Mike Macartney

REPORTS ON A 1914 HUMBERETTE RESTORATION

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The rusty tacks will have degraded the wood around them and rust will have expanded into the wood (a.k.a. "nail sickness"). If you can grab and rotate them ±180o before pulling, they should come out easily. You might find a pair of round nose pliers with cross hatch pattern on the jaws good for this. My round nose pliers are the result of breaking a pair of pointy nose pliers.

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You can try these to get at those tacks... https://www.highlandwoodworking.com/set3hollowscrewextractors.aspx  

I am not sure where you can find them over there.  Then just fill the holes with a wood epoxy. 

If you do try them, go slowly and don't put too much pressure on the tube or it will snap off.

 

Also, I know it would be a pain, but why not un-lace the wheels to do the filling and sanding?

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RE: RUSTY TACKS

Many thanks for the ideas and the link. I will have a look and see what's available in the UK. And try your suggestions.

RE: UNLACING THE WHEELS

Yes, your right. That's what I should have done. I had originally thought that, maybe, I should take the rims and hubs apart. The idea of trying to rebuild the wheels again put me off. I have built bicycle wheels in the past I knew it would be a lot of work! If the spokes had been very rusty I would have had to do this, but the spokes on these wheels are in very good condition.

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Thanking Spinneyhill for his help regarding removing the old rusty upholstery tacks from the wooden framing. Rotating the tack, if the top doesn't break off in the process, works extremely well. If they do break off at lest they don't leave a sharp bit sticking out. I have also found that if I can't get to the top of the tack to grip it with my modified side cutters I found that using a hole punch that is just a bit larger than the tack head helps to get to access  the tack with the side cutters to grip the tack and rotate it. If I still can't get a grip on the tack I have found that using a small chisel and tapping the tack from front back and sideways loosens the tack and this helps the removal of the tack. It seems to be a very time consuming job that you can only do for a short while before going 'cross eyed'!

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Using the hole punch to clear the head of the tack to get a grip on it.

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Got you, you pesky little tack!

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And out she comes. Only another few thousand to remove!

 

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The work on the Humberette has gone further ahead than the reports so I need to spend a bit of time updating the reports. I have decided to get one wheel filled and in its last coat of primer before I tackle the rest of the wheels.

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After rubbing down the first coat of primer, on which I had sprayed a thin guide coat of satin black, it highlighted how much more filling was left to be done.

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After filling again with body filler and rubbing down with 120 grit on two of the wheels I wondered where the red colour was coming from that was beginning to stain the grey primer. Then I saw that both my thumb and index finger were bleeding. I had worn through my skin with all the friction from rubbing down. As my old dad used to say - "Where there's no sense, there's no feeling"!

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I only had some small areas left to rub down on one wheels so had a thought. I cut up a rubbing down block with the angle grinder, fitted with a 1mm cutting disc and used this thinner rubbing block to smooth down the areas between the spokes. It didn't work as well as the fingers on your hand but it saved anymore damage to my poor old fingers.

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Another few coats of primer and another black guide coat and I think this wheel might be somewhere near finished. Next I will use 240 grit production paper and see what it looks like with hopefully the last coat of primer before the top gloss coats. the colour of which is still undecided, Royal Blue, Black or something like the original Orange/Red colour?

Now for something completely different while my right hand recovers!

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Robert came down to help me and give me my second ever lesson in woodwork. How to fill screw holes. No, he is not playing with a Cribbage Board! He split up some bits of wood with a chisel and then shaped them with a knife to plug the holes in the door and door shut for the hinges.

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He works so fast you can't see the knife!211.thumb.jpg.3e644090d56de72d8d138e99cf98b5ab.jpg

These are a couple I plugged latter on. Not quite as good as Robert's plugs. When the plugs are made, wood glue is put into the holes and spread around the inside of the hole with a bit of welding wire. The plug is then coated with wood glue and then tapped into the hole. The plug is left for 24 hours for the glue to set before sawing off the plug nearly flush and then smoothed off flush with a chisel or sander. Robert prefers a sharp chisel and I prefer a sander. These oscillating tools with a saw blade attachment are Ideal for this job.

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The next day, after fitting the wooden plugs, they were cut flush and the hinges were fitted. To mark the centre of the hole, I found a drill that would just go through the hole in the hinge. While the hinge was held up to the hinge post I drilled carefully, just to mark the centre and then drilled a small pilot hole for the new brass screw. One screw was fitted on each hinge at first, just to check that the door fitted properly. Thankfully, it did. This drilling and screwing was repeated for all the hinge holes on both the pillar and the door.

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It fits! And my door twisting and fixing brackets worked. I hadn't noticed before that the half round moulding at the top edge of the door is smaller than the moulding either side of the door. I have ordered a new length of correct size moulding to replace it.

