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"Snow storm" shut down work today, so stuck at home.  Was able to break out the electric heater and kerosene heater and get the garage just warm enough to do some work.  Started really easy, filled in the rub strips in the trunk with some Rage Gold filler (Photo 1).  Went on okay and sanded down nicely.  Will probably try the rest of the lower floor over the next 3 days, since it's pretty easy.  Floor has lots of minor pitting, deep enough to warrant some filler on most of it.  The far right is pretty good, as most of the water collected towards the left when it rusted things up.

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Today I was able to get some filler on the other portion of the trunk floor and get it sanded down (Photo 1).  I have a few small spots I missed and there are a few small spots that need some more detailed sanding, but it's about 95% complete. 

 

Once I touch it up, It think I will move on to the upper portion of the trunk that has all the main leading.  It's a mess.  Will need some more filing to get the edges of the lead more even with the steel around it.  There are also a few small sections that have some flash rust that will need to be removed and mitigated first.  This will be a lot of work and not sure how the filler will work with so much lead and general unevenness of the surfaces.  I guess we'll find out.

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Made some good progress today.  Tackled the upper portion of the trunk floor.  Cleaned it up the best I could, filed down more high spots in the lead and covered about 90% of it with filler (Photo 1).  A lot of unevenness, some pin holes, and difficult contours, due to all the major surgery I did.  So far, it is coming out better than I thought it would.  Spent a few hours sanding it down.  Not fun with a small block and getting into the nooks and crannies by hand.  Got it about 70% sanded (Photo 2).  Will probably hit it again tomorrow and finish it.  I'll have to revisit a few spots and apply a little more filler to some low spots, but looking pretty good overall.  All considering, I'm pretty happy with it, as doing it this way saved me around $4,000 (my labor is free!) and most of the bad areas will be covered by the spare tire and spare tire cover assembly, however, I think it may come out looking okay none the less.  In the end, the whole thing will need some detail sanding at a finer grit to clean it up better and get rid of as much filler as possible while maintaining a smooth appearance.  I just hope my leading and filler work holds up and doesn't separate or rust from the inside out.  

 

Pretty much on track to be able to get the body in primer during the spring, although it will most likely be late spring, because of pollen coating everything in early spring.  Still have a lot of minor detail work to do, and may have some bigger work to do if the body test fit doesn't go well.

 

The body test fit has been postponed again and again, due to bad weather and the very limited availability of my friends.  Right now, looking like next Sunday for the body text fit.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Looking great!!  I'll say that block sanding is my least favorite of the activities associated with restoring the car.  I can only imagine the added frustration of working in the trunk with those tight spaces, nooks and crannies. 

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Mike, thanks for the post, sounds like you're doing well!  

 

Besides the callouses I've built up over the last 30 years of working on cars, no real damage yet.  I would not be able to do this work without 40 grit sandpaper, that is really cutting my thick applications down quickly (thick due to the irregular surfaces I've created).  It's actually not too bad, as I'm only doing mayb3 3-4 hours at a time, spreading it out.  I know that it will pay off, so I'm not in a huge hurry, but need to just keep it moving along.

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Today, finished about 90% of the sanding on the primary portion of the trunk floor (Photo 1).  Will still need to apply some more filler to some low areas and hit it will some finer paper to take out the 40 and 80 grit sanding lines.  Turning out nicely so far.

 

I also got started on the left upper portion of the trunk with a good coat of filler where needed (Photo 2).  This area had a lot of rust, small areas I had to cut out, weld in patches, grind, and leading some of the rough seams.  This area turned out really well so far also; I was able to get the leading smooth and level.  The rest of the filler will fill in the pitting.  Areas with no filler are solid and just need some base sanding to remove the rough primer/sealer texture.

 

The other side only needs a small area at front, but nothing else.  I'll also have to apply some filler to the very rear of the trunk where I welded in a large patch panel, then the inner trunk will be ready for final primer.  Still have some minor metal work to do along the spare tire aperture, it's a little sloppy with some larger pin holes and some more weld grinding to do.

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I admire you, and the work that  you are doing on the M.G. Block sanding is not my favorite part of body work. The car is coming along nicely.  Really excellent work. John

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Thanks John!  I'm looking forward to getting the sanding finished, but it's not that bad breaking it down into bite-size sections or time periods.

