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Triumph - That was a year that was..


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The backlight is Okay to live with, having now tried it on the road.  It being an inch higher would have helped a lot (..in getting it away from the top of my head) but for the time being it is what it is ..and the studs are too short to fit some sort of packer under it. 

Regarding the gap (..rain scoop !) inbetween that and the windscreen,  and my head being in conflict with the fabric-Surrey-top's frame,  I've now considered the options, and I've decided to try and make a lightweight grp hard-top lid.  And I'll use the car without weather protection for the time being, or else refit its existing rag-top.. until I get the new hard-top-lid made. 

With HUGE THANKs to Roger-H  (via the TR Register and its forum), I have an old steel hard-top-lid to work from.  It's been hand painted, is dented, has rust holes through it ..and fraying gutter flanges. It's been poorly welded / brazed (?) with a weird brittle aluminium-like filler, and the lid's inside structure and flanges are half intact  ie., the other half have rotted away ! :blink: ..so it's perfect for my needs :P


^ As Roger assured me.. at first glance - it looks better than it is.  Still, these original hard-top-lids have a pleasing line, and is (relatively) spacious inside. The rest of it (inside structure, flanges, fixtures and fixings, seals, etc) will for my purposes be redesigned anyway. 

Starting off then. . .

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^ This lid is a great starting point, for me to take a flash mould, and to make a new outer-skin panel in lightweight grp, onto which I'll graft simple grp flanges for the weather seals. 

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^ someone had real issues with paint blisters.  The thick hand-painted black that tried to cover those was really hard to cut back, but in time I won over. 

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^ the 'welded repair'  (rear RHS corner) ..which split open again as soon as I tapped it with the dressing hammer.   ^^ Oh well, there's always bondo !  glass reinforced filler in this case.


^ second coat, and already a fairer shape.

Wishing you great holiday celebrations. 




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Yesterday Katie  finally made it to her first local (East Saxons) TR group meeting, albeit an informal breakfast meet at The Alma, Copford Green, Essex . . .


^ Katie ~ TR4A, parked up with Rich's TR4, Bob's TR2 and Tim's black TR6. Chris turned up in his thirsty Covette Stingray a little later.  Good conversation, perfectly acceptable weather for having the top off, and good food and beverages served by our hosts, what more could you ask for.  The A12 was 40mph around Colchester which doesn't make much sense when the road is only being worked on at night ..and even single track country lanes are 60mph, but on the other hand 40mph is very good for fuel economy. !

In conversation I asked Rich if had, and whether I might borrow a TR4 Surrey-top windscreen capping, until at least I get a lid made in GRP.. Part of my motivation was that I was booked to go to Sandringham's Pageant of Motoring this morning and the weather forecast was not good, but seemed to be becoming more favourable with each Met-Office update. The hope was that if I could fit and drive with the fabric Surrey top, even if a little uncomfortable in terms of headroom, then I could go.  Otherwise I'd have to remove the backlight again to fit the rag-top.  Rich did, and very kindly offered to lend it to me, and so we went off to his home and with cordless drill removed the cap rail's rivets off one of his projects.  

Further good conversation and hospitality, before I headed home to try and fit it. . .

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^ Katie has had a TR6 windscreen frame and cap rail, as is evident by the toggle's keeper for the hood frame. Its aluminium cap-rail has an indent above those, and like the non Surrey-top cap-rail for the TR4, its flusher fitting without the front overhanging rim.  The TR6 cap-rail also doesn't have the end (outside top corner of the A-post) plate and hole for the fabric Surrey-top's press stud.  Amazing then that all but the two rivet holes next to the Surrey-top H-frame's bracket holes were in the same position.  Katie's cap rail had been fitted with self tappers instead of 1/8" rivets, but still no second-guess drilling was necessary to fit the TR4 cap rail onto a TR6 windscreen frame.


^ Katie's cap-rail had been fitted over a bead of what looks to be clear silicon sealer, whereas the TR4 cap-rail was bedded on black dum-dun sealer.  I've removed those and instead used sticky back neoprene to set rail on.


^ First impressions were very encouraging. The front rail of this vinyl hood needed a little motivation to sit under the cap rail's front lip but I think that's probably quite usual. Clearly the vinyl needs a thorough warming in the sun to stretch it, as intended.. as it's width across the front is 1-1/4" short of that top corner press-stud on the passenger side and 3/4" short on the driver's side.  But even as it is it looks to be workable for low cruising speeds.

The side press studs pulled on, although the driver's side needed to be done first. And similarly the fabric's sewn in tubular-bow ..which is to pull down across the back edge of the backlight, and the two rear press-stud did go on. 


^ I presently only have one of the four hook-brackets fitted. These are used to tension the door window's draft-flaps.  However as it holds the glass away from the B-post's weather seal, I feel they might well be left off / an alternative used.   

