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Painting An AMC Rambler - Learn to Spray Your First Paint Job

Pick the right paints and supplies, find an unfinished panel that is out of view and learn to spray your first paint job.

Photography by ,

We're going to paint one of our project cars in the next year. We're going to do it by hand, in the Car Craft shop, from car wash to final color-sand and buff, all while you watch. Though we've painted a few cars in the past, there has always been a shop or professional gun at work at some point in the project that has kept us from proclaiming 100 percent ownership of the work, good or bad.

If you've had the same idea, you're going to need to know all the little details about picking the right paint, sandpaper, reducers, and a list of other items that conspire to bog you down. You're also going to want to start your first job in an out-of-the-way place, like under the hood or in the trunk, in case you make a couple of mistakes, like we did. Trunks also don't require color-sanding and buffing to look right, so they're a great place to get some practice on good prep work and spraying techniques.

The CC/Rambler had some surface rust in the trunk and some areas where the seam sealer had retreated and the original paint had started to bubble. All that was required was some simple sanding and application of some primer to get the area paint ready. That allowed us to spend more time on paint mixing and experimenting with paint flow, air pressure, and spray pattern before we tackled anything like an entire car. Try it.

3/4-inch masking tape$1.75
3M 320-grit wet or dry sandpaper, 100 pack35.29
DuPont V-4904S primer/filler, 1 gal.123.00
DuPont V-4975S activator, 1 qt.61.00
Nason basecoat, 1/2 gal.40.00
Nason activator, 1 qt.28.40
DuPont HC2300S clear, 1 gal.151.79
DuPont HC2305S activator, 1 qt.47.69
Inline air filter47.00
Overspray sheeting27.63
Sharpe air regulator27.00
Evercoat brushable seam sealer, 1 qt.14.37
SEM self-etching primer, 1 can11.03
Quart pails, 62.94

Because we don't have a wall-mounted pressure regulator, the pressure at the inlet regulator is well over 100 psi. We had to pull the trigger halfway to relieve the initial pressure spike on each stroke then pull it all the way to get the paint to flow. A wall mount is next on the grocery list. A cheater valve regulates by restricting airflow. Think of it as kinking a hose to temporarily stop water flow. Straighten the hose, and water blasts out. A proper wall-mount regulator vents off excess pressure, therefore holding steady at whatever pressure you set it to.

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