May 21, 2017


This is a long-weekend here in Saskatchewan and we had planned to finally get some paint on the  project - on the inners (inside cab, door jambs, engine bay, under the hood) specifically, as well as to spray the inside of the box with tinted box-liner....but you know what they say about 'best laid plans...'

Last week I went into my main paint supply house Walkers Automotive, in Saskatoon SK., whereby me, and my main-man Dan, the Walker employee I've dealt with for so many years, tried to find the paint chip and code for the 56 IH truck we've working so hard and long on. No luck though, so I said I'd go back and look hard for a code on the truck,  go online and do some research or at least, bring back a sample from the truck for which to paint-match.

Once back at the shop I noticed this faint - very faint - grease pencil mark on the firewall....after some neck craning, wiping it down with some light-solvent and shining light from all-different angles, you could barely read: "Blue 46".

So, back to the great internet I went and as per my last posting, I found the paint chip on a color page from 1956/57. I emailed this information, along with a link to the color page, to Walkers Info-line email address with a note to Dan to mix up a gallon of base, plus the box-liner material for me to pick up in order to paint the next weekend.

On Friday I bust my ass sanding and spraying the FINAL coats of primer so we can sand it out in 400 and seal and paint inners on Saturday. Saturday rolls around and no call from Walkers...Uh Oh.. Saturday morning I call them at 8:00 am and find they open at 9:00 AM on Saturdays. I call at 9:00 AM...and find that my-man Dan is taking a RARE Saturday off.....not a good sign. The underling is on duty. Shit.

I've dealt with this guy only once before, about 5 years ago.....and it was unsuccessful to say the least. Another bad omen. I ask him to check to ensure my paint is mixed and ready to pick up. There's nothing on the shelf he says. I tell him to check the email. He can't find it of course. I resend it to show it was sent. He gets that one but says no one ever got the first email. Fine then, I ask if he can mix it up today. He says he'll try and starts with the excuses...there's only 2 of them on today, it could get busy. Since they close at 1:00 PM - I think: he's got nearly 5 hours, so I'm hopeful but not holding my is the underling I'm dealing with here...

Sure-enough 4 hours pass and the underling can't do it: can't find the matching codes, too many blues, too many decisions, too little brain power.  Par for the course with this guy. Why couldn't Dan have been there? Why didn't they open my original email? Why didn't I call all week to check. Ya, that's it, it's MY fault....or that's what the underling implies....

So, we spend the weekend getting everything ready, down to the very last item. We'll be ready to walk-in and spray - assuming we get the paint.

Final dry-sanding with 400 grit

A sample of the original color - albeit 61 years old. A little faded perhaps, but it matches damn close to one of these chips (42105). We'll add a little yellow, a couple drops black, or maybe some trans-oxide yellow, which is a pre-mix of blackened-yellow and didn't exist in 1956. we're so close I can almost taste it.  

Of course it should've been partly blue today (inners) and completely painted next week. But now it'll be painted first week of June. Then the fun part begins - repairing, restoring, painting and installing the hundreds of parts that attach to the painted body. The FUN part. 

May 13, 2017

1956 International Harvester - Paint codes and WEEKS of sanding continues!

Even though the '56 IH 4x4 went into primer over a month ago, it's taken many many hours of sanding, filling and re-sanding to get it close to paint. This is the time not to scrimp on time and effort: everything you miss now shows BADLY in the final product!

^If you look quickly, you'd think this photo - and the first one in my last post - was one and the same. But you'd be about 30 hours of block sanding and repriming between the two!

^ As we're getting closer to painting this thing, it was time to find the 
paint code and order up some paint. For better or worse, today we have all 
the worlds information at our fingertips.  And all doomsday internet talk aside, 
it sure makes it easy to find obscure things like paint chips and mix codes for 60 year old trucks! 

^ Rough patches near the new box floor - even if we spray bed liner it has to be right!

^ Tiny little blemishes to some - major issues to me!

^ Inside the door edges were even beat up!

^ Blocking out the tops of the fenders - for the 3rd time!

^ Rear fenders where so rough - just little bits left to do...

^ Hood is near perfect

^ The front of the box, against the cab may not show much, but it still needs to be finished!

^ Lots of smaller pieces to get to as well 

      Trying my best to get it painted this month - but to rush it now would be a BIG mistake!
               Patience - and hard work - is the key to a great paint job and restoration.