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^ Otherwise looking even better from the rear three quarter view.   ..well aside from the width being way too tight.

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^ regarding interior headroom and the hood's H-frame being against the side of my head ..I lessened the problem by bending the rear legs of that frame into a bowed curve.  There's not much space in these cars for someone of my size, but as the top is not intended to be used unless really necessary, then a little compromise is to be expected and so acceptable.

So far so good huh, with a bit of heat and use - this fabric top ought to serve its purpose..  Well yes, but also not quite yet.  More modifications will need to be done, because as I tensioned the bow up - the back window popped out of it's top edge seal.  :(   


^ As illustrated by the screwdriver, the top of the backlight has pulled up. The hood stay's adjustment was only by finger, no spanner or grips.   

That put paid to my going to Sandringham this morning, because it was already 6:30pm ..and tbh I couldn't be arzed to then pull the backlight off (necessitating removing the trim around the back shelf ..to get to the fastenings), to change the header rail back to the TR6 one, and to then fit the TR6 rag top again ..ready to drive off at 7am on a Sunday morning in the rain.  No thank you - I'll return to base camp and wait.. to come back again soon. 

What happened ?  well . . .

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^ The fabric Surrey-top's H-frame (bowed rather than straight to give a little more clearance for my bonce), with the beautifully hand-crafted brass tensioning nut made by Roger-H. *  Thank you Roger - I recommend B)  . . .  The illustrations reflect what has happened.  In short ; although the tubular stays push back against the backlight, as one does so ..the tension in the vinyl hood pulls and twists the top rail of the grp backlight.  The bowed roof shape across the car adds leverage to this because the height of the tensioned fabric on the car's centreline is approximately 1-1/2" higher than the locating pin of the stays, positioned just outside the driver's head.  And that leverage twists the lightweight grp backlight enough to pull the seal away from the glass.         

It's not insurmountable though..  to rectify the problem I could remove the backlight, it's glass, and the vinyl trim on it's inside, and then clean that up and abrade the inside of the fibreglass as a key to add further resistant to torsion structure (ie., to bond in as large a diameter tube as will fit).  or else..  I make and fit (perhaps removable if so desired) a T-bar between the windscreen and the top face of the backlight ..on the car's centreline to counter the tension of the hood material.

For anyone buying / about to fit a grp backlight - either or both of these may be worthwhile to check for &/or consider.

Hey ho,  a most enjoyable morning, and then very positive progress ..so we can cope with a little setback now & again. 

Bidding you a pleasantly warm and comfortably dry evening.



* NB. How anyone instead manages to tighten a plain nut on the end of this stay I don't know. It looks easy enough with the fabric off, but with the furflex weather seal below and the hood material above, I should think it rather awkward.  In comparison Roger's screw adjuster can be turned by finger, and the final tensioning done after the Surrey-top is fitted.   


p.s. the weather in Sandringham did start with light rain, but as we'd hoped it soon dried up until around 3pm when it drizzled for a while, then dry again until anytime now (5:30 - 6pm) when heaver rain is due for the drive home. It's also a chilly day for summer !


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On 6/3/2022 at 8:14 PM, Bfg said:


^ second coat, and already a fairer shape.


This afternoon I moved on with filling the through holes and fairing the dents. . .


^ Starting off with lightly sanding coarse paper on a flat board, so the scratch marks give a clear picture of high points and troughs.  These I then filled and faired. To cut to the chase after a long afternoon's work, including bridging the frayed edge flanges.. and we now have . . .


^ the green filler with white over is my 'handiwork' to fair over the welded (and split open again) repaired back corner on the RHS.   The blistered paint encountered by some unfortunate soul was in the cream undercoat and then again in the red top-coat (..that was under the hand painted black when I started). Apparently this Surrey-top's metal lid was originally the very nice hue of light sky blue.


^ viewed from the rear corner of the LHS, shiny only because it's just been hand flatted with 320 grit wet n' dry, washed off and not yet dried.   That grit of finish will do fine for taking a mould off.  Perhaps tomorrow afternoon I'll get it waxed and a couple of coats of PVA release agent, and perhaps even a gel coat on it.

A constructive afternoon  (..that's heading in the right direction ! )


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Just a few hours on the job this afternoon, but hopefully (if things go well !) then useful progress made. . .


^ Three polishing coats of Mirrorglaze bee's wax, which I've long used as a release agent when making moulds and with mouldings.  There's no additives and nothing to chemically react with, just bee's wax, which together with elbow grease to really rub the wax into the surface, all the corners, and of course any scratchmarks, pin holes, etc. The wax is equally vigorously rubbed off again, inbetween coats, so as to minimise surface build up.  


