All hands on deck

After missing a couple of days of updates, I finally have some news to report. Wednesday just wasn’t a good day in the shop, and while yesterday was a good day … I wasn’t at the shop. Check out my facebook page for details about what was going on yesterday.

Today, however, was a very good day in the shop. We are stalled on most of the other repairs (see above about Wednesday), so today it was all hands on deck to get some work done on the El Camino … and today we rocked on.

Chris was in the shop today helping out with the sanding. The first photo shows Chris blocking on one of the fenders. He worked most of the day on those two fenders blocking the Super Build high solids primer. Blocking is a technique where a length of sandpaper is attached to a semi-rigid block. The block smooths the surface by allowing the attached sandpaper to really dig into the surface on the high spots while gliding over the low spots. The goal, and what the block allows you to accomplish, is to sand off all the high spots until they are at the same level as the low spots, producing a dead smooth surface to lay the paint down on.

The high solids primer smooths and fills imperfections in the metal, then the blocking removes the resulting imperfections in the primer. These ridges are, or nearly are, invisible to the naked eye, but once a coat of paint is applied, especially in a dark color like this car is going to get, the imperfections would become very noticeable.

The second photograph shows the fenders blocked out. The dark spots are where Chris sanded through the high solids primer down to the base primer. That is how he knew he had removed the maximum amount of material possible, leaving the minimum amount of primer required to smooth the fenders.

While Chris was working on that I was welding up a few small holes in the body where there shouldn’t be any. You can see me first welding up, then grinding off, the holes in the third and fourth photos.

Also while Chris was blocking on the fenders, I crawled under the car and resprayed the new transmission tunnel with epoxy and the bed-liner. Murphy Rod & Custom did such pretty work modifying the tunnel I just had to take a photo of it. This photo, number five, is after the epoxy and seam sealer has been applied, but before the bed-liner has been sprayed onto the modified area. The blue neon looking stuff is the seam sealer.

Seam sealer is used to make sure that no moisture can get into cracks and crevices and start rust. Seam Sealer is expensive, but on builds like this one we go all out to do everything possible to prevent problems in the future. Murphy Rod & Custom does excellent welding, maybe even better, but all it takes is one tiny near microscopic hole for rust to get a toe hold. Better safe than sorry I say.

Meanwhile, while Chris was blocking on the fenders, Chase sprayed epoxy on the front inner fenders. You can see him spraying the fenders in photo number six. After he finished and the epoxy had a chance to set, I came back and applied bed-liner to the underside of the fenders as you can see in picture number seven. The bed-liner not only looks good, it also protects the fender from damage caused by flying rocks and debris. And a fender that can’t have it’s rust proofing damaged by rocks and flying debris, can’t rust. You can seen the underside of one of the fenders in photo eight.

Picture nine shows something new we haven’t tried before. The customer of this car found this insulating material that is mixed into paint. The way it was explained to me is that this bag of, what appears to be powder, is actually microscopic ceramic beads and inside each bead is a tiny cavity filled with a vacuum. These tiny beads act like a thermos, using the tiny vacuum in the beads to create a barrier that significantly slows the transfer of heat and cold. Will it work? Who knows … the customer brought me the bag and asked me to mix it in the epoxy when spraying the inside of the passenger compartment. After the car is finished I will report back about how much it helps … or doesn’t.

While Chris continued blocking the fenders, Chase and I got busy preparing the inside of the car for a coat of epoxy sealer and the application of the bed-liner. The next four photos, numbers 10-14, show the passenger compartment with the epoxy sealer, complete with the insulating stuff mixed in, applied. Normally we only apply one coat of epoxy because that is all that is required, but the instructions of the insulating material recommended two coats of paint for best results, so we put on two coats. I don’t know if the insulating material will make any difference, but with two coats of epoxy primer then an additional two coats of bed-liner material … this thing ain’t ever going to rust. Ever.

Picture fourteen shows the cowl and firewall also coated in the epoxy primer. The ceramic spheres left an undesirable gritty look to the interior of the car. Inside the car it doesn’t matter if it looks a little gritty because the bed-liner is going to cover it anyway, and it will be under the interior trim as well. But on the cowl and firewall I wanted it to look slick so these two areas were painted with straight epoxy with none of the ceramic spheres mixed it.

Pictures 15-19 show the application of the seam sealer to the top of the car. Just like underneath, the seam sealer is used to prevent rust from getting a toe hold anywhere on the car. My thinking is we epoxy, then seam seal, then bedline the metal both top and bottom, encasing the metal in a near impenetrable barrier of rust protection. If this car is going to rust, the rust is going to have to work, hard, at finding a place to start.

Starting with picture twenty, we begin the final task of the day. Chris, who had worked all day blocking fenders had finally finished and was around to watch the bed-liner go into the interior.

In photos 21 & 22 I begin spraying in the Raptor Liner while Chase watches on. I knew if Chase could paint a car he could do this, but he wanted to see me do a bit of it first so he would know about how heavy to lay in the material. After only a couple of minutes he had seen what he needed to see and took over the task. You can see him having at it in picture 22.

Two coats of bed-liner later, you can see the results in the last four photos, numbers 23-26. It looks so good that it is almost a shame to cover it up with carpet.

Everyone had a hand in this project today allowing us to make tremdous progress. Most of our High Performance Finish builds require six months or more to complete because of the amount of work and the other demands around the shop. But if we keep this pace up, a couple of month, maybe three, and this thing will out of here.

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Posted on July 13, 2012, in 1969 Chevrolet El Camino (2012) and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. It looks ALMOST as good in the pictures as it does in person. Using the Raptor Liner bedliner for rust proofing and protection was a great idea! I don’t know when and where you got the idea, but I’m certainly glad you thought of it. Tough as nails protection that looks that good … what’s not to like?

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