Monday, November 26, 2018

I Dropped a Door - Roundtail Restoration

This is a rather lengthy post. Sometimes, the evening just doesn't go as planned...



There were two major focuses for me on my last visit: Getting the boot lid emblems taken care of and getting the driver's side door "done". As a tertiary objective, I wanted to get the front valance cleaned up and ready for build primer as well.

If you remember from my last post, I had left the door in unsanded build primer after fixing the cracks that came back on the door. Now that the epoxy over those repairs was dry, I blocked the door back out and found a few more low spots that I took care of with a bit more polyester filler.

Last two spots filled.

I set the door aside to cure and moved on to the boot lid. I've been looking forward to doing this for a while. For whatever reason, I have a thing for the old-school car emblems. Individual Triumph lettering, the badge, the cursive writing on the boot lid; it's all great stuff. Even other cars of the era - I just think it's cool. Since Dorothy didn't come with the Spitfire4 or Mk2 emblems on the boot lid (only the Triumph letters) due to cancer damage, it was time to fix her up.

Best shot of the boot lid that I have as I bought Dorothy.

What needs to be back there.

The boot lid that I have is from the black car. The black car is a Mk1 Spitfire. Mk1 is kind of a misnomer, because there really wasn't any such thing. Triumph probably didn't know at the time they first came out with the Spitfire that it would be successful and go through several iterations. Therefore, while there was a second generation, the Mk2 there really wasn't a first generation (Mk1) and it was just a Spitfire4 (the "4" was dropped starting with the Mk3 cars). However, it is common, especially since the cars are nearly identical visually, for people to refer to the first generation cars as Mk1.

All that being said, to me that meant that there were no holes to mount a Mk2 emblem. I needed to correct that. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any precise pictures of a Mk2 boot lid, with hole measurements (found a Mk3 one, but it's different). Instead, I found a few good closeup pics of a Mk2 boot lid and made some comparison measurements. If you want that nitty-gritty, go to the video starting around here.

Another challenge was that my new Spitfire4 emblem only fit in two of the three existing holes. I mention in the video that I think the emblem is made wrong, but I'm not so sure. I think maybe the Mk1 boot lids were "holed" a bit different since there wasn't another badge to fit under the Spitfire4. In any case, I had to drill a new hole for the third spot and decided to drill a new left-most hole, vice right, to match the angle of the emblem according to the picture I had.

About what it should look like.

I used a cardboard template, made some measurements, and got the holes for the Mk2 emblem drilled. Again, I'd refer you to the video if you want more details.

Holes drilled. You can see the extra one on the left (the bottom one is original).

Oooo, ahhhh. Love it! Just wish it was red under there.

I filled the extra hole with a bit of fiberglass filler. I thought about filling it with weld metal, but figured that at worst I could warp the panel and at best, still have some heat damaged paint and a low spot from grinding. I think the fiberglass was a better choice. I wedged in a piece of carboard behind the hole to prevent the filler from just pushing through and got it filled.

First coat filled. It took two to get it completely filled with extra to sand down.

While waiting for that to cure, I blocked out the polyester filler on the door and got it ready for epoxy (along with the front valance). I then jumped back to the boot lid, got the fiberglass filler sanded smooth and got the boot lid in another coat of build primer.

Boot lid ready for build primer.

And done, ready for blocking.

While I let the build primer on the boot lid dry, I switched over to getting the door and front valance in another coat of epoxy. Unfortunately, this is where I made a big mistake. I've made several in my restoration (bad welds notwithstanding), but I think this may be the first where I caused some real damage. Because the front valance is so long, I decided to hang it horizontally from my wooden rack that I built so I could more easily get to all of it. Since I couldn't fit them both on the rack, I decided to hang the door from the ceiling.

I know the paint gun moves a lot of air and pieces move around on my all the time. Even with the front valance mounted horizontally, it moved around, but I got it done. When I moved to the door, it began to slowly spin with the force of the air. Before I put my hand up to stop it, the clothes hanger that I was hanging it by rolled out of the cup hook. It, along with the door, fell about two feet to the concrete floor, neatly folding the rear edge over.

Top view looking down.

Long view.

To say I was upset is an understatement. I didn't know what to do for a few minutes and just kind of stood there, stunned. Fortunately, I didn't crack or tear any of the metal in that area but I did shock the window channel cracks back into existence (I welded them up with more heat this time so hopefully they're fixed now. The other side will probably come back to haunt me, though).

