Saturday, August 7, 2010


If you intend to carry out a full body-off strip down prior to welding, a means of holding the chassis/floorpan at a comfortable working height is very useful. Strong steel trestles can easily be welded-up (good practice for the novice welder) and if two steel box sections are laid across these, you will have a solid and level platform onto which a few strong adults should easily be able to man-handle the assembly.
An angle grinder with cutting and grinding wheelsplus a sanding/linishing wheel and perhaps a cup brush will save hours of very hard work when you have to clean old paint. undcrseal or rust from metal. You will need a selection of tools for cutting sheet metal. such as tin snips. aviation shears (straight and curved)
Monodex cutter, hacksaw, sharp bolster chisel and lump hammer. Pneumatic chisels and air hacksaws which are powered by compressors are marvellous if your pocket runs to a large enough compressor to power them, because they allow you to cut body panels without the distortions which a holster chisel produces. The twin problems with the air chisel are its noise level (guaranteed to annoy neighbours) and its appetite for air, which can easily outstrip the capacity of smaller compressors.
Another very useful but incredibly noisy air ool is the descalcr. This tools uses air power to hammer a number of pins down onto a rusted surface, and can quickly remove all traces of rust and leave a surface
This small compressor provides enough compressed air to power an air chisel and other useful tools. It is a boon for the Beetle owner if only for its use in pressurising the windscreen washer bottle! It is useful for small paint spraying jobs, but for a full car respray you really need a compressor with a tank capacity ten or twenty times the 25 litres of the author's compressor, and a much more powerful motor.
ready for de-g- easing prior to welding or spraying. The noise level generated when working on a large, resonant
lief with either this tool or the air chisel, however, is
that the user must wear some form of hearing In some countries, laws will allow
neighbours the legal means to curtail such noisy activities. In the UK, noise is now treated as a form of pollution, and the authorities could be brought in by a neighbour if you were to make too much noise.
Speaking of compressors, these are incredibly useful, not merely for spraying, but for blowing rust and dust out of nooks and crannies. They are also useful to have to hand for blowing out minor welding fires which can start when paint, underseal or trim in the vicinity of the area being welded suddenly catches fire. Buy the largest compressor which you can afford, because very small units are quickly drained of air by certain attachments, and the motors have a short 'duty cycle' which causes them to shut off automatically to prevent them from overheating. This sometimes happens just as you really need them!
The author has also found that an old cylinder-type vacuum cleaner is one of the most useful tools in the workshop. Cleaning off an old bodyshell generates a tremendous amount of dust which, if you try to clear it with a broom, will mainly escape into the atmosphere only to re-settle elsewhere. If you are intending to spray paint in the near future then such dust will ruin the finish; if you are rebuilding a mechanical component then the dust will enter the 'works' and cause accelerated wear. The vacuum cleaner deals with this problem and is also useful for cleaning loose paint and rust flakes off the bodyshell, and for clearing filler dust from nooks and crannies before painting.
A pop-riveter is essential for fixing some items of trim but also very useful for positioning some panels prior to welding. Hand-powered pop rivet pliers are cheap to buy, and you should always look for a set which has long handles, because using them for any length of time can really make your hand ache! Air-powered alternatives are available, but it is up to the individual to decide whether the amount of pop riveting to be done justifies the extra cost of these.
The more ambitious restorer who wishes to fabricate some of the repair panels will benefit from a good set of panel beater's tools, although these can be very expensive and a rubber faced mallet plus a small selection of hammers and dollies can be substituted with some success. The author found a useful set of three planishing hammers and four dollies at VW Tools (address at the back of this book).

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