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1966 F100 Short Bed Styleside Metal/Body/Paint Work

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2 hours ago, Roger Zimmermann said:

It will be definitively have a better fit and finish as when it left the factory! Very nice work.

Roger"s right. Very smooth , great body work. This is going to be one neat truck. 

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On 1/9/2020 at 9:10 AM, Roger Zimmermann said:

It will be definitively have a better fit and finish as when it left the factory! Very nice work.


On 1/9/2020 at 11:15 AM, John S. said:

Roger"s right. Very smooth , great body work. This is going to be one neat truck. 



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I have a new respect for anyone capable of metalfinishing large areas of old crunched metal. I’ve only worked metal to perfection on very small areas with lighter damage before this. The front section of this bedside had been giving me trouble so I decided to challenge myself and attempt to go farther than my usual “good enough to skim coat” straightening efforts. The grid is 8x10” and I’m only about halfway through it, and it’s still a little wavy from the heavy damage around it so I’ll have to go back over it again to correct the overall shape once all the major damage is smoothed out.

Starting point.  Lots of damage, both from the initial damage and prior attempts to straighten it using a pick hammer improperly. 





I laid out a 2x2" grid so I could focus on a small area at a time.  I used a sharpie marker and a plexiglass sanding block with 180 grit to show the high/low spots, then began working the low up and the highs down with a hammer and dolly.  The metal was very stretched so I made a few passes with the shrinking disk to start with, but the more I straightened the more the overall area became a high spot again, similar to planishing out a panel after beating it into rough shape on a sand bag.   






The back side of the grid.  You can see hot spots from the shrinking disk, high spots from sanding to find the back of the low spots, and a ton of tiny hammer marks from working up the low spots.  




Progress pics. 













Where I ended up after around 6 hours.  This won't be charged to the customer since I'm doing this to push myself to learn how to do this, and I'm not anywhere near proficient at it yet.  This is the worst spot on the whole bed so it's been a challenge to make it this far.  It's not perfect but it's a start at learning the skill of metalfinishing.  





I also worked on correcting the overal shape down the length of the bedside. This side was concave down the length from the factory, and reflections off the paint in concave areas magnify any imperfections so making the panel straight or slightly crowned is important on such a long panel. I cut the inner braces loose, then moved them until the panel was straight overall. It only needs light stretching in a couple areas to bring up low spots, the worst of the two is only .014” deep.





You can see how the lower section in front of the wheel opening moves inward from front to rear in relation to the straight edge that is held against the lower panel behind the wheel opening.  This points to the inner brace holding the panel in the wrong orientation.  









There was a second brace holding the outer skin at the front of the wheel opening.  I drilled the spot welds and freed the outer skin so it could be repositioned. 




Once the overall shape was straight from front to rear I found a low spot in the body line near the rear of the wheel opening, and that was pulling a low spot in the open area above it.  I used a portapower to push it out.  




That left me with only two small low spots down the length of the panel, the deeper one was only .014" low which I can easily move up with light hammer on dolly stretching.  




Inner flange straightened. 






Flipped over with the rotisserie to start fixing the minor imperfections inside the bed.  




Close up of the surface finish of the SPI epoxy.  The level of gloss acts like a built in guide coat when blocking so you can easily see any low spots, pinholes, rust pits, etc.  



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On 1/23/2020 at 11:13 PM, 64SportFury426 said:

Love the simplicity of these mid 60's Ford trucks. I have owned a 64 long bed with a 292 & a 65 short bed with a 240. I would love to find a solid project to restore.  Absolutely love your metal working skill's and fantastic photo documentation! Subscribed!  


Thanks, glad you're enjoying the build!  My granddad bought a '69 F100 with (I think) a 240 new and it's still in the family, I'm hoping to get it back on the road one day.  

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I have the other side finished and both in epoxy primer now.   It was sunk in almost 1/2" above the wheel opening, again mostly due to the braces pulling it inward too much. 





