Inner clam continued

Making fiberglass look just like aluminum is a PIA. Even thin aluminum—such as this flashing I’ve got—does not appreciate bending in compound curves. And it turns out, everything on a Spyder is a compound curve!

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I’ve been away from the project for a while. Last weekend I had a funeral in Connecticut, and yesterday Bridget ate up my shop time: I had to fix an electrical fault that sidelined me on the way to work Friday. So I finally got back to the Spyder today, and set about fixing the inner rear fender panels. This looks pretty straight forward, as the inside part looks like a flat plane and the rounded outside part looks like a barrel.

Ah…but where they come together: compound curves.

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I started by setting up the panels with a clear adhesive marketed for gutter assembly. It sticks like crazy to fiberglass and aluminum, will keep moisture out of the joints and remains flexible. I cut and drilled the panels ahead of time to match the holes I’d already cut in the fiberglass, clamped them in place, and once they set, I bent the edges down where they meet and socked-in some sheet metal screws.

Then I popped some gutter rivets in between the screws, then replaced the screws with more rivets.

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Next, I ground on it with some 80 grit and a DA sander, cleaned with acetone, and skimmed the seam with some All Metal filler.

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I’m going to bury these rivet tails in a seam of All Metal as well, before coating the insides of the fenders with some sort of undercoating or truck bed liner.

I also bent the edges of the aluminum over the fiberglass, and will All Metal these inner edges as well to make the seams go away.

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Other side is basically the same as the first.

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With two coats of aluminum filler on the fringe/rivet seam, I decided to make an eighth-inch bead to look like a weld.

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It actually worked, though I was not able to make a “stack-o-dimes” pattern with my spreader. IMG_9224IMG_9225

Looks about right: metallic, with tool marks. A little epoxy in the slots, here and on other spots where the aluminum is wrinkled, should smooth it enough for primer. I don’t want it too smooth, as the original cars showed various scars and dimples.IMG_9227

Spent about six hours on this today, and I have many more to go on the other side, then smoothing the “swiss cheese” part in the middle, riveting that in and All-Metaling those other rivet seams.

But I’m confident now that the technique will work. All done and painted it should look pretty legit.

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