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Orange peel effect removal - how to exactly?

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Just thinking ahead to the future - ie better weather.

The paint finish on my car is not bad but it has definate orange peel effect, albeit shallow. This is straight from the gun, no laquer. The paintshop wanted to have the car back to finish this but its too far and I'd like to do it myself anyway.

Since my car is black, it really needs the best finish I can produce

So, I have read around and it seems I have to do this:

Sand (flat?) back with , lets say p1500 grit wet/dry paper, wet with soap added

Avoid the edges

Then cut with a polisher - DA - with a suitable compound, eg G6,

Then wax.

I have several questions about this process

Am I best doing this by hand, using a block? If so, what type of block.

If I avoid the corners, will this 'transition' be visible?

What is the compound I should cut back with? I currently only have Poorboys SSR1 and SSR2 which I suspect are not cut-ty enough for the job.

I have my old door I can practice on by the way.

At the moment, I have a cheap 600W DA polisher (B&Q) but the mop stops turning if I apply too much pressure, whereas the meguiars G220 says it increases the torque if this happens. I have a few polishing mops for this - sponges with waffle finish.

Apologies if there is a thread dedicated to this already but I could only find isolated references.

Awww, I've now found some info on just polishing out with compound.

That means another question, which probably requires a photo of my paintwork -

do I need to sand back or should I stick to the milder, but safer, polishing compounds...???

Perhaps its actually not too bad - here is the door. I have carefull wiped away the dust then a photo with the nearest thing handy - my guitar (also quite dusty I'm afraid)

Maybe I should just polish and see how I go. I still need suggestions on how though.


"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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You will not get rid of the orange peel by just polishing . you will need to colour flat first , what paper you use and sequence will depend on the finish you have and the product used.. Then you polish , Again which polish to choose depends on product also the type of mops to use.

Because it is black it will show every fault or look amazing... It may be safer to return it to the body shop who painted it.. May i ask why they did not do it as part of the job.?

There is a nack to this work and it is more to do with feel and experience , There are so many things that can go wrong and screw up a paint job...

I still occasionally polish through somewhere on and job and end up blowing a panel in again , and i have been doing it for 30 years..

The body shop may be a distance away but it may prove cheaper sending it back rather than paying to have panels refinished..

If you still intend to do it yourself i will try to advise exactly what to do..

Where in Shropshire are you based...

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Well, I fully dismantled the car for its respray.

I then had it returned to my home for reuniting with the chassis, engine etc. They couldnt finish the job straight away as they said the paint shouldbe left as long as possible and I couldnt wait that long - I was in the process of moving home aswell!

They planned to finish the job but required the various pieces not to be reattached. EG the capping rail trim could be damaged by the finishing process. Same for the screen finishers. They set aside a day to finish it. Maybe that gives an idea of how much was left to do.

All said, the finish looks like the type you would get on your average production car. SO, a subtle orange peel if you look for it, a few flaws and the odd piece of dust/hair. If I did nothing, it would be fine but I'm thinking now is my chance to correct everything.

The picture of my door doesnt really show much and I am struggling to see OP there but I know its on some of the panels on the car.

So, I am keen to do this myself but I have almost no experience(as per the rest of the car)

Would I do damage using a rubbing compound and seeing what I get?

Oswestry BTW!

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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Its difficult without seeing the job first hand. But you could try nipping out the bad bits and the dust with 2000 paper and a proper 3m block.

Then polish back with mid mop and G3 compound..... work at it slowly and see how it goes... If you get into difficulties i can always pop over and see you , i'm in wolves, I am a bit tied up with the S300 project at present otherwise would of been happy to come over and start you on right track....

let me know how it goes , I am hear if you need me..

Edited by CHANGES

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Thanks Dave!

By 'nipping' I presume you mean sanding back gently?

The 3M block - is that foam, rubber or something else?

What type of mop/head would you use the G3 with or does it not matter too much?


"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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Nipping as i call it is just gentle taking off the gloss, you apply barely the weight of your hand and the block and let the paper do the work.

Keep applying lots of fresh slightly soapy water and work an area at a time. You will feel the action between the paper and material change as the surface flattens out, Wipe and let dry as often as you like to get a good look at what you are achieving. All the high spots will go matt and the rest will stay gloss. The surface will need to dry to see this. You keep going till it is all matt. On the edges use your finger as a guide to stay off but get close and don't flat them with the block.

The block is hard rubber, this is necessary to achieve the flat finish. foam bocks will not provide the correct planing action needed.

If you take a look i my thread restoration section, Half way down page one is a pic showing me flatting out OP on some primer, This is the type of block you need, and that is the sort of effect you will get when flatting but less pronounced depending on the out of gun finish you have. (I will be covering colour flat and polishing at the end of the project...but that won't help you now)

I generally start start the mopping with a white sponge and G3 compound. Don't let the panel get hot or the polish go dry, adding water will help. This also thins the polish for a finer finish. You may wish to mask off and do a section at a time as this can be messy.

