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Body Restoration and Paint

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This topic is broken up over three LONG pages. This is the first. You can skip to the second page if you've already read this one. Of course, to see latest work in progress, there's always page three...

Donor Tub Located

Meet my newest acquisition. Recently, a list member made me aware of a restoration Spitfire languishing in the Arizona desert for sale for a few hundred dollars. The deal included two transmissions (one rebuilt), two engines and miscellaneous parts. I was somewhat interested because the party representing the seller told me that the chassis had already been restored and painted, and featured many new parts.

Unfortunately, I don't own a trailer and more or less lost interest in the project because I didn't feel like renting one to make the trip.

Then, I received e-mail from a different list member who asked if I was still interested in the body and frame, because all he wanted were the engines and various bits. He further explained that he would deliver the parts to my home. After seeing a few digital pictures, I figured "what the heck" and we reached a mutually acceptable deal for significantly less than the original price that was paid, since the engines were no longer part of the deal.

The rolling chassis includes the rebuilt transmission, driveshaft, and differential. The entire frame has been cleaned and painted gloss black. All the brake lines and fittings are new. All suspension parts are new. All brake parts are rebuilt and/or new. The front springs and rear leaf springs are new, as are the shock absorbers, steering rack, brake adjusters, wheel cylinders, radias arms, differential mount, etc. In other words, this straight, 100% rust-free chassis is in PRIMO condition.

The body itself is in remarkably good shape considering the neglect it has faced for the last ten years or more. The panels are remarkably in good condition and solid, including the floor pans which exhibit some light surface rust but are otherwise very, very good. I can see no evidence of prior body damage repair, and there are only a half dozen or so spots of bodywork that need attention before painting. The largest remedial work will be on the rear valance, where the car sustained some minor damage. The tub is already off the chassis and just resting on it, so hauling it in for body prep should be easy on a flatbed.

The bonnet is remarkably good, with just one crease in the lower left front and a small ding on the front of the bonnet to have repaired. Other than that, it's very straight and solid throughout with NO rust or Bondo. The doors are in fair condition and easily restored.

The ONLY problem with this tub is that it's LHD, which means I'll have to modify the bulkhead to accomodate all my RHD parts. I feel confident that this won't be too problematic, however. I'll also have to drill a couple of new holes in the dash to accomodate the grab handle which would be on the left side, rather than the right.

Although I never intended to do a complete "frame-off" restoration of my RHD Spitfire, it looks like I am moving in that direction, for sure.

Professional Estimate Inspires DIY Decisison

12/21/00 -- It took quite a bit of time and effort to have someone come out here to give me an estimate for the body and paint work on the donor tub. The estimate? $5,000 or $5,500 to convert the tub to RHD.

Ouch.

Considering that the sheetmetal from the tub is in generally good condition with the exception of a few small dents that need to be worked from the nose and front corner of the bonnet and the rear valance, this estimate exceeded my expectations by about $2,000.

Thanks to the Totally Triumph Garage and one of the new friends I have met there recently, I have decided -- that with his help -- I am going to complete all the body prep myself and may even take a crack at the final spray -- but at this juncture I believe I'll simply haul the tub and parts off to a professional painter for the final stage. Ken C. is local and has been over to visit a time or two. I've seen Ken's Spitfire, which he restored himself -- and it's beautiful. Ken has agreed to be my consultant on the project, teaching me how to do each stage as we go along.

Doing the body prep myself is of course going to take much longer to complete, but will cost me much less, even after acquiring the specialized tools that will be needed. Plus, I get to keep the tools! While it's tempting to simply haul off the tub to the pro that gave me the estimate and let them have at it -- I must admit that my initial fears of learning this new skill have been allayed considerably by that five grand estimate. I enjoy working with my hands and I'm patient and detail oriented, so I'm hopeful that I'll be a pretty decent metal man when all is said and done.

Ken assembled a laundry list of items to acquire for the project, and most have been ordered. My big splurge is for this mid-range two-stage compressor. It's 7 HP and will deliver 16.8 CFM at 90 PSI, which will be plenty for any type of tool that I could ever want to attach, including the orbital sander that is going to see a lot of use. The electrician is stopping over tomorrow to give me a couple of outlets for the juice. The compressor draws 20 amps@ 230V, but I'm going to install a 50 amp service at Ken's suggestion.

