Thursday, December 31, 2009

B Pillars are done!

This is a video. Be sure to push the play button.
By the way, a skiddle is a combination skillet/griddle.

We will insulate our Corvette in 2010 using a really cool product called Lizard Skin. Be sure to check out the second video at this web page

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Granddaughters get on the blog for free.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shop Tour 2009

This is a video. Be sure to push the play button.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Repairing a 1963 Corvette B Pillar

I thought I'd show you how I am repairing damage to the drivers side B pillar on our Corvette. I used this process on the passenger side and it turned out tough as nails so I am sticking with it. This first picture is the upper drivers side B pillar and it's about half way through the restoration process. When I cut this out of the car originally it was so deteriorated it came out in two pieces. There was nothing left of the piece we discuss below. Nothing. I cut, trimmed and folded a piece of photo paper until it fit where I wanted the next piece of sheet metal to go.
I used a permanent marker to trace the outline of the paper onto the sheet metal.
After the sheet metal was cut I bent the metal to match the paper folds.
Holes were punched where I wanted to plug weld then I put a series of straight cuts between the holes on the farthest flange and V cuts on the closest flange. These cuts will allow me to contour the item.
Starting at the intersection of the B pillar and the window frame I clamped tight then plug welded each hole.
As I worked from left to right I was able to easily bend the piece because of the straight cuts and V's.
After all the plug welds were made I went back and welded all of the straight cuts and V's.
The welds were ground flush then sandblasted to remove any residue. I'll smooth over the welds with JB Weld to eliminate any areas that might collect moisture.
This piece still needs a lot of work but it's now one step closer to being complete.
Ty T. has been working on the passenger side A pillar. I'll show you those pictures in an upcoming post.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

More B Pillar Repairs

Lots of research this month. After I cut out the upper portion of the drivers side B pillar I realised that I didn't have any good reference pictures of the B pillar's configuration. I finally posted a question to the National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) asking for help after which I received several very helpful pictures. This is one of the pictures. You can see the drivers side B pillar in the center left of the picture. This was my template.
If you recall the B pillar looked like this before any restoration occurred. With the upper portion of the B pillar out of the car and on the bench I started to cut, form, bend, weld and grind. When welding 20 gauge sheet metal it can only be done with a string of tack welds. Any attempt to run a bead resulted in blow through. The tack welds might not be pretty but they're strong. The welding process also turned the malleable sheet metal nice and rigid. At this stage of fabrication the piece was becoming very stout.
Another picture of the same.
Before I capped this piece I did lots of grinding using a burr grinder. You can see the shavings in this picture. I also put a thin coat of JB Weld over the tack welds to fill in any nooks and crannies that might trap moisture.
In this picture a portion of the upper pillar has been capped. Again, lots of tack welds were used then ground flush.
After a coat of primer I set the piece on top of the lower B pillar and verified proper alignment. The next step will be to attach bonding strips to the assembly then bond the assembly to the body. The assembly will have to be welded in place before the bonding agent sets.
Also during this month I sandblasted and painted the steering box, all four door hinges and the steering knuckle. I also managed to get a second coat of primer on a helmet that I am painting for a friend.
That's it for November. Thanks for watching.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

News Flash - Man Goes Berserk with Reciprocating Saw

For full details click on the video below.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

B Pillar Repair

It's been 1 month to the day since I last posted to this blog. I've been tooling up to do metal repairs and we now have a 220V MIG welder (thanks Dennis K. for doing the wiring) and a few nice air tools including several grinders, a nibbler, a flange and hole punch, and a shear. I decided to start working on the right B pillar which is located adjacent to and behind the passenger seat. The first picture you see is the area before I started repairs. What you see is an old repair that predates Dennis S. the previous owner and probably even the owner before him. Dennis disclosed these issues at the time of the sale so I've known that both the A and B pillars require work. Part of the fiberglass body had to be removed for access to the damaged area. In this picture I had already started to remove thinning rusted areas so I could understand the extent of the damage.
As I removed more rusted areas I found additional areas that needed attention. In this picture you can see another section of rusted metal back up and under the fender. This is a different piece than the one seen in the photo above.
All rusted, thinning, damaged areas were removed then cleaned up for fabrication and welding.
The inner most panel has been replaced as shown in this picture. It was butt welded in place using dozens of tack welds then ground flush.
Additional pieces were fabricated and welded. The piece I am holding is only 1/2 it's original thickness.
This is the B pillar in it's current condition. The fabricated piece you see directly under the fiberglass body has not yet been welded in place. It also requires bonding to the fiberglass. Everything is coming together nicely and I don't expect any big issues. This is tedious work though and I suspect all 4 pillars may end up taking most of winter weekends to complete. Check back periodically for updates and thanks for following along.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Primer Update

Here are some updated pictures of the primer. Remember, the green primer signifies that the fiberglass work is complete. The primered areas will require either bondo or glazing compound and lots of block sanding. Still, it's looking pretty good to me!