The rear corner needed reshaping towards the bottom, too much to just shrink it down flat.  I made a few cuts to bring the bottom up and the side in, then welded it back up. 














Higher up there was damage around the taillight opening.  There was a deep flange on the inside of the opening blocking access to the back side, so I cut out the damaged area to straighten off the truck.  





After straightening and welding back in place.  The metal measured almost 1/16" thick.  








Ready for epoxy. 






The reflections show that it's not perfect but the overall shape is really close.  A skim coat will make it 100% straight.  I posted these on facebook last night and it got shared to a collision repair page... they were complaining about all the orange peel in the "paint" even though the description clearly said it was epoxy over bare metal :lol:









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Got both sides skimmed and blocked. Getting the metal straight first meant I only needed to skim it once, then touch up a few areas. I tried something new; using spring steel spreaders but couldn't get the hang of them so a few spots were too thin on the first section I did.  I switched back to normal spreaders for the rest of it.   

I blocked the upper part above the body line front to back, then blended the lower front area into the upper section, being careful to not make a low spot in the upper half.  The transition from flat to round around the corners of raised wheel opening stampings have always given me fits, so this time I wiped off any filler about 1.5" away from the raised part before it dried.  That let me do the initial blocking without worrying if I was getting the transition to the rounded raised edge shaped correctly- I only had to worry about the overall shape.  Once the flat areas were blocked straight I skimmed the transition and shaped it by itself later, which was easier since I was working against the open area that was already straight.     






I used an angled block around the wheel opening stamping to work up to the raised area while keeping as much of the block on the flat surface as possible.  You can see in this pic where I initially left the transition bare. 




I left the paper shy of the edge so the block doesn't cut into the transition- the smooth edge hits the transition and raises the block up before it can cut a groove into the raised part. 






The outside corner of the body line had more guide coat applied so I could block it into an even radius front to back.  This was roughed in with 80 grit, watching to see how far into the flats the block was cutting.  I didn't cut it all the way down with 80, I finished shaping the radius once I had the whole bed roughed in with 80, then applied guide coat and reblocked it all with 150.







Same idea at the front of the bed where the metal folds around to the inner panel.  






After applying more guide coat and blocking the panel with 150.  The guide coat shows how evenly the edge is rounded into the flat part of the panel.  This is something you'd have a hard time getting even if you didn't skim the whole panel.  



Everything finished with 150, ready for more epoxy and polyester primer. And then more sanding.   






Check out how well the filler adheres to SPI epoxy.  I didn't sand or scuff the epoxy before skimming, the epoxy stays open for 7 days for filler or other primers to bond.  You can see how well it feather edges, and the orange peel of the epoxy is visible- the whole two coats of epoxy are still there without any breakthroughs to bare metal from the typical process of sanding/scuffing before filler. I'll spray more epoxy before polyester to keep the metal 100% sealed.  




Here's a "torture test" to see just how well filler sticks to SPI epoxy when applied within 7 days, using both proper and improper bare metal prep.  





Now it's time to go clean the shop... 



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

I shot epoxy over the bare spots last Monday to seal them up, and let it sit all week before spraying Slick Sand Saturday night.  This lets the epoxy dry fully so any shrinking has occurred before applying the poly primer, but before the epoxy has cured so the poly still bonds chemically.












Mirka dry guide coat, ready for blocking. 



Edited by theastronaut (see edit history)
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  • 4 months later...

Getting started back on this one... The owner brought back the finished frame,  that let me mount the bed and fabricate a filler neck, along with repositioning the center gooseneck stamping to use as a flat spot for the gas cap.   

The frame- Coyote/Magnum T56 swapped with M2 front suspension and a four link in the rear.  






I made a template to cut exact matching size holes in the ribbed section over the tank and the center gooseneck stamping so that they could swap spots without excesive welding gaps.  Also bought extra thin cut off wheels and slightly thinned them myself even more for less kerf.