I'll be investing in a lighter duty MIG welder as well, which is another reason for the higher amperage outlets. Other items required include about 25 sheets of 80 grit sanding discs, two-stage respirator, full face mask, a 90 lb sandblasting hopper, body blocks and hammers, body filler, etc.

I've also purchased two engine stands from which I am going to fabricate a rotisserie for the tub as I work on it to get it off the ground, provide easier access to different areas and storage purposes. Another one of our forum members, Dan, has provided excellent plans for this engine stand. Details can be found here.

While the fact that I'm going to be "doing it myself" is going to extend the restoration process to at least a year or probably two, I'm looking forward to taking on the task and learning as I go. I'll do my best to pass on my new found knowledge to you as well.

1/5/01 -- The compressor and electrician both arrived yesterday. So did 300 pounds of 40-60 grit silicone carbide media. I chose this stuff because it is non-carcinogen the way ordinary playground sand is, much less dusty, plus it's sharp and should cut through the old paint and any surface rust I find real well. The compressor is huge and makes quite a statement in the garage! My electrcian hard-wired it into a new switch box on the wall (since the compressor comes with neither a wall plug or on/off switch (!) and today, I'm installing all of the pieces I needed to purchase at Home Depot to make this thing work! I briefly considered running 3/4" galvanized pipe in a circuit around my garage, but have since shelved that idea for now, opting instead to simply install a cut-off switch and pressure regulator coming straight out of the air tank, which will then connect to either a 1/4" or 3/8" air hose depending on my application. The 3/8" air line provides 100% more air volume than the 1/4" does and that might make it better suited for sandblasting. The bead blaster should work 100% better now for cleaning up smaller parts during the restoration.

1/16/00 -- I ended up purchasing a moisture trap to place after the shut of valve and before the regulator on the compressor and so far, all is working great. The day after tomorrow, Ken is coming over to help me get started with the body prep on the shell by showing me what to do. Unfortuantely, I don't have a functional tub stand yet, but hope to have one put together by the weekend. If any welding is involved in the fabrication of the tub "rotisserie", then it's going to hold things up for awhile. I don't yet own a welder or possess the skills to use one even if I did!

Body Restoration Begins

1/19/01 -- Ken showed up just after 9:15 this morning and we set about getting the blasting rig set up and I made the mistake of deciding to tackle the bonnet, first. We connected 3/8" air line to the compressor and immediately ran into a problem with the flow of the black sand in the hopper. This one had us both stumped for awhile, but Ken, having not only experience, but more common sense than I, opened up a small hole in the base of the sand feed line so that more air could be mixed with the sand, which seemed to be clogging up the line, though it didn't seem that moisture was the problem.

We just filled the hopper with probably about 45 pounds of sand and that amount lasted just about as long as I felt like sandblasting.

TIP: If you're using a moisture trap, try to put it as close to the tool as possible. Mine is coming out next to the tank and is doing only a fair job. I had to wrap a rag around where the quick connect joins the air tool to catch the dripping condensation that formed from the air line.

I can't remember the last time I've been so bone-tired. I optimistically told Ken that I was going to try and finish sanding the center portion of the bonnet by the end of the day, then apply primer to protect the bare metal from any encroaching rust. No way. Switching between the sandblaster and the orbital sander, I barely made a dent in the job. Making like a big giant sea turtle, I stood the bonnet up, backed into it, grabbed the support tubes with my hands, leaned forward and carried the bonnet into the garage where it will wait until I have several hours to devote to tackling the job again. The bonnet is really quite light and I highly recommend this method for a single person to move it around.

Tip: Make sure to adjust to the recommended tool air pressure while the tool is in use, in other words while the compressor is under load. If you set the pressure before using the tool, your actual pressure when using the tool will be significantly less than what you were expecting. I think this might have been part of the problem with the sand blaster to begin with, because after we cranked up the pressure to about 100 PSI, we had good flow.

My work today taught me a few things:

To clean up all the mess on my driveway, I used my electric leaf blower attachment on my shop vac to blow most of the sand and various debris into a small area. I cleaned out the holding tank for the shop vac very thoroughly and used the sieve that comes with the blasting rig against the end of my shop vac hose to pick up the sand and sift out the leaves, twigs and other junk that got blow in to the mix. I kept a trash can close by and dumped the debris that clogged the airflow frequently, until all that was left was the sand, which was sucked into the tank. After cleaning up the driveway, I emptied the sand from the shop vac back through the sieve and into the hopper. Strained twice, the sand is ready to go again. I think that I recovered about 95% of the sand that was used today.

