January 26, 2013

40 Ford - getting it ready for paint!

Just when you think you're close to done some stage, another issue comes up! Getting it ready for paint isn't just about the bodywork....there's many details to attend to, from gaps, fitting parts and panels, cleaning and detailing and re-arranging things so they look great after re-assembly. After paint is NOT the time to be making major changes or welding in new bolts!

I pulled the engine today, which will allow the firewall to be prepped and painted and the engine to be detailed. It's a lot tougher to make EFI engines "pretty" - due to all the wiring harnesses and funky intake plenums, but I'm sure it can be done - it'll just take some "thoughtful effort" - the rod-builders credo.

Kinda makes you feel like you're going backwards...

The rear bumper needed to be 'sucked in" a couple inches to make the entire project flow. That meant bending and shortening the bumper braces - which is WAY harder than one would think due to the braces and brackets being made of HARDENED, spring-steel.

As the owner said, "just close enough to allow a polishing cloth to pass"! Looks way better for sure.

SIDE BAR - someone asked about  my body-tools. After 30 years doing this, professionally and as a hobby, I've gathered up a few tools....None of them as pretty as say, a shiny Snap-On set, or as interesting as an electricians set-up.....but the get a lot done!

A lot of them are actually custom made or collected one-offs - things needed for a specific task, some made as I needed them.

One example is my favorite bumping dolly. It's an OLD school trailer hitch ball - which has a lot of weight for bumping and a lot of contours for shaping.

Back to the build....

Next, I pulled off the running boards, which won't be painted, but covered in rubber matting. In order to preserve them though, I cleaned them up with a wax&grease remover (critical prior to painting anything), then applied POR15 to them.

Sometimes people say POR15 (or whatever product) didn't stick to whatever they applied it to. This is almost ALWAYS due to improper prep of the substrate -  from it not being roughened enough (for mechanical adhesion), or not being clean enough (to remove oil, wax and dirt) - to allow for a proper bond to take place.

Just look how much dirt continues to be removed with each wipe of the cloth. You can see below that the dirt removed becomes less as you move left. I kept wiping until the blue Scott Towel cloth stayed blue - which was about 4 more 8-sides wipes!

This stuff is SO good, the only way to avoid the lid of a POR15 can from being permanently "welded" onto the can after use is to insert a sheet of thin plastic between them during storage. To keep POR15 for longer periods, I normally transfer the unused portion to a glass jar with a good lid (like a Mason jar), again with a piece of plastic wrap, then keep it somewhere COOL and DARK. If you're careful - and don't contaminate it - it'll stay useful for many months.

About this time, major glitch was uncovered Upon checking wheel-base measurements, the owner noted the rear end he installed 10 years ago may have been installed too far aft. He asked me to check the measurement and sure enough, it measured in at 114" - and it should be 112".

The answer of course was to move the rear end back - but how? We discussed moving the rear-end perches on the springs (but the springs have a locating bolt in their centers), purchasing new leafs ($200 each plus major re-assembly times), to cutting the top leaf and re-rolling the ends. 

Inthe end, the easiest method was the right method - which was as 'simple' as removing and re-locating was moving the rear end perch forward on the frame rail  -

Initial measurement: 114"....

Meaning the rear end needed to be moved forward 2"....

....to get the wheel base to 112".

That's more like it!

The front end - and dash - still has some metal final work to be done before paint, so that's where I'll be spending the rest of my time before it goes to Graveyard Customs for paint in March. Looks like many years ago someone welded in some major patches - and repaired some major issues, but it was all just left at the weld stage - no further metalwork was done - which left a LOT to be finished.

Some spots had been brazed (welded with a brass alloy) - which has to be removed before it can be mig-welded.

While I spend some alone time with the hammer and dolly, why not check out my website ;) 


January 6, 2013

SnapOn Box Restoration with Dupli-Color

Dupli-color is sending me some of their high-end product to use on some of my projects and I'll be sharing the work and how the products perform here ever so often.

First up was using Dupli-color Self -Etch, High Build and then Engine Enamel to paint a vintage SnapOn tool box. The box was ROUGH as rough can get - hardly worth doing, but like the over-achieving surgeon, I just love trying to "save" something....

Here's how it went::

Stripping it down.....

Several drawers and the box itself required some fairly involved hammer and dolly repair...

The insides and bottom where REALLY rusty -

Cleaned up the greasy drawers and sliders in the parts washer
                                                                          - lots of accumulated dirt and grit in there!

To neutralize the rust, I sprayed it down with a phosphoric acid solution. The one I use is called MetalPrep from the makers of POR15. It's very useful stuff and can be used on new metal to etch it before primer, on areas and seams to be welded to stop rust from starting and increase welding conductivity, and - of course - kills rust - by converting (red) Iron Oxide to a (black) Ferric Oxite.

I always warp or cover parts I've treated with plastic, so the MetalPrep will not evaporate too quickly, extending it's working time.

I pulled all the removable part of the sliders out, as well as a couple tracks that aren't normally removable but had come apart from the box over the years.

To repair these, I used a 1/8" rivet and then peened the protruding end over to it wouldn't catch the slider as the drawer goes in and out.

Once the MetalReady had done it's job (I left it wrapped in the plastic for several days), I unwrapped it and wiped it all down with a solvent called Wax and Grease remover.

Then I stripped almost all the old paint off with a DA sander and 80 grit paper.

Once stripped, I took the MiG welder to a couple spots that had split. 

As well, I re-attached part of the front cover that had separated from the hinge -

Once all that was done, I coated the rustiest areas with a rust converter from Eastwood. It brushes on smooth and stays there, ready for the Dupli-color Primer.

The box was so rough I decided to give it a skim-coat of filler to even it out. I blocked the filler with 40, 80 and 120 before priming.

Lastly, I noticed that the lid had a curve in it due to the edge being stretched, so I positioned it on my lift in order to get the lid lip into the shrinker-stretcher I have.

The shrinker-stretcher is a machine that can either pull metal together or pull it apart, thus shrinking, or stretching it. This causes a curvature to occur, but you can also straighten a part that has had a curve put into it somehow.

After a good wipe down with Wax  and Grease Remover, I sprayed all the bare metal parts on the box and the drawers with Dupli-Colors Etch Primer, which attaches itself to metal via an acid reaction. Once dry - but within the recoat window - I followed that up with several coats of Dupli-Colors High Build primer. The next day I block-sanded the high build down with 220grit, then re-sprayed it. This was repeated several times over several days until I felt it was smooth enough to paint.

Painting commenced with the insides and reverse panels before attacking the fronts last. Dupli-Colors paint comes with a fan-type sprayer, which makes overlapping your passes easy for full, even coverage.


It turned out great and will be a nice piece in the shop for many more years!

Don't forget to check out my website at www.E-tekRestorations.com !