Sanding blocks, fairing boards and fillers in action

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OCAR-131000-FAIR-01

By ‘Rotten’ Rodney Bauman

In any given facet of the automotive trade, it pays to pay attention to technology. In my own protective bubble as an automotive painter, technological advancements have made their way through the chemistry we use, as well as how we use it, all the way into the most inanimate of tools, including the sanding block.

Many of us in the body and paint profession still make our own blocks for specific purposes, but the store-bought variety is far more versatile than what we had when I was getting started back in the ’70s.

 

Bad Dust

BAD Dust® Containment Systems

Reusable, modular containment bags designed to shield airborn dust and friable materials created by treating surfaces with media-blasting equipment or other mechanically operated hand held tools. www.baddust.com

APS

Auto Paint Specialists

Tower Paint™. APS/Tower Paint
The Original Custom
Color Spray Can Leader
2120 West Nordale Drive
Appleton, WI. 54914
1-800-529-0579

www.apstowerpaint.com

 

 

At the forefront of my “blocks ‘n’ boards” collection is an excellent example of what I’m talking about. The AFS (Adjust-Flex Sanders) brand of longboards are now available through The Eastwood Co., but my own are actually closer to prototypes, purchased directly from the inventor: a Minnesota auto restorer by the name of John Wheeler.

Years ago, when I ordered mine over a rotary telephone, I was impressed that the inventor of these tunable, flexible longboards valued his test pilots’ opinions. Mr. Wheeler actually encouraged me to call again with a full report so he’d know how they performed for me in the shop.

As you can see, they’ve been used and like my other ol’ friends on the table, they owe me nothing.

If you, too, are a sentimental sucker for old tools, you might appreciate this chock block. There was once a time when it was actually used as a sanding block. In fact, the painter’s helper that pushed this one around in the ’70s depended on it, so he carved out his name for identification purposes.

If you, too, are a sentimental sucker for old tools, you might appreciate this chock block. There was once a time when it was actually used as a sanding block. In fact, the painter’s helper that pushed this one around in the ’70s depended on it, so he carved out his name for identification purposes.

See the nails in there? We used to fold and tear a sheet of sandpaper into four equal size strips, then load the block with the stack of four so that each layer could be quickly peeled and discarded as necessary on the fly.

See the nails in there? We used to fold and tear a sheet of sandpaper into four equal size strips, then load the block with the stack of four so that each layer could be quickly peeled and discarded as necessary on the fly.

With all we’ve learned, this obsolete tool has obvious limitations. I wouldn’t even consider this block for sanding today, but we’ve worked together in one way or another for close to 40 years now, so it’ll always have a place in my heart, as well a place under some old tire in the shop.

With all we’ve learned, this obsolete tool has obvious limitations. I wouldn’t even consider this block for sanding today, but we’ve worked together in one way or another for close to 40 years now, so it’ll always have a place in my heart, as well a place under some old tire in the shop.

 

 

 

Bobs Speedometer

Gauge Repair & Restoration – Bob’s Speedometer has been repairing and restoring gauges since 1929 – For over 80 years. No other gauge shop in the world can make this claim. We service most brands and types of gauges – speedometers, tachometers, clocks, oil, fuel, amp, volt, pressure, and a host of others – for all American makes/models & years, and most foreign, no matter the vehicle – Automobiles, Boats, Buses, RV’s, Fire Trucks, Tractors, Motorcycles – Anything with a gauge!
Free estimates

www.bobsspeedometer.com

1-800-592-9673

 

So, here’s the various filler-shaping tools in action. Given the complexity of our project 1968 Dodge Charger’s hourglass profile, necessary filler work on the car’s sides could present a challenge. With body lines running at different angles, fading in and fading out, and the long peak that protrudes from the bottom of the three-dimensional door scallop all the way through the center of her calapidgeous quarter panels, this ol’ girl was intended by design to be anything but “straight.”

 

Just look at those body lines. If you’ve “been there, done that,” you likely have a horror story on tap. After a good going over with 80-grit on a dual-action sander, and further cleaning with grease and wax remover with sterile, disposable toweling, filler work can begin.

Just look at those body lines. If you’ve “been there, done that,” you likely have a horror story on tap. After a good going over with 80-grit on a dual-action sander, and further cleaning with grease and wax remover with sterile, disposable toweling, filler work can begin.

That said, let’s at least consider words like “fair” or “uniform” to better describe our goal as we go about getting there.

With our sheet metal repairs done, we’re about to take this ongoing project to the point where it’s ready for primer-surfacer. Before we proceed with the technical portion of the story, there is one more point we should expound: The filler work required for a job such as this is generally not easy.

 

 

Northwestern Auto Supply

Northwestern Auto Supply

An old time parts store since 1946 with 4 buildings full of old inventory of antique and classic parts for the quality minded owner who wants to avoid off shore products. Engine, chassis, ignition, and brake parts shipped world wide. Machine shop and babbiting also. 800-704-1078 www.northwesternautosupply.com

Sullivan’s Garage

From Model T, A to Early V8 Ford Reproduction parts, supplies, books and manuals. Stocking over 3000 parts, from nuts and bolts to grilles, gas tanks, running boards and more.
Daily worldwide shipping. Secure 24×7 online shopping at www.sullivansgarage.com.

Monthly specials, Model A shocks, speedometers many street rod items. 1-855 – 785- 5988.
1-855- SULLY -V8

 

However, we’re optimistic that the following demonstration of tools and materials will make the filler work and fairing phases of your own project go a little easier. With the exception of one section of used radiator hose, all the products we’ll see used here are readily available through the usual sources such as The Eastwood Co. and/or Summit Racing Equipment.

sand-1

 

sand-2

 

sand-5

sand-3

 

sand-4

 

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Fair enough? I’m thinking so, but she’s not quite ready for prime time. There’s a whole bunch of dust to be blown out before entering the booth, then a bunch of masking before three coats of primer-surfacer are applied. Once primed, parts of the procedure will be repeated, but that’s another story.

 

Resources

Adjustable Flexible Sanders (AFS)
John Wheeler
651-459-7167
adjustablesander.com

The Eastwood Company
800-343-9353
www.eastwood.com

Summit Racing Equipment
800-230-3030
www.summitracing.com

 

 

If you liked this article on exterior repair and sanding, you might be interested in our other restoration products:

More Resources For Car Collectors:

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