Bodywork 12: good enough is good enough

The title of this one has become my mantra. Welding is getting easier incrementally, as is shaping the metal. As I cut little areas open, remove the dead metal and add new in I am always telling myself to just get it good enough so I can grind it down, smear the weld with all metal filler, sand that down and hide any imperfections under some polyester filler. Here is the latest. This picture was taken about 2 hours before I sat down to write this.

You can’t really see much of the improvement, but this is what it looked like when I left tonight. I’m only looking forward to the sanding and filler stage because it will mean the welding stage is done. Did I mention welding is dirty work?

This looks all ragged because I made it out of a bunch of small pieces. In the last installment you saw me melt all the lead out and there was basically nothing left. I made some little guides with 90 degree bends along where the fender meets the rocker then welded strips of new metal over them. This was a lot of work that I just made up as I went along.

And here it is after the welds have been ground down and filled with Ever-coat metal impregnated polyester filler. This will have to be filled out about 1/4 inch with filler at the lowest part to get the correct shape. Hopefully I’ll do better on the other side. I still need to do the rockers but am waiting for a set of Spider rockers I bought to come. I was told the Spider rockers, if mounted upside down, had about the right contour. Good enough.

This area was next in line. Rusted panels in all three directions. I cut this area open the same day I cut the headlight off many moons ago. Time to get it all patched up.

Along the rolled lip of the fender there was a lot of little rust holes. N0 surprise considering there was no protection from rust ever applied to the raw metal. Didn’t hold up too bad for 49 years of exposure!

I cut and cut and all the sudden I had a lot of patches to make -not to fear, more cuts to come.

I decided to really expose the backside of this panel because I wanted to seal it on the inside and because it had a big dent I couldn’t get behind. I find it helpful to not stop and take stock of things until it’s on its way back together. No sense in giving discouragement time to set in.

I popped the dent out of the panel, painted the backside of the inner fender liner then welded it back together before I had time to despair. This repair ended up taking three pieces and the rolled edge of the fender was difficult but didn’t come out too bad if I do say so -maybe slightly better than good enough. This is all ground and ready for filler. Maybe tomorrow.

I was tired, ready to relax and have a glass of wine, but decided it wouldn’t hurt me to install two more patch panels. First was that big rectangular one facing the camera, harder to see is the rounded piece that extends the fender liner down to the other new piece. Phew -good enough.

I definitely feel more comfortable welding at this point which is good because I have a bunch of little repairs to do in the trunk, rockers to weld on, seat mount brackets to weld on, the area in front of the drivers door to repair and the doors need attention. The goal is still to have all this done by the end of February and I think I can make it. 7 more hours done, 818 to go.

The last installment.


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