You can email your questions to Professor Hammer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to Professor Hammer, c/o CLASSIC TRUCKS Magazine, 1733 Alton Pkwy., Irvine, CA 92606. You’ll receive a personal reply! We’ll print your name and city unless you request otherwise. Ron Covell has made many DVDs on metalworking processes, and he offers an ongoing series of workshops across the nation covering all aspects of metalworking. Check them out online at www.covell.biz, or call for a current schedule of workshops and their free catalog of DVDs. Phone 800-747-4631, or 831-768-0705. You can send a request by mail to: Covell Creative Metalworking, 106 Airport Blvd. #105, Freedom, CA 95019.
Q. I don’t know if you remember me, but we exchanged several emails years ago about MIG welding.
Here’s Ron metal-finishing an early Ford fender. Read the column to see how plastic filler
I finally got my project back on the road after 20 years of hibernation – I originally bought it in 1966. I hadn’t ever welded before, so the advice you sent me was quite helpful, and I employed my small MIG welder to do all the work in replacing the floor panels, sills, and many other body panels. I fabricated new body mounts, emergency brake brackets, and I even welded the window crank pieces that I’d had to cut out because they were so badly damaged. It was a rusted pile of junk when I started, but it’s pretty solid now. It’s not all top-shelf work, since I used plastic filler in a number of places, but for a guy with limited experience I think it has turned out very well!
I used a Fatman front stub with rack-and-pinion steering, disc brakes and stainless A-arms, and a 350/350 combo with a Currie rear and Posie’s springs. Everything underneath is new except for the transmission, which hasn’t been gone through yet. A local shop did all chassis work and wiring, and another local shop built the engine. Classic gauges and a Flaming River steering column are about the only interior items of note as of now. The seats are from a ’65 Mustang, and I bought and installed them almost 35 years ago.
So, it needs a good deal of work yet, but it’s drivable, and I have to tell you that it was quite a nice moment, driving it home after all these years. I’ve been working on it off and on for 10 years, as circumstances and money allow.
Again, thanks for your advice, and I continue to read your column first in every issue.
Via the Internet
A. I learned to do bodywork in the “old world” way, where the use of filler was discouraged. In the real world, plastic body fillers can save a lot of time and effort, and as long as they are used properly they can make a very satisfactory repair, as your experience has proven. Congratulations for having the perseverance to wrap up your project after 20 years – your persistence is very inspiring!
Here are a couple of letters from readers, addressing issues brought up in past columns.
Q. I read your column in CLASSIC TRUCKS July 2012, regarding storage of MIG wire. I found that putting some desiccant in the wire cavity of the welder stops the wire from drawing rust or corrosion. This has worked for me for years. I also put some in with my spare spools, wrapped in plastic. Most of the desiccant I use comes packed with machinery in small bags to protect it from rusting.
St. Stephen, SC
Via the Internet
A. Thanks, Alfred – that’s a great tip indeed!
Q. Ron, here is something to think about when you start losing the line while trying to weld – I went through the same thing. The “cheater” lens inside a welding helmet will work for a while, but there is a much deeper problem that can affect vision – it’s called cataracts. They slowly grow inside the lens of your eye, and before long they can interfere with the most basic things, like reading a newspaper.
An eye doctor can detect the growing of cataracts. I fought this for a long time, and after cataract surgery, I can see to fleas crawling on the wall a block away! Everything seems so vibrant in rich color now. My welding is much better now, and the small joint lines are easy for me to see when I’m welding thin sheetmetal.
Via the Internet
A. Yes, many things can cause vision problems, and cataracts are very common! While I have the beginnings of cataracts, they are not at the level that requires surgery yet. My wife recently had cataract surgery in both eyes, and her vision has improved remarkably!