 

-Chris

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On 2/28/2021 at 7:08 PM, hursst said:

Mike, thanks for the post, sounds like you're doing well!  

 

After nearly a year of not being able to do anything, apart from sitting at the computer or watching the television, my hands and fingernails are completely clean - not even any cuts, bruises or callouses! As much as I now like my clean hands, I do miss 'playing in the workshop'. At least I can follow the interesting work of others on this forum and stick my nose in if I think it maybe of help. Mike

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Big progress today, sort of.  With the help of some friends, was able to get the body on the chassis (Photo 1) plus the rear fenders and doors (Photo 2).  Unfortunately, they only had a very short time to help, so we didn't progress further.  Pretty happy to get this point, but then reality sets in; I still have a LOT more to do on the bodywork.  Getting these parts in the sunlight really brings out the flaws.  Will have a lot more finishing work to do on the fenders than I first thought.  Doors are actually quite straight so far.  Body has lots of dings I didn't notice before, but nothing that bad.  Having some trouble with the lower rear fender radius where it meets the door; had to do a lot of fabrication work to get the repro patch to fit when I welded it in, but the curve where it meets the lower door is disjointed and not a smooth curve.  Door panel gaps seem generally within spec; very tight at the rocker but fairly large gaps at the very tops of the door.  I should be able to draw these in with some rear fender adjustment.  Of course, still need to add the front fenders to make sure they match up with the doors properly.

 

I think for now I will continue on the trunk work and finish that up, then continue on the test fit of the rest of the panels.  In between, I will probably try to get the front fenders rough mounted, along with the trunk and hood, when I don't feel like sanding anymore.

 

A question for the experts, when I test fit these panels, should I be using all the chassis mounting bolts, every fender and door bolt, every inner bracket, the fending welting and get a perfect mock-up, or is it good enough to just get everything into general place, make sure it fits okay, make changes, then blow it up again?  Right now, we just have about 3 bolts holding the fenders on and 1/2 the door bolts.  What level of perfection should the mock up be?  With the additional work I have to do, is it best to leave the panels on the car to do the final sanding and shaping, or should I have these panels off the car?  I think most folks seem to be doing this work off the car if the panel can be taken off, but wanted to ask the experts.

 

Chris

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Chris, The MG looks great. I would mock it up with every bolt in place. It may be time consuming, but all of the work that went into the car up to now, I would  go the extra route to make sure all the panels are on tight for a perfect fit. All your hard work is paying off. Excellent work.

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Car looks great!  That's got to be exciting to get it outside even if you do see a few more issues.

 

I agree with John S.  In addition, record the positions of shims/washers so that you can get it back that way on final assembly.  I had issues because I didn't tighten everything down and when I did the "final" time it changed the fit of the doors substantially. 

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The good part is how much more room I have to work now.

 

I will be piecing all the panels back together, that seems like the consensus.  Before I do, I will clean up some of the inner panels (fender wells) by glazing or filling the pits in each of them to just get them finished and off my plate, then I'll hang them before all the fenders go into place.

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The warm weather (finally) has motivated me to try to do a little more work.  I took off the rear fenders and I'm now focusing on completing the inner fender brace panels, both front and rear.  There are 6 panels total.  I had previously applied primer/sealer, then some high-build primer, but it was not enough to fill in all the pits on the flat primary surfaces, so time to finish these panels once and for all.  After a little sanding and cleaning, I applied some body filler to fill in the pits.  They were much deeper than I originally thought, but cleaned up pretty well with a little filler.  Here are 4 of them in progress (Photo 1).  Here are all 6 panels with 99% of the sanding finished (Photo 2).  I am going to try to put them in more high-build primer tomorrow, but the weather is calling for up to 30 mph winds, so I may have to wait.  I'm not set up to use the spray gun indoors right now.  No big deal.

