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eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper
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hoagy86
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause well done that looks very nice detail is the key and you are showing it my friend.
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DaleNW
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simply amazing! As usual, I am impressed with your level of detail and skill. Keep it up! I hope you drive this beauty to Seattle some time!
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Bala
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice job, no surprise. Smile Love that you're using OG laminate!

What did you use to clean the mildew from the fridge lid seal?
I've attempted to clean mine, but stains seem to remain behind.
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Keith
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eche_bus wrote:
Power Inlet Overhaul, or how many times can I do something over?

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Here's a shot with that new big beautiful decal applied. I'm happy that Matt (curtis4085) has made this very specialized decal available. Just not so happy to buy one twice for the same box. Wink
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Here's the inside front, showing the new zinc plating. It came out unusually blue for zinc. Oh well, beats looking at corrosion.
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Finally, and I swear this will be the last time I talk about this damn power box, the backside.
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Very Happy Please check in tomorrow for something MUCH more interesting, I promise. Very Happy


Wasn't this box just the natural silver (zinc) color when new ? I see no evidence of paint ( at least black paint ) on mine.
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@everyone - Thanks for the kind compliments! Smile As always, glad to help with any details.

@DaleNW - couldn't have done it without your help. I hope to drive to the West Coast and stay there permanently some day. Seattle area is still a possibility!

@Bala - Thanks! It's been a b*tch to re-use the OG laminate, and the results are a devil's bargain of quality vs originality. I sincerely appreciate that you appreciate it, though. Amazing what a power buffer, compound and wax have been able to do. I cleaned the mildew with multiple passes of Formula 409 and a toothbrush followed by a little solvent in spots. I also used lacquer thinner or acetone to clean the rubber seal. The molded white plastic doesn't take kindly to solvents though, so be very careful using lacquer thinner or acetone. Tough stains might respond well to bathroom mildew cleaner.

@Keith - Mine still had its original (faded) paint, most definitely not repainted. As well, I have looked at dozens of different late Westy photos as well as photos of the inlet box in the Classifieds section here, and every single one had the same medium-to-dark grey color on the outside of the box (the inside is not painted). When I stripped mine bare I could see the entire box was plated in zinc (silver with a bluish cast) before being painted. It is now repainted exactly as it was found originally, although the metallic grey came out a little on the dark side (looks lighter in the sun). I'm curious, does your box still have its original cover decal? If not, it is likely the paint was stripped off by a PO. Here's an example of a good unrestored one from the Classifieds: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1570243
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine has what's left of the original decal. It's an original paint unmolested bus that unfortunately has decayed a bit due to the elements so will need an outside restoration. Maybe I can snap a few pics off when this damn rain stops.
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keith wrote:
Mine has what's left of the original decal. It's an original paint unmolested bus that unfortunately has decayed a bit due to the elements so will need an outside restoration. Maybe I can snap a few pics off when this damn rain stops.


That's very interesting. I believe curtis4085 has a similar bare zinc box on his Westy. Would be interesting to see photos (yeah, raining every day here, too) and you might consider starting a thread on the topic and see who else will step forward with more info.
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Headbanger Cabinet Restoration Part I - original condition

The goal is to restore all the Westy's cabinetry, and the next one to pop out of the queue was the upper rear cabinet, or "headbanger" as its so aptly called. At first glance, the condition of the cabinet wasn't terrible, but the more you looked, the more you'd see wrong.

The left end of the face must have once had a speaker or fan screwed onto it, leaving an assortment of holes. There's also a couple of small ripples in the molding near the hinge. On the right end of the face, we see the door molding is really shrunken, with a big gap at the bottom and plenty of waves. A cigarette lighter-type power receptacle had also been installed, wired directly to the aux. battery (no fuse! Rolling Eyes ). Still, not too bad so far.
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Let's take a look inside. Shocked You might say the T-molding has shrunk a little. Wink The inside floor is scratched and stained all over.
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On to the bottom and back. Shrunken, rippled molding abounds. Sad
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Just look at that OG molding. Look at it. I was able to restore this.
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This lifted and damaged laminate strip will be removed and repaired by piecing in another section of OG laminate, aligned with the grain.
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Here's a good look at the underside. Looks like this cabinet has had plenty banged into it over the years - gouges, deep scratches, and plenty of fading (note darker border where the T-molding covered it).
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The varnish on the exposed side is fairly worn off.
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Headbanger Cabinet Restoration Part II - restoration

I began by removing everything from the cabinet - door, PO added power receptacle, and trim. Lots and lots of wiggly wavy trim.
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The first goal was to remove the stains from the cabinet floor.
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The floor is made from what I believe to be a thin mahogany veneer glued to a plywood core. First I cleaned with Formula 409, which removed some of the greasy spots, then wiped several times with lacquer thinner, then block sanded with 180, more lacquer thinner, more block sanding with 180 until I was looking at clean, bare veneer. NOTE: the veneer is very thin. This is not the place for a power sander.
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I applied a coat of polyurethane varnish and once dry block sanded with 220, repeating this 2 more times. The results speak for themselves. (The variation in tone is due to an irridescence in the veneer. From different angles, different parts look lighter/darker.)
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Flipping the cabinet over, I went about the awful task of trying to sand out and fill the gouges and scratches. It took multiple block sandings with 180 (always with the grain), wood putty to the gouges stained to try to match the color, and a closely matched stain to even out the tone. I did everything I could to get the brushed on varnish dust and bubble free but finally gave up, sanded again and used spray varnish to achieve a nearly perfect finish. I learned that using brushed on varnish for the first two coats and spray varnish as a final seems to be the way to go. As mentioned, the mahogany veneer has an iridescence that makes it appear lighter/darker as the light angle is varied.
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As there was no OG laminate replacement panel available, the only option I had was to try to repair the holes drilled in the cabinet face. Trouble was, the self-tapping screws had slightly raised the edge of the holes, so I tried tapping them down with a punch, with little success. Next, wood filler and a cut off dowel for the large hole was used.
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It is extremely difficult to match woodgrain laminate. I bought a laminate repair kit containing a product called SeamFil from Kampel Enterprises that allows you to match any color of wood. It's a plastic filler designed specifically for laminate that is applied to the damaged area with a putty knife and hardens solid in just a few hours. It comes with a special solvent that is used for smoothing and excess removal. It works well as a durable filler, but this laminate has so many different shades and it is so challenging to get it just right, that all I can say is "the results aren't awful". Here is a photo before the laminate was buffed and waxed. Here it doesn't look great, but you'll see later it turned out pretty well.
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After sanding and applying varnish to the rest of the exterior wood, I discover that the front face is actually made up of a sandwich of two pieces glued together. These were separating down near the bottom of the door opening, likely stressed by the cabinet door repeatedly dropped over the years. So, I carefully pried them apart more to allow seeping and brushing wood glue down into the crack, then clamped it back together. The excess glue then had to be tediously removed from the T-molding channel above and below.
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Headbanger Cabinet Restoration Part III - reassembly

With everything refinished and mechanically sturdy again, it just about time to put it back together. But first, the OG laminate had to be buffed out with compound and waxed with Minwax Paste Finishing Wax (Special Dark) so it looked like new again.

Oh yeah, there was all that that T-molding that still had to be straightened and restored. Crying or Very sad

Each piece was put into a pot of boiling water for a minute or two, then as it was removed it was pulled straight by maintaining a slight tension on it as it cooled. This is a two-person operation, so have a helpful friend or spouse (like mine!) on hand. Remember all those ripples and waves, especially the nasty ones on the bottom trim? This process removed every single one.

Next was the incredible tedium of removing all the old glue from the ribs that hold the trim into the cabinet slots. As if that isn't enough, all those cabinet slots have to be thoroughly cleaned of glue, too. Be glad there isn't a photo of me doing this as I would not be a "happy camper". This much trim takes hours and hours and ...

Exclamation Acetone. I'll say it again, that this stuff on OG trim is like a magical elixir, a gift from the gods. The scuffs and scrapes, the fading and wear can be largely wiped away using paper towels and enough acetone. The closest thing to magic I've ever witnessed. Acetone. Exclamation

Once the molding is installed, follow up by polishing with Meguire's Clear Plastic Cleaner #17. Yeah, I know it's called "cleaner". Trust me.

