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March 25th, 2007

Working on it

Minor update

I've been quieter than usual this past week because I took some time off work to get on with Fenchurch.

This past week I've:
  • Finished preparing the rear wings and bonnet for spraying.
  • Sprayed the bonnet, rear wings, passenger door, and radiator panel in Zinc primer. This was the first time I'd used a spray gun in anger, so it was a little daunting at first (they're much more complicated than a spray can). Once I'd got it set up correctly, it proved to be easier to spray with than a can because the spray pattern it produces is cleaner and more powerful. I found afterwards that it takes about half an hour to clean the gun properly (which you really have to do to avoid paint drying inside and wrecking it).
  • Cleaned up the two aluminium back door panels and the rear side panel I removed last week, and sprayed them with etch primer (horrible noxious-smelling stuff that the filter mask doesn't completely eliminate).
  • Applied eight coats of Danish oil to the back door frames. In hindsight I did this wrong - I thought it was drying between coats but it was actually only partially drying on the surface (despite leaving it for well over twice the drying time recommended on the tin), as I discovered when I placed them near a heater and liquid oil began "sweating" out of the grain. I've put them in the toilet server room (the warmest place in the office) and they're gradually drying out, though they're still a little tacky on the surface about three days after the last coat of oil. They do look nice - the oil makes the wood glossy but not overly so, and the slight staining gives it a kind of "distressed antique" look that I didn't intend but which I actually really like. I can't wait to see what the rest of the wood looks like after I've oiled it.
  • Wire-brushed, rust-killed, and zinc-primed as much of the engine bay as I could get to without taking the engine and everything out. Not a brilliant job but it'll do for the time being.
  • Sanded out all the rust spots on the main body shell, rear roof, rear gutters, and rear side panels.
  • Filled a couple of dents on the roof, as well as the weld repair I did on the bottom of the driver's side B post.
  • Masked off everything I don't want to spray on the body shell, including the engine bay, the front windscreen, the door and rear window openings, and all the wood. My dad came over and gave me a hand with this because it's a fairly big job that two people can work on at the same time.
  • Mopped the floor twice. So much dirt came out of the mop bucket that I blocked the sink up. It's still not terribly clean, but it doesn't seem as dusty as it was.
  • Sprayed zinc primer on all of the exposed steel on the body shell and sprayed etch primer on all of the aluminium panels. Unfortunately the fumes from the etch primer meant I had to open the main garage door to get some extra ventilation in, and I didn't realise until after I'd done it that part of the garage door mechanism is a big dirty revolving shaft that runs right over Fenchurch's freshly sprayed roof...

I've made a fair bit of progress this week, and the end is definitely in sight now, but I'm really not sure whether or not I can get her finished in time to drive to Eastercon. I probably can if I can manage to get another day off work next week, and nothing major goes wrong, but knowing my luck something almost certainly will go wrong, especially if I'm rushing to meet a deadline. I'm tempted to say "sod it" and book a train, but I've heard there's going to be major disruption on the train network around Birmingham at Easter. I wonder if I could catch a coach or something from Manchester. Alternatively Chester is actually near enough (about 90 minutes drive away) that I might be able to persuade my dad to give me a lift there and back, though the fact that I was planning to stay Monday night might cause a problem. I think I'm going to hold off making any fixed arrangements just yet - I may yet get Fenchurch back on the road in time.

ETA: I've just figured out that if I travel to Manchester (probably on the bus), I can get the Llandudno train from Manchester Oxford Road which goes straight to Chester - no changes, and it doesn't go anywhere near Birmingham.