Fortunately, I was able to take a hammer and dolly to the dent and pretty much bang it back out. I had to pay some more attention to the area around the door handle since I removed some filler around there getting back it all checked out.

Face of the door following repairs.

Back side of the door showing the hammer marks that I cleaned up.

With the gross repairs done, I got the door scuffed back up and got it shot again with epoxy primer. Let's not do that again, okay?

Back in epoxy - again.

Closeup around door handle showing filler that was removed.

Following that, I blocked the boot lid back out, starting at 220-grit and moving to 320-grit. Happy with it, I called it done!

Time to put it away pending final prep.

And that, traumatically, was about it. Until next time...cheers!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Final Door Preparation - Triumph Spitfire Restoration

Not a whole lot of pictures from these visits, so the video will be more helpful this time around.


Had some issues with snow, so my first of the two visits was cut rather short. It was a tricky ride home, but I made it safe and sound.

Not cool, man. There were several inches by the time I left.

On a side note, I had also ordered and received a gallon of epoxy primer and another gallon of Wax & Grease Remover from Southern Polyurethanes. I am probably going through the epoxy faster than someone should, but each panel is getting at least six coats of it prior to putting on build primer. I figure a gallon should get me through the rest of it, including the body and bonnet, but we'll see.

So many peanuts. I'll get the paint out later.

I also checked on all of my bonnet pivot tube brackets after they had dried. Since they were laying against a 2x4 for ease of painting, I was afraid it may damage the paint when they were unstuck...but it worked out ok. I bagged them and put them away for future reassembly.

The snow accumulated significantly by this time and I decided to throw a coat of regular filler on the front valance and brave the drive home.

Filler, sloppily applied, to the front valance.

Kinder weather was with me for my next visit and I was able to get a good amount of work done. I started right in on the front valance and got it sanded down, then hit with another round of filler for the spots that needed it. That done, it was ready for epoxy.

The driver's door, having been done in epoxy and finished up from the last visit, was now ready for build primer and blocking. I was happy with how straight the door had turned out, even prior to the build primer. I got it in build primer and blocked it out. Found a few more low spots, got them filled with a light skim of polyester filler, sanded it down, and got another round of build primer on it.

View down the long axis of the door.

As for the passenger's side door, I called it done after final blocking. Still some minor spots on there, but nothing I'm going to fret over. It still needs 600-grit wet sanding prior to the epoxy seal coat, but that won't be until just before I'm ready to put color on it.

As for the boot lid, I finally put the reinforcement frame in and it compensated for nearly all of the oil canning, which was what the consensus of my YouTube commenters said would happen. There was some flex right in the center of the lid, but it didn't "pop" like it did before. I'm happy with that and that's how it'll stay.

While getting the driver's side door ready to block out, I unfortunately noticed that the cracks that I had repaired around the window channel were back. Not sure if it was from just moving the door around so much, but there they were. I cleaned the paint from the area, drilled some small termination holes, and welded them up again. Hopefully they will hold this time. I used a small paint brush to hand-paint epoxy over the bare metal spots.

Area hand-painted.

That done, I didn't want to block out the door and get all of that dust in the wet epoxy, so I left it for the next visit. Until then...

Epoxy Primer and Filler - Triumph Spitfire Restoration

Lots of catching up to do here, so let's get to it:


A whole bunch of different work for these two visits. I started with the newly epoxied driver's door. Up to this point, I had only done hammer and dolly work on it and it seemed to go okay. Now, it was time to get some body filler on it.

I used my hand and the light shining in the epoxy to find the low spots and got them filled in. I tried to keep the body filler thickness to a minimum after sanding, but there were some spots, like along the crease of the door and around the door handle, where some extra was required. I also tried to be a bit more precise with the filler, putting it only on spots that required it vice all of the place. I had to make up a few of batches to get all of the spots, but I think in the long run I saved a lot of otherwise wasted filler that way.

"Thick" body filler on the crease of the door where it was dinged.

With all of the filler work done and the door sanded down through 220-grit and a red scuff pad, it was time for another shot of epoxy.

Door suspended, waiting to shoot with epoxy.

All nice and shiny.

With the door painted, that was all of the work I could do on that for that visit and I called it a night.

A few days later I came back to start work on the door again, this time with polyester glazing putty. On a side note, I invested in a 4-pack of steel blades for body filler to replace the plastic ones that I wasn't very happy with. There was one each from 1" to 4" wide. The things are great, more flexible, and spread a much nicer layer of filler out. I highly recommend them.

