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11/21/2016 11:14 AM  #1

Recommendations for a beginner.

Hey guys.  I am going to attempt to paint the hood on my F150 and I have a few questions.
Please keep in mind that this is a learning project for me and I would like to use inexpensive primer and paint where possible so that if I screw it up and have to sand it down and start over I'm not out a lot of money... I don't want crap primer/paint either... just don't need top of the line (daily driver quality, not show quality).

Also, if possible, I would like to use products I can buy at my local O'reilly auto parts.  I've talked to a few painters in this area and that seems to be where they buy their products.

I bought this paint gun set at harbor freight.

So here are my questions:
1.  Mostly the paint on the hood is very oxidized and thin.  There are only 2 very small spots where I see rust that appears to be about 2mm each...very small.  Do I need to sand the entire hood down to bare metal, or should I just sand the rust spots to bare metal and then scuff the rest?

2. I've read that I should use an epoxy primer.  Can you recommend a decent, relatively inexpensive epoxy primer?

3. Can you recommend a decent, relatively inexpensive basecoat/clearcoat black paint?

4.  How much primer/paint should I buy to paint the hood and have enough left to do the roof of the truck (single cab) at a later date... and a small amount left for touch up?

5. Should I scuff between coats of base?...between coats of clear?...between base and clear?... with what grit sandpaper?

6. The paint gun set I bought has a small gun and a larger gun.  Should I shoot primer with one and paint with the other?...Or shoot primer and paint with the same gun, but with different tips?

7.  The hood is very straight, so I don't think I'll need to do and build up priming and block sanding.  Is it ok to spray my base coat directly on the epoxy primer after sanding it lightly?... what grit should I sand it with? (From question 1 if I just sand the rust spots and scuff the rest then obviously I will need to build up prime and block sand)

If you've made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read all of that and thank you in advance for your help.

Last edited by Michael H. (11/21/2016 11:16 AM)


11/22/2016 10:29 AM  #2

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

Ramses did his first paint job on his 66 coupe using mostly products bought online.  His first effort turned out fantastic and I would put it up against ANY custom paint shop's work.  (Of course, he had me standing there saying I would kick his butt if he did not take the time to get it right)

That said, you can do it as well.  Sometimes you just have to work harder and take extra steps that you don't really want to take.  The end result is all that matters and what you will see for as long as you own the car.  So, ATTITUDE is just as important as anything else.  Your paint job will turn out just as good as you want it to.  If you don't want to take the time to do it right, it will look that way until you get around to fixing it later.  If you take the time and put pride in your work, the job can turn out like Ramses' work did, second to none.

I'll see if I can round him up to give you some pointers that will mean more coming from a first timer.

Money you enjoy wasting is NOT wasted money... unless your wife finds out.

11/22/2016 11:02 AM  #3

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

You will want to sand any rust area flat and kill the rust and/or treat any bare metal before priming.  I use a 50/50 mix of phosphoric acid and water.  Spray a little on the bare metal, let it dry, when ready to prime use a damp cloth to wipe the treated area and prime with epoxy primer immediately (soon as the are dries).  DP-90 is a good epoxy primer/sealer.  Sand the entire hood with 220 dry paper and shoot on a coat of DP-90.  Then do any body work...glazing putty on the little low rusted areas, or more major hammer/dolly/fill work on top of the DP-90.  Shoot High-Build primer over all that and block it down with 360 paper or so.  Shoot the base coat and a couple of coats of clear (whatever the mfg. recommends...READ THE INSTRUCTIONS).  Cut it with progressively fine wet paper, hit it with a wheel and some fine polishing compound and be proud.  It will most likely look better than the rest of the truck or anything you park next to.

​It's been a few years since I squirted anything and the products/methods have changed, so please,  anyone else please chime in.

Last edited by Bullet Bob (11/22/2016 11:04 AM)

"you get what you pay for, good work isn't cheap, and there are NO free lunches...PERIOD!"