Ken shared with me a common technique of "scuff sanding" in which you don't necessarily take everything down to bare metal. The idea is to just get all the blemishes, scratches, etc. taken out, then using a special build-up primer with more sanding until the desired level of smoothness is achieved. I'd really like to take the entire vehicle down to bare metal, though, I think. I want to remove every trace of the original color. Sure, once I throw a coat of silver or red paint on the tub, nobody will know what's under it -- but I will -- and I plan on owning this restored vehicle for many, many more years.

1/21/01 -- Having recovered sufficiently from my first attempt at paint removal, I went at the bonnet again today, concentrating on the underside, mainly near the top. I'm wearing long rubber sandblasting gloves, a baseball cap and a full face shield to do the work, but I think I've decided to invest in a proper sandblasting hood. I've dedided that about 50 lbs of abrasive is all I want to work with during any given session. By the time the stuff is gone, I'm tired of blasting anyway and already have quite enough to clean up and recycle back into the hopper. I'm also going to buy some ear plugs. I should have done that in the first place.

I kept my garage door closed to suppress the sound of the compressor as it kicked in regularly, but the hiss of the air coming from the blast gun out in the driveway is still noisy. I felt a little self-conscious and don't want to disturb my neighbors. We live in an area governed by an association and I don't want to stir up any unwanted attention. I'm fortunate to have a rather large driveway behind the garage with a large retaining wall behind the work area, which helps to confine the sand to a reasonable area.

TIP: I'm much less tired today after working in more comfortable positions. Sandblasting requires you to remain fairly motionless for long periods of time, so being able to stand upright or being able to sit on a small stool with wheels is the way to go.

At the rate I'm going, I figure I'm going to be working for at least another three to six weeks, an hour or two at a time in my spare time, just getting the bonnet sanded down to bare metal. The bonnet area is really huge since both sides have to be prepped. Retrieving the used sand was much easier today since I took a bit more time in prepping the area by cleaning the driveway with my leaf blower beforehand.

I'm in no rush, but I've created a mental goal of June or July this year to have the tub completely prepped and ready for paint (five months from now). This may an unrealistic goal, to be perfectly candid. I have a lot going on in my life and don't have as much time as I'd like to devote to this project, but I have committed to doing as much as I can, when I can. My ultimate goal for completion is summer 2002. Owning a "brand new" 1967 Triumph Spitfire is something that I'm really, really looking forward to. I aim for it to be cosmetically, structurally and mechanically flawless in every detail.

3/5/01 -- In the last few days, I managed to get back to work on the bonnet and competed stripping the paint off the exterior. As you can see, I've stored the bonnet inside my garage to prevent rust from forming until I was finished. I used a disc sander on the nose of the bonnet. The paint came off pretty quickly that way, but in retrospect I should have been more patient and simply sandblasted the whole thing. There's no harm done, at least.

TIP: Unless you have a warm, dry place to store the body parts you're working on, be certain to seal the bare metal as you go along. Don't let that unprotected metal sit outside overnight, even under a tarp or car cover.

I've decided that sandblasting is definitely my method of choice for removal. I like the surface better -- roughed up just enough for good primer adhesion -- and after spending 12 hours or so on the bonnet so far (the underside is next), I'm getting pretty good at it. I'm using about 120 PSI of air pressure and have noted that I can strip the paint much faster in areas where there isn't much else other than the original coat of paint by rapidly moving the blasting gun in short motions back and forth with my wrist. This technique takes off the paint in much larger flakes than slowly moving the blast across the surface. I've actually learned that combining a few different techniques (depending entirely on the depth of the filler beneath) works best for me.

Three hours is about the limit that I feel comfortable blasting at any given time. It took about 3 hours on each fender and headlight surround, about another six on the center portion of the bonnet. Making sure you're comfortable is really key. Ear protection is also highly advised -- not only to protect you from the high frequencies of all that hissing air, but also to keep the blasting media out of your ears. Of course, a good blasting hood would solve that problem as well.

I've also gotten a bit lazy with the media cleanup and recycling, but so far, no troubles. I still make certain to hit the driveway thoroughly with my electric leaf blower attachment on the shop vac before startin, but after the last time I was finished and used the blower to direct most of the sand into a pile that was maybe 6' x 6', I simply sucked it all up into the shop vac (without the filtration technique), simply avoiding any leaves or debris that founds it's way into the mix and then just jammed the end of the blast gun hose directly into the open tub of the shop vac rather than dumping it all back into the blasting hopper. This worked out just fine for my last session, in which I completed the exterior of the bonnet. The line only became a bit clogged once or twice, but 99% of the time was smooth sailing.

