1. Have you ever noticed how a painter can tear a piece of sandpaper in half and it's straight, almost as if it was cut? Always fold it grit side to grit side FIRST. Crease it between your thumbnail and finger and then fold it backwards and do the same, then once more grit to grit and it should tear straight. Folding grit to grit first breaks the "back" of the sandpaper. Fold it the other way first and it'Il tear where it wants to.
2. Note that a sanding block has a round "top" with less sharp corners. Put your paper on the top side for sanding reverse curves.
3. Having a sanding block for each grit of sandpaper not only saves you the time of changing sandpaper when you need a different grit, but also saves sandpaper too. Leaving the 80-grit on the 80 block gives you a chance to wear it out before you take it off.
4. The longer the block, the better the blocking.
5. Tape will stretch when taping a curve one way better than the other will.
6. You can force a cord or coated wire under rubber to lift it up for sanding and painting. Works great on the rubber around windows.
7. If tape won't stick to rubber, wipe it clean with thinner. If it still won't stick, wipe it with very thin black paint.
8. If you’re taping on fresh paint, apply the tape to your pants first and then pull it off. It won't stick as tight to the vehicle with the lint it has pulled off your pants and won't tape mark as bad. This is also good if you’re afraid it might pull paint up when you’re unmasking.
9. You can spot-paint up to a sharp body line without leaving much of a paint edge if you reverse tape. Reverse taping is done by taping half of the sticky side of the tape on the part of the car you want to protect then roll the other half up and back loosely and hold it with a few tabs of tape. This leaves only a soft edge of the sticky side of the tape and if removed while the paint is wet will leave almost no paint edge. Two-inch tape is best for this.
10. If you have a large opening to tape up, let's say you have a door off, run several lines of 2" tape sticky-side-out across it. The paper will stick to it and make a stronger, less floppy closure when you spray cover.
11. Tape down all loose masking paper. Press it down tight and tape the creases. You don't want anything flopping around while painting and dirt can hide in creases.
12. A little bit of tape folded sticky-side-out, stuffed in a socket will hold that little bitty nut in place on the end of your longest l/4" extension when you’re trying to put an emblem back on your deck lid through that 1/2" access hole the factory gave you. A little bearing grease on a washer will hold it to the socket so you can put them both on in one shot.
13. A little grease on the socket will prevent that little bitty nut and washer from becoming a rattle left inside a panel when you’re taking your car apart too.
14. Trying to mask something odd shaped or doing some touch up work in the engine compartment? Use aluminum foil to mask with. It'll crunch down to hold on almost any shape and stay there.
15. Ever need to paint something in a tight area in your engine compartment a foot away? Spray down an empty paper-towel tube held over the spot. The paint will get there and not on everything else.
16. A squirt can with lacquer thinner is a good thing. I've never been able to pour just a little bit from a one (or 5) gallon can.
17. An old 3M scratch pad with a squirt of lacquer thinner is the fastest way to clean that almost hard body filler off the spreader.
18. Those black 3M rubber spreaders will squeegee off water while color sanding and show you where you need to sand more.
19. Some rubber spreaders will bum like hell if put in your pocket after cleaning them with lacquer thinner.
20. Round toothpicks and Q-tips are paint gun cleaning tools. Never use anything metal for cleaning a paint gun.
21. Leftover paint with hardener mixed in will keep for a day or so if put in a refrigerator. The cold slows down the hardener. You might need some touch up later.
22. Cold paint runs easy.
23. Regular cornstarch mixed into a paste is one of the finest polishes. Mixed with Meguiars #5 and a little water will polish out swirls on the darkest colors.
24. Masking tape on all edges when polishing will prevent you from catching them with the polisher and ““burning through”. Hand rub the edges.