Gibbon Fiberglass Cars        
Preping for Paint

Because we build quite a few painted rolling packages and turn-key cars at Gibbon Fiberglass, we can pass along some tips on prepping a glass body for paint.

  1999 Street Rodder Road Tour Give-a-way Car
The fiberglass reproduction bodies and parts we produce are sprayed with a primer gel coat. Although this gel coat does not have much of a shine when it comes out of the mold, it has excellent sanding qualities.

We recommend that your final finish be a light color if possible. Fiberglass cures to the highest temperature it is exposed to. A thorough sunlight cure on our un-sanded product usually proves to be sufficient. Obviously, if your final color is dark, the gloss finish of your paint job will absorb more heat than the gel-coat. For this reason, we stress a thorough cure procedure. If you are using a dark color, cooking the product in a baking paint booth may be necessary in addition to the sunlight cure. If you paint your fiberglass body or parts without cooking them, a post cure could happen. This is when the texture of the fiberglass strands print through to the outside finish. It can be sanded and polished out if you have sufficient amounts of finish paint and clear. Cure the painted body and parts again in the sunlight before sanding and polishing.

After all the components are fit, drilled and cured, we sand all the parts with 80 grit dry paper on a block or file board. As previously mentioned, the gel coat sands easily. The block sanding will ensure that the body and parts are straight and correct before the first coat of primer is applied. During the 80 grit sanding, the flash lines of the body are ground out and filled if necessary with a standard non-tack body filter. Also, while blocking with the 80 grit, all door and trunk lines should be checked for consistency and edges checked for roundness.

The 80 grit sanding leaves an excellent adhering surface for the primer. When the parts are all sanded and prepped with 80 grit, we apply a few generous coats of PPG's K-36 primer (we recommend any epoxy type primer). After the K-36 is sprayed, we apply a light guide coat of a lighter or darker color and continue to block sand using 180 grit dry paper. Following this we spray more K-36 primer, applying enough coats to allow blocking two more times using 400 grit paper for finish sanding. Again we use a light guide coat to ensure all areas are sanded completely.

These blocking and sanding steps will leave a super slick and straight finish for the final sealer and base color. Following the basecoat, the clear coat can be applied. We typically use four to five coats of clear to ensure that we have plenty of material to color sane and polish.

We have used this procedure on many show cars we have built and it has proven to be a very durable finish that is easily maintained.

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