There have been lots of non-car-related things to do in the last couple of weeks, so not as much progress as I would have liked.
Last weekend I sprayed a coat of polyester filler (essentially liquid bondo) on the roof area, maybe a millimeter thick. This gave it a nice uniform surface for the final sanding. I was able to sand one side, and that side’s filler work is now 99% done.
Also last week, I used chemical stripper to strip most of the paint from the driver’s door. Doors are easy to strip- you just put the door on sawhorses, pour some stripper on, and smear it around. I got all the paint of the smooth, flat surfaces. I’ll use soda blasting to remove the rest.
The door has a dented-in area where the handle goes, and I started using my stud welder to pull it out.
Over the last several days, I stapled the chicken wire over the roof opening. I got it mostly attached with old-fashioned staples, the kind you hammer in, but the roof wood is very hard and many of the staples got bent over as I tried to hammer them in. Then I remembered that we had a small, cheap air nailer that also took staples. Its staples were pretty light-weight, and I thought that they would just get smashed flat. But it turned out that the stapler drove them in perfectly. So I pulled out most of the old-style staples and re-did the job with the air stapler, which was about ten times faster than using a hammer.
The wire mesh looks really good; it’s smoothly and evenly stretched across the roof. Once I get the roof area almost ready for its final paint I’ll put the padding and vinyl on. It’s best to install it before painting, because the vinyl gets attached with zillions of carpet tacks, and there’s a lot of hammering involved.
I also repaired the trim rail that goes across the body just under the windshield. It is attached to the body with a bunch of caged nuts that are spot-welded to it, and several of them got destroyed when I took it off the car two or three years ago. A few months ago I had removed the mangled remains of the old nets, and this week I got some replacment caged nuts and tack-welded them in place.
I did some more body filler, mostly little bits in places where an earlier application wasn’t quite right. The roof panels and some dinged areas around the rear quarter windows are almost there.
I also bought some good made-in-USA chicken wire for the foundation of the roof area.
I also bought a piece of fabric to serve as anti-squeak materiel between the roof ribs and the chicken wire. I cut it into long 1-inch-wide strips and glued a strip to the top of each roof rib.
Finally I bolted the roof ribs into place. I had fitted them, drilled the holes, and bought the hardware a while ago, so it took just a few minutes to install them.
Now it is no longer possible to stand up inside the car and work on the roof from inside. But after I install the chicken wire, I can mask the roof opening with plastic sheet for priming and painting, without having to worry about the cat trying to walk on the sheet and fall through it…
In the last couple of days I put some filler in those dings on the two back doors. Maybe I’ll get a chance to put on a coat of primer-surfacer, but it’s supposed to be rainy for the next several days.
I also fixed a loose window channel in one of the front doors. I had to stick my MIG welder gun deep into the door to weld it where the channel’s mounting bracket had cracked.
I really ought to get back to working on the roof and gutters, and get them completely finished and ready to be painted.