Sunday, 3 June 2012

This weekend I have been mostly lead loading

In fact its not just the weekend, I started at 2pm Friday, and apart for breaks for food and sleep I have been working on the bonnet, adding lead and then taking it away with a large body file.

Its been monotonous hard work. Lead is soft right, so it files away easily, well yes it does, but not when it covers most of a 2000 bonnet, and when its a lead / tin alloy. I wish now I had fixed the rusty old dented original bonnet, rather than cutting the old bulge off it, and transplanting it to a new bonnet. It seemed like a good idea at the time, well it wasn't.

Because of the surface area of the bulge, when you add lead it distorts with the heat, so then you have to hammer it back into shape from underneath with the new lead applied, then add more lead and repeat the process. That's noisy and hard work, as the now cold lead resists the hammer blows. It doesn't come off either during the reshaping of the panel, so you can see why its liked for car body repairs

Eventually you get to the point where you need to remove lead - easy you think, well a little lead removal would be, but it clogs the file, so you need to clean that with a wire brush, and so it goes on. Remembering that you need to shape the lead so its flat and even over a VERY large area.

Now I had started doing the bonnet several years ago, but kept giving up because of these issues, so god knows how long this part has taken in total, but the MOT is booked in a week or so, so there was no giving up.

Anyway by 5pm today I had ended up with this

Its not 100% perfect, but its symmetrical and as flat as I can get it. there are a very very small spots on some edges, and a couple of small hollows in the lead that require a smear of filler but otherwise it seems pretty good, although I hope it doesn't look like a dog's breakfast when painted. So tomorrow I am going to skim it with filler and then block it back.

To give you an idea of how much filing there has been to remove the extra lead, I kept the filings in a box - that is the bits that didn't fall on the garage floor - its funny I don't remember putting that much lead on in the first place.

I can finish the seat belts now, as the binnacle for the Britax units has arrived - I know the car should have stalks, but the Britax belts will fit, they are period, and its far far better than the aftermarket ones now available.

Next week I hope to paint the bonnet, carry out a few last checks and take it for an MOT. The speedo cable hasn't arrived yet from the other company so that needs a chase too.

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