^ next up I applied two coats of PVA release agent, using a small pad of soft cloth.  The PVA is applied as thinly and smoothly as can practically be done (so as to avoid brush and dab marks.  I focused on making sure the PVA really brushed into the crease of the folded-double front edge, as well as onto the vertical sides of the rain gutters.  Once the first coat has air dried then I similarly applied a second coat at 90 degrees to the first. This helps build an even thickness film of PVA (micron when dry) and of course to ensure that nowhere gets missed. 

You'll note that the pattern's surface reflections have gone from matt (320 grit wet n' dry) to a waxed sheen, to a PVA'ed satin .   

After that had also dried then I moved on to gel coating the surface. . .

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Gel coat being hand-painted on is thickened polyester resin (setting when catalyst is mixed in with it), often with a colour pigment (in this case white as it's left over materials from my making new cockpit hatches for the boat). The second photo simply shows that I started painting along the edges and worked my way in as a spiral  so as to maintain a 'wet-edge' to the coating. 

The gel-coat is the surface / skin layer of a mould or moulding (panel) which ought to be mostly devoid of visible air bubbles / pin-holes.  Its thickness is necessary to help prevent 'print-through' of glass fibres showing ..and to a large extent because it may be considered a sacrificial that may be sanded and polished smooth.  It has next to no strength, so its thickness needs to just thick enough to cover the surface. Too thick and the edges will easily chip and stressed surface areas will show cracks / craze. 

Neither the gelcoat, nor fibrglass laminates, are absolutely water-proof. They are in fact hydroscopic, insomuch as they will absorb moisture from the atmosphere and similarly it will allow moisture within the fibreglass to (very slowly) pass through it so to dry out.  This is common practice with racing grp sailing boats which are removed from the water to dry out, and therefore be lighter.  Wax and other surface finishes (including some paints and most epoxy coatings) will seal the surface.  Epoxy is pretty close to being water-tight.

My need, for this flash mould, is a gel-coated surface that can be lightly sanded (..on its presently unseen underside surface) to get rid of, or at least lessen, surface blemishes that were in the pattern. Any scratches, pin-holes, and even the hollows of paint blisters on the panel will be raised ridges, blips, etc in the mould and so are easy to sand back to the mean-surface. 

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^ The visibly hand-painted finish will be covered with fibreglass impregnated with polyester resin, so it's not super critical. I simply sought an even-thickness and unbroken  covering.  

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It's old stock materials so I just have to trust that it still goes off (and also that I guessed the right amount of catalyst to add).  Although gel-coat sets, its surface remains tacky until the air is excluded. On the inside the original steel panel is doing that. On it's outside I'll be covering it (..within a day or two) with fibreglass impregnated with polyester resin. That then cures the gel-coat's surface and its own outside surface dries tack-free.  

In a few days time we'll see.

In the meantime, have a good evening.  I'm off to supper and the TSSC club meet at the Sorrel Horse, Barham. 


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Pete - I was away from the forum for a few months (as I am often am!) but have caught up with what I missed on this thread in the past few evenings.

I didn't want to go through and "like bomb" every post, but wanted to drop a note to say I really enjoyed reading about the work that's gone into the car (even where it was fixing other's cock ups) and  am keen to see what is next. Hope you're able to now get out there an enjoy the car as a rolling concern!


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  ^ Thank you

I am indeed just starting to enjoy driving the car, especially now with the Surrey-backlight in place.  Confidence is building to a point where I can go out in the evening and fully expect the car to both start easily and to get me home again.  I went out yesterday evening, just local like, but the evening air was really nice to drive back in.  The car felt smooth and quiet (as best as any tractor engined sports car might ! :D).   I carry my full everyday tool kit and a torch, and a gallon of water ..and with the backlight's glass having pulled out of its seal I did drive a bit with my hand over the top to check the glass wasn't about to fly off down the road !  ..but all in all we're getting there and although I've still a long list of jobs to tackle, things are definitely much happier.  And for someone like me, who was sick and tired of it all, that's good. 

Patience and persistence (bloody mindedness !) is finally winning through.   However there's are still anxieties . . .       

19 hours ago, Bfg said:

It's old stock materials so I just have to trust that it still goes off (and also that I guessed the right amount of catalyst to add).  Although gel-coat sets, its surface remains tacky until the air is excluded.

After a couple of hours the gel coat was still wet !  ..and the day (not particularly warm anyway) was fast turning to dusk, and so the temperature was likely to drop more. 

Panic ?  ..or go to the pub ! ??  


.. quickly build a tent under the lid / around the two 'Workmates' it is sitting on, with an electric oil-filled radiator inside..  and then go to the pub. . .



