Monday, August 6, 2012

Surface Prep and more surface prep...

Even I was getting tired of the "grinding" references, yet that is, in fact, the bulk of my time nowadays. The key to any restoration is surface preparation. In the case of the twins, it is a combination of the removal of many, many years worth of very different coatings as well as getting a stable foundation for the repair work on the horizon. Here I have gotten to a point where I can concentrate on the bodywork necessary to have Castor appear "whole" (as in not have any holes that were not meant to be there!).

Pollux has similar areas corroded through which must be reconstructed in order to hold a good paint job.

The work project itself gets *very* tedious at this point. The physical effort of grinding is wearing on many levels (pun not intended). For starters it is hot and humid so it is difficult to wear much more than a T shirt and the paint dust smells bad as well as having the same vibration and noise that goes right through you like a dentist's drill. When you stop for a break you, can watch the sweat carve little canals in the paint dust that is stuck to your arms. And your arms feel like lead after supporting and guiding the 9 inch grinder carefully to avoid gouging into the alloy portions. You cannot allow the full weight of the grinder to rest on the material - there is a harmony you achieve where you sense what the "right" pressure is to get the paint off but not damage the underlying bodywork. Rest breaks are taken when you can no longer manage that balance.

For kicks, and a diversion, I grabbed a booster fin and set it up on a garbage can. I tested the grinding disc on that and was happy that it stripped even easier than the missile body. For what it's worth, the alloy that they used for the fins is quite hard and actually dulled my grinding disc before I had finished on side!

I do not believe that I am going to use Body Filler (Bondo) on these fins - although that is some of what I am grinding off. Prior refinishing work made these to appear more "perfect" than I believe that they were meant to be. I want the screws and rivets to be seen as they would have been in their original state. If you have ever seen pictures of the German V-2, the surface is actually rather dimpled. There was no provision to add weight to make them "look nice"; it was only necessary to assure that they would not delaminate at  speeds well in excess of Mach 1. Any weight added to the missile body would be that much less that the payload could be.

Anyway, that about it for this week's trip.

A Special "shout-out" to "Nick the History Kid" - it was great having you and your Dad stop by and look around. Good luck with your work!

That's it for now......

Blazing Skies!!!

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