July 15, 2017

Restoring and repairing original steering wheel for 1956 International Harvester

Restoring and detailing all the bits and pieces is the dun part of any restoration.

Today I tackled the steering wheel. These old wheels where made of bakelight or similar plastic that had a habit of separating and spreading apart from the underlined steel frame. Luckily they're easy enough to repair which includes grinding and beveling out the separated areas and filling with appropriate materials.

 A grinder is used to rough out the gaps and bevel the edges that need to be filled.


 Vinyl hand sanding is done to bring sanded area further out from the repair.


For the largest areas I mixed up some kitty hair which includes a fiberglass resin.


 The kitty hair is packed into the largest areas and allowed to cure.


 Once hardened the fiberglass is rough smooth with the grinder. I'll smooth it down with some hand sanding and then we'll put a final skim of filler across the repairs before priming and painting to perfection.


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1956 International S120 - Color sanding

Color sanding a fresh paint job is fairly common practice now - especially when you want to bring the overall restoration into the highest categories of superb paint work. The procedure starts with 600 or 800 wet paper to knock down any dust nibs or rough that is really rough clear  including orange peel and dry spots. Once that is carefully knocked down you move up in increments and finer sand papers through 1000 grit than 1500 then 2000 and 3000. Often 1500 up is done with the DA sander.




 Here it is after sanding with 600 grit wet paper. The white residue is the clear that is sanded off.



Looking closely, you can see the spots that are sanded down to flat. This is ready for sanding with 1500 and 2000.


Once DA'd with 3000 grit, we'll be ready for the final (although very time consuming) polishing stage. More on that next week....

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