 

I also continued on the trunk (Photo 3).  I'm about 90% finished sanding the upper left portion and far front portion.  It needs a little more contouring, but turned out okay, considering what I started with.  I will have to add more filler to the vertical surfaces down where the back rear of the trunk is in this area.  It still has a lot of pinholes in the metal.  The trunk still needs a lot of work, but it's going well and I'm making progress each time.  I hammered up some of the low areas of the previous work, so the contours are slightly better now.  Still have a lot of minor work to do with the spare time aperture, especially at the rear, with more grinding, sanding, and filling.  I may even have a spot or two I'll need to weld.

 

Now that the body is on the chassis, I will just continue with the body panel build up and probably just roll right into adjusting and finishing the sanding and filling of the body panels, while the car is together.  I'll have to finish the inner areas and underneath of the body after I take it all apart again and take the body off.  

 

For some strange reason, I really don't mind sanding much at all.  I'd rather not do it, but it's not that big a hassle for me, so I think I can make quick progress with the outer panels.  I made an investment in high-quality blocks and sand paper, with lots of different grades, which I think is making everything much, easier.  Hopefully, more tomorrow.

 

Chris

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Got out early this morning and got my paint setup out to primer the inner fender panels and beat the forecasted wind.  Was able to spray all 6 panels plus my other tail light plinth.  Put it on quite thick so I can make for easier cleanup of any problems.  Turns out this was a good idea.  I guess the pitting was even deeper than I thought and the filler combined with my sanding did not fully get the job done.  The rear panels needed minimal sanding and were pretty good.  I put them back on the car.  The middle panels were bad news, I ended up prepping the wrong side of the panel; I was going to leave the side that no one can see with its pits and fill in the side that you can side, but I reversed them.  Oops.  Ended up filling and sanding the other side now, which will require more primer on the next nice day I have.  The front panel still had a lot of pitting showing, so I ended up sanding and sanding and sanding, and got all the pits level without burning thru the primer, thanks to my thick application.  Got it down to 400 grit paper and it's pretty smooth now.  Put those on the car as well.  I think all panels will need another quick shot of primer, then some more sanding with 400 grit to make sure it's pitless and smooth.  Not going to spend a huge amount of time with them, since they will only be seen if you look in the wheel wells; it should be good enough for these panels at this point (Photo 1).  

 

The tail light plinths will need a little block sanding, as they are a little wavy as I had to use a wire wheel to get the reminder of the paint off when I stripped them (Photo 2).  Very minor, should clean up easily.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had about 15 minutes available over the last 2 weeks to do anything on the MGA, was so busy.  Well, here's the progress.  Hung most of the panels on now, although they are not really bolted in at all, mainly threw them on to free up space in the guest suite, which became dry storage for "finished" MGA parts (Photos 1-3).

 

Getting the parts in the sunlight really shows the flaws.  Lots of small dings to work out and lots of light pitting to fill.  Bought some really good glazing putty that a friend recommended, so I should be able to make short work of these problems.

 

Strange seeing what looks like a car in my garage now, but I won't get too exited, because I just have to blow it up later and there is still tons of bodywork left.  Have made zero additional progress on the trunk area over the last 3 weeks.  I should have some more time the rest of this weekend and next weekend to do a little catch-up.

 

Rear panels not back on yet, as I still need to put fresh primer on the two inner panels that go at the front of the interior of the rear fenders.  Hope to get them primed, sanded, and hang the fenders tomorrow.

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Thanks a lot Steve.  As much as the grey/puke green two-tone primer sets it off, it will be its original color, which is Old English White, black interior with white piping, grey top.

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Today I was able to finish up the inner fender braces and hang the rear fenders, as well as the tail light plinths (Photos 1-3).

 

I was able to primer the inner fender braces yesterday, as well as the tail light plinths.  I was able to sand the plinths to just about perfect, although they need one more coat of primer because I sanded thru to metal in some small areas.  Surprisingly, the driver's side plinth fits very well.  It is not original to the car, plus the fender was VERY smashed at the plinth (which was destroyed sometime before I was born), hence the homemade tail lamp assembly that was on the car when I bought it (see photos from 6/2016 to see that Frankenstein job).  Very pleased with my fender work to get this thing to seat correctly.

 

The inner braces required more sanding, some fine glazing putty, then more sanding again to fill in a few small pits that couldn't be sanded out.  Braces are nice enough now, and will need more primer as well, but for now, good enough to put on the car.

