Our flamed '65 El Camino suffered from several nasty chips scattered across the white fade portion of the flames Santini laid down more than seven years ago. We removed the hood letters to give us more working room. Our flamed '65 El Camino suffered from several nasty chips scattered across the white fade Once the paint is properly filled in, Santini suggests 1,500-grit wet sandpaper wrapped around a short length of paint stick to sand the small bubble down smooth. Work slowly here to remove only the material necessary. Finish this off by buffing the area with a fine polish and you're done. The Paint-Chip ChallengeThe paint chips in the leading edge of the hood of our Santini-flamed El Camino all occurred in the white portion of the flame job, but all three seemed to have different hues. Santini tried the paint dab trick, but even custom-mixing the paint didn't work. Several attempts at dabbing paint only made the repair look worse than the original chips. "I knew this was going to happen," Santini said. "We're gonna have to spray these out." We acted grateful. Santini experimented with mixing paint to come up with the best mix. He told us that it's not uncommon for the paint to get darker as it dries. The good news is that if paint is not catalyzed but well sealed in a cool, dry storage place, it can last for years. Santini experimented with mixing paint to come up with the best mix. He told us that it's The difference was worth the effort. Santini quickly filled in the offending chips with a filler, lightly scuffed a larger area around the chip, then masked the flames and the hood trim. With a small HVLP detail gun, he used the same paint mix that he had used to dab the chips, and instantly the flaws disappeared. He followed that up with a clear that had to sit for several days before it could be lightly rubbed out and buffed. It was literally that easy. Even before the repair was rubbed out, we could not tell that there had been an ugly chip there. So chips are not the end of the world, even for a flamed cruiser like ours. Oh, and just for the record, Santini is the man. The Clear AdvantageAfter spending the better part of the day watching Santini fix those nasty chips in the leading edge of the hood on our El Camino, it occurred to us that maybe there's a way to prevent these problems from occurring again. Our El Camino is like driving a barn door through the wind, and it seems like every bouncing projectile and rock aims right for the leading edge of the hood. Then we remembered hearing something about a clear plastic mask you can apply over existing paint that protects it from rocks and other abusive projectiles. 3M offers a product called ClearMask that is just that-a very thin plastic mask that adheres like a large see-through decal. The ClearMask decal can be purchased as a kit for '00-up year cars, or you can buy a 10-foot-long by 2-inch-wide strip for $18.50. The plastic is a total of 0.008 inch thick and will protect your paint from all those nasty little heat-seeking Bouncing Betties that are always attacking your paint. We also priced a custom kit for an '02 Camaro that would cover the leading edge of the hood, both front fenders, and the mirrors for a mere $68.75, with upgrades that could total $97.02. It might be worth looking into if you're ready to try something new. As you can see, as a spot repair, even the matched paint still didn't come close. Santini says that's because the paint is metallic. Attempting to spot-fill the chips made them look worse, so Santini abandoned that approach. As you can see, as a spot repair, even the matched paint still didn't come close. Santini To repair the chips, Santini first scuffed them to remove their sharp edges using 1,500-grit wet sandpaper. He likes to scuff an area roughly four to as much as ten times the size of the chip to get an adequate blend. This was not possible because of the proximity of the flames. To repair the chips, Santini first scuffed them to remove their sharp edges using 1,500-gr Next, Santini used 11/48-inch-wide tape to mask the edge of the flames along the pinstripe line and then followed that up with wider tape and paper that also covered the hood chrome trim. Next, Santini used 11/48-inch-wide tape to mask the edge of the flames along the pinstripe Santini prefers to use Sikkens Kombi putty rather than a spot putty to fill in the chip depression. It dries within 30 minutes, is easily sanded, and is paintable. Santini prefers to use Sikkens Kombi putty rather than a spot putty to fill in the chip de Using the same paint mix he used when attempting to spot the paint chips, Santini used an HVLP detail gun to fog in the white paint. To our eyes, the chips almost immediately disappeared. He then came back with a slight bit of yellow to make the flames appear as they did before the repair. Finally, he hit this same area with a light coating of clear. Using the same paint mix he used when attempting to spot the paint chips, Santini used an The paint had to dry for at least two days before Santini could go back over the area with 1,500/2,000-grit wet sandpaper to smooth out the edges and feather it back into the original clear. He rubbed this out with a high-quality polish and the job was done. The paint had to dry for at least two days before Santini could go back over the area with SOURCES 3M 888-364-3577 www.3M.com Santini USA Paint & Body Westminster CA « | 1 | 2 | View Full Article Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!