TSSC club meeting at The Sorrel Horse Inn, with Katie  parked in alongside Russel's wonderful 2ltr estate.


p.s. when I got home.. the steady low warmth from the radiator had done its deed, and the gel coat was setting and tacky.  Not quite enough but its 'kicking off' was underway., so I left the radiator on low until the early hours of this morning.  That worked, and now within the sun-warmed polytunnel, the gelcoat is reassuringly set but still surface tacky.   Phew .. I really didn't want to clean all that off and start again !  


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And then..  for just a couple of hours today . . .

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^  'Surfacing tissue' .. is glassfibre on a very fine level. It is particularly useful for working into tight corners as well as for preventing print-through of coarser glass fibres showing through on the finished (generally outside) surface.  As you can see it literally has the thickness of a single thin layer of tissue, but as I say those are glass fibres rather than paper or cotton.  Do NOT use as toilet paper !!!


^ I've only a small amount of this tissue left over from previous jobs, so I'm using it as a first layer in the rain gutters and all around the edge. It's fineness helps avoid air bubbles in such awkwardly tight corners.  I used a mix of catalyst in the resin which, within the warmth of the polytunnel, cured quickly.  This in turn meant I could get on with the next layer without that being disturbed . . .

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^ Like the surfacing-tissue, chopped-strand-mat is also made up of fine filaments (drawn fibres) of glass.  And likewise they are each held together (for ease of handling as a sheet) by starch. This goes soft and washes away in the resin - so the glass filaments laid on the job can take to the required shape even if like this Surrey top lid the shape is a compound surface (it doesn't matter whether that is convex or concave, conical or a tube).  For ease of handling I chose to fibreglass the mould in three strips, with a hard cut straight edge first aligned into the rain gutter, but with it not long enough to come up the other side yet. 

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^ The surfacing tissue, because it's so thin, can easily be wetted out with the resin from the outside. However as thicker glassfibre is used.. then it's usually quicker and easier to paint the wet resin onto the surface first, and then lay the glassfibre mat onto that, and then to apply more resin on top.   Once laid - the important task is to squeeze the air out from inbetween all those glass fibres.  The brush action is one of stippling ..so as to not drag and displace the fibres.  On flatter surfaces I apply the resin with a brush, but then prefer to use a paddle wheel ..which rolls across the wetted surface. This pushes the resin into the glass mat.. which at the same time displaces the air.  The action is light ..rather than a lot of pressure.  Many amateurs try too hard, but if you watch someone with experience they'll wet the surface out and then move on to the next patch, and then return to the first area of work ..when the resin has by itself mostly soaked in. 

The thoroughly wetted-out glassfibre becomes more translucent and takes on the hue of the catalyzed but uncured polyester resin. In this case the resin is tinted blue, so it's easier to see what your doing.  I have in the past used (and generally prefer) green tinted resin, and even pinkish coloured resin which was specifically intended for mould making.  As it cures, the colour will change to a sort of cardboard colour.  Opaque pigment can be added to the resin but that just makes seeing what you are doing all the more difficult.

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^ a strip of glassfibre to run up the outside flange of the gutters ..and the job for today is done.

Yes.,  just a single layer for today. I don't want the mould to pre-release from the pattern which can happen if too much fibreglassing is done too soon.  This type of fibreglass resin will want to shrink by 1 - 2% as it cures, and so letting this thin layer cure first means that it internal stresses are too small to pull it away.  Too thick a layer of fibreglass will cause the panel to misshape, as its exotherm (byproduct of the curing process) warms everything up too much.  No, I'll let it cure overnight and then apply some more when this polyester resin well set and more stable. 



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On 6/9/2022 at 8:01 AM, Dobloseven said:

Quite surprised the rear window frame was made of GRP. Were they all like that back in the day? 

No, the originals were cast aluminium, and naturally after almost 60 years there's no surplus, so the prices are (if and when you can find one) are high.  A company has recently started casting brand new ones in aluminium, at a cost of £1300 (just for the frame) or £1600+ for frame with glass & seals (likewise unpainted).  I guess all things considered that's not an outrageous price, but then the customer still needs to buy the fabric-Surrey-top cover and also it's tubular frame, or else find and fit a Surrey-top-lid.   

GRP back-light frames have been made for years, often sold together with perspex glazing, whereas mine (bought second hand) has glass.  I might only guess that some GRP laminates are better made than others, but I gather it is not unusual to bond the glass (or perspex) to the rubber seal and that to the grp frame so one supports the other.

The Surrey-hardtop lids were originally made in steel or aluminium. Both types corrode and each are easily dented, so again finding an original ..in nice condition, is not for those with fraying pockets.  GRP ones are also made ..again not cheap @ £585 (from Honeybourne mouldings), but I guess they serve their purpose well enough ..except that they are too big to carry with the car unless fitted in place (..not an ideal solution for a someone who doesn't want a saloon car). 


