After visiting the Good Guys event in Del Mar, CA back in early April I decided that I would spruce up my '29 Highboy for my 'local' Good Guys event in Jacksonville at the end of May thinking I had tons of time! This included rebuilding/painting the front, rewiring the car and rebuilding the engine. All of this was done in my home garage completely solo.
After stripping the front end to the bare rails and removing the firewall, floor and drivetrain I realized the job was bigger than I had ever imagined.
So, I focused on completely finishing one thing at a time; rails, engine, trans, wiring, floor, firewall etc.
It is 90% back together and I am on track for the show in 3 weeks but there were times when I thought I would never do it.
Considering I ONLY attacked the front of the car I can't believe how much work it was. Now that it will be back on the road soon I will do the rest of the bodywork one panel at a time once the temperature drops again in the winter.
I am VERY glad I did it but and I learnt a hell of a lot doing it.
I know what I did is not the pure bodywork project you are undertaking but the effort required just even to get the firewall to the condition you see was incredible. The masking for the checkerboard pattern alone took almost 2 hours! I have a new understanding as to why bodyshops charge what they do for GOOD work!
I think you need to estimate how long it takes, double it and then ensure you have a TON of patience to do it right and not rush it. There can be a temption, at least with me, to say "oh, that should be fine" knowing there are still blemishes that will show once it is finished. Self discipline in making sure each step was completed prior to moving on was critical to the final finish.
I am a complete beginner who never held a spray gun until 3 weeks ago and I am pretty pleased with the outcome. The main things that I see that impacted the final outcome are:
- use the right tools. if you don't have them borrow/buy them
- use the right grit! really important
- the old credo of 90% prep, 10% paint application is right.
- follow the tech sheets for paint, the only time I had a problem and had to redo a part was when I rushed the times
- you need a spotless envrionment which to be fair I didnt have but I was pretty lucky.
- patience, patience, patience!!! getting a good finish takes a long time!
- Dont panic. even if you get a seemingly bad finish (orange peel etc) it can usually be rectified, get input from others who know.
- Use the internet: forums like this provided me with TONS of info from people who know, I also used it to research paint specs/flash times etc.
Good luck and let us see your results!
The 'marks' you see on the firewall below are reflections from the engine. The finish is pretty much flawless thanks to the guys on this forum and at autobody101.com