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DSCF7830 DSCF7826 DSCF7827 DSCF7828 DSCF7829Worked on the ’52 Ford truck today. We were able to get the slick sand all blocked out on the left door. Once that was done, it looked really nice. Chris fixed a couple of tiny spots that showed up, then passed it off to Paul for the FINAL primer. While they were working on that, was working on the inside of the right door. We straightened out the inside where patch panels were welded in and also fixed a few dents and rust pits. The inside of the right door was finished up today, but not in time to get primer on it. Next week we will block the slick sand thats on the outside of the door and prime both sides. Once this is complete we will prep the hood, both doors and the front valence for paint.

New door on the 4

DSCF7704 DSCF7705This 4Runner is in the shop to get a new door. While visiting some friends, a John Deere Gator introduced itself to the rear door. As you can see, it did quite a number on it. The new door came in today and Paul trimmed it out. Chris and I did get it installed and sanded today. It will get painted tomorrow. If all goes well with that, we should start the re-assembly late tomorrow.

Black out

IMG_2261 IMG_2262 IMG_2254 IMG_2252 IMG_2258 IMG_2257 IMG_2256 IMG_2265 IMG_2260 IMG_2268 IMG_2266 IMG_2269Today we put the finishing touches on the body paint. We all prepped up the interior to black out the dash, firewall, inside rear panels and the tops of the doors. This REALLY set this car off. The contrast between the dark blue and the semi gloss black really looks nice. Good choice by the customer on this on!! We also blasted the hood hinges, hood latch and other parts today and got those painted today as well.

Ahh, that’s better

IMG_1439 IMG_1440 IMG_1442 IMG_1453 IMG_1455 IMG_1457 IMG_1459 IMG_1460 IMG_1421 IMG_1422 IMG_1423 IMG_1424 IMG_1425 IMG_1428 IMG_1431 IMG_1432Finally!! Today we were finally satisfied with the inside of the Camaro and late in the day we were able to get epoxy sprayed on the inside and get the seams sealed up. The first few pictures show Chase laying down the epoxy. (Not exactly sure why the pictures are in reverse order but, I think you can figure it out)  While we were working on the inside, we welded up some holes in the dash that were not supposed to be there. They were probably added years ago for rocket boosters, oil slicks or smoke screens. Who knows. That stuff is out of style now so we are putting it back the way it was made.  After the epoxy dried, we used SEM’s two part seam sealer to make all the seams on the dash and firewall water proof. We also sealed up where the new panels were welded in to ensure that those repairs last for decades to come. The last few pictures show how clean we were able to get the inside. Yeah, there is quite a few hours getting all that sand and media out of all the crevasses. But, all that paid off today. We ran out of time, so stay tuned. Tomorrow we will apply the Raptor liner to the inside and trunk. See ya then!

A little of this, a little of that

Normally the photographs on this blog are arranged chronologically to show the progress throughout the day. Today there were so many things going at once that the pictures, in the order taken, were very hard to follow. So for this post I arranged the pictures together in groups by task so that all the pictures that pertain to a task are together, then they are sorted chronologically within their task groups. This should make all the stuff we did today a little easier to follow. I hope.

In the first photo Chis prepares the new fuel tank for paint. The tank that came with the car would have had to be replumbed for the fuel injected engine, and who knows what kind of gunk may have been in it or if it leaked, so the owner just opted to buy a new tank, complete with new fuel pump, return lines and sender. It just seemed simpler and, probably, cheaper in the long run.

The second picture shows the tank scuffed, cleaned, and ready for paint.

The third photograph shows the tank painted in the same semi-gloss egg shell finish as all the other black parts of the car. Not only does it make the tank look better, it also protects it from rust.

In the fourth picture Chris is sanding the cover for the “smuggler’s box”, the foot well that isn’t used on an El Camino because it doesn’t have a rear seat. Someone was working on this panel all day because it was badly pitted and needed a lot of sanding before it would be presentable. Because the ridges are so close together a regular sanding block wouldn’t work so a paint stirrer stick was used instead. Thank goodness the owner had to replace the floor. If we had to do this to the entire bed floor I would have … done it I guess, but I wouldn’t have liked it one little bit, and neither would have Chris.

Picture five shows how the panel was left it at the end of the day, 9/16‘s complete. You can see the “block” lying on the cover, along with all the sandpaper that was used today.

I got in my share of the sanding today also. Picture six shows me working to get the console sanded and ready to paint. The console is in the booth in picture seven, ready for it’s coat of paint.