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Btw., possibly boring but conversely.. perhaps very-worthwhile reading .. B)


Some of us are pretty sensitive to the raw glassfibre mat, just in handling the stuff.  Basically that comes down to the dust of broken glass filaments (strands) getting into our skin.  I find that wearing mechanic's grade (thickness and durability) of nitrile rubber gloves* works well to keep that dust from the soft creases of skin between fingers, and a well fitting disposable face mask will help protect you inhaling those fine filaments, but of course even they can be pretty uncomfortable in the heat of the summer.  

Fibreglassing during the coolness of early morning can help with your own body heat and sweat, as of course can be working in the cool shade of a tree or under a temporary cover / gazebo.  

Working under the blazing sun is a frustrating battle to get the chemical mix of fibreglass right anyway - best to avoid.!   Fibreglassing in a breezy place can also work against you as the styrene blows away too quickly and can lead to a very slow, or possibly incomplete curing. However you can do the fibreglassing, in the fresh breeze, and then cover the job over to allow it to properly cure.

When fibreglassing on the boat I usually wear a disposable protective overalls (the white ones with built in hood). They are surprisingly robust for what appears to be paper, and tears can be patched with gaffer tape.  Because they are reusable many times over, they are not expensive. Naturally when removing them, take care not to shake the dust off in your or anyone else's air space., nor to turn the things inside out, whereby that dust gets inside the suit ready for the next time you put it on.   Wearing just underwear in them, means they are not overly-hot in the summer.    

Obviously it's best to handle the raw materials carefully (deliberately / slowly) to minimise shaking the dust into the air and over your skin, and this included subsequently shaking your work clothes of the dust.!   Do that outside, away from others and in a breeze ..with the clothes downwind.  In short be conscious of the fact that it's glass filaments you are handling. Nothing to worry about if you treat it with respect ..but it's not something for small children or pets to be playing in or sniffing at. 

Cutting, drilling, grinding, or sanding cured fibreglass gets that glass filament dust in to the air, onto our skin (inc. face n' neck) into our hair and over / into clothes. It also goes over everything else in the garage / work space.   Same precautions are necessary ..starting off with slow speed cutting to lessen its dust and an old but well-filtered vacuum cleaner (with its out-blowing-air pointing away from the job.     

Wear a face mask as you dust nearby surfaces and sweep up after the job, and please bag the rubbish.    

* Sainsbury's sell blue rubber kitchen gloves, which cover your wrists too, and come in a good range of sizes ..even up to BFG.  They are very good and can even withstand a quick wash in acetone (then quickly rub dry on a cotton cloth).. so are reusable many times over.  

Tip..  glass filaments (rather than actual splinters) in sensitive skin feels like a prickly rash. Do not scratch.  They are very easily removed from the skin (such as your face and neck, the back of your hands and forearms) with a damp sponge and no soap.  Simply draw the damp sponge (a washing-up sponge works great) over the surface ..and the friction in the sponge does the rest.  Wash / rinse the sponge out under running water and repeat.  

Some folk suffer from skin reactions and respiratory discomfort from the chemicals.  Polyester resin is not so aggressive but its catalyst is acid., so when mixed with the resin it can be uncomfortable for some.  Most of us won't have much of a problem with a little splatter here n' there, or when our gloves tear.  But don't leave it on your skin for too long. Have a roll of clean tissue (kitchen roll or mechanics paper roll) close by for when you need it. Clean acetone is most effective in its removal and although the skin can deal with being quickly washed in the stuff - DO NOT get it in your eyes - it stings like anything.!  Dosing with lots of clean water is the quickest way to alleviate that.

Lungs don't cope very well with the chemical vapours, but I've always been fine in a suitably ventilated / large enough space.  However, within the confines of a boat, I've often needed an electric fan blowing towards my face.  Turn the fan off once you are done, so the fibreglass can properly cure in the heat and in its own vapours.   Btw. Those vapours also permeate clothes, so others can smell it on you, and like a good curry it will be on your breath and come out of your skin ..perhaps for a day or three ! ..if you've been doing a lot within closed confines.    

Epoxy resins are generally worse. They also wash off (while still wet / uncured) with acetone, and for me is no worse on the skin than polyester ....but others have been known to suffer a serious reaction and been rushed off to hospital ..so it's best to avoid skin contact altogether.  Personally my respiratory system doesn't cope well with its vapours.  When painting-to-seal the water tanks within my boat with epoxy products - I needed to wear a professional full face mask, with spirit-vapour / virus-quality filtration.  Once fully cured, the epoxy-sealed water tanks are used for potable (drinking) water.  

Body filler / bondo - is usually a fast-curing polyester resin mixed with a bulk-filler powder.  So treat that the same as above polyester-resin.  NB. the bead of catalyst you add to that filler (from the tube) is likewise acid.  Sanding that filler creates a lot of dust, which is not good in your lungs or eyes, but rarely triggers a medical reaction.  