Next up -- the underside of the bonnet, which I estimate will take about the same amount of time. I think the cleanup should go faster because I anticipate the media will be thrown around the driveway a bit less and I'm also hoping that there's nothing but original paint on the underside which should strip away quickly and easily.

By the way, with the exception of a couple of minor dings, I'm REALLY pleased with the condition of this bonnet, particularly the side flaps which tend to become warped all too easily. The side panels on this are very straight, solid and nice, though there are two 1/8" or smaller stress cracks around the bonnet latch opening that will need to be soldered and ground flat.

4/06/01 -- The bonnet was cleaned with thinner, allowed to dry thoroughly and then coated with self-etching primer shortly after my last entry. Before I did that, I took a few photos of the three areas of the bonnet that are going to require the most attention in the restoration. Fortunately, they should all be fairly easy to get to with the hammer and dolly combo, and I'm confident that I'll be able to get the metal fairly straight before applying a bare minimum amount of filler. There are two dings in the nose -- barely discernable in the above photos, and actually much smaller in real life than they appear here.

There is also a fairly good sized crease that unfortunately, runs directly into the seam between the left outer fender and the headlight surround.

This area is going to be somewhat difficult for someone with NO experience to tackle, so recently, I made the decision to take a break from the bonnet and practice my metal tapping skills on the rear valance, which I've been leaning towards replacing with a new panel.

Because of the camera flash, the depth of the dent on the left front corner of the bonnet is not very well defined.

The bonnet is being stored in my garage and humidity levels are generally very low here in San Diego, so I have no fear of rust spoiling my progress on the bonnet.

Donning ear plugs and trying out my new "Made in China" hammer and dolly set (I opted for a $29 set from an Internet tool site), I went about hammering out the large dents in the rear valance last week and made fairly remarkable progress in the first hour of trying.

The thing I was most pleased with is that I was able to remove most of the deep "V" shaped crease along the flat upper lip of the valance (just below the trunk lid where you see all the rust from water collecting there) that had been caved in by the PO's rear-end cruncher. I was able to do this by utilizing the dollies in every angle possible and beat the dents out from the inside out. I don't have a slide hammer yet and I'd like to do as much as I can without drilling or punching any holes in the sheetmetal if I can help it.

This "V" extended from the right side of the center almost to the back-up socket on the left side. As you can clearly see here, I still have a long way to go and the reforming the edge is going to take a LOT more work. All in all though, progress has been very good and I feel confident that this original panel can be hammered out pretty good and saved. Phew! My goal is to use as little filler as humanly possible, though I'm going to have to be realistic about this. Here's another view.

and another

My greatest challenge at the moment (other than restoring the nice sharp edge on the left side of the valance where horizontal drops off to vertical), stems from the rather large crease that is in the very center of the valance, directly below where the license plate light would be attached. You can see it in the above shot with more detail below.

The problem I have (as seen below from inside the trunk) is that a welded reinforcement brace (for the trunk lock) on the inside is preventing me from gaining direct access to the damaged area to hammer it out. If I had a spot welder, perhaps the easiest thing to do would be to cut this piece out and reattach it later. But I don't.

I know exactly the tool I need, but I'm not sure if I'm capable of fabricating it. Basically, I need a 21" long, 1" wide, 1/4" thick piece of hardened steel that's basically shaped like a triangle that's 7" long on each of the three sides, with a small opening near the top so I can slip the welded bracket shown above through it. It would be ideal if the area near the opening at the top of the triangle was flattened for striking with my hammer. With this sort of tool, I could pound that crease out in no time without any drilling or cutting. The force of the blows would be distributed more or less evenly across the bottom length of the triangle, directly over the affected area.

 

4/15/01 -- I spent more time hammering away at the sheetmetal this weekend with very satisfying results. Compare the following photos with the ones above and you'll quickly understand the source of my optimism. So far, I've spent about two and a half hours working on the valance and the results are evident.

As mentioned above, my biggest challenge was reaching the crease behind the support brace in the trunk,directly on the other side of where the license plate light goes. I had thought of fabricating a special tool for that purpose, but improvised instead as an experiment with terrific results.

I had some free time this weekend, but hadn't gotten around to getting some bar stock from the hardware store to fashion into that triangle shaped thing-a-ma-jig that I had mentioned above.

I decided out of a combination of frustration and desperation, to try using a large horseshoe I've had hanging up on my pegboard for over a year. As it turns out, it was the absolute perfect tool for the job. By positioning one end of it where I wanted to push the metal out and then hammering on the opposite side of the shoe, I was able to deliver the right amount of pressure just where I wanted it, without having to worry about the support plate that had been in my way previously.

Take a close look at the following two photos of the same area. Bear in mind that NO filler has been applied so far (just primer to protect the metal as I continue to work on it).

Before

After

As far as horse shoes go, I'd have to say that this one certainly brought me a great deal of luck. After hammering the large creases out, I shoved the flat side of one of the small dollies on the opposite side of the sheetmetal and used a flat hammer to finish reshaping the panel in this area.

If you compare these photos to the ones above, I think you'll notice the overall improvements. Remember, the flat "__" center portion of the valance to the left of the center had been crushed into a "V" shape by the impact.

This area still needs more work, but I'm beginning to get a good handle on the rest of the damaged area and I'm even getting better with working on the edge across the width. I never would have thought I could managed anything like this just a few weeks ago -- and I feel a real sense of accomplishment. So far, so good. Trust me, if you're on the edge of trying some bodywork yourself but feel intimidated, just remember that I felt the exact same way that you do.

Pictured below are my "best tool" and "worst tool" of the day. The horseshoe turned out to be very lucky for me indeed. But the Chinese made hammer that came with the $29 hammer and dollie set that I purchased didn't hold up too well. Let that be a lesson to me...

The more I work with this valance, the closer I am to realizing my goal of being able to get away with a bare minimum of filler when it comes time to got at it with the grinder and block sander. Sincere thanks again to all who encouraged me to give this bodywork stuff a try. I'm looking forward to learning the next step after I spend another hour or two hammering the sheetmetal.

5-25-01 -- Not satisfied enough with my hammering on the valance to proceed to the filler and finishing phase, I decided to concentrate on the bonnet once more after Ken C. set an appointment to come and show me how to mix and apply filler correctly.

Before I discuss this aspect of the repair with you, let me say that a second hammer from my cheap $29 hammer and dollie set from Tools-Plus.com broke exactly like this one did and I also returned it for a replacement. Obviously, these wood-handled tools made in China are crap. A waste of money. Now before you get any wrong impression that I am prejuduced about anything made in China, let's set the record straight. I actually found a wonderful set for even less money at Harbor Freight. For $19.95 I bought the seven piece set pictured below, which are also made in China -- and warranted for life. The hammers have fiberglass handles, the dollies are properly hardened and are both painted and polished nicely. They just have a better "feel" to them. This "ultimately cheap" set of body tools should last me a good long time. In fact, they'll probably outlast me.

TIP: Don't buy cheap sets of tools that don't come in a blow-molded plastic case. If the manufacturer doesn't think enough of their product to package it correctly, then these are tools that are probably not worth keeping to use again.

Last week, when Ken came over, we went to work on finishing up the repairs on my bonnet. Here are a series of photos showing the progress of my work. The first photo shows the damage to the front corner, after the paint was sandblasted off but before I started hammering out the dent.

The second photo shows the outside of the dent hammered out almost completely, however more work was still needed in the seam itself and the inside of the seam area.

The following photo shows most of the crease has now been pounded out, using among other things, a sawed off broom handle to give me the reach I needed. The great majority of the damage has been hammered out. Time to apply a light coat of filler.

To straighten the seam which had been bent out of shape on the back side of this dent, I found a special set of vice grips designed specifically for working with sheet metal. This tool has also already come in handy for straightening other bent seam areas.

Hammering out the two nose dings as pictured further up this page turned out to be rather fun. I used one of the body dollies almost like a chisel and let it slide across the metal while I applied pressure with the hammer blows to drive the dents out.

.

6/07/01 -- I've done a lot more work between the last update and this one, primarily to the rear valance. Actually, I finished up the rough repair work on the nose of the bonnet, the left front corner and three or four other problem spots that needed attention. All that's left for the bonnet now is more sanding, the application of primer/surfacer and more sanding.