Photograph number eight shows the console painted up in the same black we used on the console yesterday as well as the black parts of this El Camino. While this console doesn’t have quite the pop and sizzle that the console we painted yesterday day does, it isn’t a total plain Jane. A piece of brushed stainless steel goes on the top to give it a bit of zing.

While the owner isn’t trying to fool anyone into thinking this is an SS car, he does like some of the styling details that the SS cars had, so he is picking and choosing the bits he likes. Like the SS grille. In picture nine I am taping up the standard grille so that the mesh can be painted black, like an SS car. It is in the booth, along with the console, ready for paint in picture ten.

Pictures 11 and 12 show the grille after the paint has been applied. Once again this is the semi-gloss black paint we have been using on the rest of the car. When the owner showed me pictures of a SS Chevelle with the blacked out grille I had to agree, this nearly black car will look good with a black grille. Sinister, but good.

In picture 13 Chase, waiting while various parts were prepared for paint, is working on the primary project of the day … putting down the sound deadening. Every person in the shop got in on the work at one time or another today.

I have never used this brand of sound deadening before. It is called Rattle Trap and is a product of Fat Mat. The owner of the El Camino provided us with the product to use and it seemed to work about like the other products I have used, attenuating the metal so it no longer has the tinny ring to it.

While Chase painted, Jordan took over placing the sound deadener. Jordan thought he was going to have to sand the smuggler box cover so when he was told he could lay sound deadner if he wanted to he jumped at the chance. Picture 14 shows him all wadded up in a car, like only the young can do, as he presses a piece of the deadener down to make it stick.

It looked like Jordan was having so much fun I decided to get in on the act in picture 15. As you can see, I wasn’t quite as graceful, nor do I fold up into as compact a package, as Jordan.

Pictures 16-19 show the car covered in the sound deadening material. Unlike the car shows on television we didn’t just go nuts and cover everything, but then it doesn’t seem that you need to. The difference this made, even with the small gaps and holes, is just amazing. The running joke in the shop was who ever was in the car would pretend they couldn’t hear what you were saying, because of the sound deadener, even though the car has no doors or glass in it yet. Yeah, we have a good time at JMC AutoworX.

Picture 20 shows that after a week the header is finally shown some love. This is with just the base coat applied, but it still looks good, if a little on the dull side. The dullness is because the base coat dries to a near flat finish, but we are going to fix that.

The base coat might dry dull, but picture 21 shows the clear dries anything but dull. The clear deepens and enriches the colors and provide the luster that makes automotive finishes so beautiful.

The tailgate has a small el Camino logo painted on it, and we didn’t want the front of the car to be jealous, so you can see in picture 22 that we put one on the front as well. Now you can tell what this strange cross between a car and truck is, coming or going.

The last picture shows how the SS stripes from the hood continue onto the header panel. Those corners look great, but they are a real pain in the … well, let’s just say they are hard to get right.

We have positively hammered on this car all week and I am extremely pleased with the progress we made. In fact we have made so much progress, we are stuck until the drive train goes into the car … and that is supposed to happen next week. The car leaves Monday for the Murphy Rod & Custom shop for a heart transplant.

Kelly is going to install all the mechanical systems on the car … engine, transmission, breaks, steering etc. When the car comes back it will be … well … a car instead of a rolling metal sculpture.


Back in late April we worked on this truck for the last time. This was an on-again, off-again project for the owner. We did the paint and wiring, but the owner did the rest of the work himself, or hired out the few things he couldn’t do himself, like paint and interior.

Yesterday the owner brought his truck by for a visit. This was the first time I have seen the truck since it was completed. They say a picture is work a 1,000 words. Here are 13,000 words that speak more eloquently than I ever could.


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.

A dash style

We are down to the last couple of items on this Chevelle … then I will be bidding it a fond farewell. One of those last items is painting the dash. The gray … it just doesn’t do anything for me. I’m thinking a nice semi-gloss black.

The first photo shows the car masked off. It would be … disappointing … to get the black paint on the red. I think the customer would notice if I were to do so.

The next two photos, numbers two and three, show Chase wiping the car down with a tack cloth. A tack cloth is a lint free cloth treated with a chemical to make the cloth slightly sticky. The stickiness picks up any dust or debris and removes it from the car. A quality paint finish depends on the preparation, and making sure the surface is clean is all part of the preparation.

The next two photos, numbers four and five, show the dash after the sealer has been applied. The sealer seals all the materials below and prepares the surface for paint.

The sealer comes in seven shades of gray, from almost white to this very near black color. Each paint color has one of these specific grays assigned to it. Since the dash is going to be painted black, I am using the darkest of the seven grays.