Bridging filler - is usually a fast-curing polyester resin mixed with chopped filaments of glass.  So treat that the same (and its sanding) as above polyester-resin fibreglass.  Again, the bead of catalyst you add to that filler (from the tube) is likewise acid.

Epoxy Body filler and water-proofing / barrier paints - is more commonly used on boats.  I like them because unlike polyester - they are an effective water-proof barrier (polyester is, but epoxy is not hydroscopic). The filler also has noticeably less shrinkage as it cures.. so usually one-fill is enough (and the job was much quicker than going around again).  I used epoxy filler to repair crazing on the deck of the boat for these reasons. And epoxy based paints in the water tanks, bilges and under-the-water-line places of the hull, rudders and keels. I also used epoxy body filler on the 1970's Citroen I restored.  Again similar health precautions are necessary as for epoxy resins, although once cured a person having a reaction to the chemical is probably unlikely.  Likewise., Araldite and other Epoxy based glues adhesives ..although generally they are used in such small quantities as to not cause a problem, someone who is specifically allergic to epoxy resin may similarly suffer discomfort if they get too close. 

Nail-varnish-remover used to be a weak mix of Acetone.  I don't know if it still is, but if so then it's useful to have a bottle kicking around, just to wipe finger tips and to clean small tools used in the application of such resins, fillers, glues.  

Live long and prosper



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I'd fibreglassed just two more layers of 450g/m2 csm (chopped strand mat) on the surface, before I went out for lunch on Thursday, and then trimmed off the sharp fibreglass bards around the edges a couple of days later. 

And then today, I was moving it around.. into the sunshine, and noted it coming loose from the steel panel. 


^  it didn't take much finger and thumb to open up the gap you see above, so I thought it best to now gently pull the mould off. . .



^ I wasn't planning on releasing the mould just yet, but it being partly on / off wouldn't be good ..because the heat, or cooling, from the steel panel would no longer be even (with some places touching and others not) so it's better to let it be free.   I figure its final curing might also be better achieved with both faces open to the air,  but it does now need to be carefully placed ..as such a lightweight mould will be prone to twist &/or flattening out.


Can hardly say 'Job done' because I just gently peeled the two apart ..tbh I'd have more of a struggle opening a packet of peanuts.!   . . . but still I'll give myself a little   tick.png.73759d31e60dd6d3917e09a01de3af00.png for the mould not having stuck to the filler I'd used to fair the pattern. 

Bidding you a good evening,



oh yeah . . .


^ this apartment's bedroom has 'period' wallpaper befitting a 1970's semi-detached-suburbia home's lounge (..1970's may well be the last time this place had a make-over) ..so this 60 year old lid is now an exclusive  wall-sculpture worth tens-of-thousands.!   Yeah I know., abstract art is not to everyone's taste - but then it may be celebrated ..simply as something that mostly only us bachelors are free to do  :P 


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This afternoon I cleaned out the residue PVA and wax that had transferred from the pattern . . .


^ surprisingly to me, a little of the red paint from the pattern transferred. No worries, it was soon washed away with a little soapy water and a light rubbing over with 320 grit wet n' dry.

I then spent some time refinishing the mould edges, which is to serve as an extra 1/4" of flange all around the edge. This will make it a little easier to laminate / fibreglass the moulding.  At the same time I trued up the rain gutters and the front n' rear edge detailing of the steel pressing ..mostly working by hand (files, wet n, dry and a rubber sanding block) rather than with power tools, after all we're mostly only cutting plastic (albeit with nasty glass filaments).  


^ flatted with 320 grit wet n' dry, mostly on the curved back of the rubber sanding block.  

Although overall fairing (true curvatures) of the pattern is the same as finishing bodywork, the smoothing process is simpler with fibreglass mouldings..  Firstly sand off the high points off the pattern.  Take a mould off that ..and what were open blister pot marks or chips i the paint, pinholes, &/or sanding-down scratches in the pattern become high spots and fine ridges in the surface of the mould.  Take those off and the remaining surface is mid-level and now smooth.  Any such indents or scratches in the mould will likewise come out as high spots and fine ridges in any moulding ..and they can likewise be easily cut back to the smooth mid-level. 

And just because I could, I did have a quick looksee . . .


^ despite the flanges being a little longer all around it looks a pretty good fit.   I could of course refinish (smooth &/or vinyl cover) the outside face and be done with it.  I'd retaining the smooth finish inside, but loose the definition of the steel panel I wanted externally.

With the inside surface now exposed, the mould presently sits in the sun B) to cure some more.




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Not a lot happening on the Eastern front. The Surrey-lid's mould is still curing as i await fresh gelcoat to come in ..and as planned I've diverted my attentions to working on the boat. . .


