The Renovation Project: Part III
Phase VI (Sanding it all smooth…well, mostly)
The bondo was finally dry and I was thrilled. That is an indication of how depressing Phases I – V really were: I was happy the bondo was dry. Pretty much sums it up for the project to that point…
Now it was time to take this hunk of sharp and nasty aluminum, replete with bondo patches, and sand it down into something I could not only paint, but also hold without bleeding.
I grabbed my favorite beat up shorts and T-shirt, a sanding pad, a few sheets of rough grit metal paper, a dust mask and some goggles and settled down on my comfy stool outside to sand it all down and see what I could get out of it.
I knew, right away, that smooth was a hopeless goal. The ridges and striations in the aluminum were simply too deep to sand smooth by hand. If I had a belt sander, or grinder, maybe I could have. But even then I would have been worried about sanding or grinding through the drum body.
So my objective was to take all of the sharpness off of the ridges so that I could at least hold it comfortably. I also wanted to get a nicely prepped surface for the primer. I figured that I could triple, or even quadruple, the paint coats to add some thickness, and reduce the sharpness even more.
I started by folding up some of the paper and sanding inside of the ridges. That took me two hours, top to bottom, and three sheets of sandpaper.
Then it was time to sand the drum up and down, and take the sharp edges off of the top of the striations. That took another hour and a half, and two more sheets of sandpaper.
Finally I finished it off by sanding the interior of the drum, which went very quickly. Only a half an hour and a sheet of sandpaper.
I spent another hour cleaning it all off with a sponge and water, making sure no metal dust ruined my primer coat.
All told, what I had naively hoped would take me an afternoon (Removing the pleather, cleaning and sanding, first primer coat) in fact took eight days, and about sixteen hours of work.
As you can see, that is quite a bit of bondo. I was really worried that the drum would sound muffled, or even worse, have a ringing buzz to it, once I put it back together.
Phase VII (Paint Prep and Primer Coats)
But I still had daylight, and now it was time to tape it all off and give it a coat or two of primer to dry over night!
The Red Neck Paint Booth is a simple cardboard box, opened up and with the top cut off, that is sitting on a big, blue vinyl tarp. Very basic, but I didn’t need a clean room, just a way to not muck up the concrete and the fences. I did make sure to sweep the patio very diligently, and then hose it all down to eliminate as much dust and twigs and so on as possible.
I was excited to get this part done, but not so thrilled that I lost focus.
I am proud to say I remembered the boltholes! I used the dot stickers to cover them up because getting any paint in them would make suddenly turn this project into a metal shop class. Re-threading bolts, or replacing the nuts with new ones, was something I could simply not do. Very important to keep them clean.
I cut the bottom of a paper bag off and stuffed the new paper tube into the drum.
Then I simply folded that over the inner rim and taped it down with masking tape. Now both the inner rim and the boltholes were protected.
Then I flipped the drum over and did the same thing on the bottom, taking my time to get the tape up to the edges of the bottom ring’s curve.
Easy as pie.
I used a paper bag and a box top to act as a paint booth for the rim.
I went with dark grey primer for a very scientific, highly techinical reason. It was the least expensive.
I gave the rim, and the drum’s exterior, two solid coats of primer, allowing 40 minutes of dry time between coats.
And then I went to bed.