clear and glossy



If using Candy2o, or even opaques, on metal, I know there are the paint coats, and the in-between coats, but when using these water based paints, what should be used for a nice glossy UV resistant top clear coat?

There's a decent video I've found on youtube that covers adding clearcoat layers, then sanding them with high grit sand paper, and finishing up with a polishing compound to get a real nice finish, but .....the work is being done over paints that are likely *not* water based.

I'm sort of at a dead spot right now with my work due to the heat (not a paint problem, but a problem with the grinder heating up way to quickly when it's 110F or so). So I'm looking to work on something that I *can* practice with, and that is gloss/clear coats.

I have a generic clear coat I got at Lowe's, and for now, and right now I'll be practicing with that, but as I'm moving along, I figured i'd ask about the different methods available for getting a good finish, especially since the paints I want to use are water based.

Guidance is appreciated. Thanks :D
Coast Airbrush has a ton of facebook videos that would help you out in this area. Their "live at 5" is a really good source of info.

Are you looking for a budget solution or ?
Well, for right now, I'm looking for a "does not require airbrush or compressor" solution, because I'm trying to get funds together for that. Unfortunately I can't just spring for a generic compressor either, I need one that will do 3cfm at 90psi, as I want to make sure it will run some air tools that I will be needing in the future for the metal grinding.

The main thing I'm looking to do right now is learn/understand the processes, and if they are something that can be practiced with spray can products, I can get to work on getting my hands on experience now, while I'm waiting to get money together.
If you are talking about a rattle can clear, there are 2 different types....a 1k (1 part) and a 2k (2 part). The 1k you just shake and spray. I find this type not as glossy and a little harder to lay on without runs. This will be good until the can is empty. The 2k has a hardener that you mix in with a button on the bottom when ready to use. It has to be used with in 24-48 hours after activation and is a lot more expensive.
There are quite a few different brands to choose from....depends on your needs
When using clears over water based, always start with a dust coat and work your way up to the final flood coat...
Hope this helps...
I would go for something like sparmax 2k if you're going the rattle can route. It's a true 2k, but once you activate it and it mixes it has a short life. Ik clears as mentioned generally don't look as good, plus 2k lays down better, cures harder, and usually has better uv resistance, and if its an issue has better resistance against gas spills.

There is the issue of having a safe place to use it though. You can buy all the kit to make yourself safe (which I strongly suggest - the nasties are absorbed through the skin, as well as through inhaling), but you need to think about the environment you do it in. You definitely do not want to do it in and around your house as it will affect your family, and neighbours, or anywhere it can get into the water table.

Probably best to save up pieces that need clearing and hire a proper booth.
2k is out for sure. As soon as something can't be done in my own garage or back yard, the cost of doing it will easily surpass any value I might get out of what I make (if I was even looking to sell).
If it's not a big piece you can clear it yourself, at least in my area people paint their cars in their own garages, again may not be exactly legal but no one complains about it,personally I use a booth and definitely check out your local laws just to be on the safe side. A quality respiratory is a must either way.

Clear it, wetsand with 1500 than 2000 until the entire surface is completely dull with no shiny spots.
Then using a rotary or da buffer (da is better for beginners) using a lake country orange pad and meguiars 105 or similar compound polish then step up to a lake country white pad and meguiars 205 or similar polish, again polish everything then if you want aN even better finish you can use a jeweling polish (I use 3m) with a black lake country pad or 205 with black pad with zero pressure. The 3m will leave a better finish but jeweling polish is pretty expensive.

If you do this correctly your paint will have a reflection like a mirror, look a mile deep and extremely wet.

All products can be found on autogeek.
If your going to buy a polisher I highly recommend the flex 3401 as its a forced rotation da (dual action) buffer.
There are literally hundreds of product and pad combinations that will work but this is a way for guaranteed results especially for someone doing it for the first time.

You can not polish out wetsanding scratches by hand, so if your not willing to buy the equipment and different products look up a mobile detailer or detailing shop and for a small fee they can polish it out for you.
Or master laying down your clear so you don't have as much orange peel.
Either way I would recommend a 2 part clear (2K).
When using a 2k rattle clear once you activate it you have a short time to use it or throw it out. If your going to be clearing big pieces or alot of smaller ones a HVLP or lvlp gun may work better, if you have a compressor to run it.
Well, the size I'm working with right now is 2' x 2', and I have plans for pieces that are smaller than that. I'll look at prices on equipment.
Tempted to sell things I should be selling, but I'm tired of having money stand in between me and what I want to do.
If you don't have any of the equipment you could always clear it, sand it and bring it to a shop to polish. A 2x2 panel will only take roughly 30min so shouldn't be that expensive.
Ok. Let me make sure I've got this one part right though.

"1k" clear coats are ok to use over water based paints? There won't be any weird interactions?

And the process is:

1) apply clear coat
2) sand with 1500/2000 grit until dull
3) Polish with low end compound and appropriate pad
4) polish with higher compound and appropriate pad.
5) (not required) polish with super high compound and appropriate pad.

I'm curious also, if a clear coat is applied properly, how thick is it, and with that thickness into account, how long does it take to sand all the way through?
Are you gonna be top coating airbrushed art work? If so be very careful with 1K. I've seen it first hand destroy my white highlights. It literally absorbed them. 1K is very aggressive.

Also Autoborne just came out with their clear base sealer which should be good for Candy2O layer sealing and protection. It isn't shiny but it would seal and protect your artwork till you got a pro clear coat.
your 4-5 steps is basically correct and over simplified. It does not take long at all to completely smooth out the surface using 1500 or 2000. You want to use almost no pressure at all when sanding and always use a foam block or something similar to wrap your sand paper around.
If your going to go threw all this effort and detail personally I would use the 2K clear.

Clear coat can be as thin as one coat or very thick 6+ coats. Usually when you know your going to be wet sanding to achieve that perfectly smooth surface you normally over apply clear since your going to be knocking it back or taking a decent amount off in the sanding and polishing phase.

When your first starting out I would recommend practicing on spare pieces especially for sanding and polishing, its very easy to cut threw your clear and damage your artwork/paint. Do one or two passes with 1500/2000 or higher, dry the area and check for any low spots (which will be shiny) if you did your prep/paint correctly you shouldn't have any real low spots in the clear but more of orange peel that your trying to smooth out. Once its all dull than start polishing, again use little to no pressure and use only the weight of the machine. It is extremely easy to cut threw your paint using a rotary polisher (non DA) especially on corners or raised areas. Depending what compound and polish your using will determine how you polish.

Some compounds/polish have little pieces of "grit" that slowly breakdown and get smaller and smaller as your polishing, others will not break down and will leave a consistent haze no matter if you polish for 30sec or 5min. The ones that break down will leave a glossier finish the longer you work them into the paint.

For more info than you would ever need check out autopia forums, some really good people over there and the majority of members own detailing business. Optimum makes some amazing products, Optimum and some meguiars (pro line, not the stuff found in auto stores) is what I usually use on clients cars for compounding and polishing.