 

 

Edited by Mike Macartney
spelling and puctuation. 5/10 see me! (see edit history)
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I have often wondered about filling holes with plugs like that. The result is you are then screwing into an end grain (in the plug) rather than a cross grain. The screw grip won't be as strong. Might Robert have any comments on this thinking?

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One of the problems that I have experienced with both my coach built cars is rusted screws.  The problem is that the screw head can sheer off under load.  What I do is apply heat by holding a soldering iron onto the screw head.  After a while the heat will singe the wood enough to allow the screw to be removed easily. 

 

 

Ray.

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43 minutes ago, Spinneyhill said:

I have often wondered about filling holes with plugs like that. The result is you are then screwing into an end grain (in the plug) rather than a cross grain. The screw grip won't be as strong. Might Robert have any comments on this thinking?

Screws into end grain are not as bad as nails but yes, you'd like to avoid that.  Drilling a pilot hole well help with that and using the correct screw helps as well.   The big difference with the plugs is that it is contained in a hole with glue such that the tendency to split parallel to the direction of force is minimized as it can't expand (bound by the hole).   If you have a bigger hole to plug you can get a dowel bit or use a small hole saw to create a plug that will orient the grain perpendicular to the screw. 

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Interesting comments above from forum members. My thoughts are that as the original screws have been removed and there is a hole left. It is better to fill the hole with wood and glue rather than just fitting another screw. Also, with the door the hinges, it meant that we could screw the hinges in the correct positions rather than the hinges going back in the positions that a previous restorer had fitted them. Robert may 'drag' me out for a beer or two at the Black Boys pub at lunchtime, if he does, I will ask him for his thoughts. If not I will ask him on Monday when we hope to, at last, split a quarter out of the tree trunk for making the top bows. This morning he said he was going to modify a chain for his chain saw with a 10 degree angle on the cutting blades rather than 25 to 30 degrees, so that the chain saw did not try to follow the grain on the trunk.

I like the tip about the soldering iron on stuck screws. I'll give it a try next time I come across a stubborn screw.

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This is the worst bit of wood on the framing. If we left it, it would be difficult for the coach trimmer to fix to. We decided rather than replace the whole section, that would be very difficult, we would cut back and fit a new 'face' to this upright panel on the drivers side where there is no door. Before Robert started his 'woodworking skills' on this section I removed all the upholstery tacks that were embedded in the wood so that Robert did not damage his saws and chisels.

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Starting to cut away the rotten area, where damp and wood worm have done their worst. We are keeping the wood to the right that has the screw holes for the top (hood) frame mounting bracket.

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Cutting with the vibrating saw blade from the front side.

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Chiselling out the damaged area. At this point we came across a problem! Robert hit the end of a screw that was screwed in from the outside of the body that was holding on the beading on the outside of the panel. While he resharpened his chisel I used my Dremel tool with a thin cutting disc to grind away the sharp ends of the screws.

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Robert - how many tools do you need for this job?! You can see the dark areas where the screws ends were ground away.

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Just a bit more wood to remove and we should be there.

 

 

 

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Robert did turn up and drag me out 'kicking and screaming ' out for a drink' on Sunday lunchtime. I lie, I was quite happy to be dragged away from pulling out old upholstery tacks! I asked him about screwing into end grain and he said he learned the idea of gluing in wooden plugs in old screw holes from an elderly carpenter, many years ago, probably in the mid 1950's. Robert agreed that it is not ideal, but is a lot better than just fitting a screw back into the existing hole. He said that best practise was not screwing into the end grain, but some times it was a necessity on an 'old project'. If it was a new build he would try and avoid it, but if the need arises you could use a longer screw with a courser thread, similar to a decking screw. When it came to plugging the door hinge screws and screwing into the end grain of the wooden plug. He says,, it can't split out because of the surrounding wood that the plug is glued to, will stop the plug splitting. His theory seems to have worked OK so far, on this Humberette project, plus the number of years he has been using this method with success.

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I have been looking at this bit of wood at the bottom of the door shut. When the body was in the blue gloss paint, this area of paint had cracked badly. I looked up the photos of other Humberette's and found the following photo.

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You can see in the photo above, that the woodwork at the bottom of this door shut on a Humberette has worn away badly, with the constant wear from being rubbed with shoes, from getting in and out of the car. I thought I would try and prevent this by fitting a metal covering over this area to try and avoid the problem in the future,

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I used some paper to make a pattern. Unfortunately, all the lines were curved, so I could not use a folder and would have to use my panel beating skills. I allowed enough metal on the outside of the body to cover the join of the outer panel to wood, but the join would still be hidden from sight by the door surround. On the inside of the body I allowed a bit more metal to cover the timber framing.

