About 7 years ago, my father asked me to help him with the restoration, but at the time I was really backed up at the shop and didn’t have the time for another restoration. The idea was to fully restore the truck and show it to my grandfather, but since he passed away 2 years ago and with my father’s birthday around the corner, I thought that it was finally time to get this old truck back on the road. My father had recently rebuilt the engine himself and had a friend of his begin restoring the body of the truck.
After getting the truck to my shop, I began breaking it down on December 1st. Now, around the first week of January, it should be ready to present to my father.
We began by breaking down the whole truck and having it all sent to be walnut blasted. In many cases sand is being replaced with ground or crushed walnut shells. It’s a soft abrasive that’s less damaging to surfaces and safer to handle if any of it is inhaled. After the blasting, I mocked up the cab of the truck with the doors and panels. I could see that the rocker panels where replaced, but didn’t quite align correctly. So after cutting them out and realigning everything with my alignment tool kit, everything should come back together nicely when we’re all finished. Before welding the new rocker panels in, I used a 36 grit disc and grinder to prep the surface to tack the new panels in place. Afterwards, I completed a nice even weld around the new panel. Both lower rear corners of the cab and part of the door jams where also ground, cut out, and had new panels welded in their place. Besides some welding to the cab, it was actually not in bad shape for a 50 year old truck. However, the roof, dash, and hood of the truck was littered with decades of compression dings and dents. So, I went to work with my hammer and dolly from Martin Tools.
There are typically two ways to fix a dent. You can either raise the dent from behind to match the surrounding surface or you can pull the dent from the front to match the surrounding surface. The first method requires two things, access to the rear of the dent and a hammer and dolly. The second method requires you to use a pin and slide hammer. This truck was pretty bare so I was able to reach every dent and use the hammer and dolly. Every metal shaping kit comes with an assortment of dollies. You need to select the one with the correct contour for your panel and place it behind the dent. Hold against the surface firmly so it does not bounce around when you hammer it. If you raise the dent to far, just place the dolly on the other side and continue the process. No matter how good you are, it’s not going to be perfectly smooth like it was when it was stamped in the factory. Some amount of filler is going to be needed before painting, so all any of us can do is get it as smooth as possible so we use the least amount of filler as possible.
After all the metal work was finished and the welds ground flush with the panels, we used a little filler on the cab to sand and smooth out. We started with a block and 36 grit sandpaper, then 80 grit. I then sprayed the cab with some PCL Poly-Primer and wet sanded everything 150 grit dry sandpaper and then with 400 grit wet sandpaper. The bed and front fenders where replaced with new ones, so there prepped and painted as usual. Like a lot of old trucks, ours came with oak wood flooring for the bottom of the bed. Here’s where I should mention that most of the parts that I purchased for this truck where purchased from the Truck and Car Shop in Orange, Ca. They made the whole project go smoothly and I would recommend checking them out for yourself. I purchased a bed kit from these guys and sealed the wood planks with varnish before installing them into the bed. I also painted the wheels and purchased new tires.
Now for the painting. I painted the chassis with DP90 Black and Wurth’s Satin Black, which is specifically designed to match that factory blacked out steel look. The cab itself is two-tone orange and white, with the exception of the top of the dash, mirrors, and other miscellaneous parts, which I painted black. The entire truck was sealed with DP48 White. I then sprayed the cab with PPG’s 6260 Olympic White. This was the brightest white that I could find. After that had dried, I masked over the area’s that where to remain white in the two-tone paint scheme to protect them from the orange that I was about to spray. Such as the roof, grill, bumper, and rear window section of the cab and the top of the dash, which was painted black. With these areas masked, I next gave the whole truck three healthy coats of PPG DBU 2915 Bright Orange and PPG DBU 9700 Black unmasked the previous sections the two-tone paint job. Afterwards, I gave every painted part of the truck three good coats of clear and the truck was now ready for polishing. If you notice, I planned out the order in which to spray the colors very carefully. First the DP90 Black for sealer, DP48 White for sealer on the body, PPG 6260 Olympic White, and then finally PPG DBU 2915 Bright Orange. This order allowed for the least amount of masking which in turn allows for the fastest turn around time and lowest edge build up between colors.
Polishing begins with color sanding. Start with a clean bucket, clean water, and a clean block, so there won’t be any dirt particles in between the sand paper and the finish to gouge the paint and cost more work, time, and money. Start with a good block and some 800 grit wet sand paper to smooth out any imperfections and flatten out any orange peel. Depending on the quality of the clear you are using and even if you’re very proficient with a spray gun, there’s always going to be some amount of orange peel to flatten out. From here, use the 1000 grit to remove the 800 grit scratches. Then use 1200 grit to remove the 1000 grit scratches. Finally, use 1500 as a final step to remove the 1200 grit scratches. Stay away from the edges. Always remember that the paint is thinnest at the edges. Most guys will use some 3M vinyl tape to protect the edges while sanding.
Next, grab a buffer, some 3M Heavy Rubbing Compound and a #1 wool pad to start buffing the finish back to a shine. Next, buff with a 3M Finesse-It Finishing Material. Then switch to a foam pad or a waffle pad and buff the finish with a quality glaze. Finally, with a micro fiber cloth, apply some hand glaze, wax, and polish for a pristine finish. I’ve gone over the color sanding and buffing procedure before, but reviewing your steps and procedures is always a good idea.
Other than putting this truck back together, I’m pretty much done. I will align everything together on the chassis, which should not be a problem with my alignment tool kit. Please check out my website for more information on this or any of my other products. This truck will be returned to my father and he will complete the last cosmetic steps to it, like the headlights, taillights, etc.
Also, please check out the Truck and Car Shop website at truckandcarshop.com, wurthusa.com, martinsprocket.com for there auto body industry products. Until next month, have fun and good luck in your custom car and truck projects.