Double offset filler neck.




A normal gas cap would look to small and wouldn't hide the hole for the filler neck so I started looking online for larger caps with standard threads.  Ended up finding an aftermarket billet cap for a BMW motorcycle that looked like a good fit for the truck.  The tank is vented already so I removed the cap vent and drilled/tapped/plugged the hole so it can't leak fuel out onto the bed floor paint. The top was flat and sort of chunky looking to begin with but I liked the rest of design.. 






I used a mug (it was the right diameter :lol:) and an english wheel anvil in the press to dimple the opening around the filler neck. 







Finished up.  I used the lathe to slightly dome the top of the cap and round the edge, then sanded it smooth up to 1000 grit.  I used a red scuff pad for a brushed look, then metal polish to slightly polish the cap without losing the brushed look.  It could easily be fully polished if the owner wants to but I thought this finish might hide fingerprint smudges and scratches since aluminum is soft and its an item that'll see a lot of use/handling.  



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You do amazing work. Its obvious you are not the usual resto shop. Im a sucker for these trucks.  My first vehicle was a hand me down 65 ford pu. It was first my sisters, then my brothers then mine. My brother had a 350 out of a corvette transplanted into it. 4 speed. Ran like a scolded dog. No weight in the rear and it would spin tires with the slightest touch of the pedal, I cant imagine what that coyote motor will do. Are you familiar with the ford lightweight race trucks? I think they made a few of them, I believe they were 63 unibody's. One of my brothers buddies ended up with one after its drag racing days. It had a cobra jet motor and was def. a sleeper. The guy would run street tires with drag slicks in the bed. He won many a street races. I ran into the truck at show a few years ago with an older guy now owning it. After hearing my story he let me sit in the thing, which was pretty cool. I had pics of it on my old phone but none that I have access too.

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Got the metalwork and rough bodywork on the bed floor finished and sealed with a couple coats of epoxy.  

I used the rear rib section that was over the gas tank to fill in the section where the round stamping was.






I knew that the ribs were all different heights, but I didn't realize they also changed shape from front to rear slightly. I thought I could make a spreader for skim coating each rib to simplify spreading filler, but the shape of the ribs ended up being wider or narrower from end to end.  This also meant that I couldn't make a sanding block to fit the intended shape, so I had to manually block the bottom/sides/top of every rib.  


My attempt at making a spreader-





Tons of blocking later. This was a chore to shape/sand the width of base of the floor, the angle and height of the sides of the ribs, and the width of the top of the ribs consistently, along with keeping the radii of the corners and edges consistent. There are a few small imperfections I need to touch up before I shoot it with polyester primer, then more blocking to make it 100% straight.  





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We were able to buy a Pullmax P7 since the last update. We had heard about a local Pullmax awhile back and had inquired about it but they weren't interested in selling it at the time. The owner contacted us a few weeks ago and said that they were ready to sell it so we made the deal and moved it to the shop. I'm looking into VFD's to run it at the moment, and have started cleaning it up. It came with a fence, circle cutting attachments, louver dies, center and offset tool holders, doming dies, nibbler dies, slotting dies, flanging dies, a beading die, and an offset flange dies, and a really neat dovetail extension that bolts to the side and swings out of the way when not in use. This will be a big help in allowing me to expand my metal fab capabilities.





















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On 8/28/2020 at 4:44 PM, GARY F said:

Nice score.




I let the epoxy sit a few days to dry, then touched up the imperfections that I could find and shot a few coats of polyester primer.




I made a block from three pieces of plexiglass that can flex to fit the sides of the ribs and flatten the bottom at the same time. All of the ribs are at slightly different heights so all of the sides are at different angles; I couldn't shape one durablock that fit all of the ribs like I did with the last F100.




