Old and New

It has been a busy couple weeks for me and I have not been able to get into my shop except for a few days. My father has a small insurance/collision shop and I have been writing some estimates and locating parts so we can do some work there. What I have done at my shop is paint some small pieces for my next project. I had a customer contact me to paint an early 1950′s international Farmall farm tractor. He is dismantling it and doing the reassembly work. He came to me for painting and advice on the restoration process. The tractor itself was delivered last Thursday after it had first been steamed cleaned to get the grease off then sand blasted to get the paint off.

Looks like there's a small oil leak!

Looks like there’s a small oil leak!

For me there’s an interesting story behind this tractor. My customer’s father bought this tractor new and his brother had repainted it sometime in the 1980′s. And, he, his brother, and his nephew all worked together to dismantle it.

As far as the Model A coupe goes, I’m almost done with it. I have one more sanding on the left side then repair the rear body panel and the panel in between the back window and the rumble seat lid – both small panels. Of course I have to sand and re-prime it all over but I can’t imagine I’ll have more than 25 hours doing those things. Unfortunately, I’ve had to tuck it into the corner so the tractor could come in and be protected from the weather. I shouild be able to work both jobs efficiently by working on one while products on the other are drying.

Soon to be gone :-(.

Soon to be gone :-( .

Thanks for reading. I’ll continue to post pictures as the work gets done. -Kevin

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Right side is done

Removed the door first thing!

Removed the door first thing!

There wont be a lot of writing here I don’t think. I got the right quarter panel in primer yesterday and the rest of the right side in primer today. This is just the first coat so I’ve used a guide coat then I will block sand it and apply the final coat of primer before it goes to the painter.

 

 

001 004 008 011The flat area of the door was the most work. The rest, like the reveals around the windows and door jams, was just detail work. – Not very phyically taxing but time consuming.

Day's end!

Day’s end!

018

It may not seem like I got much done for the time I put in my log book but I can’t take pictures of everything. I drove some nails into the door jam and had to spot weld a couple places on the roof panel above the door too; then there was the right side of the cowl section where I patched the rust. I wrote and article on that whole process a few weeks ago. If anyone would like to have a specific article written, please let me know. I know several people in the business and might be able to accommodate you. Thanks for reading -Kevin

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The body work 1928 Ford Model A Coupe

 

This is how it looked when I started

This is how it looked when I started

 

I sprayed on a guide coat.

I sprayed on a guide coat.

 

 

Tapping down the high places

Tapping down the high places

 

Be sure and wear safety glasses

Be sure and wear safety glasses

 

The first coat usually goes in the roughest area and the filler is built out from there. You can really save some time and effort by starting the sanding slightly early while the filler is still a bit soft. Just be sure and keep a blow-gun handy to blow out the sand paper frequently. The best grit I’ve found to rough-in large areas like this is 24. It’s fast but there are some tearing issues like shown in the second picture. There are also ways to be efficient while the filler is drying completely. I used that time to grind the top of the quarter panel for filling and I added some more fiber hair filler to the rust pits at the top seam and the wheel house.

First coat

First coat

Second coat

Second coat

Third coat

Third coat

 

 

 

 

What has been done so far took about 3-3.5 hours of shop time. I think I only billed out 2.25 hours though. There are always breaks in the work as well as phone calls, other distractions, and of course there’s time out to take pictures. All this work was done yesterday and the shop should be warmed up to working temperature by now this morning. Thanks for reading. -Kevin

Done for the day

Done for the day

I've corrected the math error

I’ve corrected the math error

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Ready to fill and prime

This is the point I have been waiting to get to. It’s the point where I know that I will be done within a week. The job will be going back to the customer for painting and the final assembly and, will likely be on the road by fall.      022 044

What I have spent the last few days doing is patching the rust in the driver’s door and over the door on the passenger side as well as fitting the left rear fender and installing the support brace on the back side of it.

009 012 017The filling, sanding, and priming is really my favorite part of any job. I like the fabrication too but fabrication seems to have its own ordered pace whereas with filling and sanding, there is a lot more flexibility in terms of time and efficiency. There are different grits of sand paper to use for speed; ways to use drying time in one area to sand or fill in another; choices of how hard to let a fill product get before one starts sanding so as to achieve shape and [smooth] texture… all come together to create a final product where no one will ever know what is underneath the final paint work. It’s a hidden activity but one where, if it is not done well, everyone will know how bad of shape the body was originally in just by looking at the paint. And, no amount of painting skill can fix a wavey panel.

