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The Start

 

February 22

I needed to remove the paint from the bonnet tops.  The tops are aluminum so I wanted to avoid any really aggressive measures. I chose to use paint remover. Several coats and some scraping and most of the paint was removed. Next on the agenda was the front fenders and number plate valance. I coated these in phosphoric acid to kill any remaining rust. Unlike the rear fenders I didn't wash the acid off I let it dry. After it was dry I applied the first coat of filler.

February 23

In the morning I began to sand the filler I didn't like the way it was sticking to the metal or more to the point not sticking. I think I should have sanded after the acid treatment. Well now I did sand the metal and all the filler off.  What a waste of time. Reapplied filler just before quitting time.

February 24

Sand and fill front fenders and number plate valance.  Much better adhesion this time.

February 25

More sanding and filling of the front fenders.  I am getting close, one more pass I hope.

February 22

Final coat of filler on the front fenders. I sanded the remaining paint from the bonnet tops. they need work. Prime by the end of the week?

March 1

Well I missed my deadline to complete the bodywork by the end of February. You knew I would. The bonnet tops received yet more sanding.  I discovered cracks in the aluminum around the rivets for the support brackets. I carefully ground out these cracks and welded them up. I hammered out some dents and straightened the edges with the help of a long iron bar.  The aluminum is much more malleable than the steel I have been working with. I used much less force to get the same result.

March 2

I found more cracks on the bonnet tops and had to drag out the tig welder again to fix them.  I skim coated the tops with filler.

March 3

Once more into the breach. More filler on bonnet tops. Sanded again and the bonnet is finished. Yeh!  I painted the inside of the front fenders with rust converting paint.  It will need another coat.  I will need to buy more paint.

March 4

I started working on the gas tank. The fuel sender was removed and I used a wire brush to clean the outside.  The tank has a large dent in the leading edge.  I tried several ways to remove it.  The way that worked best was to solder a brass bolt to the low point in the dent and pull on that.  I used a torch to heat the tank for soldering and of course I set the inside on fire. Yes the tank was empty.  I pondered how to put the fire out.  I had to ponder fast, not my strong suit.  I used the argon gas from the tig welder to put out the fire. By keeping the tank full of argon I was able to solder without any more drama. To clean the inside of the tank I used TSP and hot water. I put about 5 gallons in the tank and shook it all around  and poured it out.  Lots of debris came out. Refilled it with fresh cleaning solution and left it for the night.

March 5

More tank cleaning, dumped TSP out and refilled with lacquer thinner to try and dissolve some of the varnish. After a while I emptied the tank of the thinner and used the pressure washer to clean the inside.  You can't reach much because of the baffles but every little bit helps. Refilled with TSP and hot water.  Looking around for something to do I spotted the  lamps that sit on the fenders. I cleaned these off with a wire brush.  On some cars they are chrome plated but on the Riley they are painted brass. One had filler hiding a dent.  I pushed out the dent the best I could using the horn of an anvil.  I filled the remaining dent with lead.

March 8

I dumped the cleaning solution from the tank.  It is looking clear now as opposed to the dark brow when I started.  I put about 1/2 gallon of phosphoric acid in the tank and sloshed it all around.  I am calling the tank cleaning finished.

March 18

Well the big day has come.  Its prime time. I mixed up some epoxy primer and wiped down all the parts. I hung the bonnet parts and running boards on a long pole stretched between the garage and a ladder.  This was not the best of ideas.  It was windy and the parts had considerable sail area.  You can guess the rest. Nothing broken or dented but some scuffs and scrapes. Well its done. everything is in primer.  Its been a long hard slog and now its time to take a break from body work.  My next step is to lift the body off the frame. I see more sandblasting in my future.