Sunday 31 October 2021

Paint Preparation

Since completing the suspension and steering and getting the chassis back on to its wheels I have been reviewing the body work in preparation for the paint.

First was to make sure all the gaps were straight and equal around all the panels, which meant attaching everything properly for a first fit.

What became apparent was that in most areas I had done a good enough job to minimise any metal warping from the welding and the gaps and fit was more than acceptable. There were though a few areas that needed more metal work to get the fit to match the rest of the car.

The boot area was my biggest challenge. When first fitted the differences around the gap where mostly level with the main chassis, but at the bottom corners were raised and mid way on the upwards curve were slightly raised as well.

Because I had decide to try and restore the whole boot lid there was inevitability a lot of warping that has taken many, many hours of hammering, bending, twisting and in some cases trying metal shrinking techniques to try and get this area looking the way I wanted it to. 

I did even end up buying another original boot lid to see if I was wasting my time. 

As is turned out this didn't fit in other areas and mostly worse than mine and I would need to have the paint stripped which would add to the cost, so I decide to carry on with my original one. At least I can sell this on to someone. 

After some more time playing around with the lip that the seal fits on to it did at last get to a point that I was happy with. The guy who is going to paint the chassis said it was close enough for him to complete with filler to get it perfect. 

There are further areas like the doors and bottom of the B-posts which needed some further attention. Also the bottom half of the rear valence wasn't smooth at all.

Now the panels are flush and the gaps look good. I have also spent quite a while making sure all areas of the panels have no high points in them. This involves sliding your hand over every single parts and if you find a high point you have to gently hammer it flat. I bought a hammer and dolly set to help me with this.

Another area that was no way near close was the nose of the bonnet. I had to do so much welding to this section that the warping needed many hours of hammering to get it back flat and into a good enough condition for the painter to be happy with it.

I also spent some time teaching myself to use filler. I have to say that at times I really wanted to give up.

I have to acknowledge how much skill the professionals have in being able to work their magic and get these areas flat without ripples. Over time I started to get a better finish then my first attempt in the photo above, but while I was improving each time, deep down I knew it wasn't nearly good enough. 

So when the paint guy came round he said I had done an ok job, but that his 20 years of experience would show in the finish top coat.

Right now I am just saving up to book my slot in the spray booth and we should be good to go!

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