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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Subscriber Update

Well, I think I smell a rat. Within a day of writing the post about suspicious email subscribers, I got at least 10 new requests...way too many. I also recognized that if the email address and the name are identical (no spaces, numbers, etc.) then it's probably BS and I'm deleting it.

So, if you subscribed for real and I deleted you, I assume you'll find your way back eventually wondering why I haven't sent you an email in a while and you'll re-subscribe.

Thanks and I appreciate everyone's patience during this. Funny how such a small site gets this stuff...can only imagine if I was actually popular!

If you want to subscribe, please give me at least a name that looks legit and don't make your email address and submitted name identical or I'm deleting the request. Thanks!

Boot Work - Triumph Spitfire Restoration

When we last left our intrepid hero, he was contemplating life, having burned through some build primer and exposing bare metal on the passenger's door. After sleeping on it, and knowing the correct answer deep down, he made the decision to epoxy the door with two wet coats...again. To the video:

Showing some of the bare metal (burned through) spots at the bottom.

To minimize the chance of doing that again, I worked the bare spots with some light hammering to try to recess them just a bit. However, I couldn't really feel the the spots were high (or low), so I'm not sure if I did any good, but I did know that if I didn't feel it to start with, I didn't want to feel it afterward, so light tapping was all I did!

I also continued work on the boot lid. I had left a few obvious spots at the end of last visit where I knew I had to put on a bit more body filler. All in all, the boot lid didn't go so well. I'm not sure if it was me working it too much or if it was really in that bad of shape. Some of both, probably.

Close-up of low spots requiring more filler (the darker streaks in the big white circle).

Eventually, I got it to the point where I was happy with it and got some more Evercoat Rage Ultra filler on it, smoothing it down in preparation for another two coats of epoxy.

Boot lid with filler on it, ready for sanding. Notice most of it is across the top, not-so-flat portion.

I think given the large piece of flat metal was what got me as it was easy to warp slightly and I ended up chasing my tail a lot. The boot lid was damaged, so I know I didn't cause all of my problems, but again, I'm not sure that I didn't contribute.

I blocked out the boot lid and prepped it and the door with two cleaning sprays of Wax & Grease Remover for their coats of epoxy and got those on towards the end of the visit.

Ready for epoxy.

Light first coat of epoxy to minimize cratering. You can see the filler showing through on the boot lid.

While I was waiting for prep steps, paint to dry, and what-not, I pulled out the driver's side door and started the hammer and dolly work on that. The forward portion of the door is in ok shape, but the back is "meh". During my door repairs, I had to fill some holes the PO (Previous Owner) put in to use a slide hammer (no, I won't use one of those) and this area was in rough shape. There's also a two sizeable creases in the door, one running at an angle to the curve at the top of the door, making it a tougher repair.

After scuffing the epoxy, exposing the highs and lows. It should all be a light(er) gray.

The lightning bolt of the bad crease in the light. Ugh.

That was about it for that night (Thursday) and I was right back Saturday morning (yes, I had another breakfast sandwich) to continue.

Now that the epoxy was dry on both the door and the boot lid, I could hit the door with another several coats of build primer and the boot lid with the next step of polyester glazing putty. First up, the door.

In between visits, I bought a 2.2mm spray tip for the spray gun as I wasn't really happy with how the 1.8mm tip was laying the paint out. I just wasn't getting a very wide fan pattern and I thought the larger tip would do better. The SPI Tech Manual does call for a 1.8mm to 2.5mm tip, so I was running at the small end and figured running it right up the middle would be good. It went on much better - four coats of build primer and I put the door aside for "future me" work.

2.2mm tip on left. You can probably see the size difference between it and the 1.8mm on right.

I swapped between working the boot lid in polyester glazing putty and, while waiting for that to cure, metal working the driver's door. Lots of block sanding on the boot lid and lots of hammering on the door.

The final condition of the door, ready for another round of epoxy.

