April 2003 – Bonnet, part 2

Bonnet lower section

I took a closer look at the bonnet’s lower section, which makes up the lower half of the “mouth.” This section is the attachment point for the whole bonnet as well as the section where the electrical system connects to the bonnet. The hinge attachments had some stress damage and rust that needed attention, and we needed to repair the entire set of tabs that connect the lower section to the two wing sections and the upper center section. Also the mouth section itself had received the same treatment as the upper half — welded tabs, curled, and smeared with Bondo. Lots of Bondo. It seems I grossly overestimate the amount of such work that we can accomplish in a full weekend, since I was thinking these repairs would be a day or so. And then we’d go forth and assemble the bonnet in its rough form just to take a look. But it took the whole weekend to get the metalwork done on the lower section.

The mouth repair took most of Saturday, and Sunday was mainly getting the rest in shape. I want to do a few more strengthening fixes and get the final details on the tabs done before we move back to the rest of the bonnet, but these items should take about a day. Who knows, I might do some work in the evenings this week just to get the lower section ready. The remainder of the metalwork on the bonnet is tab repair and work on the center section, especially the upper mouth area. Since that mouth work is putzy, I’m thinking it will probably take an entire weekend to do, maybe more. I figure that the metalwork on the bonnet alone will take about 60 hours of work, all told. Then we’ll have to do the detail finishing up with a smattering of Bondo over the remaining ripples.

That’s Aaron doing the welding on the tabs in the picture, by the way.

Once again, as I was finishing up the lower mouth metalwork, I was thinking about trying out lead loading. I thought better of it, though. I can do pretty fine work with Bondo, and I think learning a new medium is something I don’t want to attempt on the most visible section of this car.