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The Start

 

Day 61

Today I test fit the new left sill.  It fits like a glove. The vent panel had some small holes and rusty areas. I patched these and sandblasted again. There is a lot of lead on this panel around the door shut area. It's 1/4 inch thick in some areas. It will be necessary to lead both the left and right vent panels to cover the nail holes and achieve the correct profile. I don't know how to lead, so another skill to pick up. I ended the day by slapping a coat of paint on the vent panel inside face and the firewall support bracket.

 

Day 62

In the morning I put a second coat of paint on the vent panel and the firewall support bracket. Then I welded the bracket to the center post and installed the sill with 1/4 inch shims.  When I tried to close the rear door it wouldn't fit, to close to the upper door shut. I reduced the center post shim to 1/8 inch and the door fit better. Next on the agenda was the windshield wood post. At first I thought I could repair it by letting in in a new section of wood, But after probing the upper half with a screwdriver I decided it would all have to be replaced.  What a pain!  Lots of small screws and nails held the post in place. I also suffered from not knowing the order in which the parts were assembled. In the end I won the wrestling match and the post came out almost intact. I used bondo to recreate the missing parts and establish the correct contour.  This way I will have a good pattern to work from. Next I glued up some ash to make a blank to form the part from. The post is a complex shape with a rolling bevel and many small mortises.  It must be accurate because it determines the shape of the front door and windshield openings. I hope I get it right.

 

Day 63

 

I spent all day on the windshield post. It's a very intricate part and was hard to make properly. I'm glad I had a good pattern to work from. I made a good 5 lbs of saw dust and used practically every wood working tool I own. Tomorrow I will see if it fits. I hope things will move along more quickly once the post is installed. I think its time to remove the headliner and reveal the ugly that is hiding there.  The rear window opening needs work. I just hope the whole roof framing doesn't need replacement.

 

Day 64

I test fit the windshield post and it needed some adjustments to make it fit.  Not a surprise.  I fit and removed it about 10 times to sand a little wood off here and there.  Now I'm happy with the way it fits. Next I removed the headliner to get a better look at the rest of the roof wood.  I was careful to save the headliner for a pattern.  The windshield header wood did not look good.  It was cracked an crumbly. To remove it I had to remove some metal pieces that fit between the header and the first wood cross support. Then I removed the 3 separate parts that make up the header and saved them for patterns. The other noticeable problems with the roof frame are around the back window and and the curved plywood parts that form the rear curve of the roof.  In fact all the plywood used in the car is delaminating and must be replaced. I need more ash and some plywood so a trip to the lumber yard in Enfield is next on the agenda.  As I was pulling more rotten wood from the car all I could do was laugh.  My simple fix up has turned into an epic battle with rot.  Strangely enough I'm having fun.

 

 

 

Day 65

No Riley work.

Day 66

Picked up  wood for the new windshield header.  I got more than I needed. (famous last words)

Day 67

The windshield header is composed of three parts. I worked on the left and right parts today.  Using the old parts as a pattern I transferred the outline to the new ash.  The   scroll saw was used to cut them out.  Followed by the router to cut a rabbit and assorted chisels and rasps to form the rest of the features.  The reason the header deteriorated in the first place was water was able to enter through the holes made by the nails holding the top fabric and the gutter on. I will need to replace the fabric ( it's brittle and ripped) and the gutter. The gutter is a special aluminum extrusion that is nailed on over the fabric. I don't know if I can reuse mine or if I will need a new one. In any case I will use stainless steel nails and polyurethane sealant to try an keep the water out.

 

 

 

Day 68

Slow going today with lots of interruptions.  What are people thinking? I did manage to make the center part for the header. Tomorrow  I will shovel the snow drifts away from the garage and test fit the new parts. 

 

Day 69

I started by fitting the left and right wind shield header.  Some trimming and sanding was necessary to get them to follow the contour of the window opening.  Once I was satisfied with the fit I decided to remove the rest of the roof fabric. It is nailed to the wooden frame through small holes in the sheet metal.  An aluminum gutter is then nailed over the fabric to cover the tacks.  It was all to easy to remove everything.  Not a good sign.  A close examination reviled  the wood was split and damaged. The roof which is constructed of perforated metal is also fastened to this wood. Screws and nails hold it to the wood frame.  The heads of the screws appeared normal but all the threads had rusted away and the screws could be simply pulled out.  Once the screws and nails were removed I drilled out some rivets that fasten the roof to an internal metal brace. Six were copper rivets two were steel. Why?  Everything was now free and I lifted the roof away.  I'm sure any one who has worked on a Riley RM knows what's coming next.  It was a surprise to me however. The wood above the doors is totally split rotten and unusable. The rest of the roof framing especially around the rear window is just as bad.  What A let down.  Nothing I can do but push on. I removed the wood from the right side above the doors and used it as a pattern to make a new part.  Remember all the extra wood I bought?  Ha it's not extra any more.  I trial fit the new part and made some adjustments. Now it was time to get dirty, I used a wire brush on my drill to clean the areas where new wood was to be installed.  Windshield post, wind shield header and over the right doors. Next I sprayed on a rust converter to eliminate any remaining rust. The last step was to paint the areas. Tomorrow I hope to install the new wood. Then it's on to the left side and rear.

Day 70

Today I installed the wood.  I started with the left windshield post and progressed across across the car to the right.  In the spots the wood parts touch each other I bonded them together with epoxy. Where the wood touched metal I used polyurethane sealant.  I hope the sealant will stop squeaks and make the whole structure stronger.  Once the wood was installed and clamped into place I moved to the rear and removed the wood C post around the trafficators (turn signal arms that pop out from the side of the car). luckily it was nod badly damaged so I filled the holes with thickened epoxy. I removed some parts of the wood rail that forms the perimeter of the roof frame and the curved plywood part that connects the C post to the rear window frame.  I brought the parts to the basement and ended the day by making two new curved parts and two new plywood supports for the interior lights.  Much more wood work to go!