Final cleaning prep on the boot lid with W&G Remover and I hit it with two more coats of epoxy. Happy with the way the epoxy went on this time as I had little to no cratering, so I made sure to record the gun settings for that round, as I do for all of them (and you should, too).
I left with the door still needing some work, so I didn't coat it in epoxy. I'll focus on finishing the metal work on that during my next visit and also get the boot lid in build primer and start blocking that out to see how it comes out. Until next time...

Friday, October 26, 2018

Blog Subscribers Please Read!

I use a simple email subscription plugin to manage subscribers to the blog. There is an option for a single opt-in and a double opt-in.

For single opt-in, which I've used up to now, you only need to provide an email address you are subscribed. For the double opt-in, the plugin sends you a confirmation email that you need to acknowledge before you are put on the subscription list.

As my site and YouTube channel (which I link to this site with) have grown in popularity, I've noticed lately that I've gotten subscriptions using suspicious email addresses, like "test@yahoo.com". While this may be valid, I don't want to take the chance of it being someone who has some way to hack into the website using that plugin.

So, from here forward, I will be using the double opt-in subscription. If you subscribe and don't acknowledge but your email looks legit, I will resend the confirmation email after about a week or so. If I don't hear anything after another week, I'll delete the request.

For current subscribers: Addresses that are obviously screwy will be deleted after the announcement of this post is sent. If I was wrong, please re-subscribe and acknowledge. Addresses that are questionable will receive a confirmation email. If I don't hear anything back, they'll be deleted. Addresses that are obviously valid will be left alone.

I apologize if this causes any inconvenience, but I'd rather not take any chances. Thank you to those of you that have subscribed and thank you for understanding as I transition to a safer option.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Build Primer - Triumph Spitfire Restoration Passenger's Door

Again with the lack of pictures...when I think it'll help, I put in some screen captures from the video. Not the best option, but better than nothing, I guess. To the video:

The video comprises two "full" visits to the garage. I put some extra hours in at work during the week and was able to take Friday off, so I took advantage of it and got over to the garage nice and early for some work.

After enjoying my tasty breakfast sandwich (yes, from Old Mystic General Store again), I got to it.

So good.

The first visit, Friday, was focused on getting the door in 2K build primer that I picked up from Southern Polyurethanes. Based on their recommendation, I went with a gallon of the regular build stuff (as opposed to the high build) and it was about $110 for the kit, consisting of a gallon of the primer and a quart of the activator (it's mixed 4:1). The purpose of the build primer it to take out the last little bit of imperfections you have by filling the low spots with a thick paint (it's about the consistency of household latex). Being so thick, it requires a larger spray gun tip, SPI recommending between a 1.8mm and 2.5mm.  I got a 1.8mm tip with my gun, so I was going with that.

I did find some perfect spots for the build primer to fill where the high and low spots had paint or filler (or not) as well as some sanding marks. I was hopeful that it would do so, and it did.

A bit hard to see, but the crater is there, along with some sanding marks

Long shot of the highs and lows prior to build primer application.

If your panel is pretty straight to begin with, you ultimately will sand the majority of the build primer off. Sound like a waste of money and time? Yeah, I guess it is, but the panel is that much straighter when it's done. Again for my situation SPI recommended the regular build vice the high build. The high build stuff (because it has more solids) runs about $160 for a gallon kit (same mixing ratio). Since most of its sanded away and I'd probably not need a whole gallon of any build, the gallon of regular build made more financial sense.

The pot life of the build primer is much shorter than the epoxy, with only about 30-45 minutes available to spray it. There is no induction time and it sprays pretty quickly, only requiring about 3-5 minutes between coats. I mixed way, way too much to begin with since I wasn't sure how far it would go, but I got about four coats on for the first round, leaving about half of what I mixed to cure and go to waste. Lesson learned.

After four coats.

The build primer went on pretty easily. It dries with a flat finish, unlike the glossy epoxy primer. Once it was dry (book calls for 30-60 minutes; I waited the full hour), I started with my sanding plan, starting at 120-grit (I didn't have any 100-grit) and working up through 220-grit (I didn't have any 320 that day). Most of the primer came off, as expected, and I found some additional spots that stayed rough to the touch, telling me that sandpaper was not touching those areas, indicating a low spot.

White-ish spot showing a low. The wrench is there to give the camera a focus point.

