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Projects Unless your very lucky you will have to deal with rust

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HOTRODPRIMER, May 12, 2019.

  1. Rust is a common problem that most of us have to face with building a hot rod or custom, it's rare to start with a perfect body and we ether learn to do it ourselves or hire it out.

    For me option number two is out of the question, hiring someone do the sheet metal work can be expensive so I had to learn, trial by fire, fortunately my pal Dave had learned the art many years ago and he agreed to help teach me the basics.

    We installed 1o7 patch panels in the Ranch Wagon, some we small while others were large and at the time there were very few replacement parts made for the car, the rest we made.

    My biggest worry was I would do something wrong and quickly learned that although I made a lot of mistakes they can be repaired and the more sheet metal work you do the more you start to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    I'm not a pro by any stretch of the imagination and I don't profess to be but if I can cut, shape and weld I would think anyone with the desire can do so themselves.

    So, did you learn the craft from a friend?, take a night course? or did you just take the, "Damn the torpedo's full speed ahead" approach? HRP
  2. mikhett
    Joined: Jan 22, 2005
    Posts: 1,413

    from jackson nj

    I learned from my Friend MARK WOJCIK MASTER KUSTOMIZER.I LEARNED TO WELD AND shape metal.Im still a beginner but im not afraid to tackle any project.
  3. I really enjoy doing the rust repair, seems to be such a big pay off after you get a patch done.
    I'm self taught so I'm sure i'm making mistakes but it works for me.
    32SEDAN, ladyhrp, Deuces and 2 others like this.
  4. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,671


    Interesting topic. The '48 Ford Coupe I bought recently has rusted rocker boxes, front floor, and various lower areas on the body and fenders. Several patch panels are commercially available but some will have to be fabricated. The part that seems most intimidating to me to replace are the rocker boxes. I can imagine that if not done right alignment of the whole body could quickly be messed up. I'd have the resources to pay to have it done I think, but finding a body shop that is willing to work on it might be the tough part. Most I know are more happy with doing more profitable "insurance jobs". I certainly can't fault them for wanting to make a good profit, but it does make it harder to find someone willing to take on rust repair work.


  5. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 6,049

    from Oregon

    Well my Dad drag raced in the '50s and '60s . Built race cars in the '60s and '70s and hot rods from the '50s to this day , so I have to credit where it is due:). To me collecting parts and the build process is more therapeutic more so then driving them
    Mahty, studebaker eric, WB69 and 7 others like this.
  6. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 5,487

    from Berry, AL

    Self taught by hands on experience {lots of goof ups} and magazine articles. I'm not that good, but get by on my on stuff.

    No fancy tools, just a few hammers, dollys, and various things to bend metal over. I wouldn't even start to try to do some of the stuff I've seen brought back to life on here, but something small and simple I'll give it a shot. 99% of the people that look at it don't know what they're looking at anyway....
    ladyhrp, Deuces, OLSKOOL57 and 2 others like this.
  7. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 6,049

    from Oregon

    On a plus note my 1927 T Tudor I bought to help a friend, his brother built it . He was a certified welder at Wah Chang. Everything is new , frame , steering, suspension, sub frame. Running gear all rebuilt.
  8. lumpy 63
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
    Posts: 1,483

    lumpy 63

    Self taught , did my first patch panels on my 57 chevy front fenders in High School metal shop. But even so when I'm shopping for a new project I run from the really rusty ones......
    ladyhrp, Deuces, OLSKOOL57 and 2 others like this.
  9. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,417


    My Studebaker taught me virtually everything I know about fixing rust:( I almost have a Master's Degree in rust repair.
  10. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,229

    from California

    read some books, watched some videos did a few patches in my car, then one day at the junkyard I met a guy cutting pieces off a 67 Sunbeam alpine. these cars were made in a way that causes the wheel wells and rockers to rust out. probably put 100 hours into that car and got it to the primer stage with the jambs and under the hood painted. it ended up being sold like that and went back to England where they are all destroyed by rust.

    next thing you know rusty cars are knocking at my door. did 4 or 5 BIG jobs, and now I am sick of it. I did so much grinding that the metal particles on my clothes gathered themselves into a rusty blob in the drain on the washing machine and flooded the garage.

    might be doing one more as my 61 dodge has rusty rockers. that's it.
  11. 3W JOHN
    Joined: Oct 8, 2015
    Posts: 1,040

    3W JOHN

    I'm better with fiberglass than sheet metal.
    bobss396, ladyhrp, Fordor Ron and 2 others like this.
  12. OLSKOOL57
    Joined: Feb 14, 2019
    Posts: 477


  13. I learned from failure. Thats the only way you really learn anything lasting. No one ever taught me anything about cars. It was reading about them and ruining them and discussing it with friends that I learned what I know. Trouble is, I still don't know squat.
    Mahty, ferus88, ladyhrp and 5 others like this.
  14. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 21,955

    from Michigan

  15. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 1,406


    I'm pretty good at making scrap metal. Eventually I get it to the point I can live with it. The more I do it the higher the "I can live with it" point becomes. I learned a lot by watching bodymen friends and asking questions. The more you learn about process the more you can figure out. Now it is You Tube and forums like the HAMB. If I did it and don't like the results I can undo it and redo it. Does it cost me sometimes? Absolutely, but no one said education was cheap. The scrap metal pile is growing more slowly.
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN, Deuces and 2 others like this.
  16. I was a welder by trade so working with metal was natural for me. I liked making the sheet metal pieces and tig welding was my specialty. I learned to weld with a torch first and I feel everyone that wants to weld should start with a torch. Now for the fillers that's another story. I see some guys that work that stuff like magic. I have never gotten the knack for it. But I haven't tried in awhile. Thanks to tb33anda3rd.;)
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN, Deuces and 2 others like this.
  17. OLSKOOL57
    Joined: Feb 14, 2019
    Posts: 477


    Learned a lot from a hot rodder friend of mine. He has unbelievable skills and a fleet of 32’ fords. I feel I could never ever reach his skill level. But now I’m willing to try to do some metal work on my 57’ Chevy. What’s the worst that can happen............having to do it again!!!!
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN, Deuces and 2 others like this.
  18. Mark, years ago Brenda gave me a nice torch set for Christmas and shortly after I rented a set of tanks with the idea I would do some gas welding, man did I warp a lot of metal, I was fair with a arc welder but got much more confident with a mig welder.

