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View Full Version : Trying to get my Lark fender straight



tstclr
04-27-2006, 09:09 PM
Well, I am finally at the point where I applied the filler to cover up my butt welds on my 63 Lark drivers front fender. I put a layer of filler on and "cut" it with 80 grit. I found lots of low spots and added more filler. Sand, add filler, sand, add filler etc etc. I am having a heck of a time getting it straight. There are so many curves on these fenders making it quite hard to sand without leaving low spots. I am using a sanding block. I also have one of those long air powered sanders a friend loaned me but there really isnt enough "flat" metal to use it. Any tips from the experts? The hardest areas are where the "LARK" letters go and at the wheel arches (basically anywhere there are curves) What worked for you guys? I put a lot of effort welding in new steel and I dont want to blow it with bad bodywork!
Thanks
Todd

63 Lark 2dr Sedan

41 Frank
04-27-2006, 10:02 PM
Body supply stores sell these rubber sanding blocks if you can't find them there Eastwood sells them, they are contoured to fit the curve you are working with

41 Frank
04-27-2006, 10:03 PM
Body supply stores sell these rubber sanding blocks if you can't find them there Eastwood sells them, they are contoured to fit the curve you are working with

gordr
04-27-2006, 11:20 PM
Todd, one thing that might help is to go to an autobody supply shop and buy a "cheese grater" file, which is like a Stanley Surform tool, if you are acquainted with them. You want the 10" straight file, with a shallow convex curve ACROSS the blade, NOT a flat file.

Apply the filler, wait until it has "set" but not until it is "hard dry", and use the cheese grater to take down the high spots. Depending on the sort of surface you are filing, you can either file along the axis of the file blade, or move it laterally (draw-filing). The cutting action is exactly like grating cheese. It really takes the material down fast, which means you spend a lot less time sanding, and waste less sandpaper. It also removes the sticky surface layer that some fillers develop, which tends to clog sandpaper.

Another tool you want is a sanding board; a hand sander that takes the same strips as the air board, but is equipped with handles like a wood plane. It's also flexible, so you can sand a curved surface.

None of the above are very costly, by the way.

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

rockne10
04-27-2006, 11:21 PM
Also don't feel compelled to sand away too much. Any filler you sand down until you level it to adjacent steel, will show the steel as an obvious high spot. The trick is to make it perfect to the eye and perfect to the touch; not necessarilly perfect to the original.

You want a smoothly contoured surface, not putty filling the valleys between the steel.

52hawk
04-28-2006, 08:57 AM
Or a few different lengths of 1-1/2" pvc would be a quick 'homemade' sanding block for the areas you mention.Good luck,I just did my '60,those fenders are some of the tougher shapes I've ever worked on-especially that area at the front that you cut out.So I know just what you're talking about! Patience is the biggest trick here.

LaSalle,Il
61Hawk
60Lark

55s
04-28-2006, 09:21 AM
If you try to fill just holes with bodyfiller, it may be difficult - you may need a thin skin over the metal. I have found I usually take off too much filler before going to finer sandpaper.

Different colours of primer sometimes help identify low spots. i.e. spray on one colour, then another colour, and when you sand the top colour is taken off first and the low spot are identified by the first coat. (use thin, thin coats.)

Good luck.

Paul

tstclr
04-28-2006, 09:58 AM
Thanks for the info. I'm not filling any holes, merely the patch that I installed. I will try a guide coat as well. I talked to the bodyman at the dealership I work at and all he could offer was "patience". I have several different body dollies that I have been also using as sanding blocks. I could have our bodyman do the work but I am stubborn and "Studefrugal" :D

Todd


63 Lark 2dr Sedan

imported_n/a
04-28-2006, 10:14 PM
The concave(inward curved) shapes are the most difficult for me to get right. Smooth, straight lengths of radiator hose with self-adhesive 80 grit strips from a roll or board paper work well. Air tools can be a labor saver, but can remove material too rapidly. Like GORDR advised, get a hand board that uses long air board strips. Remember that the filler you've recently applied sands more readily, while earlier coats will be somewhat harder. This causes waves. That is why selectively filling in low spots can complicate matters. I prefer to use "coats" that overlaps and covers larger areas, even if it ends up mostly being sanded off. I recommend using very lightly-applied "guide coats" using black aerosol paint. This will help you identify low spots as you sand. Flat, unsupported metal panels can "sink"and end up way too low, just from the heat of the body filler curing, so go easy on the hardener and keep your coats thin. On a car you are trying to get really straight, a guidecoated sprayable styrene (epoxy) surfacer such as "Featherfill" or "Rust Defender" after body filler works well to iron things out after sanding it with a hand plank and 100-120 grit. Then primer-surfacer it.

52hawk
04-29-2006, 09:57 AM
If I can offer a summary here,-you won't get the bondo 'perfect'.
The finishing touch is a good 2-3 coats of epoxy primer,with a 'guide coat'.block sanded till you're happy. Don't be tempted to use a lacquer type primer,it will cost much less,but epoxy will last,and is actually more frugal because it goes so much further.
The body dollies you mention are not a good idea,they eliminate the 'feel' you need transmitted to your hand,plus they must be really tiring.
One trick I forgot to mention= a 'Studefrugal'sanding block,good for tight areas,Paint Sticks!! Hope we have all helped!!

LaSalle,Il
61Hawk
60Lark

tstclr
04-29-2006, 02:35 PM
Lots of great info here. So, basically I should cover the whole area with a layer of filler, and sand using the block only (and, say a ABS pipe as a block for the curved areas)until it feels smooth by hand, then cover with a good quality epoxy primer and finish sand. If I ever get to the point where the car is ready for paint, I was going to paint each panel separately (including the rear 1/4s since they are bolt on). I figure since I am planning on painting the car white I shouldn't have any problems with color matching. I was going to fabricate a small painting area using something like those clear plastic portable greenhouses-something just large enough to put each panel in and paint using a good HVLP gun.I figure this would keep dirt to a minimum. The only part of the car I'd have to paint outide of this "booth" would be the roof, cowl and rear deck area.
Unfortunately I am going to be without a garage for most of the summer. We are converting our current attached garage to living space for my elderly inlaws and building a detached garage (bigger than my current one ;)) Unfortunately getting the permits have been a nightmare since my property is apparently on a "fringe floodplane" based on a pond that used to be behind my property 100 years ago!:( So, in the meantime the Stude will have to sit outside under a cover. I need to get this fender filled and primed within the next week so that the rust monster will not return! Will epoxy primer absorb moisture?

Todd


63 Lark 2dr Sedan

52hawk
04-30-2006, 09:16 AM
Epoxy won't absorbe moisture.Usually when we paint a car,the last step before rolling it in the booth is a good wash job.lots of soap and water.Dry overnight,plenty of blow-gunning-then into the booth,solvent wash,let solvent dry for a half hour,tack rag,and paint . When you buy your primer,ask for a 'tech sheet'- detailed instructions for the use of the material.
Don't confuse the epoxy primer filler with the epoxy sealer-[the sealer is the last sprayed coat,directly under your shiny paint.[I use PPG dp50 under white.They have a white sealer also[dp48]but I don't like it,it just doesn't seem to apply like the rest of the family of dp sealers]


LaSalle,Il
61Hawk
60Lark