I think that the 1.8mm tip is a bit too small for me, so I ordered a 2.2mm tip from Amazon. I'll be able to try that out the next time I'm spraying the build primer and hopefully it'll work a bit better for me. The 1.8mm tip wasn't bad, it just felt like I could use a bit more flow.

Following that door work, I shifted over to the boot lid, which didn't go well on Friday, but I mainly fixed on Saturday. I had to take a lot of the "old" paint and filler off to get at some pretty bad wavy spots (some of which I made worse).

On Saturday, I finished up the door, filling in those last few remaining spots with about three more coats of build primer.

Final door condition with some minor bare metal spots.

All in all, I was happy with how the door came out and, after getting it sealed with epoxy right prior to shooting color, I think it will paint out fine.

As for the boot lid, I got some new filler on it and spent a bit more time working on the highs and lows with the shrink disk and hammer and dolly. There are still a few spots on the back of the boot lid (in between the hinge points) and along the curve, but otherwise it is coming along fine. Another hour or two of filler work on it and it'll be ready for another coat of epoxy.

Filler work needs just a bit more, but coming along.

And that was about it. Again, this stuff is slow and tedious, but I'm happy with how it's coming along, however slow it is.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Thank You!

Just a quick thank you to everyone who supports and subscribes to my YouTube channel. I recently went over 1000 subscribers, which mean I can start to make money via advertising. I can always use more parts, tools and supplies! Thanks again and, if you haven't subscribed, head over to the channel and hit the subscribe button!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Filler Work - Triumph Spitfire Restoration: Passenger's Door (still)

Another one of the posts where there was more work that pictures. So, to the video (which covers two garage visits):

Most of my time I spent sanding. And when I say most of my time...I mean most of my time. It only takes a few minutes to put a layer of filler on, give it 15-20 minutes to dry...then more sanding. I'm frankly surprised that it didn't bother me too much. I wouldn't call it therapeutic, but it wasn't too bad. Maybe I missed my calling...or nah.

So when we had left off last time I had a few spots that I wanted to come back to with filler and hadn't touched the boot lid. Being a weeknight, I didn't have a bunch of time to get work done, but I tried to make the most of it. I got filler on those few spots, let it cure and got to sanding...and sanding. And more sanding.

One other thing, as I mentioned in my previous video, I hated the mixing board that I had so I picked up a different one up at Amazon that I like a lot. It's made by Clean Sheets Mfg and is a standard 8 1/2" x 11" sheet on a slightly larger, compressed fiber-board backing. You just tear off used sheets like from a legal pad when you're done with it and throw it away. Simple and efficient. The individual sheets are coated with some sort of shiny stuff that keeps it slick, making it much easier to mix the filler than the smooth plastic of my other board, which mysteriously disappeared before the end of the night. It comes with 100 sheets and ran me $17.

Mixing board "the good"

As time went on, I slowly came to the realization that I needed to further narrow my work focus on just the door if I wanted to meet the timing gates of the epoxy. I went into a bit in detail in the video, but I want to cover it again here. I may be repeating myself from previous posts, so please bear with me.

The epoxy primer has a 7-day window in which to put something over top of it. It doesn't matter what the something is: another coat of epoxy, filler, build primer, base coat, etc. It is essentially like glue in this window; it sticks to everything and everything sticks to it. If you fall outside this 7-day window (as I did when putting the Raptor Liner on), you need to scuff it up with a red pad, then hit it with another coat and your 7-day window restarts. If you going on with paint (or, in my case, the Raptor Liner), you can spray a reduced coat of epoxy, wait 2-hours, and then put down the paint. If I was doing filler, though, like this time, I would put down full-strength paint, and I did two coats. While 7-days is a pretty long window, since I only get over there two times a week, it's easy for me to fall outside the window and then waste time and resources.

All that being said, I did sand the boot lid a bit (see the video), but ultimately let it go to focus on the door. I finished sanding it and by the end of the night, got it in another two wet coats of epoxy primer.

All coated up.

I left for the night (a Thursday) and was able to come back on Saturday for a full-day visit. I put the door up on the stand and tried to take a picture down its long axis to see if it still looked like the craters of the moon. It didn't, so there was definitely some progress!

