I normally shy away from promoting any specific business on this blog. I generally want the blog’s content to be “influence-free”. However, I have been so enamored with one online presence that I just felt compelled to share the knowledge with my fellow gear heads.
Although my buddy and I share a decent shop for our hobby, and one that is better equipped than many commercial operations, neither of us considers ourselves ‘experts’ on ANY subject of automotive repair. And that particularly rings true when it comes to auto body repair and painting. For many enthusiasts, there seems to be a “black art” component to the whole metal-working and painting process, to the extent that most guys punt when it comes to painting, leaving that part of the restoration to a professional paint shop, usually at great expense.
Yet, we’ve all seen stunning paint jobs that some amateur hobbyist cranked out in his garage or carport. Armed with that knowledge, and never to be held back by lack of experience, buddy Doug and I have begun to undertake several personal painting efforts. My most ambitious project to date began a couple of months ago… painting my old 1940 Cadillac Fleetwood sedan. At first look, the whole painting process seems really simple: sand down the finish, apply some primer, and spray on the topcoat, right? WRONG! I’ve had the advantage of finding an owner of a respected restoration shop who has, over the past couple of years, been kind enough to endure my endless visits and questions. Problem is, seems like every time I get an answer to one question, it generates two more questions! Before long, a guy begins to realize that there are hundreds of small tricks and turns in this auto painting process that aren’t going to be discussed in any book.
YouTube has a wide range of DIY videos covering all aspects of auto painting, but finding a consistent, cohesive presentation of the subject from start to finish is almost impossible, and you wind up with a collection of videos from different sources, frequently offering contradictory information.
Thus it was during one of my evening “learn on the internet” searches, as I prepared to begin my project. During my search, I uncovered some links to an online site called Learn Auto Body and Paint. The first thing that drew me to the site was the carrot of a free 85 page digital book on painting. I downloaded the book, and was pleasantly surprised to find a wealth of useful information within. However, as they say, you don’t get something for nothing. In this case, the book is a teaser (and a well presented one) to encourage readers to sign up for PAID access to a complete series of how-to instructional videos and booklets. My first reaction: What? PAY for content on the internet? Nobody does that, and everyone knows that all content should be free!
Still, the content in that little book just kept drawing me in, and I couldn’t help browsing through the website and being further intrigued. To be sure, the whole online sales pitch smacks a bit like those late-night TV offers.. “and that’s not all.. act now and receive bonus materials worth $$$”; “How would you like to make ten thousand dollars in 2 days painting cars?”. It was almost enough to put me off from proceeding further, but then I saw the 60 day no questions asked full refund option. Given I would be spending somewhere between $1,500-$2,000 on paint, equipment and materials for my project, the $147 one time fee for lifetime access to the video library seemed like a reasonable investment.
Wow! I can honestly say I received my money’s worth during the first evening of watching through some of the videos (I believe they claim there are almost 200 instructional videos in the whole series).
The creator of www.LearnAutoBodyandPaint.com is young Tony Bandalos,
who claims to have some 18 years of collision repair and painting experience. His videos are not slick academy award presentations. In fact, for most of them, it seems to be a one-man operation… set the camera up on a tripod, then record Tony himself discussing and actually completing a specific phase of painting. In a way, I appreciated that approach, as well as his approach to painting, which seems to forego the need for a bunch of fancy equipment.
Although many of the sequences are shot in what is clearly a professional spray booth, just as many are shot in what appears to be an open garage in an apartment complex. That appeals to me, to see that a guy without a $50,000 spray booth can still turn out spectacular work using the right techniques.
The best part of the site is the way all the videos and digital documents are nicely organized, so that if you are at the “prepping for primer” stage, it is easy to find several videos on that subject and go right to them. And, there is no fluff in the videos.. no history of painting, blah, blah… he just turns the camera on, and starts providing the exact information you need to get the job done properly without extraneous white noise!
Finally, the lifetime membership for the one-time fee includes access to the site’s “VIP forum” where other members share questions and issues, and Tony himself frequently chimes in to answer a particular post. Additionally, members can pose questions directly to Tony via email (albeit response times can be longer than desired at times).
All in all, I have felt my membership fee was a great investment, and I know I’ll be returning to the site frequently, just as soon as I start that next project. I do recommend this site for any aspiring auto painters. www.LearnautoBodyandPaint.com