Do all this and you'll get results like this.
Blow dryer was used to form around corners and to stretch to exact size. No longer any gaps! Very Happy :
Wood glue was applied to slots before T-molding pressed in to make sure it stays put.
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OK. So let's build a door.
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And attach the darn thing. I'll spare you the latch plate adjustment which involved bending, filing, and the re-application of foam tape on the inside face of the door molding to eliminate rattles. Oh yeah, and the heating and pressing of the molding around the door to get it to conform better to the face. My god this was a time-sucking experience. Confused
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So here's what we get for all the trouble. A cabinet that looks virtually new. I decided to keep the power outlet after all as having access to aux. battery power from the back of the bus seems like a good idea. If I had another good OG laminate panel to replace this face, I'd likely have opted to return to stock instead.
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Over at the backside, you can see the replaced laminate and nicely sanded/varnish curved panel. Doesn't suck.
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And ... the view inside is much nicer now.
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Coming very soon: The Big Table Restoration
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause


Nice write up! Well done sir. Cool
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Red Fau Veh
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fun times with wood there. I have fixed old t molding also like you did and some times it will get wrinkled again, not a big deal though because there is a guy that sells new t molding if you need it down the road.
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks notchboy. Smile

Red Fau Veh - yeah all kinds of fun, especially with no real woodworking skill. Never thought I'd need to know this stuff. Embarassed

The replacement T-molding that's out there from BusDepot, GoWesty, T-molding.com, and even "the guy that sells new T-molding" is all the same stuff (same dimensions, etc.) and isn't exactly like the original. For one, it's a different type of plastic that neither cleans/polishes up with Acetone or responds to heating the same way. For two, the rib or stem that retains it is slightly narrower and the crown slightly flatter. Is it good enough? I'd use it if no original was available.
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big Table Restoration Part I - original condition and woodworking

I forgot to photograph the table before taking it apart, so we'll make do with a shot from when I first bought the bus. The laminate was all scratched, and the T-molding warped, scraped, and shrunken.
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It was the bottom side that really looked poor. I don't know what a PO used the table for, but it looks like they spilled drinks or pissed on it on a regular basis. What the photo doesn't also show is the condition of the big pedestal support - covered in corroded streaks and drips.
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One of the first things to do after removing all the hardware was to pull off the original laminate using a hot iron and a wide putty knife. With the iron set to "Cotton", this method works quite well. Once the laminate was off, the remaining glue was removed by a combo of sanding and acetone.
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After scrubbing and soaking the stained backside with solvents in a vain effort to remove the stains, I decided to go at it with a random orbital sander using 80 grit. It was very encouraging as the stains began to lighten and disappear.
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The mood turned sour as I worked the most heavily stained area. As the last of these stains disappeared, I learned (the hard way) that these tables are not made of solid wood. The slightly "butcher block" appearance on the underside is created by a very thin wood veneer glued to the surface. Shocked I'd sanded through this veneer! Shocked The phrase "I'm screwed" immediately came to mind. Crying or Very sad
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I suppose the veneer could somehow be stripped off and replaced, but believe me, unlike the laminate on the opposite side, it was effectively welded to the wood beneath it. I don't own a precision planer, and barely register at a Jr. High School shop level of wood proficiency, so options seemed very limited. Think

Idea Idea: flip it over, transfer all the drilled hole features to the opposite side, and fill the sanded-through parts and original holes.
[Please don't rush to copy this. There's a downside I discovered at the last stages of assembly]
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Yeah, it was plenty of work to do all that, plus sand and varnish. But in the end, it looked sooooo much better. Smile
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Of course, then I realized the underside of the smaller leaf section didn't match, as underneath it used the same veneer. You guessed it - all the same stuff had to be done to it. Rolling Eyes


Last edited by eche_bus on Fri May 09, 2014 2:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big Table Restoration Part II - laminate work