March 19, 2017

Sanding high-build primer: Hour 25

Continuing  on sanding the first coat of high build, adding a little glaze putty to remaining imperfections and catching anything that stands out....

After the first sanding of the first primer coat, there's always a few spots that need a little more attention than the primer can provide. In these cases a very thin skin of "Glaze" is used. It's somewhere between filler and filler-primer and meant to bring the body to the 99% stage.

This is the time to catch anything hidden or not quite right. For example, in the inside corner of the door I saw a little bubble. I thought it was some sealer or a weld, so I hit it with some coarse paper and found it was a tiny rust hole. So I ground it out, cleaned it up and treated it with Metal Prep, my go-to rust treatment. Next time around I'll fill it with some metal-based filler and smooth it all out.

Another issue I caught where a couple of hairline cracks on the inside the door edge, near the vent window frame. Caused by so-many years of the door flexing at the vent window opening. As the window was opened and closed the door frame flexed and eventual cracked. Had I not caught it it would have cracked through the paint and continue to worsen. To repair it after paint would have meant having to repair and repaint the entire door again.

It also happened lower down on the door, where the lower part 
of the vent window frame attached to the inner door shell.

Oddly, there was also this damage to the inner door jamb. It was hard to see until I blocked out the primer and it's almost the same on both doors! 
I can't figure how the hell it would have been damaged either...maybe the owners can tell me! 

This is how she looked tonight. Next time in I'll repair those last little bits and get a second, final coat of high-build on it. At this stage I'd say I'm about 15-20 hours from paint!

Except for......

A friend of the project found this tailgate from who knows where. It came sandblasted and was nearly rust free. It's also VERY solid - much more so than the one that same with this truck....

                               But, can you spell: "R-O-U-G-H??!!!". Well you're gonna learn!

The attachment corners are so badly damaged it looks as though, instead of unbolting the trunions, they just ripped it from the truck - red neck style!

The other side was just the same. That'll take hours each to straighten, weld, true and grind.

The bottom rolled end is all smashed in. Even if I can figure out how to repair that, it'll take many more ours. Might be easier to find a similar diameter pipe, cut the bottom esde off and weld the pipe on to emulate it!

Then, if by some miracle I can get all that done, I'll remove this 1968 plate 
- that was unceremoniously drilled and bolted to the tailgate -  and fill the holes behind it.

Stay tuned for more exciting times ahead as the truck gets color and we figure out how to repair this tailgate. Personally I'm praying for a 'new' tailgate to show up courtesy of one of the thousands of readers the blog has (I know,... I don't believe it either, but that's according to the Google-stats!)

March 12, 2017

Block-sanding weekend

I worked in my Dads body shop from about 1975 to 1982 and nothing was block sanded back then. We used a heavy rad-oxide lacquer based primer and just sanded it with a piece of folded sandpaper in the palm of the hand. Back then paint went with lots of "orange-peel and no clear - so it wasn't as shiny and therefore didn't show as much. People where less picky then too because the paint that came out of the factory wasn't as nice as it is now.
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But now-a-day, panels are expected to be laser straight and shiny, so we block sand high-build primer - with long blocks - to ensure everything is straight. It makes a huge difference, but it's also a huge undertaking.

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Next weekend I'll finish up this first round of blcok sanding, address any larger imperfections, then spray a final coat of high build. This final layer will be final sanded to 400 wet for sealer and paint. Which is to say we might have this thing in paint sometime in April... (no promises of course! ;))

Stay tuned!

March 5, 2017


After many hundreds of hours on body work, the International S120 is finally getting a coat of high-build primer! The inside of the box is still a little on the rough side, but the outsides are 98% so it was time to get it primed.

First things first - clean up: anoterh 4+ hours were spent getting everything put away, sweeping up all the filler, vacuuming up all the filler dust and then blowing out every nook and crevice (twice).

And with everything cleaned up, it was finally time to buy and mix up the primer. 
At $200 a gallon I cetainly don't want to waste any of it!

Mad Scientist at work!

First coat - you don't realize how much surface area there is on a vehicle until 
you have to go over every inch of it - both inside and out.

I use a metal gravity feed gun for primer:

Inners too!

Phew!!!  SIX solid hours of priming makes for one sore arm!! 
Although its a milestone, it only means the start of the (first) block-sanding stage....