bring it all together, preping and repainting '63

I have a '63 with at least 3 different coats, can tell due to different tints, with various pits and and spider webs. I wish to get back to an "original" but non-orange peal look. Also, for maintenance purposes,
do NOT wish to clearcoat.
I have read the numerous threads going back 10 years and have come up with the following clarifying questions, as there have been changing opinions over that time.
Q1. I am assuming that removing all the the paint back to the fiberglass is the first step. What is the method, chemical?, approach.
Q2. I am assuming that non-structural pits and holes can be filled in with Bondo. Which Bondo, I see at least 3 types, and what are the limits of efficacy?
Q3. Not clear if there is a "gel" over the glass, but before priming. What is this "gel?" Product name?
Q4. Wet sanding. Do I do each layer starting with the raw, repaired fiberglass?
Q5. Wet sanding. I am assuming grit 600, 1200, 2000, following by Dupont Rubbing Compound, then Dupont Polishing Compound. Is this right?
Q6.I know of serveral types of sanding blocks. In this context, what is meant, brand??
Q7. I am assuming that laquer is both too expensive and too obsolete. Which brand enamel primer and paint are to be used (remember, no clearcoating)
Q7a. I use hardener in my tractor enamel to get better shine and a harder surface. Is this the best practice for fiberglass?
Q8. If I drape off the part of the garage with heavy plastic like I see the commercial building folks do, can I use an HVLP?
Q9. What is you most trusted DIY web URL on this topic?
many thanks!
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I truly do not understand what you mean by, "for maintenance purposes, do NOT wish to clearcoat"?

Bead or soda blast and there are aircraft strippers that can be used.

Many more than that. I like to add some polyester resin to any filler that I use on fiberglass. It makes a harder repair, feathers better, and restricts bleeding when painted.

There is no gel coat on a 1963 Corvette. Gel coat is a surface treatment put in part molds used by aftermarket suppliers. Bare fiberglass strands should be covered with polyester or epoxy (preferred) resin to prevent wicking and poor surface integrity when finished. Depending on how it was stripped the entire body may need to be re-resined.

You do not wet sand a fiberglass body if you don't want blisters after it is painted. It can be done if you can bake the leached moisture out of the strands. You should also avoid a solvent wash as the solvent can be in the strands for a long time.

Sounds good but you're on your own since you don't want to clear coat.

I use a 17 inch flat file on repairs and primer along with a couple of speeds in 5" random orbitals. On finish sanding a rubber sanding block is all I use.

Lacquer finish coat will never be obsolete, just restricted to where the cost is out of sight. I have yet to use an enamel primer. Most brands are acceptable, seldom is the material at fault for a bad paint job.

Acceptable.
That has nothing to do with HVLP. Enamel will drift a little less because of larger particulates with HVLP, over air atomized spray, but the material from both will still stick to everything it touches. HVLP will give you more surface texture than you will get with air atomization. While painting an automobile I would never "drape" plastic within 10' of the vehicle. Maybe if it were tied down so it can't move while I'm setting up a wind tunnel affect inside with the spray gun. It also holds allot of static electricity that can bite your effort when you least need that added problem. Ground the body and the frame and wet the floor before you start.

Fifty years of experience.

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Here are some helpful links:
http://www.corvetteforum.com/techtips/viewsubtopic.php?SubTopicIDf&TopicID=5 http://www.ecklers.com/product.asp?pf_id2389&dept_id "7
email me (change .moc to .com) and I'll send you some posts I've saved over the past few years on the subject.
tsterkel wrote:

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tsterkel wrote:

Here's another link: http://www.corvetteactioncenter.com/kb/question.php?qstIdC7
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Now, that is a truely EXCELLENT reference! Finally, it all in one place. thanks!
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This has already been answered that you do not get the raw fiberglass wet. However, you need to sand some to get the paint to adhere. 400 to 600 making a light pass, not trying to sand the body down, just scuffing the surface for the paint to stick.

I went straight to 1000 then 2000. Doing it again, I would add 2500 or 3000.

You haven't priced paint lately. I priced the modern paints while getting buffing and sanding supplies. They were higher than the lacquer. Roughly $300-$350 for lacquer, $450 and up for the others.

The harder the surface, the harder it is to sand out imperfections. I take it you are not a professional painter (neither am I) and so you will need to sand out a few mistakes.

Go to Home Depot and get some THIN plastic. The thicker plastic can store more static charge. But remember to have ventilation in your garage. Don't seal it up in plastic and paint. You need to exhaust the overspray and the fumes. If you have good exhaust flow, you can use the cartridge type respirators. If not, you need a fresh air respirator.
I had a "paint booth" set up out behind the shed. Plastic on the walls, filtered opening on one end, fans on the other, set so most overspray went away from the car, not along it. Plastic tacked down all over so it didn't blow or flap. Before painting, I misted the walls and floor, then sprayed. Mist with the fans OFF. You don't want water vapor going around the car.
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Gotta be careful about using consumer grade fans to exhaust a home made paint booth. I've heard of many people having them burst into flames from the fans & fumes......
Funny/ Scary story... There is a small convenience store at the end of my strip mall my shop is located in. The employee was clearing out leaves and debris from the underground tank fill area, the filler pipe is recessed and covered by a lid. He was using a shop vac.... I saw this out of the corner of my eye walking into my shop..... I started to run over and before I got there the shop vac exploded. The employee hit the deck......
Tom in Missouri wrote:

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True, if you have the fans too close, the overspray will still be flammable. A lot depends on how high the concentration of chemicals in the air is and how far they have to travel to reach the fan. If too high, you'll probably kill yourself and not care about any fire. If too close, you will definitely have flames.
A friend who used to paint out of his garage caught the fan on fire once. He had the fan in the window next to where he was painting. Too close, too much, and too much fire. The story was funny, his mother went crazy when she saw flames shooting out of the side of the garage.
He moved his painting to the other side, sat a filter in front of the fan, and gave the thinners a chance to be gone before they got to the fan.
Your story is a similar to one I saw where the employee of a little gas station was checking the tanks while holding a match. You guessed it. Luckily the filler pipe sat in a recessed area with a hinged lid. when it flashed, he naturally blew backwards and the lid dropped to cut the flames.
Could have been real nasty.

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