Well worth the extra time. Thanks!

  3. #3
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on Taping Off Thin Paint and Chipped Paint

    This was the area I wanted to be very careful around,





    For this reason I dulled my tape down and only let it stay on the car until I finished the compound and polishing work on the hood, then I removed it.

    The longer painter's tape remains on the paint the better the chances are that it will adhere more thoroughly and the adhesive and the tape can start to dry out and harden. This will make removing the tape harder and more risky. This is especially true if it's a hot day or hot weather and the tape and car heat up as this also helps the adhesive to better stick to the paint.

    Last night I wiped clean, then clayed the paint, then taped off the dangerous areas to buff and immediately after the polishing step I removed the tape around the fresh air grills and... no problems...

    Now I'll move on the the trunk-lid, (the other horizontal panel on this car as the roof is vinyl), and then the vertical panels.


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  4. #4
    Senior Member SeaJay's's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on Taping Off Thin Paint and Chipped Paint

    Great write up. Really looking forward to how this car turns out!

  5. #5
    Senior Member BobbyG's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on Taping Off Thin Paint and Chipped Paint

    Mike,

    As always another keeper!

    One thing I've done several times; If I find an area that looks suspicious where the paint is damaged or flaking I apply a coat of wax to keep the tapes adhesive from sticking to it therefore leaving it intact.

    Just a method I've used....

    BobbyG - 2004 Millennium Yellow Z06 Corvette

  6. #6
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on Taping Off Thin Paint and Chipped Paint

    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post

    One thing I've done several times; If I find an area that looks suspicious where the paint is damaged or flaking I apply a coat of wax to keep the tapes adhesive from sticking to it therefore leaving it intact.

    Just a method I've used....
    That's genius...

    Thanks for sharing that tip...

    This is why I always tell others to be open to new ideas, products and procedures and take that advice and follow it myself.

    Somethings seem so simple and obvious but nevertheless, for reasons unknown we don't see them at the time, or in time.

    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  7. #7
    Senior Member CEE DOG's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on Taping Off Thin Paint and Chipped Paint

    Some good tips here. Thank you!
    :dancebanana:

    Sky's the Limit Car Care

  8. #8
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on Taping Off Thin Paint and Chipped Paint

    Quote Originally Posted by CEE DOG View Post

    Some good tips here. Thank you!

    No problemo...


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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