Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fluidic Verna - Scratched and Painted

Fluidic Verna - Scratched and Painted

“All Good things must come to an end!”

Sounds like something Murphy would’ve said. Well whoever said it, they’re right. What happened? I managed to marr the Verna’s beautiful derriere. How did it happen? Could be Carelessness, Callousness, Cockiness. Call it what you may. The result remains. The white bottom was not so white anymore.

See for yourself.

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So now, what do we do about it? Call the showroom of course. Minutes later, I’m educated that the bumper costs a ridiculous 1500 rupees. You heard it right. This Million Rupee car had a bumper that will bend, but wont dent your wallet. What’s the catch though? There’s always a gray area somewhere. Well it turns out there is a gray area. The entire bumper in fact is gray. So what’s the cost for paint then, you ask. Well, it’s in the ballpark of 4-5k. So there you go. 6-7k sounds about right. Murphy’s happy again.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way”

Well not quite. I had the will to reverse into the parking spot. But there was no way. And boy did I learn. Now that I know the only way is to paint the darn thing, might as well get it over with. My wife wanted me to wait till I banged it up further and the get it painted. It pains me that 1- She was ok to live with this ghastly abomination on the car. And 2 – She expected me to do more damage with my imbecile driving! That just won’t do!

“If it’s worth doing. It’s worth doing it yourself!”

Me: Looking at the bumper and scratching my head “We need to go to Comm Street.”
Her: Lighting up. “Are you finally taking me shopping there?”
Me: No.
Her: Visibly unhappy. “Then?”
Me: Still looking at the bumper “I need to get Paint.”
Her: Surely Agitated. “Now?, I thought you were taking it tomorrow.”
Me: Ignoring the fact that she referred to the car as ‘IT’. “No, I’m going to try painting it myself.”

You don’t need to hear the rest of the conversation. Let’s just say that I won this battle. Of course she got to do her shopping as well.

Having a white car has its advantages and disadvantages. Advantage is that white is an easily available color of paint. Disadvantage is that there’s a million different shades of white out there. Nevertheless, the ‘Crystal White’ as Hyundai likes to call it, is a pretty straightforward shade of white. Not like the stupid ‘Desert Brown’ of Maruti, which I can swear is pink! Or Cinnamon Green or Sassy Grass Green and what not! I’m surprised we haven’t seen any ‘Blue Balls’ or ‘Purple Nurples’ yet.

Anyways. I got a can of spray paint in white. I went looking for Bosny or ComPaint. I have experience with both of these. But Comm Street after eight is not the place or time to be picky. You grab what you get, and you get the hell out. Simple. What did I grab? A can of Magic. And some sandpaper in two grit grades. I had everything else at home.

Early Sunday morning and I set out with my arsenal.

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You can see the Can of Paint, Sandpaper, Scissors, Piece of Cardboard with a small window cut out, some light Rubbing Polish, Cloth and of course, some Masking Tape. What you don’t see is a bottle of thinner and some rag and lots of newspaper.

While painting is simple, it’s extremely easy to mess it up. Before Proceeding, Keep these things in mind. If you already know it – READ IT AGAIN!
  • Make sure all surfaces to be painted are free of dust, dirt, grease etc.
  • Cover everything within 1 meter of the area to be painted. The more you cover, the better. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
  • Always paint in a well ventilated, dust free area.
  • DO NOT paint near open flames or where there's a risk of sparks flying. Save the ciggy for later.
  • Wear gloves and eye protection.
  • Make sure everything you need during the job are within easy reach.
  • Sand the area properly using the correct grit paper. Sanding will ensure that the paint sticks to the surface. Else, though it will appear painted, peeling/chipping may occur. So do it perfectly. Do not remove too much paint though. Start with a lower grade grit and move up till the area is smooth.
  • Paint a small area first and see if everything is as it should be. Especially color.
  • DO NOT paint in a place where there's risk of tripping over on stuff. Find a nice, roomy ventilated space.
  • ALWAYS paint in one direction. This ensures consistency and better finish.
  • DO NOT spray sporadically or hold the spray for long onto one particular area. Be fluidic :D. If you miss an area or if it’s too thin, it will be covered in the next coat. So don’t fret.
  • Shake the can well before each coat. Clean the nozzle after each coat. Failing to do so will cause partially solidified paint drops to stick to the painted surface.
  • DO NOT inhale the fumes. Take frequent breaks in between. It’s good for you and gives time for the paint to dry. Just remember not to overdo it.
  • Always hold the spray canister at the greatest possible distance and ensure thin, even coats. It’s always better to get less paint transfer and use multiple coats for a perfect finish than to hurry it up and have paint running to develop into bubbles and ugly splotches
  • Use the cardboard with the window cut out, if you need to paint small targeted areas. Hold the cardboard near the area to be painted and the paint can at the normal distance.
  • Give ample time for each coat to dry. DO NOT touch to see if its dry. Depending on the paint, it may take from a couple of hours to a day or two for the paint to dry. It also depends on the climate. You get the drift.
  • After each coat, look for deformities, missed areas etc. Missed areas can be given a short extra blast and deformities can be sanded to perfection. ALWAYS be careful not to overdo it.
  • If you’ve got paint on an area you didn’t wish to paint, it usually means you skimped out on the masking part. Anyways, use thinner to clean the area immediately.
  • While painting, if you find dust or fibres sticking to the paint, DO NOT try to clean it immediately. The paint has a characteristic adherence that will cause it to stretch if its cleaned before drying. Most such stickies will come off once you rub it after the paint has dried.
  • Each coat should be a full coat to maintain consistency. DO NOT paint the area in installments as the coats may dry to appear in different shades.
  • Monitor how the paint responds to different holds, distances etc and use it to perfect the job.
  • Once all the coats have been completed, give it a couple of days to dry completely. Paint may appear dry on the outside, but will not completely for at least 12 hours. Leave it for a few days and then apply the clear.
  • Once the painting has been completed, give it a couple of coats of clear, following the same guidelines. Just cause its transparent doesn’t mean you can slack.
  • If not done properly, Clear coats will ruin all you work. If done properly, they will preserve and showcase the finish for long.
Here’s a part shot of one of the areas being covered. There was a small scratch here. This will also serve as a test before I paint the larger area. I do not have WIP pics because I was alone and did not want to handle the camera while painting.

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Here’s a pic before some rubbing, polishing and touching up.

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Here's the current pics. You can see the cubes where I’ve painted. I’ve left them so for now, so that they can dry completely. Once done, I will rub and polish the area after matching the color further. Also, it will tell me if the paint holds. I will put up more pics after I complete next week.

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Total damage: Rs. 180 for the can of paint. Rs.60 for the sand paper. Both of these have more than 90% left unused. So it’ll last me a long time!

I must say I’m very happy with the outcome. Especially since it cost me less than a fraction of the company claimed amount. Sure it’s not perfect yet. But it’s better than driving around in a scratched up car. And unless you go looking for it or I show it to you. There’s no way you’ll notice it.

“All’s well that ends well!” Murphy can go to hell.

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