Saturday, July 16, 2005

Life’s frustrating at times…

Between the heat, my back problems and the ‘Strippers’ not calling (or emailing) me with a price on stripping the various truck components I feel like I’m stuck in a sort of ‘limbo’ this week.

The few moments I’ve actually felt good enough to get out in the shop, it’s either been a severe weather out there, or unbearably hot. Now maybe if I’d lived here in the South all my life, I’d be better acclimated to all of this, but I wasn’t, and I’m not! For those of you who wonder why southerners move so ‘slowly’, it’s because if you move too fast in this heat… it could kill you!

I don’t think it’s where I’ve lived though, as I was uncomfortable there in the dead of summer too. I’ve just got one of those metabolic systems that’s much better suited to cold weather. I can work outside when the temps are in the 20’s in just a flannel shirt and jeans, no heavy coat required.

Come summer though, I can only take so many clothes off, and not get arrested!

The problem is, with our trip up North fast approaching I’d like to have all of this body work roughed in and have the motor and trans out so when we get back I’d be pretty much in “re-assembly” mode. I’m more than a little frustrated that it doesn’t appear I’ll make that goal.

However, as promised I processed the pics off the camera, moved them to my webspace and have them for you today.

I’m not sure if I’ll actually get to work on the truck project today or not. I’ve promised my wife I’d put up some new towel racks and treat the lawn with an insecticide to cut down on the ants (who’ve taken up residence yet again). Resilient little critters ants, seems they just keep coming back for more!

So, the pics and progress from the project.

You may recall how things looked originally, rust, rust, and more rust. In actuality, there was even more rust to be found as I removed the undercoating and paint from the fenders.

I know I would have been better off if I’d just ordered a couple of replacement wheel wells as they probably would cost less than $50 bucks apiece. Considering I spent the majority of the weekend stripping, cutting, fitting and welding repair pieces I have far more than that in my time alone!

I didn’t though, and I have a reason, sort of, for my madness. You see I used to be really good at all of this stuff. Over the past 10 years or so I haven’t really been able to use these skills at all. I had no shop, or friends with a shop to get in there and turn a wrench, fabricate parts and in general have some fun!

So, while I am buying a lot of new components for this truck, I made a decision early on to try and repair what I could, and if I was unhappy with the repair, or I actually made the piece worse, I could always just go ahead and order a replacement..

Well, overall I’m pretty happy with how things turned out with these pieces!

This is that corner that was all ‘eaten away’ in the first rust pic above. It’s not perfect, but once I skim coat it with some plastic and block it off, it will look like new. I’d been so caught up in the process though, I only had one rust hole left when I realized I hadn’t really taken any pictures of the process. So as I worked on the last piece I took a series of ‘stages’ shots to show you how the replacement process actually works.

Once you’ve identified an area to be repaired, you mark the section you intend to cut out. It helps if you get the lines as square as possible; I noticed after I’d taken this picture that the ruler had slipped so I squared things up before cutting out the rusty piece.

With the rusted metal cut away you can begin marking up a replacement piece. In this case I had access to the underside of the piece, so I simply pressed a piece of sheet metal up to the underside and marked the edges with a sharpie.

After that’s done, you cut along the lines (a little oversized) to get that new panel. To simplify the process (and the amount of moving around I had to do) I just clamped the work piece to the fender well and repositioned it as I cut along the lines I’d made.

(Who knew learning to cut along the lines in kindergarten would still be coming in handy this late in life?)

When you’re done, if everything goes according to plan, the patch should look something like this. A small gap is actually better than ‘no gap’ as welding to two pieces together and having them appear seamless requires you get full penetration from one side of the piece to the other.

Here’s another shot of the finished repair, and one of the underside.

You may have noticed all the little ‘circles’ on the fender wells, each of these is a little ‘dent’, the result of years of hard work for this old truck. Once I finish stripping the rest of the undercoating from these, I’ll hit everything with the sandblaster one more time and they’ll be ready for the primer/sealer coat. Once that’s been applied and dried properly I can begin the filler/sanding/blocking process.

You might also remember the portion of the bed I cut out from last time. I also formed a patch for that area, fitted it up and tacked it in place. I haven’t fully welded it yet as I can only do that if the “Strippers” and I come to terms on the cost, and, they’ll dip the entire bed floor in primer after it’s been stripped. You see, once you strip metal clean, it begins to rust almost immediately. The only way to protect it is to get it covered in paint ASAP. Also, all the channels and crevices in the bed will be almost impossible to treat with conventional spray equipment.

If they’ll strip and dip it, I can go ahead and weld everything up. If not, I’ll have to treat everything with a zinc rich “weld through” primer before I weld, and even then the results could be less than ideal!