Now that the windows have been removed work can start on the top. With exception to a couple spider cracks the top is very close to being ready for primer. The real question is whether or not we will have another warm day to paint before winter sets in.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Windshield & Rear Window Removal

Yesterday I had planned to do a little paint, a little sanding, a little of this and a little of that. And then Ty came over. I remember his question vividly, "Don't you think it's time to remove the glass." The suggestion was horrifying. Who are we going to find that's willing to remove $3000 dollars worth of moulding? Who's going to make sure we don't loose all of the windshield reference points if the whole frame is rotted away? Can I get a glass company to come here or do I need to rent a trailer and take the body to them? I heard there is a guy in Yakima that willing to remove the glass. How can I find his number? Lot's of these type questions whizzed through my mind. Then I saw Ty walk to the tool box wanting to know where I kept the pry bars. OMG!

Actually it went so well neither of us can hardly believe it. The chrome mouldings were removed without incident and the glass was lifted off the car. It was messy but nothing was damaged. Not the trim, not the glass, not the car. Nothing.

What was really amazing was that we didn't find any rust in the windshield channels. Both Ty and I were convinced we would find lots of damage but what we found was the original birdcage painted the cars original color, Daytona blue. We don't think the windshield had never been removed. There are areas of rust above the A Pillars but we knew about that months ago. Repair of those areas will be covered in a seperate posting.
Before I bought the car from Dennis S. he told me the birdcage needed minor repair but it was in good shape overall. He was right. Thanks Dennis.

The two following pictures are videos so be sure to push the play button.

You'll want to turn up the volume.


 The rear windows were removed as well and without incident. It was a beautiful day. Thanks Ty.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Exhaust Pipe Nacelle/Valance

This isn't a picture of Rocky working on the nacelle but it is a picture of Rocky right after he worked on it. Here's a picture of Les getting ready to align the nacelle. I am asking Les if he wants a lemon or lime with his Corona.
This is the nacelle after the fiberglass repairs. It fits perfect thanks to several hours of work by Les and Rocky. Thanks guys.
Here is our new sandblasting glove box. The nacelle is too small for the box but that didn't stop us. Gerri came up with the idea of the clear plastic material over the door. It works great! Our blasting media is glass beads.
This is a high resolution picture of the sandblasted nacelle. Double click on the photo and see all the repairs that were made. This piece probably should have been replaced because of the extensive damage but it is now very solid and will work just fine.
Here is the final product after its first coat of primer. Looks pretty good if you ask me.
The next 3 pictures are videos. Be sure to push each play button.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Right Side Primer

This morning Rocky and I finished sanding the right side of the Corvette then masked off the windows in preparation for paint. It was gusty for most of the morning and early afternoon. The winds settled down mid-afternoon so we decided to paint. This is a picture of the first coat of primer being sprayed. 3 coats were sprayed in total.
Rocky was the touch-up man. Rocky is now responsible for all imperfections. :0)
It turned out nice!

This is a video. Be sure to push the play button.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Rocky - Headlights

Ty T. and Rocky R. are in the building! Rocky is visiting from Houston, TX and I couldn't wait to put him to work. Rocky spent the day working on various parts of the car while Ty spent the day working on the headlights. It was a beautiful day. Rocky spent most of the day working on the rear exhaust valance. Pictures of that will be posted soon. Here Rocky is removing the door handles in preparation for painting.
After the handles were removed Rocky used the Fein to sand the tight nooks and crannies. We found one crack behind the drivers door handle. That crack has been removed and it will be repaired soon.
For the last 4 months Ty has carressed and masaged the headlights into perfection so I figure the Corvette must be a girl. I am OK with that because the results are a knock-out.
Both of the following pictures are videos so be sure to push the play button. Watch Ty's face as he brings the headlights to life.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ty T. and Lester H. = Corvette Workaholics

Lester H. & Ty T. worked their butts off Saturday. And they promise to do the same next weekend. Yahoo!!
Besides a little sandblasting, I am not sure I accomplished much on Saturday. But Lester and Ty... now that's a different story. Ty started the day and finished the day working on the headlights. He has been able to salvage and repair all the major components that make up the headlight assemblies. Some parts were literally soaked in carburetor cleaner for two months (by accident). Here you can see the rebuilt aluminum headlight sockets temporarily installed for fit-up and alignment purposes.
Lester tackled all the remaining repairs on the rear section of the Corvette. He spent hours back grinding cracks and feathering the fiberglass from inside the body wells. Trust me, that's a dirty job.
The unpainted area directly below the tail lights had been previously repaired but the alignment of the fiberglass was not correct. Les used the dremel, angle grinder, pneumatic saw, the Fein, and a variety of other tools to realign the fiberglass. The entire area was tabbed and riveted and is now ready for resin and mat.
Les used copious amounts of fresh air and proper eye and respiratory protection throughout the entire process.
Les even worked on stuff that I didn't know needed fixing.
Here are some of the headlight parts that Ty has been able to salvage. Ty has put a lot of work into the headlight assemblies and although some of the parts aren't showroom perfect they are absolutely top notch when it comes to function. Remember, we are not building a trailer queen, we are building a period correct 1963 split window driver. The headlight assemblies are perfect for our project.

See More of Les next week when he starts to glass his repairs.