Still not perfect, but definitely much better! If you can't tell, trust me :)

Along with the mixing board, I purchased some Evercoat Polyester Glazing Putty that is used to correct minor imperfections and get the surface really straight. I picked this up at Amazon as well and it's quite a bit more expensive ($32 for 1kg) than "regular" filler, which is not too cheap in itself (~$58 for 0.8 gal). I'm not sure that I got the correct stuff here (I discuss it in the video a bit) as I thought I was going to get something much thinner, but in the end it seemed to work well and did spread and sand differently than the regular filler did and I was happy with the final product, so I'll stick with the process. It does seem more dense for the same amount as the regular filler, so maybe there something in its makeup (more polyester?) that provides a smoother finish in the end.

I covered the entire door in it and, starting with 80-grit (I originally started with 120-grit, but soon switched to 80-grit to get my initial contour) I sanded it down. And sanded...and sanded. Are you noticing a pattern here?

Only the bottom in polyester here. I used the tape line again to maintain the crease line.

Believe it or not, this took most of the day, though I did need to cut it a bit short for family commitments. Once I was done with the polyester filler to my satisfaction (and I really am pretty happy with it and fixed the little low spots that I was going to leave initially), I got two more coats of epoxy on it and left for the day. I got some more of that cratering that I had experienced a few coats ago, but it wasn't as bad. In any case, the next step (within 7-days, of course) is to start with the build primer.

Upon recommendation of SPI themselves, I'm using the regular build primer vice the high-build stuff. Unlike the epoxy, which lays down pretty thin and is sprayed with a 1.4mm tip, the build primer lays down thick, with a 1.8mm to 2.5mm tip (I'm using a 1.8mm tip but may have to go larger - we'll see). As with the body filler, you are supposed to sand away most of the primer as it fills the slight imperfections in the surface and SPI said that, cost-wise, you're better off sanding away the regular build vice the high build. But, more on that when I actually get to that point. Until then...

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Body Filler - Passenger's Door

In another milestone event, I've put body filler on the passenger's door. And I even smoothed it out, too! Still some work to do yet, but the door is now smooth as a baby's behind! To the video:

As I've mentioned several times before, I don't have the skill (or the camera) to properly photograph befores and afters for a lot of this body work since the surface is pretty monochromatic and the camera just doesn't like to focus on that stuff. So, please watch the video (and subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven't yet!!) to get a better appreciation of the process.

With the epoxy primer still within its seven day window for covering, I wanted to get body filler on the door and the boot lid. I was a bit too optimistic, hoping that my hammer and dolly work would allow me to get away with a thin skin of body filler to sand down, left with panels ready to paint. Not so much.

I haven't used body filler since about 1986 or so on my MG Midget, and that wasn't a great job from what I remember, using it to fix a rust hole in the sill (which lasted about 2 weeks, I think). That being said, I was able to get the body filler on both panels on Friday in advance of my weekend visit. In studying up for this, a fair amount of the posts that I found on the SPI Forum said that the person would wait overnight between application of their filler (not necessarily the same kind I was using) and sanding. So, that was my intention; get the filler on one day and sand it the next (or next). However, the instructions on the can say that it's sandable after about 15-20 minutes. Who am I to doubt, so I tested it out and, sure enough, it was!

I used too much hardener on the first batch, which caused it to rock up on me way too soon. I'm using Evercoat Rage Ultra, which is an off-white color, almost grey, out of the can. The hardener, which it comes with, is a bright blue color. My first batch was a robin's egg blue color, and, as I show in the video, that's not a good color for body filler. The next batch was much better and its color, and the color that I thereafter tried to get, was a bluish-grey color, more grey than blue. I used a 4-inch spreader and got the stuff on there...like spreading icing on a cake.

Filler on the door. Some pretty thick spots on there, but overall okay.