11/22/2016 11:42 AM  #4

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

I am NOT a body man/ painter, but I put a new front fender on my wife's 2012 Escape and refinished it myself using a Harbor Freight gun similar to the one you pictured. I used a basecoat/clearcoat system from Sherman Williams. I bought a pint of paint, and a quart of clear and it was just about $115.00 for everything - paint, reducer, clear, and catalyst. I put some runs in the clear which I sanded out later. Sanded it down with 1200 grit wet or dry and polished it out with an orbital polisher with a Sherwin Williams #1 polish ($34.00 a bottle - ouch!). It shines really nice, and my wife is happy with it. Buy enough material so you can fix it if you make a mistake. If you work at it, it will come out nice.


11/22/2016 11:47 AM  #5

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

Does this seem right?
1. So, sand the whole hood or not?
2. Kill rust with 50/50 phosphoric acid and water?  Then wipe with a damp cloth (to neutralize acid, I guess???).
3. Shoot epoxy primer (sand afterward???...if so, with what grit???)
4. Shoot high build primer and block sand with 360grit
5. Shoot base according to mfg specs (where do I get mfg specs?...from their website?) (scuff between coats???) (scuff before clear???) (if so, with what grit???)
6. Shoot clear according to mfg specs

     Thread Starter

11/22/2016 1:16 PM  #6

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

Go to, forum has lots of info


11/22/2016 5:53 PM  #7

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.


Sounds like you are about to do some fun stuff! From a first timers point of view, I would do it this way:

1)Sand hood to bare metal(that way the primer has a solid base to grip to)
2)Follow up cleaning the bare metal with a paper towel and some PPG Cleaner, when dry, follow through with a tack rag to get rid of any paper towel particles,etc.
3) Shoot some high build primer overlapping every half way to get good coverage. Let dry, block/wet sand with 400-600 grit. Darker spots will be low spots, bare metal-high. Shoot another coat of primer, sand with 800-1000 grit. Get a block to sand, using your hand will leave striations because of uneven fingers, unless you want to let your car look like it has tiger stripes under the paint.
4)Clean and prep
5)Mist the first coat of paint about 1 1/2 ft high from the panel.(adjust gun if shooting too heavy)
6) Follow up with a heavier coat until full coverage. let cure and dry(different paints have different cure times).
7) once dry, wet sand with 1000 grit to get rid of imperfections(bugs, dog hair, your hair, etc)
8)Follow up with shooting clear. Same concept from above, mist, and every coat get heavier. Main thing, move your arm as you are layering or you WILL get runs. 
9) When I did my car, I shot 3 coats of clear, wet sanding in between each coat. Doing so gave the finish more depth(maybe an aesthetic thing, but it certainly looks that way to me).
10) Once fully cured and dry. Wet sand one final time with 1000-1200 grit. At this stage, once the wet sanding is done and all the milky white clear residue is cleaned off, you should be able to see a pretty sheen and gloss on the panel.
11) Bring out the buffer, 3M Rubbing compound (Yellow Bottle), follow up with Polishing compound(Black or Purple bottle)

Now this is just one of hundreds of ways to do it and others may have different opinions towards my approach, but it worked for me. 

I used:
PPG Self-etching primer
PPG High Build Primer
Urekem Jalapeno Red basecoat
Urekem Clear Coat

If you want very reasonably priced primer & paint that is really good, urekem worked great for me. I would certainly use them again if painting another car.

Good luck! and have fun!


Last edited by Ramses (11/22/2016 6:00 PM)


11/23/2016 8:40 AM  #8

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

Thank you very much for the good info!

     Thread Starter

11/24/2016 5:32 PM  #9

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

What condition is the hood in now?


11/24/2016 10:21 PM  #10

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

I think some of the beginner instructions may have had some loss of memory involved in their answers.  That is fine but I think it worthy of stating using a really fine paper is NOT the way to get a car straight.  You cannot initially sand down build primer with 400 or 600 grit sandpaper.  It will glide over the high spots and result in a wavy surface.  You need to use a 9" or longer block and start with 180 grit sandpaper until you get the surface to the proper shape.  That means FLAT on flat surfaces.  Smooth contour on contoured surfaces.  400 paper will not cut enough to get it in that condition.  Once you get the surface correct with 180 or 220 grit, then reprime and sand off the orange peel with some 400.  Then shoot the color.  You will not need anything finer than 400 before shooting color.
My preference is to use 180, then recoat, then 220 until flat, then recoat and use 400.  Then shoot color.