Pictures six and seven show the dash after the paint has been applied. Unlike the red, this dash is painted with a semi-gloss paint. It wouldn’t do to have the dash so shiny that all you could see is in the glass is … well … the reflection of dash.

The last two photos, numbers eight and nine, show the car unmasked so you can see how the dash looks with the red of the car. I like the contrast between the red and black.

This finishes the painting. And it finishes it up with a dash of style I think. All that is left is the installation of the doors, fenders, hood and trunk lid, then the car will be ready for the owner to pick it up. I will hate to see it go, but it will make room for the next High Performance Finish project … and I can’t wait to get started on it.

Candy for the baby

Today I painted the last few pieces of the 1950 Chevrolet 5-window pickup. This truck has been in and out of the shop several times over the last year as the owner performed some of the restoration work himself. It arrived back in the shop for it’s final stay in early November. During this last visit we wired the truck, and now, we are finishing up the last few things … like painting the mirrors and tailgate.

The first two pictures show the mirrors, sanded but unpainted. Pictures three through five show the radiator cover and the tailgate etched and primed and ready for paint. The sixth picture show another part of the radiator cover, sanded and ready for paint. This part had already been painted once, but somewhere along the way it received a few light scratches in the finish. Since we were painting anyway, it was just easier to repaint it than to wet sand the scratches out.

Photos 7 through 11 are all the pieces sealed and ready to be painted. The sealer does exactly what its name says … it seals everything below it and provides a surface for the paint to stick to. The sealer is available in seven shades of gray, from nearly white to almost black. Each color has one of these seven shades specified in order to  produce the proper color. Light colored paints generally have light colored sealers. Dark paints have darker sealers. The deep rich red has a sealer that is just one step darker than dead center.

Pictures 8 through 12 show the parts after the application of the base coat, the actual color of the finish. Applied in several thin coats, the base coat dries to a nearly flat finish. It is the clear coat that provides the luster, the pop to the finish. Normally that would be the next step, but this is a candy paint job, so there is another step, the candy layer, before the clear coat is applied.

Candy colors use a specially tinted clear coat to add depth to the color. Sometimes this candy layer adds additional metal flake as well. You can see the effect the candy coat has on the paint in pictures 17 though 20. Notice how the paint picks up some additional gloss over the flat base coat finish. Though clearly visible to the naked eye, it is difficult to see in these photographs that there is also a slight shift in the apparent color of the paint as the tinted clear subtly alters the paint color.

Candy colors are difficult and expensive to get right, but when done properly, and on the right type of car or truck, there is nothing quite like them.

Pictures 21 – 26 are the finished product. After the candy color is applied, regular clear is sprayed to seal, protect and apply even more luster to the paint. Where a normal two stage paint finish, base and clear, really pops, a well done candy paint just explodes off the car with a luster and depth that can not be replicated any other way.

This reddish cinnamon candy really, really works on this truck and it will stand out in any crowd.

The last two pictures, numbers 27 & 28, are of the interior of the truck where we put down some sound deadening material. This material, the shiny silver sheets, combined with the bedliner material, the black you see peeking between the sheets, will significantly quieten this truck as it motors down the road.

In another few days the owner will be by to pickup (no pun intended) his truck for the final time and take it away for the installation of the interior. I hope me brings it back when he is done with it so I can see the finished product.

Block party!

It’s been a little busy around the shop for the last couple of weeks. So much so that I felt I needed to put in a few hours today, a Saturday, to catch up a little. Today we worked on the Chevelle, blocking out some filler that I had put on it a few days ago.

Blocking a car is when the person doing the sanding, that would be Jordan and I, use a long flexible block with a bit of sticky back sandpaper stuck to it. The block allows the sandpaper to really dig in and remove filler from the high spots while at the same time skating over the low spots. This allows the bodywork to be made perfectly uniform so that the paint, when applied, looks it’s absolute best.

The first picture shows me using a file sander to get the rough contours right. I always finish the sanding by hand, but the file sander is a good way to get it close without all the time and effort of hand sanding.

The imperfections we are trying to remove are so small you can see them. At least I can’t. But I can feel them. The second pictures shows me checking the progress, feeling for high and low places so I know where additional sanding, or more filler, is required. The third picture shows that more sanding was required.

While I was working on the roof, Jordan had the unenviable task of sanding on the dash. The technique used on the dash is the same as any other panel on the car … the difference is you are are scrunched up in the car, making the sanding a lot more difficult.

We didn’t get finished blocking the car today, but without the having to deal with the ringing phone and other distractions, we got a lot more done in three hours than I would have guessed.

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