Being used to waiting on the paint to induce and dry and all of that, it's nice to be able to work with something shortly after applying it. I started with 40-grit sand paper and worked the filler down. As you would guess, it makes quite a mess with all of the sanding dust, but it's not horrible. The stuff sands easily (at least me with no experience thinks so) and I kept at it until most of it was gone, filling in the low spots like it should. Considering myself ahead of the game, I left it at that in anticipation of returning for my weekend visit. 

Not as sanded as it got, but you can see the epoxy and bare metal peeking through in spots.

In this case, it was the next day. After consuming my so-much-better-than-Dunkin breakfast sandwich from Old Mystic General Store (great pizza, too), I got back at sanding.

This was definitely trial and error as I continued to find some pretty bad spots, one of which I took the shrinking disk to. But, I stuck with thin layers of filler, trying to build my way up to a smooth surface. Unlike the first time, however, the subsequent applications were directed at the problem areas. The worst of those was towards the back of the door. Not sure if it was poor hammer and dolly work on my part or if the door just took a beating in this area over the years (or both), but the top, middle and lower portions of the door around the handle area were pretty rough.

Another application of filler in the problem areas. The green tape to the right is on the troublesome crease.

Close up of new filler around the door lock.

Another area where I had problems was towards the very front of the door, where the crease it. This took a few tries but I think I got it to where it's acceptable, though it may take a coat of epoxy to really show me if it's good enough or not. Sorry, but no good pics of that area.

As the day wore on, the filler application went a bit better each time as I became more confident in mixing it with the hardener as well as spreading it over the panel. I used a lot of filler, but I took most of it off as I went, sanding through it as I think you should. As I've said many times, my goal was to use the filler to correct areas that my lack of hammer and dolly expertise left imperfect, not simply as a cover for damaged areas.

As far as what I'm using goes, I've already mentioned the body filler. Way back before I knew what I was getting myself into, I purchased a 7-piece Dura-Block sanding kit. And when I say way back, I mean it...like December of 2014. Almost 4 years later, I'm finally getting to use it. I set it up with the shortest block (~5.5" long) with 40-grit, the next size block (~11" long) with 80-grit, and the full size block (~16" long) with 150-grit. The final grit, 220, I also did with the 16" block, ripping off the 150 grit (I've got another 16" block coming so I don't have to do this). The very final work on the area prior to paint is with a maroon Scotch-Brite pad.

As for sandpaper, I'm using Dura-Gold (pressure sensitive backing to match the blocks I bought as opposed to hook-and-loop) and did not have to change the paper out during any of the work documented in the video. When the paper did load up with filler, which only really happened to the 40-grit at the very beginning of sanding when the filler may not have been totally dry, I simply used a coarse wire brush to lightly scrape it out. Granted, I'm not sanding metal here, only polyester, but I was surprised that it lasted, and I'll continue using it on my next visit.

I continued for several hours, applying additional filler as needed, mostly in smaller and smaller areas, until I got the door about where I wanted it. Frankly, towards the end I was getting a bit sick of it, so there are two spots where I need a bit more, but I did get the entire door down to the maroon pad phase and boy, was it straight (those areas excepting) and smooth! I don't think that door has been this nice for a very long time.

The door as I left it. Wish you could touch it to feel how smooth it was!

I'm happy with the way the body filler, sanding blocks, and sandpaper performed and, as of now, I don't have any intentions of switching to a different method of work or brands of products. To give you an idea, from the first filler application to the point I'm at now with the door, was about 7 hours of work. I'd say I have another 1 or 2 hours to fix the areas I mentioned, so I'm looking at about 8 hours of work. Of course, as my experience grows, I'm sure I'll get faster and the damage to each panel will obviously dictate how much work needs to go into it, but I'm looking through winter, at least, until this phase is done. Oh, boy...

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Metal Work #12 - Final Door and Boot Lid Work Prior to Body Filler

Going to get caught up here. I may have messed up the last post a bit with regards to it following the video because of the excessive time between doing the work and doing the write-up. I'm going to try to get better with that. First video:

The first visit, covered in the video, was my final metal work on the run up to the next major step of body work on the passenger's door, boot lid and front valance - body filler.

First, I got those two strengthening brackets welded in to the front valance. This was as straightforward as it seems and there weren't any problems.

One bracket in and cleaned up.

