Wednesday 25 August 2021

Twist of Lemon

I’ve been experimenting with a fabled rust remover rumored for generations to yield miraculous clensing powers …lemon juice! I wanted to clean up my VIN plate in the most gentle way possible and restore the shine of the original metal. I carefully removed my VIN plate (yes, I know it is kind of a grey area when it comes to legality) by gently grinding down the rear of the rivets using the Dremel. I then used a small punch to tap the rivets out using barely any force. I then began juicing my bag of lemons:

I used a fine sieve to remove the piff (not sure this step was necessary, but I was on a roll) and poured into a suitably sized container:

I left my VIN plate submerged for about 48 hours and then wiped away the crud using a toothbrush. I was happy with the initial results:

To finish off I vigorously polished with some Autosol followed by Silvo:

It is a shame that the following photo cannot accurately convey just how shiny this thing turned out. Believe me, it is like a mirror now:

Wednesday 18 August 2021

Finish is better than perfect

Got the blasted chassis parts into paint this week:

Wasn't sure if my old half used tins of Mastic 121 would still be usable; haven't touched the paint in almost 5 years. I asked Rustbuster (the manufacturer) and they could only guarantee it would remain good for one year. Although exterior of the tins were scabby, the paint components were still looking alright on the inside upon vigorous stirring. 

Top tip: this miraculous preservation could be down to the fact that I covered the remaining paint with cling film when it was last used. Literally laid it directly on the paint surface inside the tin to create a barrier between the paint and air.

I was a bit frustrated at first as the paint mix and gun settings were off and as a result too much paint was being let through and affecting the finish. Also, although it had been thinned to the recommended 20% the paint was quite 'splattery' on application. It was a passable finish, but not as good as I hoped. I let it cure for a couple of days and then applied a second coat, this time I thinned the paint down to somewhere in the region of 25 - 30% and that really helped with the flow. Also, I took my time dialling in the gun settings that gave me pretty decent control and reduced the amount of paint flowing out of the gun. 

For the most part the second and third coats helped to reduce the sins of the haphazard base coat and left a result that I was satisfied with. It goes to show that a few small adjustments can yield far better results.    

Wednesday 11 August 2021

Assortment of chassis parts blasted

I have been taking an inventory this week, sorting through boxes of jumbled parts and separating out the chassis related items. I do wish I had a better system of cataloguing and storing parts back in the day when I was dismantling the car, but evidently I lacked the foresight. Anyway, I am now attempting to understand what is original and worthy of restoring vs what is aftermarket and could do with replacing. Revising my task and shopping lists alike, so that I can get a better command of this project. 

Whilst I was at it I also ran a few chassis parts through the blast cabinet. Admittedly some of these parts had been blasted before, but like an utter plum I left them unpainted in a box only for them to inevitably rust over again (Sometimes I want to reach back through time and give my old self a slap!). So, drum brake backing plates, gearbox cradle, Pitman arm, steering box coupler and a bracket are now looking fresh;

I have undoubtedly made this comment before, but I do find it satisfying when through the act of blasting a small factory stamp detail emerges from the grime:

Now to give these items a few coats of black Mastic 121 so they don't rust over yet again...

Wednesday 4 August 2021

Quickie: Rock tumblin'

I've been thinking about getting a vibratory tumbler for some time, but i've not been able to convince myself that I really needed to purchase yet another tool that would be seldom used. However, they are clearly a great way of cleaning up small parts and can be left to do their thing whilst focusing on other tasks. I attempted to make a rudimentary one myself following some plans I found online. It was not successful as it was too underpowered and so lacked the vibratory action require to gently abrade parts. I shelved the idea and thought no more about it. 

Months later I happened to stumble accross an entry level rock tumbler in a charity shop for a mere £5! At that price it was worth a punt so I snapped it up:

Figured it would do more or less the same job as a vibratory tumbler. For something that is essentially a toy it works pretty well and because it is quiet it can be left to run overnight. Here are some before and after shots of rusty VW fastenings and knick-knacks:

For the media I opted to use blasting grit for the initial pass. This was after around 3 days in the tumbler:

I then followed up by switching to crushed walnut shells for finer cleaning:

Encouraging results for such little cost: