Well, Joey. I'll bet you got a lot of satisfaction out of shooting the hood all by yourself.
There is a saying that after your first paint job, you are then a Pro!"[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
I have a couple of comments on your of your tips/advice that may help next time ...
"People on here have told me to wet sand/wash with degreaser/rinse well. It makes a big difference."
There is controversy as to the use of a degreaser when rinsing.
Guess where the "grease" comes from after sanding ... ???
Some Pros say degreaser leaves an oily residue and that clean water is best ... JUST DON'T PUT YOUR GREASY MITS ON THE SURFACE prior to painting! Even if you have to go to the extent of wearing disposable cotton gloves to move pieces around. *Tip from a classic car restorer friend*
On the same vein, the Pros say to not use paint thinner as a final rinse/wipe ... it can soften primer, filler, putty, etc. Hint: That's why you need the seal coat next. [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/shocked.gif[/img] Oh, the horror stories of red primer oosing up through a fresh white topcoat! [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/tongue.gif[/img]
"Dry sanding and trying to wipe off sanded paint with a dry towl or something like that doesn't work well."
Dry sanding has some advantages in the beginning stages knocking down filler and finding the high and low spots on painted finishes. A lot of times you can see better what is happening and what areas are being cut first.
A 2.5" x 24" two handed auto body sanding plane with velcro backed coarse grit strips is one of my favorite Jeep body work tools. A long, clean horsehair bench brush does a good job of knocking the dust off to the floor. Don't blow on it ... it's not good for your lungs.
If you work too hard smoothing the whole thing before you get the bare metal covered, the difference in hardness of the metal and filler will only cause dips and waves in the surface ... even when using a block sander.
After you get things pretty smooth, shoot etch coat for the bare metal then shoot (at least two heavy coats) prime and fill on there, THEN start sanding these first fill coats down wet.
You can even use a paint brush to prime and fill some of he rough spots first ... just watch out for bubbles ... [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/frown.gif[/img] And of course, after each step ... sand smooth again.
3M red (medium) and grey (fine) are great for dry sanding touch ups just prior to shooting. The grey pad will pull primer down to satin and it's great for contours like the windshild lip where paper might knock off a sharp edge down to metal in an instant. A slightly damp, lintless cloth will pick up most of the touch up dust.
I'm gratified you learned the most important lessons ... taking your time and shoot it clean! Now you know why I suggested you sprinkle down the floors (and even the walls and ceiling of your garage, even the bushes near by) with water. Then going to the extent of a fresh change of clothes and air spraying yourself off before you even get near that body with color in your gun ... [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]
Lastly, don't forget the tack cloth... applied lightly, so as not to transfer the resin of the cloth to the surface.
If that guy had of come into my garage and started shooting on top of all that grit I probably would have gone postal! [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/mad.gif[/img] Plus, you were ready to do it yourself - the right way. I'll bet you made him clean up his act the second time around ... and you'll do it all by yourself from now on ... [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
The very BEST thing you said you learned is that you found out exactly what "Just good enough" really means ... because now you can see how quickly it shows ... [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif[/img]