Oh, and before I forget it… when I unloaded the camera, I found some pictures my wife had taken of one of our cats. It seems “Precious” has become a bit of an internet addict. Like the rest of us, he also finds some items more interesting than others, and is sometimes a bit embarrassed when caught surfing certain pages!!

Our other cat has no interest at all in things computer, preferring instead to gaze out the window at birds (or something) for hours at a time.

So there you have it. The pics I promised, late I know, but at least they’re here!

I’m hoping to get back out there later today, and again tomorrow, but right now I need to go make good on my other promises!

Again, thanks for reading and stopping by, please leave a comment before you go!


Whit said...

Bill -- I love your personal journey in doing the shop stuff, and your personal your best, and buy the rest.

And your insight on learning to cut in kindergarten being useful now...isn't there a book titled "All I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten"? ha ha

Love the picture of you cat surfing the web. Our cat is not interested in anything technological...she's more a thinker, a classic intellect if you will. She found her way out of our house earlier this year and sojourned the neighborhood for month, so I think the whole experience has made her more in tune with her inner self...not wanting to venture out in the world of the internet, more at ease with the simplicity of our house! ha ha ha

Thanks for stopping by my are a welcome guest, and know that there's always a virtual pot of hot java to sip on as you read my musings.

Take care...and take care of your back. Slow down...enjoy the ride.

Whit said...

my kids (ages 6 and 8) LOVE the pictures of the cat -- they thought those were pretty funny! thanks for sharing

Beth said...

Bill, I so hear you on the heat! I'm a snowbird and can work much better when the temp at 50 degrees. I'm painting today inside and it feels like an oven in my dining room. Thank you for all the pictures. They're always a treat!

Spirit Of Owl said...

Man, I tell you there's sweat in them thar dungarees! :D

That is some piece of work coming on there. I can't even believe what's forming before my eyes. If I saw what's in those early pics, I'd just wonder if there was any vehicle somewhere in all that rust!

Absolutely amazing insight, and I'm delighted to have seen it. Thanks Bill.

As for temperatures, when it was cold, I felt I could walk through brick walls after a good gig. When it was hot, I felt like I could be wiped up in soft tissue. Interestingly, though, both were great in their own way.

Power to ya, Bill. Great stuff!

Bill said...

Whit - Thanks, I'm glad you do! I enjoy writing it and sharing it all. You're right about the book, and I think the author might have been right!

I'm glad your kids enjoyed the cat pics, I'll dig up some more one day soon, they're almost always a Kodak moment!

Knitter - You're welcome, I'm glad you like them. I was out in the yard myself today.. just brutal, but at least there was a bit of a breeze today.

Spirit - Yeah, there's always a lot of sweat when you combine me, and heat!

I used to love walking out of a club in the winter, the cold would hit me like a wall and just re-energize me! In the summer, I'd get outside and all I wanted to do was find someplace cool to lie down!

I'm glad you can see the progression in the project, it's been slow going, but I've turned the corner on this section!

Firehawk said...


One question from a non-welder: What is in the welding line that you feed into the arc as you go? Does that depend on what you're welding? I've watched it being done, but nobody says what the actual material is, what its properties are, etc.

Neat pics. They're a peek into the process, and I'm a sucker for processes.

I'm with you on the heat issue. It's been over a hundred every day for about two weeks here in SLC, and I just don't like that. I've had a hard time getting anything of note accomplished. The cold's much more my speed. Generally, when I'm outside with friends and they say, "Crap, it's cold," I'll respond with, "It's nice." It was a running joke when I was in college that I ran ten degrees hotter than the average person. I used to like the heat, but I'd rather have it in the 80's than the triple digits.

Good luck on your negotiations with the strippers (grin), and take care of that back. My dad's had three back surguries, and I have it on good authority that they're no fun at all.

Bill said...

Firehawk - It's wire, contained on a spool and the speed is adjusted, as is the 'heat' depending on what you're welding, bigger wire, higher heat and faster speeds for thicker materials, the opposite for thinner.

As for what kind of wire, you match it to the material, I have steel, aluminum and stainless wire.

I cut my teeth welding with the old 'stick' rigs, once I tried mig, except for very heavy steel I'd never go back!

If you like processes, you'll love the rest of this process.

As for the strippers (I was counting on you!) the guy I need to talk to was out of town, I'm hoping to catch up with him on Monday. I'll shell out the doors tomorrow and get the wheel wells in primer as well if I'm lucky!

Low to mid-80's I'm fine with (mid-70's is even better though)... 90's with humidity in the 80's as well is more than I really want!

Fall is coming though!

Comfort Addict said...

Bill, I love the cat pictures!

Unfortunately, I'm having trouble with all of the truck project stuff. This is not your fault. My brain just locks whenever it encounters things like that and home repair. It's a good thing that my wife has a talent for them!