My method on getting a smooth clearcoat when not in a spray booth involves shooting the panel twice.  The trick is to shoot it so it dries before any impurities land on it.  Here's how.  Shoot a good wet coat of clear on the car and let it dry for a day or so.  Then block sand the entire car to remove all orange peel and impurities with 400 wet sanded.  Then come back and shoot one good glossy coat of clear on top of that.  It will fill the 400 sanding scratches like magic.  The key here is to get it sprayed then walk away and let it dry.  The general tendency is to keep shooting until the gun runs out of clearcoat.  And all that does is keep burying impurities under coat after coat of clear.  By shooting one thin wet coat and letting it dry, after having wetsanded with 400 on the previous clear, you are coating a very smooth flat surface with a very rapidly drying coat.  Most times that top coat will not even require a wet sand with 1,000 grit before buffing.  But if you want that final mirror smooth finish, sand it with 1,000 and then buff it out.  Remember, the more you sand on it with a really fine sandpaper, the more waves you are going to put into the paint. 
Most "professionals" recommend using a sanding sponge to sand with 1,000 wet.  I do not buy into that idea.  You just went to the trouble to sand your car for six months with a block to get it perfectly flat.  Why would you want to use a soft sponge or your hand to go back and induce waves back into the paint job?  In my practice of painting a few cars, I have always wet sanded with a block, except on the top sharp edges of fenders etc.  The paint work came out much flatter that way than when the "professionals" at mastercrap sanded it with a sponge before buffing.

A soft sanding sponge surface with a very fine paper will glide up and over high spots and down into low spots, unlike a block that cuts off the high spots and makes things level.  I will put this practice up against anyone who wants to compare their way to mine.

Money you enjoy wasting is NOT wasted money... unless your wife finds out.

11/28/2016 2:12 AM  #11

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

Also don't worry about runs in clear, it's easy to remove runs. Just don't get any orange peel or dry spray when you spray the clear or base.  Make sure when you spray the clear you hold your gun 6-8" away. Then when you make a pass look at it. Make sure the clear is wet and has a good gloss. Don't be afraid to spray a little more to get a good solid wet coat.  When your spraying you'll notice on the sds sheet for the clear a term called flash time. What that is is basically the time it takes for the solvents to evaporate out of the clear.  When you spray a clear, if you have a piece of tape next to where you sprayed your in luck. Touch the tap you should feel either sticky or tachy. If it's tacky then the clear should have flashed and you should never good for your second coat of clear.  For a small job such as what you are doing it would suggest a quart of base. Clear it depends on the shop. Some shops don't sell quarts of clear some do. They also have different types.  1-1 2-1 4-1 4-1-2 it just depends.  What that means is the mix ratio for the clear.  Some clears after adding the hardener it doubles the amount of clear.  So I would ask your local jobber on the clear. If you want a great clear spi is awesome stuff. It's also not to pricy for what you get. For your tip size it should be 1.3 solvent borne base 1.4 water borne base. 1.2 for the clear coat. The 2.0 and such sizes are used for high build primers but mainly they use those for big mettalic flakes. Hope this helps.


11/28/2016 10:00 AM  #12

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

Thanks MS and True74Yamaha... Unfortunately I didn't get to read your responses before painting, but I'm still pleased with my results (especially for my first time to ever try).  It definitely has some orange peel, but I'm hoping some of that will come out with some cut & buff work.  Some things you can only learn by doing and I definitely learned a lot.  I think I will be able to do a better job next time.
My ultimate goal is to get good enough to paint my '68 F100 that I'm restoring.  In the meantime I will continue to learn by reconditioning my daily driver.  Now that I've gotten my feet wet I'm much less scared of it.

Last edited by Michael H. (11/28/2016 10:03 AM)

     Thread Starter

11/28/2016 1:15 PM  #13

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

Looks great!! Did you get any runs? Or fish eyes?


11/28/2016 1:28 PM  #14

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

Thank you!  I had one small run... no fish eyes (at least I don't think so, but I'm not sure I've ever seen it in person)
I'm going to have to do some research on getting rid of orange peel, though...  Do you have any tips?

