Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Return of BUG - Sanding, and a POR-Party

 Spring is springing like mad, and I have Bug to contend with, like an old elephant with a skin condition.
There are periods into the depth of a project when life turns into a series of mind numbing repetitive motions, like sanding, for example.  For days palm sanding is abuzz, dusting the air with a confection of old yellow paint.  It is nasty work, and it's a good thing the garage door is open.
Bug progresses, becoming less anemic with each pass of the sandpaper.
Ready for POR-15
After a few hours, the front end is done, ready for rustproofing, and eventually finishing bodywork.
What next?  Sanding fenders.  Using a palm sander is so much faster than doing it by hand, and gives great results.  Back in the old days, I did everything by hand, working in the alleyway.  What a way to work...
1996, something like that.  Some things never change.
A fender in the same predicament

After a tiring and dusty day, it is time to call it quits.  But, I am happy to see (yes, happy) that my can of POR-15 rustproofing has arrived.  

POR Party
Yes, it is quite a party when the POR-15 comes out.  Imagine a fumy drunken dance with a thin, tarlike substance, seeping into every crack and pore.  It is always a party, a sloppy horrible mess of one, but the stuff sure gets the job done.  It has saved more than it's share of Volkswagens, including my own.
It is nasty and somewhat expensive but it really does last a very long time, even exposed to the elements.
The key to POR-15 is proper application.  The surface must be rusty or very rough.  There mustn't be any loose material or dusty stuff.  For the chemical bond to take place, there must be some rust involved.
When used with fiberglass mat, POR-15 bonds with the matting and creates a solid rustproof surface that bonds with the surrounding steel.  I have saved quite a few rusted out battery trays using this method, it is quite permanent.
 Cut the mat to shape with scissors, and the POR-15 will "glue" it in place.
A few thin layers of matting cut to shape can be added during the POR Party for a stronger surface.
POR-15 does have its drawbacks.  It is pretty hard to get off, so make damn sure you want it where you paint it.  It does not like to be painted over once it's dry - imagine trying to get paint to stick to your bathroom ceramic sink.  The finished coating is very hard and smooth and extremely durable, resisting even rock chips, but paint will flake off.  It is very well suited for these undercover areas of your car.
It is advised to use 2 coats of POR-15, applied when the first is tacky.
 Rust no more, forever

No more rust, no more holes
There is a clever workaround for topcoating paint over POR-15.  However, the paint must be GLOSS; flat primers will cause alligator skin crackling of the paint.
Here's the trick: when the final coat of POR is just slightly tacky to the touch, apply your favorite color of rattlecan spray paint directly onto the POR-15 surface.  It will bond forever ("forever") with your paint.

If you plan to primer over POR-15 for later painting, here is what you do:
Wait for the POR to dry slightly tacky.  Spray your primer as a fine dusting over the surface.  You do not want the paint to go on thick or it will crackle.  When the dusting and POR are dry and fused with each other, you can then primer completely.
  After the POR-Party and subsequent primer dusting
Maybe it was the fumes, or madness, or senility, but after all that hard work, Bug turned into a Christine-like alligator car and tried to bite my head off.  Well thanks a lot, but she couldn't do a damn thing on jack stands so I just stood and laughed.
 The END?!?!?!??!
No, I still have a ton of work to do.  But I need a couple days off to sit in the rain in the woods, thank God for the Cascades or I really would go nuts.

"Gone Fishin' Be Back Monday"

Maybe Elves will finish Bug for me when I'm gone.

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