Originally Posted by calicruiser
i agree with the above, if you can't get a nice finish off the gun when clearing, you will only get a little better finish if you flow coat it. Wetsand and polish makes PERFECT if you do it right.
AND . . . . 14 coats of clear is WAY TOO MUCH CLEAR. When people say they have their paint buried in 26 coats of clear, their painter has no idea what they are doing. That thickness would be crazy. It can cause bad issues if you dont let each coat flash properly and then burn in the next coat. If you shot 14 wet coats, with proper flash time between coats (10-15 mins) that would take you 3.5 hours of shooting clear!
I shoot 3-6 coats of final clear over my stuff and that is with wetsanding after the first 3 coats so you are essentially sanding off at least 1 coat. You get the "depth" not from number of layers of clear but from your paint job underneath it and the final polish.
Agree 100%... and your process sounds nearly identical to mine! Almost everything that I paint gets 3-4 nice medium-heavy coats of HOK UC35 mixed 2:1:1, allow it to cure for a day or two, wet-sand with 1000-grit or even 800-grit, then three more light/medium coats of SLIGHTLY over-reduced UC35 to allow it to flow, wait a couple days to cure, then wet-sand with 2000-grit, 2500-grit and 3000-grit before going to the Porter-Cable detailing buffer and Meguiar's 105 compound.
Flow-coating is a great time-saver because it can really minimize orange-peel and speed up the wet-sanding process... but you need a good enough spray gun and "feel" on the trigger to consistently make it work well.