Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Return of BUG - Dust in the Wind

It has been a busy, productive, dusty, toxic few days.
Unfortunately, this is no time nor place for photography.  There is thick dust in the air, and my gloved hands are coated with globs of Bondo.  With so much work to be done, and dusty yellow fingerprints, I gave up taking photos to dive into the task at hand, MINDLESS as it is...
 Various deadly dusts
Slowly, oh-so-slowly, Bug is regaining her contours.  It is Bondo time.
Ready for an eternity of sandpaper
Bondo, like most automotive chemicals, is toxic as hell, with fumes that would melt a mule's sensibility.  Properly used and applied, it will last years, despite the ton of work required getting the stuff to resemble the curves of your car.  This is one of the downfalls of auto restoration: the toxic soup of very useful chemicals that one must endure and attempt to filter from lungs and skin with respirators and gloves.
Bondo hardens via a chemical reaction.  Mix the proper amount of hardener, and you have about 10 minutes to work before it solidifies from a sticky goop.  Working quickly with plastic spatulas, one must aggressively smear the stuff onto properly prepared metal, trying like hell to keep to the contours as close as possible.  Once hardened, it is a lot of work to remove material, but remove material you will certainly do, slowly, maddeningly slowly - first with files, then with sandpaper.  A palm sander will help, but can also remove the Bondo too quickly.  It is also important to not apply the Bondo too thickly.  Subsequent hardened layers of about 1/2 inch are best.  It is quite common to have to add more layers after sanding down high spots.  
Be prepared for countless hours of sanding, sanding, sannnnnnddding until your hands vibrate.  As you sand, feel the shape of the area with your fingers, they will tell you where the high spots are.  Really, this is something you just need to practice and experience for yourself.  But don't forget that respirator!  The fumes are very intense, and you sure don't want to be breathing that nasty dust.
 Finally!  Ready for primer.  Beetle curves are a challenge to replicate but it can be done.  

Peaceful Repose
Fixed that hood too.

Another fender all ready to bolt on.
The yin-yang of Volkwagen.  I wonder how it feels having your appendages stacked sideways?

And finally, it is primer time.

A little closer to 1972.  You can almost smell the Agnew...
Holes no more.
 One more fender done!  3/4 there.

A lovely portrait of the antenna opening thru the body.  There was rust lurking, good thing I checked.
Sanding Bug's top is easy going.  There is little damage and the paint is old and chalky.  I can't help feel like I'm grooming an elephant, geez what a mess.
1/2 way there (and will soon be done!)
Bug's face is pretty much done, what a relief to have that behind me.
 Painting the front wheels
And dealing with that tookus

It is a great feeling making progress!  Next, to get the wheels back on the front, and tackle that old yellow ass.  I hope you have been saying your prayers to Nordhoff for me, those rear fenders will surely come off like butter ("buttah").
Well?  HAVE you?????

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