Venus Update #5: A Mini-Milestone Reached

17 08 2008

I am soooo tired of seeing the Venus body on its backside like some poor over-turned box turtle!! As you may know, I have been trying to get the underside finished so that I can flip her over to begin final body prep. But as mentioned in an earlier update, the hood hinge system took quite awhile to get sorted out. I decided to vacate the enclosed storage shed by the end of August, primarily for monetary reasons, but I’m also getting tired of the place…gravel floor and a leaky roof.

Picking up where I left off on my last update, I finally got longer hinge arms made, and the hood plates welded on. The hinge body was first adhered to the nose of the body using 3M 190 epoxy, then covered with a layer of fiberglass. Then, with the hood in a upside down position held by a floor jack and moving blanket for a pad, I adhered the hood plates in position as well. I realize I run the risk of the hinges not fitting when the body is right-side-up, and if that’s the case, then I’ll just re-do them. I think they will be okay. Since the hinge arms will be a very visible piece (below), I sent them to a metal craftsman to have the welds and 3/4″ rod shaped to something a bit more custom. His name is Steve Sellers, and he does awesome work. (Steve is a regular on the HAMB forum & Jalopy Journal website.)

The entire hinge assembly pieces will be painted or powder coated.

With the hinges out of the way, it was time to get the underside of this whale painted. I had used a good spray-on polyester filler/primer, but the damn stuff was a mess to work with. I bought a cheap, throw-away siphon-type spray gun to apply it. The darn vent got plugged up and wouldn’t shoot anymore, so I just brushed on the remainder in the can. Ultimately, I got a coating on the whole underside.

I could have spent another 6-8 months on the underside alone, making every surface smooth and error-free. A layer of gelcoat would have been nice, but it wouldn’t have been original. I had to come to come to grips with the fact that the Venus wasn’t exactly made in a factory like today’s Corvettes or Chris Craft boats. I cleaned it up the best I could while retaining the original “look” of the underside. Remember, this glass was hand-laid in a metal shed, probably approaching 100 degrees, so I doubt they spend a lot of time on underside “beauty”. Realistically, this under surface will never be seen.

So today, 8/16/08, I reached a milestone of sorts….I finally got the underside painted. It took about 2 quarts to get 2 full coats. I used DuPont’s Nason single-stage paint (8-1-2 ratio), and sprayed it with my super-duper SATA HVLP gun. My new Ingersoll-Rand compressor worked like a champ too…this is what I bought it for! Below are pics of the paint job. (Beating my friends to the punch, If the Venus ever looked like a confusing, in-ground hot tub, this is it! 😉

The next day, my son and a friend of his helped me flip the body over without resorting to the overhead contraption with chain hosts. Here it is below, ready for transport in my enclosed trailer. I will then move it to my garage where I can continue with some of the fiberglass repair/fill, such as the tail lights and instrument panel. I’ll also pre-mount the grill pieces.

More to come….stay tuned, and thanks for visiting my blog!



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