Subject: Paint Chip Repair
   By Larry Reynolds
   The repair of a scratch and a chip are the same process (a scratch is
   merely a chip on uni-directional steroids). The only problem with a
   scratch is that the larger playing field requires more time and care
   to be able to blend in the new paint.
   Items you need:
   1. Touchup or color matched paint
   2. Compatible primer - I like Wurth Rustop primer
   3. Organic cleaner - P21S Total Auto Wash or Wurth Citrus Degreaser
   4. Solvent - Rubbing Alcohol or Prepsol or Enamel Reducer
   5. 3M Imperial Hand Glaze
   6. Meguiar Finesse Sanding Block 2000 grit
   7. Car wash
   8. 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper
   9. Round undyed wooden toothpicks
   10. Large lightweight cardboard boxes (large shoe box or bigger)
   11. Several 100% cotton towels
   12. Magnifying glass - help for we with older eyes
   13. New Pencils with unused erasers
   14. Rubber glue
   15. Several heavy clean plastic cups
   16. Roll of quality paint masking tape
   Realize that paint chip repair is a learned skill and should be
   practiced on an area of the car that is not that visible. The hood and
   nose are two areas that should be tackled last. Test all cleaners or
   solvents on the paint prior to usage. I like to use the seam
   underneath the rocker panels. Apply a little cleaner or solvent to a
   cloth and rub the seam. If you do not get any color on the rag, then
   the cleaner/solvent should be safe for the paint. If you do get color
   on the rag, then you may wish to consider another solvent.
                             CHIP REPAIR STEPS:
   1. At least 24 hours before you want to start, use the rubber glue to
   attach small 600 grit sandpaper circles (the diameter of the eraser)
   onto several new pencils. The eraser must be unused and flat on top.
   2. Step #1: Wash the car with a quality car wash and dry thoroughly.
   3. Paint chips come in two flavors. The worst case has exposed the
   bare metal, while the less severe has left the original primer intact.
   Clean the area thoroughly with the or P21S or Wurth citrus cleaner. If
   there is rust on the exposed metal, clean off with the pencil eraser.
   Use a toothpick to gently probe the area and make sure that the edges
   of the chip are secure and not waiting to fall off and destroy your
   work. This is an optional step. If you do not feel comfortable with
   sanding, you may jump to step 5. Take a new pencil/sandpaper tool, dip
   into clean water and put a few drops of water on the chip area.
   *SLIGHTLY* rough up the chip and a small portion of the surrounding
   paint. Lightly turning the pencil will rough up an area the diameter
   of the eraser and this should be more than enough. Keep the roughed up
   area as small as possible, the object is to give the new paint
   approximately 1 mm of old paint to "grab" around the perimeter of the
   chip and not dig scratches. This step may be eliminated if you are
   uncomfortable with sandpaper around your paint. It will help the new
   paint adhere, but is not essential.
   4. Move onto the next chip and repeat the above. Depending upon the
   amount of time available, you may wish to tackle 10-20 chips at one
   time. Try to stay within the area that may be covered by your box(es).
   5. When finished sanding all your chips you are tackling at this time
   apply a small amount of Alcohol or Prepsol or Enamel Reducer to a rag
   and wipe each chip and surrounding area to remove any sanding dust and
   grease/oils. Use additional solvent and new area of the rag for each
   chip. Allow to dry (these are highly volatile and will evaporate
   quickly with no residue).
   6. If the original primer is intact, and "pencil sanding" does not
   disturb the primer, then skip the next step and go directly to
   painting (# 9)
   7. Make sure that the chip and surrounding area is clean. If not,
   re-clean with the Prepsol, Alcohol or Enamel Reducer. Pour or spray a
   small amount of primer into a clean plastic cup. Dip the point of a
   wooden toothpick into the primer to get a thin coating on the first
   1-2 mm of the toothpick. If there is a blob on the end, gently scrape
   it back into the cup. Place the tip of the toothpick against the
   center of the chip and allow capillary action to literally flow a
   *THIN* coat of the primer into the depression of the chip. Move onto
   the next prepared chip. If you have finished priming all your prepared
   chips before two hours are up, cover with a box, taped down with
   masking tape and go have a beer. The key is to allow the first coat of
   primer to dry at least two hours. Dispose of your cup and start with a
   fresh cup and toothpick. Apply another thin coat of primer to each
   repair that needs primer. Priming is completed when no metal is
   visible and the level of the primer is *BELOW* the level of the
   surrounding paint. This is important! Cover and allow to dry for two
   hours or until dry.
   8. Apply a small amount of Alcohol or Prepsol or Enamel Reducer to a
   rag and wipe the chip and surrounding area to remove any sanding dust
   and grease/oils. Allow to dry. Repeat for all the chips that are on
   today's list of victims.