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The paper pattern was laid on a metal sheet and taped down to stop it moving. The 4 off blue marks are the screw hole positions to hold the panel to the wood. I centre punched these and marked around the paper pattern with a felt marker pen. If you look at the bottom of the paper pattern against the metal you can see the slight curve I was talking about.

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 I used masking tape to give me a guide line to draw where the other masking tape had been holding the pattern to the metal.

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Now comes the tricky bit. Try and cut away as much of the black line as I can without cutting into the inside area that I want to keep.

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This electric sheet nibbler is good for jobs like this. I have clamped the sheet metal to a workmate.

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To finally smooth off down to the edge of the black line I used a angle grinder with an 80 grit flap wheel.

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Just checking it fits in the bottom of the door shut before beating the edges over.

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Again checking, that the plate will clear the bottom of the door without the door touching the plate when the door is closed.

Looking for a photo of panel beating this plate and the trial fitting of the plate. I couldn't find any. I must have been enjoying myself so much that I got carried away with what I was doing and forgot to take any photos! I'll try and remember to take one tomorrow. Anyway I have used up my allowance of the 9.77MB maximum forum post. Bye for now.

 

 

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I think I read somewhere, perhaps on these fora, about using plug drills (like a hole saw?) to make a cross grain plug, another to drill a hole over the offending screw hole, then glue in the manufactured plug.

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3 hours ago, Mike Macartney said:

When it came to plugging the door hinge screws and screwing into the end grain of the wooden plug. He says,, it can't split out because of the surrounding wood that the plug is glued to, will stop the plug splitting. His theory seems to have worked OK so far, on this Humberette project, plus the number of years he has been using this method with success.

 

Yes, this was what I referred to in my post above,  "tendency to split parallel to the direction of force is minimized as it can't expand (bound by the hole)" .  As Spinneyhill suggests,  you can get a plug drill and make a custom plug and this works great for bigger holes.

 

Excellent work on the door, very enjoyable to tag along via your pictures!   Please keep them coming!!!

Edited by Luv2Wrench (see edit history)

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Back again!

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This is the panel that I made out of some steel and panel beat to shape to fit over the door 'tread plate' I suppose you would call it. It has a small downturn on the outside to cover the pins holding the outer panel on.

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On the inside I have made the downturn to come about an 1/8" above the floor.

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I removed the temporary screws, countersunk the screw holes and fitted brass screws. The 'HUMBER' name plate will cover the two centre screws. I will have a think as to whether I hide the outer screws with filler. At least this plate will stop the ash frame being worn away over time.

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I like it. Last night I was reading Wheatly & Morgan's book on the restoration of vintage cars and I noticed they insisted that steel screws should be used - the wording was something like "brass screws aren't strong enough". Of course, they are referring to later cars with, I would think, much heavier doors, like a 1930s RR saloon. I'm guessing that the Humberette doors are very light. Is that something you considered? I'd probably use brass screws as well because I doubt there is much stress on them.

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I would not use brass screws in the body frame but for your doors I am sure it is O.K.

 

Ray.

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Brass screws through the steel will cause galvanic corrosion of the steel if you don't have very good protection.

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58 minutes ago, Spinneyhill said:

Brass screws through the steel will cause galvanic corrosion of the steel if you don't have very good protection.

 

Good point.  Steel will corrode because it is more anodic than brass. 

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Thank you for bringing up about the brass screws in the metal. I hadn't thought about that. The box of brass screws were there, so I used them without thinking. I will replace them with steel screws. Thanks for bring it to my attention. And yes, the Humberette door is small and light. It only has the one door on the passengers side.

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It seems to be a while since my last report. I am still pulling out upholstery tacks! About an hour at time is enough. I have found that if I first use a hammer with a small hole punch over the head of the tack, then tap the head of the tack backward and forwards with a small chisel to loosen it, the modified pliers will then grip the head of the tack and it can be twisted, loosened and pulled out. Sounds easy, but when you have so many tacks to remove it gets rather boring.

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Wood work - Roberts vibrating  saw blade made easy work of rebating the area around the gearstick to fit in some new wood. I put some tape on the blade at the required depth so that I could tell him when the cut was deep enough. Previously, the area had been 'hacked out' and some bits of plywood 'gobbed in' with glue and filler. Roberts idea was to make some inserts to fit neatly around the gearstick mounting. This was to be made in two sections each side of the gearstick.

I'll add some more info this afternoon.

 

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This is a photo of what we started with around the gearstick lever. Two thicknesses of 3/4" ply had been roughly sawn, screwed together, hammered into the gap and bonded with wood glue and then bodyfiller.