With the woodwork out of the way, it was laminate time. I felt like starting with the "easy" one. Time to brush and roll on the glue. Two thin coats were applied to each surface.
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Here's the laminate gluing jig, showing the dowels that are used during gluing to keep the laminate and wood surfaces apart until ready to stick. Gluing is done by pressing a section of laminate down and progressively removing dowels and pressing further sections down until complete. Note the gap between the leaf and the top inside of the jig - the laminate for this one has been rough cut from another larger OG piece, and the side fit is the only critical alignment.
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A shot of the replacement laminate applied to the leaf. A roller is being used to press the surfaces together very thoroughly and to remove any air bubbles. A router is used later to precisely trim the laminate to the contour of the underlying wood.
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Here's the big section in the fitting jig. I had no other piece of OG laminate to use besides the one that came off it, so the jig is set up to precisely box-in the space where the laminate would be applied, allowing no wiggle room (blue post-its act as precision spacers). Pre-cut laminate pieces must be placed *exactly* aligned to all 4 edges, as they aren't routed to size later. You can also see the wood leveling compound used to prepare the surface after the unfortunate veneer sand-through.
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Laminate now glued in place.
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Once the leaf laminate was routed to size, it was time to polish and wax the years away on both sections using a power buffer and the compounds shown.
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Ready for reassembly.
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big Table Restoration Part II - reassembly

So all that's left is to put it back together. Again, the most time-consuming part of this was restoring the OG T-molding. The straightening, glue-removal, and rubbing out defects with Acetone takes plenty of time and doesn't make for good photo opportunities. Even the installation with all its gluing and stretching kept two people busy enough to not even think of photography.

We'll stick to pictures of things getting screwed together, and begin with the little leaf.
I forgot to document the right direction for the latch plate to go. It's not symmetrical, but has both long and short beveled ends. Could someone tell me which end should be closest to the edge?
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On to the big section. The re-plated support plate sure looks better than when it was covered in corrosion. Media blasting was required to remove all the corrosion, so it now has more of a satin finish.
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Let's put the leaf foldunder snap and leaf support together ... yeah, I made up these names.
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Put on the big support plate and the little retaining snap at the far corner and the main section is done.
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Align and attach the leaf and the table is complete.
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Final thoughts:
Although I feel the table turned out pretty well, there are two shortcomings that keep it from being "excellent":

First, having no alternative OG laminate to replace the big section, I had to make the best of my original, fairly deeply scratched one. While this type of laminate can be polished, it can not be polished sufficiently to remove deep scratches before the "woodgrain" texture lines covering its surface are removed. To remove the texture is to create odd and very obvious shiny spots. So, the table still has several long scratches that show in the right light. I guess we won't feel so bad the first time it gets another one.

Second is a side-effect of the decision to swap the top and bottom sides. To remove the bottom side stains I had no choice but to sand and the sand-through turned what were dark spots into noticeably light and un-grained light ones. I didn't realize that the groove cut around the perimeter of the table sections wasn't centered, but slightly offset to accommodate the thickness of the laminate. Only once we installed the T-molding did this become obvious and the result is that the top edge of the molding sits slightly below the top surface of the laminate such that the edge of the laminate is somewhat visible. The bottom edge of the molding sits slightly below the bottom surface of the table. Still, I don't think the molding misalignment is something you'd notice without looking for it.
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eche_bus wrote:
I forgot to document the right direction for the latch plate to go. It's not symmetrical, but has both long and short beveled ends. Could someone tell me which end should be closest to the edge?


I can snap a picture of mine if you haven't figured this out yet.
My table "restore" thread has some images, but maybe not what you need:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=521091&highlight=

Your table looks awesome!
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bala - thanks for the offer! I looked over your thread and couldn't see the plate close enough to tell the orientation. To be clear, I'm referring to the galvanized steel plate that is mounted on the leaf, centered along the long axis, aligned with the hinge edge. It is bent at each end, one bend is short, the other long. My question is which end goes toward the hinge edge of the leaf. A good closeup photo will show me, otherwise just saying which is fine.
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eche_bus wrote:
Bala - thanks for the offer! I looked over your thread and couldn't see the plate close enough to tell the orientation. To be clear, I'm referring to the galvanized steel plate that is mounted on the leaf, centered along the long axis, aligned with the hinge edge. It is bent at each end, one bend is short, the other long. My question is which end goes toward the hinge edge of the leaf. A good closeup photo will show me, otherwise just saying which is fine.


Got it, I'll check this evening and post up if no one answers before then.
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eche_bus wrote:


Exclamation Acetone. I'll say it again, that this stuff on OG trim is like a magical elixir, a gift from the gods. The scuffs and scrapes, the fading and wear can be largely wiped away using paper towels and enough acetone. The closest thing to magic I've ever witnessed. Acetone. Exclamation


Welcome to the inner circle or Acetone appreciation. Lots of uses for Acetone that aren't widely known.
Just use the right gloves...
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