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Using Automotive Aerosols

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Being new to this, I thought the lower end of the spectrum was the best place to start playing with finishing a cheap strat copy body. I'm going for a sort of nicotined-cream faded effect which is starting to build reasonably well. My question is, how much finishing does the paint layer need before starting with the clear topcoat? Do I need to wet sand to 600/800/1000?

Rub out with T-cut for a glassy finish before lacquering?

Smooth off with a scotchbrite pad?

Can I just go straight onto the sanded surface of the paint with the lacquer, build up about 5 coats, then fine wet sand and rub from there once fully dried?

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