^ the 30ft catamaran is mine, and she was first commissioned in 1972.  I bought her knowing structural work was required, and I've done 99% of that now, so it's 'just' a case of replacing the systems, putting together the new rudders I've made, adding safety lines, refurbishing the rig and most likely replacing all the sails, and recommissioning or replacing the outboard motor.  Well that's not all but they're the things that spring to mind.

 A few years back, the boatyard's  'dry-storage' park salt-water-flooded (5ft deep), and so things that should have been kept dry got wet and very muddy. A lot of stuff and tools of some value were destroyed. Nevertheless, I had planned on getting back to work on the boat in April, two years ago. But just then strict Covid restrictions were introduced and I wasn't allowed (..even though I would have been working on my own access to the boatyard was closed).  And then just for fun I was also told to move out my home.  Moving out of a house and into an apartment didn't help because much of 'the stuff' off the boat had been stored at home, and so it had to come back.  Because that was done in haste, and again around Covid restriction, those things were never sorted.  I then bought Katie.., a tidy and driveable car.   Well as you know "there's always a few jobs to do"   ...now, a couple of years later - it's time to move on.

I'll not bore you with recounting all the tasks I'm doing on the boat here, save to say that it will occupy the rest of this year (..at least ! ).  I've come around to the boatyard in the TR a couple of times, but usually I'm in the old Chrysler Voyager workhorse that I drive as a (20 y.old) modern.  The boatyard is either dusty or wet.  On the first occasion the former, and on Sunday afternoon, when I came down to do just a few hours work,  it was mostly dry but with heavy rain showers. . .


^ although the Surrey back-light is still on, without yet having a workable infill panel - we managed just fine. :) 

Still, the drive back home was very pleasant in the freshly cleaned air,  and when I got home it was still a glorious evening. . .

P1420854s.thumb.JPG.c04e2e74697f9d25819853253b4f7662.JPG   P1420856s.thumb.JPG.d0dbc6d1932555088c29ff06a145754c.JPG




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Well I got the new gel-coat and surfacing tissue in and so could proceed with work on the Surrey-top lid on Thursday. Tbh it didn't go well, perhaps because I was trying to get things done in a rush before I went out at midday.  I didn't make that appointment because me be me.. I first wanted to do a little more flatting on the inside of the mould.  Looking afresh at the inside surface - I decided to rubbed it down some more with 320 grit wet n' dry and then to go over it again with 600 grit.

That done I was behind schedule by an hour, but still keen to get the job done and to go out. My back-ache, which had been giving me serious jip on Wednesday, had abated quite a bit and so this rubbing down, followed by a couple of very vigorously worked-in (Mirroglaze) wax (..to seal pinholes and provide the first barrier between the mould and the panel chemically bonding together) gave it plenty of stretching exercise. 


^ I then wanted to fill in a few blemishes around the edges of this mould, for which I used Plasticine (kiddies modeling dough, which is better for this work than than any subsequent clone I've come across (such as Play-Dough).  It was just applied with a metal paint scraper, and it does not go hard, but in the above instance it reshaped the very rear-end of the rain-water gutter. 

Next then, as previously described was a couple of coats of the PVA release agent.  By this time of day it was 23 degrees ..outside the polytunnel and much warmer inside. The weather forecast has said 40% chance of thunderstorms, but that never happened here, instead we had 98% humidity. My face and hands were literally dripping with perspiration. Anyway the conditions were not favourable for coating the mould smoothly. And the brightness of sunlight diffused through the clear plastic polytunnel plastic onto a white mould made things so much more difficult..  

I gave the mould two coats of PVA and then phoned my friend to advise him that I'd not be able to meet him for lunch.  Instead I washed the PVA off again (fresh water and soft cloths), dried the mould and erected a dark-cover over where I was working (so that I might better see what I was doing).  I then gave it (the mould) another two coats of Mirroglaze, repaired the shape of the now dented Plasticine patchwork, and eventually got to gelcoat the mould (for what will be the outer skin of the moulding.

P1430006s.JPG.f4f162770ed08b04f3f150458eaa8a4d.JPG       P1430007s.JPG.7f44e32493a5bf78507155ef68752819.JPG

^ The boat-yard was kind enough to provide (sell me) 1/2-litre of clear gel-coat (ie. without pigment) in an ice cream tub I'd provided. It comes as a vibrant but translucent magenta-pink colour, but as you can see when painted on it is all but clear.   I have never liked dark interiors to my cars, and so I wanted this lid to be as translucent as possible. It will probable look 'terrible' (..please feel free to substitute your own word there) and will end up being painted, but I thought I'd at least give it a go.

That was on Thursday. And then yesterday I gave it a layer of surfacing tissue ..bought from the marina's chandlery (shop by any other name) at a yachty-inflated price. . .