On going work on the door. The highs and lows are shown by the different paint colors.

 As I mentioned before, the hammer and dolly work doesn't lend itself to photographs (at least with my limited ability) so there aren't a whole lot of pictures. But, as before, I continued to use the various hammers and dollies and the shrink disk to work the dents as best as I could. In a perfect world, I would have loved to get all of the waviness out, but that's what body filler is for!

Boot lid work at the end of the day.

That was about it for that visit. The next was a weekend day, so I was able to get more work done, though I did have to cut it short for a soccer game. To the video:

I wanted to maximize the work but I was pretty sure showing up that I would not have time to get two coats of epoxy down with the remaining work I wanted to do on the panels. I found the closest shiny object, which happened to be that one bonnet pivot tube that had the rusted out end. Good enough!

After some minor excavation.

And some more excavation.

Finally! Clean metal.

I did cut the ragged stuff out, too.I had some 16ga metal so that's what I used to do the patch. I cleaned the interior of the tube, rust converted it, and got it into weld-through primer. Then, I made a paper template and cut and formed a repair patch (not much forming, thankfully), which I also got in weld-through primer (the back side of it).

Paper template.

Metal patch "rough" fit. Some more forming to do, but it fits well, with good weld-friendly gaps at the edges.

Ready to weld.

With the prep and final fitting done, it was a pretty simple matter to weld it in. Being thick metal, it's more forgiving and I could use "hotter" welder settings to get really good penetration.

Done and cleaned up.

The whole tube ready for epoxy.

That done, I refocused on my final metal work on the door and boot lid. I did some rough work on the front valance, but I'm going to be a bit more inclined to use more body filler on this since I'm not as concerned cosmetically with the repair since it'll be hard to see. My goal there was more to get it prepped for it's first coat of epoxy.

The day was drawing to a close so I hit all of the panels with a quick shot of Wax & Grease Remover just to get the bulk of the nastiness off, though I'd definitely hit it again before paint.
All in all, I was pretty happy with the end results of the visit. We'll see when I get to working the body filler, I guess. My threshold on that will be about three tries with body filler application. If I cannot get it smooth by the third application of filler (sanding each down from 40 through 220), then I'll go back to hammer and dolly work. Of course, that will mean another two coats of epoxy because I'm sure I'll be exposing bare metal again as I work the dents, like when I started this process. But, as I've said, I'd rather do it right at this point then intentionally cut corners.

With the hammer and dolly work all done, the whole goal of the next visit (combined in the same video) was to get two coats of epoxy on the panels. I got the "paint booth" final setup and cleaning done and got the panels sprayed down with two rounds of Wax & Grease Remover. After letting that dry completely, I used a tack-cloth to get any loose dust off immediately prior to paint. I will say that when I get to the point of base coat / clear coat, I will pay much more attention to this step so that I don't paint over anything inadvertently. In this step, with just epoxy going down and knowing that I would be aggressively sanding it still, I'm not as concerned for nibs (or bugs) stuck in the paint.
In the video I go into properly mixing the paint and my paint gun set up in the booth, so if you're interested in that and haven't watched the video, you can see my paint mixing comments here and my gun set up here. I also talk about my plan for the panel work stages from bare metal to final block sanding, though I reserve the right to change this approach a bit - we'll see.

Otherwise, it was two coats of epoxy. I made a pretty good mistake in one corner of the boot lid (which I point out in the video a few times) but otherwise I was happy. I haven't been back to the garage since, so I haven't had a really close look at the panels, but they looked good while still a bit wet, so hopefully they stayed that way.

Boot lid. You can see my mistake in the light on the left upper corner.

Passenger's door. Really happy with this one.

I ran out of paint right at the end of the second coat on the final panel (the front valance). Since I'll still be working the front valance more aggressively than the other two, I fully expect it'll need two more full coats, so I wasn't too concerned about this. Because of the way I had hung it from the ceiling, it kept spinning on me with the spray of the gun, adding a challenge. I'll obviously need to come up with a better solution next time.

Front valance. Not a great job, but it's covered.

 Otherwise, that was it. Next visit, I'll be getting some filler on those panels!