Finishing Kit

July 10, 2012

The Canopy Fairing - continued - 5.0 hrs.

Over the last week, I've spent time now and then as I have been able to, carefully sanding down the final coat of fairing filler, switching to #220 when it seemed appropriate. At this point, I brought out what I consider the heavy artillery in tools for this kind of work. I bought this pair of magnifying glasses at Harbor Freight several years ago, and you can't believe how handy they have been all through this project. I'm always pulling them out of the cabinet for one thing or another, when I really need to inspect something close up. The best news is, they're cheap! I highly recommend having a pair of these on hand. I have become so attached to them and use them so often, I wouldn't be without them. So I've been wearing them a lot during this phase of the sanding work. Combined with a shop light that I hold at a very low angle right on the skin, you can see every pit, scratch, low spot, and defect show up in dramatic form.

So I've been working away at this, and finally reached a point where I can't see anymore work to do. It's now time to spray on some high-build sandable primer. There are numerous brands of this stuff, and you can find it at any automotive shop in the paint section. I was going to pull the canopy off the plane at this point, but at the last minute I decided to just leave it where it is. This has worked out so well for me. I realized it would be faster and easier to mask off the plane than to try to rig something up to hold it for painting. So I carefully masked off the plane and all areas that were at risk of getting sprayed, and I shot a coat of this primer on. Here it is, right after spraying. Not bad! I think it looks pretty good.

Here are a couple more pictures.

As tempting as it is to call it done and move on, I pulled out my magnifiers and my shop light and took a closer look. Upon close inspection, you can see a lot of small pits, scratches, and some visible defects that don't show up in these pictures. But they are there. You can also see some of the rivets. They didn't get filled in as good as I had thought. If I stop at this point, those places will show forever. So I did some sanding with #400 at this point, and prepared to add some more filler here and there where needed. It won't take much. I've come so far, I don't want to stop now. Why revisit this later on when I'm in the mode for this work now? I can just press on a little more here and get it done real nice once and for all.

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