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Your work is incredible and I love following along.  One thing I found with the SPI epoxy primer is that a shot glass of their slow reducer and shooting about 26 psi gets rid of orange peel for me.  There's a slight loss of gloss but not much. Do you use their 2K primer and clear as well?


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On 9/14/2020 at 11:49 AM, Luv2Wrench said:

Your work is incredible and I love following along.  One thing I found with the SPI epoxy primer is that a shot glass of their slow reducer and shooting about 26 psi gets rid of orange peel for me.  There's a slight loss of gloss but not much. Do you use their 2K primer and clear as well?


Thanks!  I haven't tried using reducer in epoxy yet, but I will once bodywork is done as a sealer.  

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Getting deep into the details of the bed floor... The stamping details left a lot to be desired.  The ends of the ribs were all different; the angle of the "ramp" was uneven from rib to rib and the radii of rounded edges were inconsistent.  Having all of the surrounding surfaces blocked dead flat really makes this stand out, so I got out a foam sanding block and 180 to round everything over and sanded until the guide coat was gone so it wasn't as noticeable. 



Just kidding! I scuffed up the ends, masked out the areas that were already blocked to the correct shape, then skim coated the ends to reshape them.  

Inconsistent shape of the "ramp" part of the ribs. 





Masked and scuffed with 180 to prep for filler. 



One down. 



I only did a couple at a time so I could do all the shaping while the filler was soft and sanded easily.  This slightly clogs the paper so I use a brass brush to clear the out the stuck on filler. The tape on the end prevents the block from digging into the surrounding areas that are already flat and shaped correctly.  









I used a longer block made from 1/2"x1/2" aluminum to block across a few ramps at a time so they're all at the same angle. 




Final product- flat flats and sharp, even edges.  I'll slightly round over the edges when I go 180 grit to smooth out the 80 grit scratches.


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Filler hole details.  The circle around the filler opening was sanded flat and level with the base of the floor between the ribs, but the transition from the flat circle to the rounded parts of the ribs needed truing up.  I used a compass to establish a perfect circle for both the lower and upper edges of each rib, then filled and sanded until the sides of the ribs were the correct shape.  It's hard to sand the inside of the corners to the correct shape though, so I pulled fine line tape and used a razor blade to shave the inside corners to the correct profile.  

The end of the razor was taped to prevent that side from cutting what was already correctly shaped. The other end is up against the fine line tape; this shows how much the inside corner is off from only sanding.  




After shaving down the raised corner all the way to the edge of the fine line tape.  




Then the tape was flipped and the other half of the inside corner was shaved to the correct shape. 




This left sharp angles at the transition between the straight edge of the ribs and the rounded edges around the filler neck.  




Calipers used to establish a smooth transition shape. 








Finished transition. 



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This is where diehard AACA'ers will need to look away...



I started the metal modifications on the dash.  There will be an air vent taking the place of the original ignition switch, so the switch needs to be moved over below the gauge cluster.  The AC controls will be on the right side under the cluster so the original holes need to be filled in.  









This side needs three 9/32" holes so I'll weld in a solid panel and redrill new holes.










I made a new switch opening on a larger panel for less welding.  I haven't decided if I want to try to press the new panel with the same indentions as the old switch holes or if I'll just graft them in, it'll probably be faster to just graft the existing pieces.  





The speaker grill conveniently had round holes stamped in the corners which let me use a hole saw to make round corners for the new panel being welded in.  Round edges on patch panels keeps the panel from having concentrated shrinkage on the weld seam in two directions like a 90* corner has so it's easier to planish out the weld seam later.  







The dash was low on one side of the opening compared to the shape across the rest of the dash, so that was reshaped before welding in the new panel. 

Correct shape-


Low side:




New panel made slightly oversized, then clamped in place to scribe the trim line. 





Minimal gaps. 




After grinding and initial planishing. 