   9. If you are using a touchup, shake the bottle thoroughly. If you are
   using color matched paint, mix thoroughly and pour a small amount into
   a clean plastic cup.
   10. Dip the point of a new toothpick into the paint to get a thin
   coating on the first 1-2 mm of the toothpick. If there is a blob on
   the end, gently scrape it back into the bottle. Place the tip of the
   toothpick against the center of the chip and allow capillary action to
   literally flow the paint into the depression of the chip. Repeat for
   each chip. The key is not to use too much paint. Do not re-dip the
   toothpick. Use only the amount that will flow from one dip. Temptation
   to add more paint with each application will be almost overwhelming.
   Fight it!
   11. Cover with your paint box and allow to dry 2 hours and repeat 8-12
   times till the depression is filled with paint and bulges slightly
   upward and covers the roughed up area with a thin coating of paint.
   The first 2-3 coats may not completely hide the primer. This is fine
   because you have many more coats to go. Fight that urge!
   13. The paint application is completed when the new paint bulges
   slightly upward (a fraction of a millimeter) and had covered the
   roughed up area with a thin coat of new paint. Allow the paint to dry
   for at least a week.
   14. The touchup paint has been applied to the surface and allowed to
   dry for at least 1 week, and resembles a minute mound ( __o__ ) (this
   is exaggerated) on the flat plane of the existing paint. The object is
   to remove the mound and make the surface of the paint one continuous
   flat plane. The Finesse Block offers the ability to gently remove only
   the high spot of the repair. Unlike sandpaper or polish on a rag, the
   five usable sides of the block are flat and act like a "wood plane" to
   remove only the elevated areas of the repair. The 2000 grit will not
   leave scratches.
   15. Soak the Finesse Block in clean water for 24 hours prior to use.
   Put a small drop of car wash on the chip repair. This acts as a
   lubricant for the sanding block. Then gently "plane" the high spot on
   the paint. I prefer to "plane" in one direction (usually back to front
   - drawing the block towards me). If the block dries out, re-wet and
   continue use. When the new and existing paints are blended (smoothed
   to the flat plane) to your satisfaction, clean the area using a
   quality car wash and lots of water and then use a quality glaze to
   restore the high gloss finish. I prefer 3M Imperial Hand Glaze. Don't
   use a machine on your car, as it deserves to be caressed by hand. Use
   a machine on your Yugo or SO.
   16. When applying either a glaze or a wax, apply to your soft cotton
   cloth or applicator pad (don't squirt the stuff on the car) and work
   in one direction only. Don't go around in circles like dear of dad .
   Circles are many times the cause of "swirl marks." A front-to-back,
   back-to-front motion (the way the air flows over the car) will help
   minimize swirl marks or at least make them less visible. Buff out with
   a soft cotton cloth. If it looks good, wax with a quality hard wax and
   you are done.
   17. Tip for applying wax. If you are using a quality carnauba based
   wax, try applying it with your fingers instead of a pad or cloth. Hold
   your fingers together and use your finger tips as an applicator pad.
   The tactile feedback from your fingers will tell you when the wax has
   been worked into the paint. If grit should lodge under your fingers,
   you will know immediately and not grind it into the paint. A pad will
   not allow this tactile feedback and these devil grits become
   sandpaper. A circular motion of the pad will make a 360 degree swirl
   mark. All marks on paint are most visible at a 90 degree viewing
   angle. Thus the front to back marks are most visible from the sides,
   whereas a circle stands out from any viewing angle.
   The question was also asked if clear touchup should be used as a final
                coat to repair chips on a clear coat paint. 
                There are two view points to this question.
   1. The purist will say yes, the paint has a clear coat and thus, the
   repair should also. The process is the same as previously described,
   except the clear coat is substituted for the last 2-3 coats or paint.
   2. The practical world says no. The touchup paint is different from
   the original paint and is formulated only as a touchup paint. Once it
   is applied it should, according to the manufacturer, match well enough
   to be all but invisible. I have found this to be the case with the
   numerous repairs on the many cars/colors, I have completed. If you are
   using the original paint as a touchup, then you may have to use the
   clear as a topcoat. The color coat of some paints will many times be
   relatively dull in appearance. These paints rely on the clear coat to
   provide the "shine."
   Try one chip in an area that is not that visible. If the process
   works, then continue with the rest. If not try the clear coat top
   I hope that the above has added a little more food for thought on
   chips. (Or chips as a thought of food.) If there are any questions,
   please do not hesitate to call or write.
   If you can't find the products locally, I stock all of them and would
   be glad to send a complete product description/price list/car care
   tips package by mail.
   Larry Reynolds, Car Care Specialties, Inc.
   Distributors of Quality Car Care Products
   Post Office Box 535 Saddle Brook, NJ 07663-0535
   Phone (201) 796-8300 Fax (201) 791-9743