Archive for May, 2012

Applying the decals

Monday, May 21st, 2012

I really wasn’t looking forward to applying the decals to the backbox and cabinet. But as always I tried to prepare for the task by asking lots of pinheads for advise and watching numerous YouTube videos prior to starting. Following all of this research, one thing made me really nervous and that was the cutting of the decals having applied them and ensuring straight, uniform edges.

So I started with the backbox. Now I had intended to apply the decals on one side dry and one side “wet” as there are (as always) differing opinions as to which way is best and I wanted to experiment. To prepare for the wet application, I had bought some Rapid-Tac which sounded an ideal solution (pun intended). Having cleaned the first surface with Rapid-Tac, I applied the first side dry.

Rapid- Tac - a vinyl application fluid

Applying the first side dry went so well, however, I skipped doing the second side wet and applied it dry also. I was happy.

Applying the first backbox decal

Using a straight edge to cut the sides was more of a challenge – as anticipated – and although the results weren’t perfect, I was also happy with the results.

But then came the cabinet (which Stephan had helped me carry back down to the cellar)…

Being a decal application professional after my vast experience of two backbox sides, I thought applying the cabinet decals was going to be a doddle. How wrong could I be….

I started with the front decal. Just after starting to apply the decal (and no I didn’t use a blanking plate for the large cut out), I noticed that an air bubble had formed. So I pulled back the decal to expose the air bubble in order to flatten the decal. Unfortunatelay in pulling the decal back, some of the paint was pulled up with the decal and it turns out that on reapplication of the decal, the paint that was removed and on the back of the decal didn’t fall exactly into the surface, where it had been removed from. This meant that having flattened out the air bubble I had left an even more uneven surface than if I had left it alone – arghhhh! And I didn’t learn from my mistake either, as I repeated this mistake three times in total for the front decal alone!

And then, to make matters worse, in cutting out the holes in the decals, I used a scapel and actually managed to cut away some wood from the hole around the start button. How annoying!

Trimming the edges wasn’t as bad as with the head, however, as I had learned that it is possible to do a first cut and then correct any mistakes with a second or even third pass, thereby resulting in an acceptable edge.

By the time I got to the main cabinet decals I was disheartened. After my experience with the front decal I wanted to apply them wet, but couldn’t as I had exposed wood, so I had to apply them dry. This was difficult and each side took me one and a half hours to complete. As I was applying the decals I also had air bubbles. This time, I tried to catch them quickly to get rid of them, without pulling the decal back too far. Any that I had missed I pricked with my scapel and tried to squeeze the air out.

The end result wasn’t perfect – especially considering the amount of time I had invested in total in getting the cabinet finished, but I had got it done and learned a lot on the process.

Front and the first side done - looks good from the distance!

Prepping and painting the Cabinet and Backbox

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

After months and months and months of working on the cabinet and backbox, filling dents and scratches and getting the edges sharp, it was time to spray both parts black with Rustoleum Painters Touch – Silk Black paint (which had been recommended on RPG – albeit in paint form and not in the spray can – as it is a good match to the original satin black colour of the cabinet).

Rustoleum Painters Touch

So having isolated an area in the garage and layed down plastic sheeting to form a “spray cabin”  I got Tim to help me transport the cabinet from the cellar to the garage. I then sprayed the backbox, cabinet and backbox screws.

My spray cabin in the garage

The inside of the "spray cabin"

Unfortunately, I’m not the most experienced of sprayers and after my endeavours I had some serious paint runs. So having waited 48 hours for the paint to dry, I rubbed the paint runs down with normal 400 grit sandpaper. Unfortunately, the paint got stuck on the sandpaper, meaning that instaead of sanding, I started scratching the painted surface. So I decide to use 600 grit wet and dry sandpaper instead, wet, which worked much better.

But as I was sanding, as I hadn’t used an undercoat and only had sprayed a thin layer of paint, it didn’t take too long until I had successfully sanded through the paint to the wood. And as I was using water to lubricate the sandpaper (and take the paint dust away) the wood became wet and swelled creating some serious planking. Fortunately as the wood dried out the swelling went down, meaning that the surface wasn’t as rough, but it still wasn’t smooth, with planking, and I couldn’t rub it down further….

Rubbed down cabinet

Back Box after spraying - top unfinished, as I ran out of paint!

So what I should have done is to respray the cabinet again with more coats of paint and then rubbed it down again, this time ensuring I didn’t rub down to the bare wood. But unfortunately time  wasn’t on my side and I was running out of spray cans, so I had to leave it and hope.

In hindsight, I should have:

  • used normal paint (ie not out of a spray can)
  • used an undercoat
  • applied a number of coats sanding down between coats