^ Like most other things, there differences in different supplies and this 'fibreglass tissue' ( 30g/sq.m ) was tight and heavily starched. That may be fine for flat surfaces but for compound curves it was a right nuisance.  In the bottom right of this photo you can see how loose my old-stock tissue had been, conversely the new stuff ..which I'd had to specifically cut to the curved shape around the front of this roof was like a regency collar. When wetted-out with resin was of course much more flexible but still it's brand that I'll avoid next time. 


^ Anyway, one layer of tissue was applied all over and then another layer all the way around the edges to help create the tightly defined shapes from the steel lid's front edge roll, the side rain-gutters and the joggled-step across the back edge.  Again it didn't go on particularly well but it'll have to do.  That was left to cure before the next layer of glass-fibre was applied.  Note the jury rigged sun shade !

and so onto today. . .


^ the chopped-strand-mat (glass fibres) layed out and roughly trimmed to shape.  The glass mat is again starched flat and to fit it to the concave shape I hand tear down from the edges. The loose fibres can just be seen overlaying others. when wetted-out with resin these hand torn edges will hardly be seen, whereas scissor cut edges would have shown pronounced edges.

All the glassfibre to be applied (..one layer overall, plus two additional layers around each edge, and also a centre strip) were prepared ready to pick up and bond in place.  Around the edge, I prefer a scissor cut edge outside and a hand torn (feathered) edge to the inside.

P1430028s.JPG.7a03773823b1d5244053c7e42f466ab8.JPG    P1430029s.JPG.4c164b561f5b15b8b824dc4032cbd7be.JPG

^ job done for today. The top skin of this lid moulding is mostly there. It's presently very lightweight but with its edges reinforced. Down the centre you'll see that the additional layer was both scissor cut and hand torn.  The scissor cut edges were overlapped and, even when laminated, are more clearly defined than the hand torn (feathered) edges to either side.  The surfacing tissue is of course under all of this and is used to cling to where there's definitions and to the the mould's edge ..whereas as you can see in the top RH corner of the inset photo, the heavier chopped-strand mat tends to stick out rather than cling to a tight radius.  I've used blocks and packing to try and hold those edges in tighter to the rain-gutter, but I expect to have to do some reworking of those.

That's it for today, now I need to go grocery shopping. (I'll re-read and check / correct the typos / grammar tomorrow)

I bid you a pleasant evening and a good weekend.




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Afternoon all


^ As the moulding cures a little more in the polytunnel's warmth under the honeysuckle ..and for just an hour or so this Sunday afternoon, I did a little more, starting with my removing the windscreen frame's cap rail. . .


^ This is the TR6 type cap rail, without the front overhang for the fabric Surrey top (which creates a wind noise above 50mph), but with its dip recesses for the securing clamps (in these photos the masking tape is covering the holes).  I've waxed it a couple of times with Mirrorglaze and filled over the rivet / screw holes with raised blobs of plasticine, and then given it a couple of coats of PVA.  The plan is to take a moulding directly off of it and to bond that to the underside of the top-skin I've made.


^ Similarly I've masked up, the rear window seal of the Surrey-top backlight, over its forward facing vinyl-wrapped weather-seal flange, and also covered the surrey-top attachment holes.  I've used a plastic sheet to protect the car's interior and rear wings from drips of resin. Again a couple of coats of Mirrorglaze and a couple of coats of PVA release agent.

P1430036s.JPG.7308da218aa152af6b14929131f1ee6a.JPG   P1430038s.JPG.74e6c49c882a05d4daa608abe5678675.JPG

^ each are now clear gel-coated and set aside to cure. 

I'm winging it, so I look forward to seeing if this lightweight version of a hardtop Surrey lid, when it's all together,  works.!? B)



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P1430045s.thumb.JPG.51d87652505a4546739fd1d8d9f7e1ae.JPG    P1430044s.thumb.JPG.925b1d6f7ba3321c13adc75533277dd8.JPG

^ Surfacing tissue applied, ready for tomorrow's heavier glass-fibre laminates.  Again, this very fine glass-fibre 'tissue' is being used as a first layer - because it's better able to follow the shape over hard corners and down into local depressions in the pattern.    

Often cars and hardtops made in fibreglass have very rounded panel and edge definitions ..and so look like fibreglass cars.  The objective here, is to make a Surrey-top lid with the edge-definitions of a steel or aluminium panel ..which to my eyes looks more authentic on a a 1960's classic.  Only by physically touching the panel (..its warmth and its duller sound) might another person realise that it is not made from metal.

Having said that.. I'm blowing it - by trying to make it semi-translucent ! :blink:

Hey-ho that's me .. trying to achieve more than is possible with the limited resources I have.  ..But if anyone has a large enough vacuum forming machine and the right colour of ABS sheet.. then please drop me a line.   


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