During a recent weekend when the weather was overcast (Memorial Day weekend to be exact), I decided that I was happy enough with the hammering work on the rear valance to go to the next stage -- applying a light skim of filler. All in all, this plan worked very well, but I've since decided that more hammering needs to be done. I followed Ken's advice and applied the filler in a three-step process.

1. Apply the first thin coat. Knock it down with 36 grit.

2. Apply the second thin coat. Sand it down with 80 grit.

3. Apply a very thin film coat to finish it off. Sand with 80 grit.

When I said "knocking down", I was referring to sanding with 36 grit (you can use one of those cheese-grater files if you prefer) after the first application of filler, after it has set up some, but not much. If the filler falls off like large grains of sand, it's hardened enough for this. If it rolls up like little grains of rice, wait another five minutes or so.

Ken stressed that there are many different ways and theories of going about this, but he prefers the "three step" fill process. First, just slap some filler over the area where you want it, then either rough-file or rough sand it down to see where you're at. For instance, you might start hitting metal surrounding the slight depression where the fill material remains.

Then, mix another batch, go over the same area again with another thin coat, let it set up (but not totally harden again) and this time, "knock it down" with perhaps 80 grit. You want the filler to fall off from the sanding easily so no real pressure is required. Now that you're using 80 grit, you really want to wait a good 20-25 minutes (depending on how much hardening creme you used, ambient air temp, etc.

Finally, mix a third batch and give just a very, very thin skim coat over the area. Let this harden completely and go at it with 80 grit, then top coat this area with primer/surfacer. Hopefully, you can fill the little air bubble holes this way, or use a glazing compound if necessary. In between coats, go over the area with your hand to feel how you're progressing. I decided that visually, it's a crap shoot, but the hand doesn't lie. You can feel how well the dent is out better than you can see it.

Based on a different TTN member's suggestion, I bought a gallon of the Evercoat filler and the stuff is really nice to work with. There were very few pinholes for me to deal with. The best way to avoid the air bubbles is to spread the filler over the area you want to cover in as few strokes as possible. Don't worry if it's ugly when you apply the filler (like I was initially), the junk you don't want will be easy to get rid of.

Close scrutiny reveals my deficiencies as a body repairman. But I'm not finished yet...

7/13/01 -- Yesterday was spent nursing a very sore shoulder. The day before, I took a shrinking hammer to the rear valance to deal with a small area of stretched sheetmetal that I didn't properly work out the first time. For those who don't know, a shrinking hammer contains a serrated face so that when you strike the sheetmetal, it creates tiny indentations on the surface, drawing the surface inward. These indentations need to be filled later.

After hammering for about an hour (blistering my hand in the process), I was finally satisfied with the shape of the metal, sanded off most of the remaining filler with my disc sander and applied two more thin coats of filler, sanding between each coat with 36, then 80 grit. I carefully used the disc sander to feather the edges of the fill and finish smoothing the entire affected surface out.

I then applied two good coats of primer/surfacer and will do the finishing sanding later, after I have prepped the rest of the tub. Although repairing the rear valance took a great deal of time and effort (many hours), the end result of preserving the original panel was well worth it. Particularly since a professional body repairman couldn't tell me whether or not this panel could be repaired at all when he inspected it several months ago.

10/10/01 -- Well, that sore shoulder wound up causing me a great deal of pain through the remainder of the summer and the doctor told me I had tendonitis, suggesting that I pop about 12 Ibuprofin tablets a day and get physical therapy. So between the heat of the summer and nursing the injury (and battling general malaise), I've done nothing on the tub between mid-July and now. Last weekend, I attended British Car Day here in San Diego and saw a couple of really beautiful Mk3 Spitfires. That fired me up. A couple of days ago, the weather was cool and overcast all day. Once I realized that the coastal clouds would remain, I broke out the sandblasting rig and took the old paint of the left rear wing, sealing it with self-etching primer. My shoulder has been feeling better lately and I'm committed to finishing up the body work before the end of the year. At least, that's the plan.

11/9/01 -- I recently purchased a MIG welder whose specifications were suggested by various Totally Triumph Network members. After a snafu with shipping (the freight company delivered the wrong model) my 175amp, 230v Hobart Handler arrived a couple of weeks ago. I finally got it set up, a 230v outlet installed and tried it today for the very first time. I practiced by tacking some thin metal plates together. The results were ugly, but at least it's a start. I've got a lot more practicing to do... Since this is a topic unto itself, I've started a new page called Adventures in (MIG) Welding.

Click here for my bodywork restoration Pt II...

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