Orange peel is pretty significant in some places as you can see in this pic

Last edited by Michael H. (11/28/2016 1:29 PM)

     Thread Starter

11/29/2016 12:58 AM  #15

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

A run can simply be taken out using the following.  3/4" masking tape, polyester glazing putty,  paint stick, 600 800 and 1500 grit sand paper. I have seen some decent videos on people who use this method on their cars clear. I actually learned it from a well known custom painter.  Hondo John Espil. As for the orange peel it looks likes it's in the clear? If so you can use some  800g sand paper or a  grey scuff pad to remove it.  After going over the entire hood you'll need to spray a piss coat of clear. Some painters call it a activation coat or a mist coat. Basically have your gun with a 1.2 or 1.3 nozzle if you have one. A 1.4 will work but you have to be quicker and keep your 6-8 distance from the panel. The reason for a piss coat is so it will show you If have any contamination on the panel. It will show up with in just a few seconds. After the piss coat sits for about  a minute you can give a full wet coat on the panel.  Make sure after you make a pass you look on an angle to see if you have any shinny or dull areas. If you do make another pass. You should spray the clear keeping in mind your 50% over lap.  After a while it becomes pretty easy to spray.  A good habit to have is this. If you are right handed wrap the air hose around your back holding it in your left hand. Also make sure you don't flick your wrist when you spray. Many many painters flick their wrist. They can argue as much as they want, but the paint will be thinner if you do. This doesn't sound like it would really matter to some people but it does in the paint world. You can end up with serious paint variations.  I hope this helps ya out.


11/29/2016 8:16 AM  #16

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

Thank you!

     Thread Starter

12/02/2016 8:18 PM  #17

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

What paint line did you end up using?


12/05/2016 9:09 AM  #18

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

Nason from O'reilly's

     Thread Starter

12/05/2016 11:14 AM  #19

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

I'd check something before you plan on spraying next time.  Some BC can be dry or wet sanded prior to being clear coated. Some times orange peel can be from shooting the paint to heavy in areas. If you do get orange peel run or other flaws in the base. You can let the base flash and cure, then you can sand with 600-1500g depending on what the paint looks like.  This is best to be done on solid colors only.  If you sand a mettalic base.  It will end up looking like stainless steel sometimes. After sanding you can then clean tack and re shoot a piss coat of base over the hood. After that check and see if the paint filled in the minor sanding scratches. If the paint didn't quite fill them in give it enough coats to fill in the flaw.  Then after this is done you can then then clear the panel.  A good way to practice is filling a spray gun with water then paint your car with it.  If right handed wrap the air hose around the small of your back, hold part of the hose with your left had.  The reason for this is precautionary so that you don't end up with a mark from your air hose hitting the nice painted panel. Make sure you use a side step motion when painting.  Walk the whole panel.  Don't flick your wrist.  Follow this read your SDS sheet and you'll be a problem in no time. Your hood looks great for your first time. Many pro painters end up with orange peel so no worries on that one. If anyone ever says anything. All if say if hey man I was going for custom. Good luck finishing your painting. I wish I could paint my car.  My problem is its way way to cold to paint in my shop.  And the college is closed right now so I can't use the booth. Ugh.


12/08/2016 9:51 PM  #20

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

That looks pretty darn good.  If it has thick enough clearcoat, just get a rubber block with some 1,000 and sand it wet until all you see is dull paint with no orange peel.  Then sand with 1,500 or just get after it with the buffer and compound.  You won't believe your eyes when you see the mirror smooth glossy surface.  Then, you can go paint the rest of the truck because it will look terrible next to your new painted hood!

When sanding, make long even strokes and crisscross them so you do not make the paint wavy.

Money you enjoy wasting is NOT wasted money... unless your wife finds out.

12/09/2016 9:19 AM  #21

Re: Recommendations for a beginner.

Thanks!   I definitely plan to wet sand and buff with hopes of smoothing it out, but with Christmas coming up it may be a few weeks before I have time.

You're right... it looks better than the rest of the truck now!

     Thread Starter

Board footera

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