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The owner wanted the radio, glove box, and ashtray shaved.  I ground through the outer layer of the dash to release the spot welds over the left half of the inner dash brace that was straight.  The right side of the inner brace was shaped to fit the glove box opening so it was cut out.  




The right corner of the dash was bent too far outward past straight/in line with the center of the dash- the aluminum bar is laid flat against the center section of the dash to show the misalignment. I cut far enough over to get rid of the part that was rounded out too far so the new section would be in the correct alignment. 




The top edge of the glove box opening was formed really close to the bend across the face of the dash, so that won't leave much room for welding and grinding.  







Profile gauge and tape with matching marks to transfer onto the filler panel blank.  




After turning the lower flange with a brake, I used the profile gauge to mark the filler panel for the area that needed the most roll and the areas that were mostly flat. 






I picked the english wheel die that most closely matched the profile of the dash.  I didn't take pics while I was making the panel, but I stretched an inner tube over the upper wheel so that the english wheel only bent the metal in one direction instead of two since this isn't a compound curve.








Matched the shape of the old panel. 




Initial test fit.  I'll wait to weld it in after the owner comes over so we can finalize the placement of the A/C vents, it'll be easier to weld in the A/C vent mounting cups with the filler panel loose instead of welded in place. 









I turned a couple of mdf blocks in the lathe to make mounting cups for the A/C vents.  This will keep the vent mounting flange straight and flat while shaping the edges. 





First quick trial piece, not really happy with this shape but it's something to start with. 





C-channel dash brace fabricated and test fit.  Not perfectly shaped to match the original but it's just a dash brace that'll never be seen.







Right side turned 90* with mitered and welded corners, and drilled for a plug weld.  




Last detail to sort out before the A/C mounting cups can be welded in- there was a recessed round stamping with a raised lower edge in the corner of the dash that will interfere with the edges of the A/C vents.  I used a mallet, hammer, and dolly to flatten it and reshape the corner to the correct profile.  To finish it I went over it with a 2" 100 grit disc on a 1" grinder; that lets the pad flex to the rounded shape without digging in on the edges.  Then finished with a DA sander.  You can see by the "light line" reflections that the corner is evenly shaped.  




Initial hammer/dolly work to really flatten and level the stamping. 







After reworking the shape using a small PVC fitting as a donut dolly and mallet. 





Smoothed up with 100 grit, then 60 grit on a DA. 





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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/22/2020 at 1:27 PM, Roger Zimmermann said:

Fantastic job! I'm glad I don't have to pay the bill!

Thanks Roger! 



The dash was originally padded and had a separate trim piece at each end.  The owner wants a painted dash with no pad or original trim pieces which leaves ugly dash corners when both are removed, so my next task was to smooth out the transition from the dash to the A-pillar and windshield pinchweld.  








Old edge of the dash cut out. 




The seams in the door jamb were pretty ugly as well so they were welded up and reshaped.  I don't like fully shaving seams, I prefer the look of well defined panel edges and evenly shaped seams.  Noticed the mismatch between the kick panel's edge and the separate door jamb panel- this was corrected. 




I ended up doing two rounds of welding/shaping to get a consistent seam, then did a bit more final touch up work after the dash corner was welded in.








To make a template for the new dash edge I used tape and a sharpie to get a rough idea of the new edge's trim/fold line. 




The front edge was folded over 180* and the rear edge was bend down 90* for a flange to weld to the A-pillar. The front section that wasn't bent was later trimmed off. 




Using linear stretch dies in the planishing hammer to lengthen and raise the inside edge to match the contour of the dash hump.








After a lot more shaping and fine tuning of the outside edge.  I had reworked the edge a lot and it was beginning to fatigue, so I cheated and welded the edge of the flange to strengthen it, which also gave me enough material to grind a consistent radius on the edge. 










The last issue to straighten out before welding in the new corner- There was a spot weld in the A-pillar that created a low spot and an uneven gap for the new dash edge.  I drilled a small hole in the outside of the pillar and used a punch to bump the inner panel level. 





