I've been reluctant to start this thread but I guess most of the regulars here have long since figured out that I'm an idiot. Any newbies reading this thread will pretty soon arrive at the same conclusion. As I have alluded to in other threads, the frenchy-bus had become pretty tired looking. In four or five places cracks were starting to open up in the fibreglass board, particularly where the caps attach plus I had one bad one over the drivers on the road side. My original intent was to patch the cracks, get a close paint match and then slobber some new clear over everything to make it look less worse than it did. I have never had any illusions that I was going to end up with a show stopper paint job. The last straw came this spring when I was buying fuel at the Husky on the east side of Regina and some steering wheel holder in the next lane said something to the effect of "nice bus but she's sure starting to show her age isn't she?"
I phoned around the bodyshops in Saskatoon and everyone said I needed to talk to Walker's Auto Body so I took the outside cover for the fridge to them for paint matching. I opened the conversation by telling "Dan" that I didn't have an effing clue what I was doing but that I was going to do it anyway. He was very helpful and by the end of the day I had a couple of quart of supposedly matched paint. Its not cheap. Then I stopped at Peavey Mart, Princess Auto and Ukrainian Tire to pick up a 1.6 HP 20 gallon compressor along with some various sanding machines, water eliminators, regulators, die grinders, etc, etc.
The picture above is the curbside rear cap with patch in progress.
I started out on the @$# end fixing the cracks on both sides by grinding them back and layering fibreglass cloth over the patch to build out to the original level. That part I'm pretty comfortable with. I use West System and I've done so for years so I pretty well know what it will do and I've got a good stock of fillers, cloth and the various hardeners. When I got the back end ready for paint I masked and tried shooting to blend into the existing grey/silver of the coach. It was close but no cigar. So it was decision time and I decided that God hates a coward so as I have done all too many times in my life I went for it. Several years ago I told a customer that God hates a coward and he shot back "Yep but he hasn't got much time for fools either." Let me tell you it was damn hard to start sanding the good areas. Those shiny ribbons on the frenchy-bus took a lot of sanding. I was buying 75 packs of assorted grit at Canadian Tire and I think I went through 6 or maybe 8 of them. At the same time we were working out what the new colour scheme would be. There wasn't a hope in hell that we could duplicate the airbrushed ribbons and I didn't want to do something with straight lines. With all due respect to those of you who have gone that way, it shows. Nothing screams "I DID THIS MYSELF" more than straight lines on a bus paint job.
Today I started shooting red paint and very quickly learned that I need a lot more paint. So far I've got about $3000 all in on this project. That's paint, supplies, compressor, air tools - everything. By the time I get done that total will be $4000 and change. I thought 1 quart of red would be adequate - in fact it will likely take 3 and I will buy 4 just to be sure.
That's the paint I'm using, in case anybody cares. Its a base/clearcoat 2 part urethane system from Sherwin Williams.
That's the start of the red. As you can see it isn't covering the old stripes yet. I'm really paranoid about runs so likely I'm not laying down as heavy coats as I could get away with but all I've got is time. The two pieces of tape amidships are my test strips to see what I can get away with as far as taping for additional colours. So far what I've learned is that they are leaving a small amount of adhesive residue which I think will wipe away with my final wipe but I don't want to try that until the paint has an overnight cure. The two remaining pieces of tape were applied 2 hours after shooting and will stay on overnight to make sure that they don't lift the base when I peel them back.
Another shot from the back this time.
So be gentle with your comments. The best advice anybody could give me is that I'm an idiot who should have hired an expert. That's not gonna happen. I've known a lot of painters over the years and - nice guys that they are all of them - they're no smarter than me. I also watched some Mexicans painting coaches at Puerto Penasco the year that Mel & Billie enticed us down there. They were painting coaches on the sandy, dusty parking lot and they were turning out just fine. My biggest challenge is getting a weather break in the non-stop pissing rain that western Canada has had dumped on it for the last month but so far the forecast for this week is good. Unfortunately I'll lose tomorrow because I have to make a supply run for paint.
I've got an old geek who used to own a bodyshop in town who's keeping an eye on me. He says my biggest challenge will be that bugs will migrate from miles around to die in my paint but that hasn't been a problem so far. I think the clear will stay tacky longer than the base so it may be more of an issue once I start shooting clear. The base dries so fast the bug would have to be riding on the spray gun to get there in time to stick.