Its been a good week. I progressed through the sanding sealer stage and got the color coat on. The sanding sealer is a high solids lacquer that builds quickly and sands easily. From what I've learned the application of sealer provides two advantages. First, the sealer separates the wood from the color coat, helping to ensuring an even application of color. Also, by block sanding the sealer with fine grit paper, pits and other imperfections are revealed as shiny areas in what should otherwise be a perfectly flat surface. This allows the problems to be found and corrected, further improving the chances and ease of obtaining a glass like finish later on.
I sprayed two fairly heavy coats of Deft sanding sealer and then sanded with 320 grit. There were a few pits over some grain pores, but they were extremely small and I could see that they did have grain filler in them. So I sprayed another two heavy coats and sanded with 400 grit -- luckily I was able to get the body flat without further corrections.
On the Friday night before Memorial Day weekend I built a plastic tent in the garage -- i.e., my "spray booth". I thought it was perfect timing since the final clear coats should be applied over a consecutive three day period. But the lacquer must also be applied when the humidity is low to prevent "blushing", a white film caused by the presence of moisture in lacquer. While I was constructing my spray booth it started raining. I woke up Saturday morning to more rain and 75% humidity. Grrrr.
The weather finally decided to cooperate in the afternoon and I was able to get the color and a coat of clear on. I was a bit nervous about this step, but it turned out not to be a problem. The color was applied using 3/4 of a can of the ReRanch Fender Translucent Blue. I was afraid of getting uneven color -- so I just took it slow and stopped when I thought the color was right. Its actually somewhat darker in real life than it appears in these photos.
While spraying the clear lacquer coats on Sunday I noticed a tiny ding on the front of the body between the bridge route and the arm rest. I must have dinged it at some point after finishing the sanding sealer. To correct this problem I "drop filled" a small amount of regular lacquer into the ding with a small fine-tipped paint brush. Hopefully this will solve the problem, if not I may have to repeat the drop fill procedure.