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.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

First Primer

Included in this post are three sets of four photographs. The first set were taken the day the Corvette arrived. I've included these to refresh your memory and remind you that the car has 3 tail lights on each side, the firewall was a mess, and both front fenders had the wheel wells removed. The second set of pictures show the fiberglass repairs that have been made to date. The third set are the primered sections of the car that were painted today. These sections will receive block sanding, additional primer and additional block sanding once the entire car has been primered. Here you can see the three tail lights, the cut out wheel well on the passenger side,
the fire damage and hasty repairs to the firewall,

and the driver side wheel well.
I only masked those sections of the car that do not require additional fiberglass repair. The last several months were spent working on these areas. Note the 2 taillights on each side. Just prior to painting all areas were hand sanded one last time with 80 grit sandpaper to insure proper adhesion.

The primer I chose is a two part chromate free kwikure epoxy primer from House of Kolor. It's mint green (No, I didn't have a choice) and expensive at $180 a gallon.
The results look great...
and I love the firewall!
Although I didn't mention it in a previous post, I want to point out that the entire front end has been rebuild. The cross member just in front of the hood was replaced along with all of the headlight supports. The rebuild also included a new radiator support frame but this will have to be swapped out at a later date for one that goes with our fuel injected motor. The primer will help identify areas that need additional attention. These areas will be fixed using glazing compound, not fiberglass. That's it. Lester H. returns later this week so we will resume repairs on the passenger door.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lester is in the Building

What a treat! Lester H. is visiting from Frederick, MD for a few weeks and was quick to volunteer his services. Les scoped the car and was quick to claim dibs on the damage to the passenger door. It was near 100 degrees that day so staying hydrated during the repair was essential. Here Les is showing us the damaged door panel prior to repairs.
A close up of the damage. This was probably caused at the race track when the door was opened into a nearby bollard. Could have also been a grocery cart I guess. After limited access to the backside of the panel was obtained Les had to be a contortionist to reach inside using the angle grinder to remove some of the fiberglass thickness.
This is a shot of the inside of the passenger door after Les was finished grinding. To show the remaining thickness of the fiberglass we held a trouble light on the outside. Shortly after this picture was taken two layers of 8" x 8" matt were installed.
Les is pointing to the area that requires further attention. Be sure to watch for updates to this blog where you'll hopefully see more of Les and the completion of the passenger side door repair.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

First Bondo

The fiberglass work that we've been doing over the last month has been finishing work. Most the areas you've previously seen have been completed. The work performed over the last month includes back grinding, placing fiberglass mat and resin on the opposite side of the repairs, removing rivets and tabs, filling rivet holes, etc. Unfortunately, it is near impossible to photograph this work because all the fiberglass resin we use is clear which means you can't see the progress. So, for the benefit of the blog, we will change our work process. Usually we would complete all fiberglass work on the whole car, skim coat the whole car with bondo, shoot the whole car with primer, then paint the whole car. Instead we will primer when ever a section is complete. Whenever and where ever you see primer will signify completion of the body work. There is a video at the end of this posting that tries to explain the intent. But for now, it's bondo time... A full skim coat of bondo was put down on the left front then 95% of it was removed by block sanding. The bondo that remains is paper thin. The thickest area might be 1/32" but no more. These irregularities could have been corrected with primer only.
This is the same fender. All damaged fiberglass was removed until a solid foundation was achieved. New fiberglass matting and resin replaced all the voids. The bondo corrected minor surface irregularities. This fender has been the most labor intensive of all the fiberglass work.
Another shot of the same fender near the windshield. The top of this fender is now ready for it's first coat of primer.
A picture of the bondo applied to the front of the same fender. Primer to follow.
Below is the video. Be sure to push the play button.