083 020 022My next post should show the body in various stages of being ground, filled, or sanded. As always, if anyone has any questions, I will be glad to answer them and, thanks for reading. -Kevin

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Be careful where you buy the rear fenders for a Ford Model A

The owner of the Model A coupe I’m working on only wanted me to only go as far as to put it in primer. His son owns a local body shop and is going to paint the car there. I certainly don’t want whoever does the reassembly to have any problems and I asked the owner to bring me the new rear fenders so I could make sure they’ll bolt up smoothly after all the paint work is done. No nicks in the new paint is always a good policy! 314

I first noticed a problem when I started fitting the fenders so I could align the rust patch panels. Some of the bolt slots in the fender were over half an inch off vertically and many were off horizontally as well. 311368After enlarging the bolt slots several times I finally got the fenders to fit but given that it’s fairly easy to see into the fender well once the car is finished, I needed to somehow patch any original misplaced slots that weren’t used as well as the extended holes that I created. 312My solution was to tack weld washers where the bolt studs are supposed to come through the fender and patch the openings I cut. Doing the work to make the fenders fit well, look decent inside, and test fitting them several times is like buying an insurance policy against scratching the paint work.

037034019

Here at Versatile Industries we build cars for people to drive and have fun with. We help do it yourself-ers build cars that look good and are functional. To that end, the washers that do show inside the wheel house/wheel well may not qualify for a ‘first-in-show’ ribbon but they will line up the fender for the final assembly easily and they will help hold the fender in place for a good long time. My next article will cover repairing the rust on the driver’s door and showing the left rear fender mounted. After that it’s nothing but filling, sanding, and priming. Thanks for reading -Kevin063060

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A quick article

So one of the neat things about setting up this blog site is that I get to see the search strings that lead people here. One of the strings that I’ve seen for two months now is a question about what the measurements of the deck lid on a Ford Model A are. The answer to that question is something I would like to know too.064

The 29 Coupe I’m working on has a rumble seat not a trunk but I’m assuming the lid is supposed to be the same size with either one. I seriously doubt each and every lid originally installed on any style (coupe, sedan, roadster, two door, four door) Model A is the the same size anyway. They certainly wouldn’t have been able to measure the jam gaps and find them all the same or roll a ball bearing along them evenly – if anyone remembers that old commercial. On the coupe I’ll bet I have over 15 hours adjusting and aligning the rumble seat lid. Of course all the braces, drip rails, and hinges were completely disconnected except when I would clamp them in place for a temporary check on the lid alignment. Rumble seat lids are notoriously difficult to align and I certainly got a lesson in how many different moveable parts there are.

During those 15 hours I measured the lid several times. I measured the front, back, sides, and diagonally. Not only was there really nothing symmetrical about it (within a half inch anyway), the side radiuses were not the same either. I also talked with a few older enthusiasts who said the lids never fit well from the factory. The best most owners could hope for was that the lid didn’t hit or rub when it was opened and shut. They simply didn’t have the technology to produce the exact same panel each and every time. Even in these modern times stamping dies wear down and shells (the structural reinforcement portion of the part) don’t always mate to skins (the outer panel on the part) in the way theory might suggest so I can’t really answer the question of what the lid measurements are. I’m not sure anyone could.086

Here is what I do know though. I know the measurements of the trunk opening on the coupe I’m working on: Across the front it measures 36 3/4 inches, across the back (bottom) is 35 3/4 inches, and both sides measure 31 inches from front to back along the radius atop the quarter panels.

I hope this info helps whomever searched “measurements of model a deck lid” and came across my little piece of the internet. I think it’s mostly important that the lid be functional and pleasing to look at. To any one who’s interested, I’m always happy to answer questions to the best of my experience and ability. Please don’t hesitate to ask at versatile-industries@live.com.

Thanks for reading, -Kevin Swango085

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Repairing the rust

First, you all get the standard speech on rust repair. It’s the speech I give when any of my regular customers wants me to repair the rust on their modern car. Here goes… YOU CAN’T STOP IT. Once it is visible, it’s like an iceberg. Ninety percent of it is unseen; under the surface – or in this case, on the inside of the panel. There are three elements required to cause rust to start: metal (the food), water, and oxygen. Once it has started though, only two elements are needed: metal and oxygen. A byproduct of the rusting process is water so with just the slightest access to air will cause rust to continue to grow. Unless the inside can be cleaned completely, and usually it can’t, the rust will always come back.003 (3)015 (3)014 (3)

With restoration work it’s possible to clean everything well and protect the metal inside with paint. The only thing left is replacing the rust hole with new metal. Cutting out the metal is more about finding solid metal to weld to than getting rid of the hole the rust caused. If there are pin holes then the metal is probably too thin. After a patch panel is sized and fitted, it’s important to make sure both pieces are as tight as possible so the heat from welding won’t melt either piece. Once the welding has begun, the heat can also warp the metal – make it wavy. The way to avoid that is to ‘tack weld’ first. The tack welds hold the metal in place and for the solid weld, it’s best to weld in roughly one inch sections keeping as far away from the previous hot area as possible with each new one.