 

Wish all this mess was the final assembly, but have to go step by step.  I will still need a day to bolt everything down for real and start lining up the panels properly.  Considering the mess I made with the body, the panel line up isn't too bad.  Mostly minor adjustments, with the exception of the rear passenger side quarter panel that has a bad radius where it meets the door.  The most work appears to be all four fenders which need a lot more work due to small dings and a lot of pitting.  The body is pitted as well, but all pitting is fairly light and shouldn't be that big a deal.  The doors, hood, and trunk lid are probably in the best shape, mainly because I spent the most time with them and they are relatively flat.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Been so busy, had very little time over the last 3 weeks.  Here's the progress I made.  Decided to go on with the hood and trunk lid and get them 100% finished and ready for paint (Photos 1 & 2).  I'm about 80% there.  Hood needs a little more primer where I sanded thru on the edges, trunk had a small wrinkle that needed some filler, so need to sand that, then shoot another layer or two of primer and sand again.  Underside is sanded to 400 grit.  To the group, is 400 fine enough, or should I got to 600 (on the inside OR the outside panels?)  I see people doing/recommending both, so not sure how far to take it to prep it for paint.

 

Also decided to start working on the heavily pitted front panel behind the grill.  Heavily pitted, but still very solid, with no rust thru at all.  Hit it with filler just about everywhere to fill in the pits (Photo 3).  Will need another round after the first round of sanding.  With all the holes, edges, and reinforcement beading in the middle, I can't really block sand it, so using a very small block for the areas I can, then hand sanding.  Hard to see area with the grill in place, so not too worried about a flawless surface.

 

I still haven't applied all the bolts to the fenders yet, so will get started on that to see how things line up.  Also found the nuts and bolts that hold on the front valence panel; I had not restored them yet, so need to start on that, too.  Still have a long way to go, but getting there, slowly.  Doubt I'll be able to spray paint this year.  Still have a LOT of work to do on the trunk and spare tire aperture, for starters.  Good news is, I should be retired before the end of the year, then I'll have nothing but time to work on the MGA and get it finished.  Can't wait!

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Hi 

been following thread with interest as  been helping a friend restore his 1960 Mga 

wondered what colour finishers you are considering exterior and interior trim

just bought him a grill false nose with mg badge and a trunk mg logo , hopefully give him some encouragement to get back to it after lockdown 

Edited by Pilgrim65 (see edit history)
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Looking great!!

 

I sand 400 on the 2K primer before I spray SPI's two part epoxy reduced 15% as a sealer coat.  From what I've heard this is an important step, some say critical.  The sealer coat will fill/cover 400 scratches so you're ready for base at that point.  If you don't do a sealer coat then the final grit you sand with depends on the base you're going to apply.  Check the spec sheet (or call them) to find out what grit it will cover.   My guess is that 400 will be fine but it does depends on what your base will cover and how many coats you're applying.  You do need to be careful about sanding with too fine a grit as you might have adhesion problems with the base.

Edited by Luv2Wrench (see edit history)
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Hi 

also notice your wires have been previously painted, do you intend to sandblast and powder coat a colour or chrome effect or bite the bullet and have new. my friend have decided to paint car colour dark red and have new chrome spinners , saves about a 1000 bucks 

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Pilgrim, 

   Thanks.  I am a purist, so going with the original scheme of Old English White with Black interior/white piping with Gray Top.  I want it to be just as it left the factory.

 

    To respond to your second question, the wheels on it now are original, but they are destroyed, as they sat on a dirt floor and the bottom portion of each where it was closest to the ground is heavily rusted.  I purchased new reproduction wheels, as I tried purchasing more originals, but they were not able to be balanced, except for one.  I would probably have to purchase 16 old wheels to get 5 good ones.  The repro ones are just like the originals, from what I can tell.  I was able to salvage that one original wheel, which I will use for the spare.  I was able to have all 4 original spinners rechromed to like new condition.  The tires on the car now are from 1966 or so, and will be jettisoned when the wheels are replaced.

 

   Good luck to you and your friend.  As you can see, it can be done, even by an amateur, if they are committed.  

