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Working on it

Progress, or lack of it

I know I've been quieter than usual over the past week or so - I've been working until late every night on Fenchurch and haven't had much else of interest to write about. Nearly every job I've done in the past couple of weeks has been more difficult than expected. The small hole at the bottom of the driver's side B post turned into a much bigger hole when I poked it with a screwdriver, necessitating three fancy patches to repair it properly, and I've just spent the past couple of days trying to strip the old varnish off her woodwork without much success (I'm going to try shaving it off with a sharp scraper today).

Two weeks ago I worked out a rough plan for getting Fenchurch back on the road in time to drive her to Redemption at the end of the month. I'm already about a week behind (ie. everything is taking twice as long). I might still make it if nothing else goes wrong and I cut a few corners, but the former is unlikely and I don't want to do the latter. Time to start figuring out alternative travel arrangements...

In lieu of a full list of the jobs I've done recently, I'll point you back at the TODO list, where I've been crossing out things as I finish them.

Update 1: I successfully shaved off the last of the varnish using a specially sharpened woodworking chisel.
Update 2: Train to Redemption booked.


I had little luck when trying to strip and revarnish the banisters in our previous house (at least three layers of varnish with three or four layers of emulsion on top), and found that sanding just wasn't removing the varnish residue. The only thing that got the wood clean enough for revarnishing was paint stripper (Nitromors-alike - something with dichloromethane as the key solvent), scraping and rubbing down with steel wool.

Are you stripping the wood in situ, or have you removed it from the bodywork?
In situ - dismantling the woodwork on a Traveller is a major job because it's structural.

I tried sanding first and that got the loose flaky stuff off, then I started using Colron Furniture Stripper on it. After a lot of work that got most of the rest off, but there are a few patches left that it won't lift. I don't know what the active ingredient is, but it smells similar to Nitromors and I've used it successfully in the past on other varnishes. It actually did a far better job of stripping the paint where I went over the edge onto the metalwork (good job I'm going to respray it ;).

Annoyingly it's actually quite hard to tell when you've got all the varnish off because the hardwood underneath it is very smooth and light-coloured, unlike the areas where the varnish had already flaked off before I got the car. I'm fairly sure there are still patches of varnish on there because the varnished areas react differently to the bleach I'm using on it.

Overall the woodwork looks massively better this morning than it did a few days ago. The bleach has already made a big difference even though it's probably going to take a few more applications to get the most stubborn stains out.
Well, I couldn't strip mine without chemicals- I think I used Nitromors as well. Mind you, some charlie had painted the replacement frame with brown gloss paint...
the stuff is structural, but only as far as live loads. they stand without assistance stripped, only you can't move 'em. Well, I hope. i've seen it done. Ten to one mine folds up when I take the back off.
Oh, and B-posts... The amount of chicken wire and filler I dug out of mine. Mind you, no other rust anywhere, which seems odd...
Brown paint? Ugh.

I think the worst rot on Fenchurch was the bottom of the driver's door and the rear of the driver's side inner wing, but there was certainly a lot more than I was able to find before I bought her. Often the rot only becomes apparent when you attack the metal with a rotary wire brush and it turns into a sieve. You might find it hard to believe but haven't found any body filler or other bodges on Fenchurch, and the only welding she'd had before I got her was a replacement chassis leg.