Once i am happy that the flatting is removed i go onto the dark grey hard ribbed sponges, and start to really bring the gloss up still with wet G3...finally move to the soft grey/black sponge with G10 or 3M machine glaze. do all tight areas and edges by hand.

There are many other stages i also use but these should get what you want...

Be prepared to take your time on this....rush it and you will **** it up. I generally allow 1 week / 40 hours to colour flat and polish properly.

Hope this helps..


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You don't need a polishing can all be done by hand..and there's far less likelihood of polishing through the paint; after all, you don't know how much paint is there! Also, a wipe woth a rag dipped in white spirit, after flatting, will give a very good simulation of what the surface will look like when polished...also gets rid of the water and paint residue and dries the surface faster too .... and an old wiper blade makes a good squeegee for the same purpose! Good's a lengthy but satisfying process.

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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Thats really great advice guys. Huge help.

I do have one of those hard sanding blocks and maybe my DA (stops turning if I push too hard) is safer than one that doesnt.

40 hours doesnt sound too bad if I work at it bit by bit.

I'll post progress as I get there

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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I found the process very you, car dismantled as far as possible, sitting in the garden with the August sun on my back, all the stuff needed lined up, working my way through panel by panel and process by process...the final gleaming mirror finish is very rewarding. You start with the shiny "gun" finish, turn that matt by flatting it down...then bring the shine up by working your way through the different grades of compound. Finally a good wax polish...and marvel at the result; pause for a draught of something cold and crack on!!

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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Sounds great.

Would 'frost on my toes' have the same effect?

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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I painted my other classic , an opelGT 1970, in the garage in a self made boot, It had metalic green with 4 layers of gloss lacquer.

I had some orange peel, so i decided to colorsand the car and polish it to highgloss with a rotary machine and 3M products.

Foto 1.

De lacquer is wetsanded a first time with paper 1000.

All sanding is done by hand.

Use a 100% clean tile water with a bit of dishsoap. (be carefull not to have sand or dirt in it)

Put in the tile paper 1000, 1500, 2000 and let it in there.

NEVER EVER sand with your bare fingers. Use a rubber block ore a thin flexible rubber .

Always keep the surface wet, while sanding. I used a plantspraybottle


As visible on the picture above: The dark gloss parts are low points, where the paint is not yet gone, the matte parts are capped.

To make this visible the bodywork must be dry, so you have to remove the water very often to see what you are doing.

I used the rubber and my compressor to dry in between in seconds.

On the picture above , you can see I have not yet finished, so I had to go on with the paper 1000 until all dark gloss points are gone.

Control a lot , in order not to go through the paint.

After 1000, go on with 1500, to take away the stripes of the 1000 and finish with 2000.

tip: If you don't wanna end up sanding for ever you have to start rough enough, so no use in starting directly with the 2000 unless the orange peel is not deep.

I did see f.e. that on horizontal surfaces like the roof, the lacquer has usually dried out flatter, so You can start with 1500

But always control dry a lot.


On the photo above there are no dark places visible, the lacquer is now perfectly smooth/mat and ready to polishing.

Ow Yes, I deliberately did not do the edges, Lacquer is always thin there so you must be extra careful.

And then comes the final stage: The polishing with the rotary and polishing medium.

It is important to choose the right hardness of mousse and the correct compound.

First I used 3M perfect-it III fine compound ( black top) and a harder mousse. I had to do it 3 times to come to a high gloss.

Maybe it is better to start with a medium cut compound followed by the fine compound to get a quicker result.

Then I used a soft waffled mousse pad and perfect-it III machine polish (blue top)

after cleaning with a clean soft rag , this is the result:






excuse me my bad english. It is not my native language. (Dutch is)

take your time!!!



Edited by gvy

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Hi Guys,

Don't like to piggy back a post but what type of sanding block do you normally use for really contoured areas like the waistline on a stevens car..... I cannot stop squaring off the curves with the normal hard rubber block.

I was looking at either K blocks or Dura Blocks...... what are your thoughts?

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GVY nailed it. I use rigid foam as a backing for my paper. It allows me to do curved edges without sanding through the ctear.Take your time and all will be good.

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Well, I have spent the last few weeks and months practising this on a spare door panel I have.

I got very frustrated in that I couldn't seem to be able to cut back the sanding marks with a firm mop and G3 on a DA.

I finally realised that most of these stubborn scratches were on the panel before I started!! Also, I was not scrupulous enough with keeping my wet and dry sheets dust free.

Aaaannyway, after this, and following the instructions from Dave (Changes) and gvy, I seem to be there.

I have also been watching Peter's progress (Mr oogieboogie) which I have tried to emmulate

Here is a bumper I sourced and prepared


After primer


And after spraying(from a can)


The finish here was not orange peel as such but rather a grainy finish - between satin and gloss

So, I flatted back, polished with G3 and then 3M machine glaze to this


Think thats OK - no sanding marks visible.

Dave, you mention different coloured mops but which make are you referring to?

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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