 

-Chris

Jeff, thanks for the advice.  I will probably stick with 400 grit, that seems to be the consensus.  I am curious, if you sand to 400 grit, then put on epoxy sealer, does that go on so smooth that you don't need any more sanding before the base coat? 

 

I am doing it backwards, as I put on epoxy sealer first, then I'm going with the high-build primer, then a base coat; mainly because I didn't know any better, not for any other reason.  Seems to be okay, as my main goal was to prevent flash rust.

 

-Chris

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You're doing it correct. Epoxy primer goes on first to seal the bare metal.  Then 2K, high-build, filler, etc.  One final pass of 2K primer sanded to 400.  Last step before your base is the epoxy primer reduced 15% to lock in all the high-build, 2K and filler.  Since the epoxy is reduced it goes on nice and flat and provides a great surface for the base.  It will also help fill any (very) minor incidents you might have while moving panels around.   The only concern with the SPI epoxy is that it is very sensitive to contamination so surface prep is everything.  I ended up using SPI waterborne before I sanded the 2K with 400 and then again after I sanded.  After letting that dry a full hour  I then did two passes with SPI's solvent wax and grease remover before spraying the epoxy.  I also let the epoxy induce for a full hour (the same hour the waterborne is drying).  So yeah, that's a lot of steps, a lot of work and a lot of material. When it is done right, however, you can be 100% sure you will not have issues with your base going forward.  The epoxy as a sealer provides a great surface for adhesion.

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 Hursst

as your going for old English white thought  I d provide photo of completed project couple of years ago , friend has subsequently moved it on and is focusing on current project 

Chrome effect powdercoated wires  

cheers 

Like the white but saw these local cars and love the grey.

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Edited by Pilgrim65 (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Not happy with my slow progress, have gotten way too busy with other things, so trying to commit to at least one hour each day after work to try to speed this up.

 

Over the last week, I finished the welding of the small areas I had to cut to size the rear door pillar finishers, as well as filling in pits (Photo 1).  These are ready for (hopefully) the last couple coats of primer, then final sanding to 400 grit.  

 

I got out the front valance panel, which I was not happy with after looking at it again.  I did some more panel beating, some weld repairs, and put filler on the whole front of it to re-contour the lower lip and eliminate some waviness.  Since this panel is mostly unseen, I will probably stop at this effort and call it good enough; but I think that's what I said last time.  Because of the serious damage to the piece that was there when I bought the car, it will have a lot of filler in it to create the right contours, although I'm sanding it down to as little as possible (Photo 2).

 

I also restored all the original hardware for the front valance panel, although I had to replace two bolts that broke off when took the car apart.  Unfortunately, I forgot one of the pieces that was still in the captive nut, so I will have to work on extracting that (Photo 3).  Restored hardware is to the left and right, but center hole still has a piece of old bolt in it.  I started to drill it out, but need to sharpen my drill bits a little at this point.

 

When I tire of these panels, I'll continue sanding the flat area behind the grille, which is about half way sanded at this point.  Next, I will finally torque the bolts on the front fenders after I align the panels, match up the doors, then take off the fenders for some more sanding, a little more filler, and final work.  I'll also start sanding the inner fender area of the body to get that ready for final primer.  I will mostly start working front to back on the body.  The rear fenders are going to need a lot of detail work at the lower front, where I welded the patch panels in.  Of course, they don't quite fit right, so I will have to do some hammering to make them fit correctly.

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Don't get down on the slow progress. You're chipping away a little at a time. You will get there. I get slowed down all the time on my progress too because life gets in the way. 

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Posted (edited)

I think car restoration is as much mental as it is physical.  It can be so mentally overwhelming at times and just down right depressing.   I've tried to shift work to things that are easier to do and give a mental boost when done.  That does become an issue, however, when you get close to the end and there are no such project left that are quick and easy!!   It is a grind and taking a bit of time off can help.  An hour a day can help.  Pictures of other finished cars can help.  Looking back at all the work you've done can help (this helps me the most).  You're doing great and it'll get done when it gets done.

Edited by Luv2Wrench (see edit history)
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Thanks for the comments.  Still trying to get in at least one hour a day to speed up progress, although I can usually only get 3 sessions during the week.  The regular "to do" list never shrinks.