Coster 1100 Steel Autobody Spreader Assortment 4-Pack.

With the new spreaders, I got the glazing putty on the spots that needed it and sanded them down.

Door ready for another shot of epoxy following glazing putty application.

In addition to getting the door ready for epoxy, I did a few bonnets odds and ends, namely the pivot tubes and their brackets. I had these thing laying around for a while and didn't want them to get too rusty after cleaning them up, so I prepped them for epoxy as well.

The bonnet pivot tube's brackets, drying from W&G remover

The pivot tubes hanging and drying from W&G remover, waiting for paint

Pivot tube brackets laid out ready to shoot.

I looked at the boot lid again for oil canning and drilling holes for the Mk2 emblem. Unfortunately, the picture that I had for how the emblem holes measured out was for a Mk3, which used a slightly different Spitfire emblem. Turns out, the holes were not the same. I didn't want to screw that drilling up, so I ordered new emblems (both the Spitfire4 and Mk2) from Rimmers(another sale!) and I'll use them along with a photograph of the emblems from a Mk2 car to make a template.

As far as the oil canning, it was still there, but I was afraid to do more work because I wasn't so sure I could get it out since it was such a large, flat piece of metal. I was afraid I would just chase it all of the place and never really fix anything. So, I'm waiting on making a final decision pending advice from my YouTube subscribers and putting the reinforcement frame in to see if that helps (which I'm pretty sure it will).

With that decision deferred, I moved over to the front valance, hoping to get some work done on that and getting it into epoxy when I shot the rest of the stuff. As I had replaced some cancer holes on this previously, I wanted to use fiberglass filler around the weld beads.

Front valance damage post-repair.

There are two reasons for this. First, the fiberglass short strands will provide some added strength to the repair and second, it's waterproof when it dries so it will hopefully keep water out of the small dips and holes in the weld beads that I may have missed.

Bondo-brand short strand fiberglass filler.

The fiberglass filler mixes up just like the other stuff, but you can see the small strands of fiberglass in it - it's more grainy looking. It mixes up a brown-ish color and spreads very nicely.

Fiberglass filler applied.

Once it was cured (which takes just about as long as the regular stuff), I sanded it down. It also sands out very nice. Overall, I was happy with how this stuff worked out. I intend to use it over all of my weld beads for my replaced panels, so that's a good thing!

Sanded down (opposite side)

I will put regular body filler over the fiberglass stuff, but not until after I get the whole thing in epoxy, which was next. I got everything shot that was waiting.

Pivot tube brackets in epoxy...

...pivot tubes...

...door...

...and finally the front valance.

And with that, I called that visit done as well. Until next time...

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Email Spam Attack

In the continuing saga, I reacted too late to the suspicious email subscribers. I'm now get about 100 daily subscription requests, all B.S., to the blog. Not sure if there's anything that I can do about this.

That being said, since I now have two-factor request authentication, if you quickly confirm your request for subscription, you'll be all set.

Boot Build Primer & Metal Work - Triumph Spitfire Restoration

Sorry folks,  but not a whole lot of excitement with this one. I say this every time, but I really need to get better at taking stills. I'll apologize again. Anyway, pretty short video, so here it is:


First off, if you are reading this, you are probably one of my more devoted subscribers (or a member of my family - hi, Mom!) and you may have noticed that there are now ads in my YouTube videos now. I have no control over any of the ads that you see but eventually, they will make me money, so I appreciate your patience.

Anyway, like I said, not all that exciting this time around. Just finished up the build primer application and blocking down on the boot lid.

Boot lid in build primer.

It needs another round of build primer, but as I write this (11/8), I may decide to go back and just strip that darn thing back down and start all over with it. I'm just not happy with the waviness and imperfections in it, but I may accept it anyway. Still thinking on it.

For the driver's door, I got most of the metal work done on it as best I could. There were some spots that I just couldn't get to due to accessibility or areas that were beyond my capacity to fix (like the dings in the door crease). I was able to do well with the large crease that was in the top front of the door, though I messed up with the camera trying to show it to you in the video. Here's some results:

The lightning bolt of the bad crease in the light (before).

After. Screen capture from the video, but it's better, trust me.

Other than that, really, there wasn't much else. The video will cover more for you, but it was a lot of slapping spoon and dolly work. I am happy with my results with the spoon and I'm hoping that it will do me good when I go to repair the nose of the bonnet.

Final door results with metal work.

And following two wet coats of epoxy.