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After welding the panel in, initial planishing of weld seam, and grinding the welds flat.  Notice that I also lengthened and reshaped the upper edge of the door jam panel so that seam is in line with the upper corner of the dash edge.  










And then the process was done on the other side of the dash.  This side was much easier since there was no transition into the cluster hump.




The removed panel with a bit of tape added was sufficient for a template. 




Shaped on the english wheel to match the dash profile. 






Cut line scribed.




Initial fit up. 




Final fit. 






After welding, leveling the welds, and planishing the weld distortion.  Finished in 60 grit on a DA sander to prep for epoxy. 





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On 11/1/2020 at 2:44 AM, Roger Zimmermann said:

That's an extravagant requirement; it must be a special person with all those wishes for a ...truck!

Trucks are a huge part of the classic car scene in the US, they even get their own shows which can be even bigger than general car shows.  The vast majority of our restoration work has been on trucks, they're super popular to build and modify.  



On 11/5/2020 at 12:25 PM, Luv2Wrench said:

That looks almost exactly nothing like the results I get when doing something similar.   Pretty much every step of the way, lol. 

It looks nothing like the work I usually do on my own cars either lol.  I wish I had time to spend on my own like I do for this. 


On 11/5/2020 at 1:46 PM, John S. said:

That is coming out to be one nice straight Ford! Beautiful work.



More metalwork on the cab.  The firewall had a lot of extra holes to fill in.  It'll have a hydraulic clutch and an aftermarket wiring harness so none of those holes were needed anymore.  I made a bigger panel to fill in a bunch the smaller holes instead of filling them individually.  














A notch had been made in the firewall seam for clearance around the new engine.  I tacked the two layers together to keep them from flexing or separating so the seam sealer won't be upset later on.  




Determining a radius. 




Radius and allowance for the flange scribed into a sheet of metal. 




Flanged formed using a steel block and mallet initially. 




Turning a curved flange causes the panel to distort, so I used a section of round bar in the vise and a hammer to stretch the flange out to take out the distortion. 






Trimmed and welded in place. 













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The filler neck hole needed to be shaved.  The shape around it was flattened and a bit more square compared to the right side of the cab.  I made a quick flexible shape pattern to compare both sides, and it also maps out exactly how much to stretch the new filler panel. 




First step was to roughly knock out a dent in the opposite side so the pattern would be accurate. 






Two layers of tape.  The blue tape is low adhesion so it peels off easily with no risk of stretching the pattern as it comes off.  The second layer is reinforced with fiberglass strands so once it's pressed down firmly it'll hold the same length- this is important as it allows the template to retain the same surface area over every square inch after it's removed.  That surface area is what shows how much stretch is needed to replicate the panel.  






With the pattern removed you sprinkle it with baby powder to kill the adhesive.  You can see how much surface area the pattern has, and how the details of the body lines carry over.  







I also made marks on the template to locate the filler neck on the pattern.  The patterns can be flipped inside out while retaining their surface area.




Vertical and horizontal lines marked through the center of the filler panel area.  The pattern on shows the amount of stretch needed, not the exact shape, so a profile gauge shows how the added surface area from stretching needs to be shaped and arranged.  




Low spot in the middle- more stretching needed. 




Overall shape is now correct.  




After rough trimming.  Notice how the bottom corner doesn't match up, that's from the flat stamping around the filler neck opening. Using this method of making a filler panel and having the flexible shape pattern ensures that any variance between the two sides is made noticeable so it can be corrected. 




Welded in and welds ground down, still needs final planishing.  




The owner brought the gauge bezel so I could fit it and lay out the location of all of the switch holes.  I used washers with butyl that are roughly the size of the A/C controls, and cut out a few pieces from a worn DA disc in the diameter of the ignition switch and headlight/wiper bezels.  This lets me stick them to the dash and move them around where they look best.  





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