    I haven't tried tig welding but if I need it my son-in-law is certified and does it every day, there is no learning curve when a family member knows how. HRP
    ladyhrp, OLSKOOL57, 3W JOHN and 2 others like this.
  19. BTW, I use the torches for a fire wrench today!, HRP
    ladyhrp, OLSKOOL57, 3W JOHN and 3 others like this.
  20. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,835


    When I was in high school, my buddy and I rebuilt the rockers and lower hinge boxes on an early Bronco. We had the advantage of an instructor that used to be a body man. We did a lot of metal brazing (all the school would allow), but when we got done, the doors hung right and the bronco saw an extended life.
    As time progressed, a few years later I took a night welding class at the local JR College and the instructor was none other then my high school shop teacher. I've been welding ever since.
    As a broke teenager, I learned to patch up floorboard using what ever metal I could find. Later many of the available patch panels were pretty poor quality, so I ended up making many of my own patch panels.
    At one point I was looking for a job and I fell back on something I was pretty good at, patching rusty cars and trucks. I was certainly never at the level of some of the guys that post on here, but there were a lot of cars and trucks that gained many additional years of service because of what I did with them.
    Contrary to what some here believe, there is a wide range of levels between a hack repairing rust and a professional creating metal masterpieces. Few can achieve the level of creating metal masterpieces, but many are well above the "hack" level.
    Someone mentioned being able to "Do something acceptable for myself, then hope to improve as time moves on." That is a good attitude, and it goes along with "As I improve, I can always redo the things I've done before, if I feel I should." Gene
  21. Served a tough apprenticeship under my Dad, a journeyman auto metal mechanic, before bodymen and patch panels.
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  22. I'm dealing with a bit of rust right now. Front foot wells / floor area and floor supports on a 63 I have. Not my favorite type of work but the reward is seeing it come together as it should be.
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  23. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 6,023

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    I was taught brazing by an older 50's era bodyman. In around 1982 or so, while working on my 55 Olds at this shop, I bought a MIG welder. Not very common in shops back then. My boss tried it, hated it, and put it in the corner to collect dust, until about a year later, I pulled it out, and taught myself how to use it.
    Then got a TIG for my own shop, in the 90's and pretty much did the same, though I did get a 15 min. lesson from a welder at my day job.
    Once you get the theory, safety, and practical tips, it's all in the practice!
    BTW, thanks 'mikehett'for the kudos!
    ladyhrp and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  24. coupe man
    Joined: Sep 1, 2007
    Posts: 264

    coupe man

    I learned by trial and error.Have to credit the HAMM and you tube for the incentive to tackle metal work.Replaced almost all of the bottom of my 56 f-100.Most patch panels needed adjustment,some major adjustment.In the end it's rewarding to see the end product.I'm nowhere near the level of most of the pros on here but happy with my results.Now if I could just get some skill in painting.
  25. Pats55
    Joined: Apr 29, 2013
    Posts: 551

    from NJ

    I went to my 1st car show in 1974. My friend had a gorgeous 32 Chevrolet Confederate coup.. They backed the car out of the trailer and I noticed a large bubble on the bottom of the cowl. I asked my friend Ed WTF he just said What you gonna do? My 1st thought it'll never happen to me and I became obsessed with rust. When it comes to patch panels I am no Pro but I do manage to get the job done. Luckily for me in 1978 I was adopted by a man who built street rods in the fifties and sixties and he was the best/Bodyman welder/metal man you could imagine. I used to love to watch this man jam a 2 x 4 into doorjamb to fix the door To this day when I look at coat hangers I can't help but to think of him.
  26. birdman1
    Joined: Dec 6, 2012
    Posts: 1,368


    I learned to weld from my Dad when I was 10. Lived on a farm in Iowa, so welding was very helpfull. My Dad was one of the first farmer in the area to buy a welder in 1940 or so. I just want to add that since I bought a cheep plasma cutter, working with metal is so much easier and I do a better job. I think I paid around $300.00 for the plasma cutter. and I do think working the metal and figuring out how to make patch panels is the most satisfying part of old cars. Plus, I can only afford old rusty hunks of junk to start with, so is even MORE satisfying!
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  27. So how about some photos? This is what I started off with. '30 Model A tudor, I know it is not as bad as some I have seen on the HAMB but I guess I was lucky. DSC03845.jpg DSC03841.jpg
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  28. jvo
    Joined: Nov 11, 2008
    Posts: 235


    I started with two trips to the international metal meet in Robinson Illinois. Then went twice to Wray Schelin's for workshops. That was the best money I ever spent. Took a 5 day course with Peter Tommassini in Seattle years back. Now, after doing a bunch of my own work, I'm semi retired and doing this for extra cash to buy groceries, etc.

    I have to say, if you can't play the game yourself, don't hire someone else to play it for you, if you are not willing to part with the cash to get it done. It takes a lot of time.
    ladyhrp, OLSKOOL57 and 3W JOHN like this.
  30. Pats55
    Joined: Apr 29, 2013
    Posts: 551

    from NJ

    This one has my primer now the epoxy comes next A little overkill but as Remo said in the movie Casino." Why take a chance"?

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