In the Shop

Motorcycle Painting Part 3 of 3

By Bob Wark

(Note: You may use this article on your Website, but it must inlude the following - This article was written by Bob Wark. It is not intended to be a tutorial, rather an overview of the process. You may contact the author at The Warkshop - 740-374-4250 - or at his Website: www.warkshop.com)



If you have been following this series you know our parts have had their final '600' grit sanding and are ready for the 'Gun'.

First, the spray booth is given a good cleaning. Special attention is given to the incoming air filters. All air entering the booth is filtered to assure a minimum of air borne contaminants. The parts, which are on jigs, are evenly spaced to give me lots of safe movement. This spacing is critical as I wear a supplied air mask while painting. The combination of wearing this space suit and dragging around the related hoses is a bit ponderous, but this system allows me to breath air drawn from outside of the booth so it is very important to my health!

Next, I put on my freshly washed nylon painting suit. All parts are now washed with 'wax and grease remover' to assure there is no surface contamination... one sweaty finger print can ruin a job! The exhaust fan is of course running during this work to carry away the fumes and generally clear the booth air. The floor of the booth is lightly watered and the jig bases get a good soaking. This maneuver serves 2 purposes. First this large wet surface (the Floor) will attract airborne undesirables, including flying insects so this will help deep them off the parts. Secondly, static will attract dust to your parts, and we don't want that!

As an example, I will be painting a standard 2-stage color, meaning one stage is the base color and one stage is the clear. If the base color is somewhat transparent and poor hiding, I will have tinted the primer to help coverage.

The spray guns I use are 'SATA' MSB's. They are a high quality German made gravity feed type. Painting has been a passion of mine for a long time and these are by far the best guns I have ever used. Now it is time for a final wipe of the parts with a non-static tack cloth to remove any dust. Next, three to four coats of base color are applied. It is critical that sufficient time is allowed between coats for solvent evaporation. Also a quick wipe with the tack cloth is good practice. Just a quick note... All the primer, color, and clear I use is acrylic urethane... only the best. Four coats of clear is then applied with the same time allowances made for curing. No tack cloth this time though! Note: If tape stripes or decals are part of the job, they are applied before the clear. They are much more durable UNDER the clear!

During all this shooting and waiting, the floor continues to be wet down (very carefully), as we don't need water splashed on the work!

Remember all those precautions to get a clean job? Well, there are still often a few small fuzzies stuck in the clear .. don't you just love Murphy's Law! What do we do? Make them go away that's what! Some very fine wet sandpaper such as Meguires 2000 works well to knock them boogers flat. Then a fine abrasive, clear coat specific rubbing compound is applied, using a variable speed air buffer. A constant careful examination, looking for sanding marks or other flaws is required.
Next a cleaner, polish product is used to eliminate buffer swirls and to give the high gloss finish. We should now have a very slick surface. Please keep in mind that an absolutely flawless finish is a tall order.

Many good painters will match or often exceed factory quality. You should expect a good job, BUT ... that perfect show winning paint job is a horse of a different color! To achieve this extreme level of perfection takes a LOT of extra time. Sometimes it is necessary to strip it down and start all over!
Time is money, so work of this caliber has it's own price structure.

Remember in paint work you are buying two things: Paint and related supplies; and secondly skilled labor. Both of these should be important considerations. Spend your money wisely.

I hope this article has helped your understanding of the painting process and the care it takes to get a professional quality experience. Thanks for reading!

Carpi Diem! or Seize the Day!

- Bob Wark


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The Warkshop, Painter Bob Wark, 1955 County Road 9, Marietta, OH 45750 - (740) 538-4746

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