 

Made some baby steps over the last few days.  Drilled out the broken and stuck bolt and installed replacement hardware.  Had a little trouble, very hard to line up the drill bit perfectly, so drilled a little into the captive nut.  However, I have a bunch of extras, so no problem.  Was able to insert a new nut in through the bottom of the captive portion with some minor bending, so problem solved (Photo 1).  

 

Next, I completed redoing the lower front valance panel to an 80 grit sanding level (Photo 2).  Needed a lot of filler, but contours and break line at the bottom of the piece are now much cleaner looking now.  Should clean up to 180 grit fairly easily, then time for yet another 4 coats of primer before final sanding to 400 grit.  Hoping this will be the last attempt with this piece.  All the other body panels will be much easier.

 

Last, I sanded the front inner support panel to 40 grit (Photo 3).  This is the area that was heavily pitted, but still quite solid.  Will be a little challenging because of the nooks and crannies at the side corners.  Should be an easy cleanup for most of it to 180 grit, because you won't really see it and it does not need to be a perfect surface, like the outer body.  

 

Trying to get in at least an hour has been keeping my motivated and speeding it up a little, or at least continuing the progress.  Also motivating to go out to my MG club events without an MG; motivates me to continue to work towards completion so I can join them as a more active participant. 

 

Cheers!

-Chris

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Posted (edited)

Looking good work impressive .

Also made some progress towards joint Mga  project , dashboard and instruments  installed , but original interior light missing looked on major suppliers nearly 80 bucks found good new replica on eBay 25 bucks result .

also bought a good front grill at beulieu auto fair two   years ago but it had no false nose or badge , bought a complete but tatty grill on eBay for 40 bucks , nose and badge perfect , about 100 bucks new so well pleased fitting bits on next week . Might sound a cheapskate not buying new ,but anyone doing restoration knows costs usually surpass  finished value so need to save when possible.

Edited by Pilgrim65 (see edit history)
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Today I had all day uninterrupted, so tried to make some good progress.  First, I started working on the passenger side front fender.  It looked pretty good with its first 4 layers of primer after initial body work, but it had been block sanded.  It did turn out to be somewhat straight from my initial body work, but it had a large amount of pitting that did not get filed and many low spots.  Spent a lot of time blocking, filling, blocking some more, filling some more, until I got the panel quite straight overall.  Used two rounds of 3M guide coat to assist.  Didn't quite get it finished, but have to sand some glazing putty and I think it will be ready for some more layers of primer (Photos 1-4).

 

In addition, I had it on and off the car a few times to try to get the panel gaps correct.  I had gotten in somewhat close when I initially hung the fender, but further work showed a gap and the lower portion that needed to be built up a little.  I used some filler to do this, as it was a fairly small amount.  I'm shooting for factory gaps, not concours gaps, so I think I got it where it needs to be with the door alignment.  

 

In between filler drying time, I sanded about 1/4 of the trunk surface with 120 grit, to keep that process going at get it ready for its first layers of primer.  I also sanded in inner fender support bracket that goes behind the passenger fender to 400 grit, so it is ready for paint.  I think that's the first piece that is at that stage.  Long way to go, but I think I can make this work, the sanding is not hard, just time consuming and repetitive.  

 

Cheers!

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Unless someone is single, lives in an apartment or condo, life is going to get in the way more often than not and our time spent on our restoration work has to suffer. The 34’ chevy pickup has taken me way more time than I wanted but all kinds of life, both good and bad got in the way. Of course, with a significant other that’s a good one, you have to learn a balance but there’s still times I have to be reminded I’m in the garage too much. Thankfully with this truck about done other than some fine tuning, I can get going on my last planned full restoration because now parts are just starting to be coming back from the outside vendors. My plan is to dedicate as much time as possible to get the 30’ 4dr as quickly as possible both so I can take a break and the 84 yr old owner can enjoy it.

       Just relax (I should have myself doing my Olds, but didn’t) and take the short days with the full ones and keep picturing the final product in your mind. When you start that final assembly you’ll be surprised how quick it goes and every piece that goes on urges you to put another on. You’ll find it’s hard to come out of the garage as your excitement keeps growing. You’ll end up putting marathon days in because you won’t be able to help yourself!😄

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