024 (3)036 (2)039 (2)Grinding the welds is the last step. Not hard work but dirty and time consuming. Once ground, it is ready for filler. I’m going to save that for another day. What I did with the rest of today is listed in my log book which I’ve posted a picture of. It’s the way I know how much to bill my customers. Thanks for reading -Kevin048 (3)072 (3)071 (3)

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Preparing to fill the dents and weld seams – 1928 Model A Special Coupe

Now that the coupe is back from the stripper, there are 3 things that I want to accomplish before I start spreading the body filler in earnest.

body and cow-bare metal

body and cowl-bare metal

First I want to protect the metal by applying etch primer (also called e-coat or, if there is some thickness needed for small rough patches in the metal, I use an epoxy primer) to the entire body inside and out.

wooden body mount kit

wooden body mount kit

Secondly, I want to make sure the body is mounted to the frame properly. After all the wooded body mounts are in place, it is likely they will need to be shimmed in places to assure primarily that the doors are aligned so that they open and shut without dragging on the body. Of course the rumble seat lid (trunk or deck lid), cowl section, and rear fenders need to be aligned and bolted on completely to be confident that the final assembly goes smoothly after it is painted.

doors epoxy primed

doors epoxy primed

rust hole in cowl

rust hole in cowl

Finally, there are still three places where I need to weld patch panels to repair rust. The cowl panel has a large rust hole on the right side and both doors have a degree of rust along the bottom edge of the door skin.

left door rust

left door rust

I’m going to start with the cowl section because I need to patch the rust before I can install the cowl bracing (subrail extensions) then button down the body and fit the doors. My next post will show me installing the cowl patch panel. Thanks for reading. -Kevin

 

 

 

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Painting the Roadster

Well I finally reached the point on the ’29 Ford Roadster where I originally thought I would begin – Just sanding and slinging the spray gun. Of course there is an order to the process. I always think that the smaller the area painted, the less effort any mistakes will take to correct. The first thing I did was make sure the underneath of all the panels and the wheelhouses were covered with paint and protected. I did this with the urethane paint that went on the bottom and inside the body. 098The next step for me was painting the front door posts and sill plates (rocker panels) including the accent color along the body moulding. Afterward, the cowl panel and the gas tank were ready to be mounted. 150

The only thing left after that was painting the body and the only real hard part to that was taping off the accent color. 157When painting an accent color the biggest trick is having the patience to tape well and spray in thin even coats just until the the undercolor is covered. I did paint the doors and rumble seat lid at the same time as the body just to assure that the color matched once it was assembled. You might be surprised at the difference in color out of the same can of paint simply because of stir times or weather (drying times/humidity).165

161After the base-coat colors; three coats of clear coat to fill any edge left along where the two colors meet and… to give enough thickness to color-sand any dust out and buff for ’depth’ and shine. 179

Except for a short one showing the completed car, I don’t think I’ll post any more articles about this car. I painted the hood, fenders, and side panels within a month of receiving the job and many of those pictures are posted as featured photos on this site. If you have any questions don’t be afraid to email me. versatile-industries@live.com. Thanks for reading. :-)

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A Quick Update – 1928 Model A Coupe

It’s Thursday today and last Monday I picked up the coupe from the chemical dipper. Unfortunately they were unable to give the car body an acid bath they had to sandblast instead. There is still wood bracing that the owner would like undisturbed and the chemicals would make the wood the consistency of wet cardboard I was told by the owners of the stripping business – Redi Strip here in Indianapolis. The doors were dipped though, and at this writing I am waiting on them to finish stipping the cowl section.

176I have however, epoxy coated (e-coated) the underneath side of the body, mounted the frame to the rotisserie, and set the body on the frame. I’m excited to button the body to the frame and start aligning the doors and rumble seat but without the cowl braces welded in and that section 186attached, I’m afraid any alignment work would be a waste of time. In the mean-time I’m going to e-coat the doors inside and out and weld some patch panels in the bottom of them to repair some rust.

I’ll keep you all informed of the progress. Thanks for reading.  -Kevin

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