Before completely removing this 'bodge' I made a template to locate the hole for the gear change so that after the body was removed from the chassis I could locate the exact position that gear lever protruded through the hole. Eventually the new part would need to be made in two parts.

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I started marking location points on this template A, B and C so that it could fit back in the same place when the 'bodged' bits of ply were removed. Reference point B is not in the above photo, but it is in the photo below.

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The floor was marked with a white marker pen at A, B and C so that the template could fit back in the correct place. I used a soft pencil to mark the area of the hole after the old plywood parts had been removed. Before the body went off for blasting I taped some clear plastic sheeting over the A, B and C marks on the floor so they would not be removed by the blasting process. The best laid plans did not work out like this! When the body came back from blasting there was only mark A left on the floor. This did not prove a problem because the template still lined up with mark A and the edge of the seat base.

Now we go back to cutting out the bad bit and making bits of wood to fit around the gearlever.

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Robert made this small jig for making the rebate in the floor so that he could easily see when he had chiselled out the wood to the correct depth.184.thumb.jpg.36cdb46a9171338f05ee7a4583fdfc59.jpg

This vibrating saw blade made cutting off the wooden blanking plugs in the screw holes a ''piece of cake'. It was also invaluable for chiselling out the rebated area around the gear lever.

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Robert had already made the parts to blank off around the gear lever out of some old oak he had.

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The first part seems to fit. These bits of oak need to be removable so that the gearlever, attached to the chassis will fit through the hole in the floor.

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Just checking that the new bit of wood is in the correct position.

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The upright at the side of the seat were the rotten wood had been removed was ready for the new part to be glued and screwed into position.

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We used CT1 adhesive as it would grip into the uneven surfaces.

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The new wood tapped into position and screwed into place.

 

 

 

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The last part of the gearlever surround is screwed into place.

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The old bit of wood on top of the upright was refitted with glue and screws after I had spent a few hours removing the tacks from it. At least now the coach trimmer will be able to put fixings into this upright.

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Some CT1 adhesive was also used to glue this split in the wooded bulkhead.

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Cling film was laid over the adhesive to stop the G-clamp sticking to the wood.

Apart from some tongue and groove for the boot floor and a couple of other small bits of wood repairs the body is ready to be masked after a good clear up and clean down before the Epoxy primer is sprayed on the outer wood work at the back, the dashboard and windscreen mounting just behind the scuttle panel.292.thumb.jpg.c2bfff76f6a28ec10a9715d6e7cd0284.jpg 

Starting to mask up for painting. I bet I've missed a few holes in the woodwork to plug!

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More great work, love seeing the pictures!  I've really fallen in love with that car... just the right mix of wood and steel and such a nice size to work on. 

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I think I have fallen in love with the car too. It reminds me of a child's pedal car for grown ups!

Today, I hope to spray the epoxy primer on the wooden parts. As I have never sprayed this paint before I am a bit apprehensive.

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My first thing to do this morning was to finish masking up the metalwork and other parts that I did not want to spray with the epoxy primer.

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The brown masking paper that I had on a roll I had knocking about for years. So long that I can't remember when I bought it. I found it upstairs in my old office. The problem that I had with it was it had got very dry, cracked and tears very easily when I tried to form it around shapes. In the end I gave up and finished off with newspaper, which is not ideal. In the background of this photo, leaning against the door is the 'lump' of ash that a friend with a collection of MG's in the garage gave me to cut a bit off for repairs. Robert didn't use it as it was such a useful bit of timber. I put it in the van before I started spraying so that I did not get overspray on it.

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We used some tongue and groove boarding for a couple of replacement panels for the boot (trunk) floor. Note at the top of the photo the worst bit of woodwork on the body. After spraying the epoxy primer I will attempt to fill this to get this area smooth. I have enough epoxy primer to give this area another coating after filling.

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Having not done any paint spraying for such a long time is why I was apprehensive. I needn't have worried. It all went quite smoothly. I sprayed the trunk lid first and found that the paint was a bit thick for spraying. After adding a bit more thinners to the 2 pack epoxy it flowed a lot better. I was careful to use my air fed mask, white disposable coverall overalls and gloves. After many years of being involved with vehicle accident repairs and BMW 02/CS restoration work I have got sensitised to isocyanate and my lung age, I am told by the doctor, is 136! I don't know where they find these 136 years to test?!?

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It's not a Halloween ghost in the background. I covered up as much as I could in the garage to protect it from overspray.

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This front bulkhead will also need some filling. The hole in the middle is for the gas (petrol) and combined oil tank.

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The epoxy coated the trunk lid well. The wood on this was the flattest of the lot, or maybe I was wrong to thin the paint a little bit more when I sprayed the rest of the car. I shall never know!

 

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