Monthly Archives: August 2019

The mustang has been in her stall all summer as I slowly worked through removing all her layers of grime. First a hot wash with dish soap to strip her of wax; then a traditional clay-bar polish (I guarantee this was the first time ever for this step- wow. so. much. yutz. and blue paint); then a hot foam as lubrication for the new Mother’s “clay” micro-cutting pad- again, wow. even. more. yutz; then it was time for the pneumatic polisher. I decided I would not attempt to use cutting fluid or a cutting pad, as the 45 year old repaint from some archaic shop in Great Falls, Montana is a question mark regarding thickness and stability. Pros have a thousand dollar meter to read how thick the paint/clear coat is, so they know whether to cut or just polish. I decided I could live with some scratches and swirls vs creating a real disaster, and went with a microfiber polishing pad and polishing fluid. For a minute I thought of using cutting fluid with the polish pad, but decided to just try out the polish/polish first. Dead clear-coat and blue paint loaded the pad really quickly. No matter how many pros tell you that seeing the paint load up the pad is normal on an old car, it is a bit nerve wracking. I had to stop every cubit of surface and blow out the pad- it would create a cloud of debris (I wore a particle mask!).

Today I began the final step: ceramic coat (Avalon King). I completed the hood and the trunk, or all the upward facing surfaces. I hope to complete the rest tomorrow morning. The old girl really pulls down a lot of product, and requires a long fussy hand buffing. The results were worth it. I rolled her back into the garage for a “dust-free” environment for the first two hours of cure, then rolled her back out into full sun for an hour or so of UV fix for the ceramic. The day climbed from 80-85, then I pushed her back in the stable as the real heat came on.

Rear 3/4 view.
Trunk from driver’s side rear.
Closer view, trunk from driver’s side rear.
Trunk skinscape.
Trunk and surround, from passenger side looking back.
Trunk midline at hinge seam.
Trunk, passenger side sparkles.
Hood, front view.
Hood, from passenger side looking forward.
Closer view, passenger side Hood.
Driver’s side, front quarter panel and hood. sparkles.
Driver’s side hood. Universe.
Almost full view from high perspective, shot while balancing on narrow truck bumper.

The trout are all finished out. When last we saw them, they were undergoing reconstructive surgery from their car attack. Since then I set a new cold patina to etch and seal the naked bronze, then went about color matching. They are all dolled up with patina renewed, and the entire form cleaned and waxed. When their sister pair is released from police evidence, I’ll finish out that set, then add new stainless steel mounting poles to both sets.

The fishies are ready for inspection: welded, chased, color matched.
Feeling swimmingly.
Reconstructive surgery was successful!
A view of the opposite side.
This was the side with the long dent that I pounded out from the inside.
There are two tiny perfect triangles stamped low in his brow, cool scars he wanted to keep, cuz he’s a tough guy who’s lived a rough and tumble life; fought a car and won.
This hoop belongs to the pair still in police holding. The near side had been bent toward us, ripping the metal open on the inside. I bent it back into place with a come-along, then welded, chased, and color matched it.
Feelin’ streamy. The bronze spot (with grasses covering it from above) is where the fish mounts via weld.

Triple digit heat finally let off today, allowing triple trout triage. The double trout set is still held as evidence in the City’s court proceedings with the driver that smashed into them, but I thought I’d get started on the big triple group. The car had slid up and over the front fish of the group, gouging in many deep lines along both sides of the fish and worse, pushing a big running dent.

The long running dent
Backfilling the dent with weld is one solution, another is drilling a hole at the bottom and on the opposite side; for pounding it back in shape from the inside.
Hammer Hits: Pounding rod / 20 hits, then hit hand. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Slooowly the metal reshapes.
Looks about like the other side- nearly new!
Scrapes and dent removed, down to shiny fish skin.
Big scratches on the opposite side are blended out as well. Plus, the hammerin’ hole is backfilled and smoothed over.
The hammerin’ hole on the chest is welded closed and chased out as well.
A snapped weld joining the fish to the stream hoop gets fixed. The fish is amazed!
I clear the bronze and put on a chemical base layer. This etches the bronze and seals it.
Now I’ll have to match the patina, then clean and wax the group.
They will wait to get their new stainless steel poles until the City gives me the other group, and I’ll add poles to both groups at the same time.
Pulling off limbs, with a few chunky ones like the one landed in the creek.

Feller work shown is where E gets bored and grabs the camera. Not pictured is all the fun stuff, like; putting up the 12 new Bluebird houses, checking all the other bird houses and finding lots of chicks and getting pushed off of the last few houses by a bossy bull; switching out road bikes for mountain bikes (E’s birthday present) and cycling in the morning up over Kibbey Ridge to find a guy from SLC making breakfast from the back of his truck on his way to Glacier, then a twilight ride down the road a piece to spot Elk (singular this time) and seeing the Snipe fly from the marsh below the corral upon our return, as well as loading them onto the truck and heading up Belt Canyon past Neihart to ride a dirt road alongside a mountain stream (same that we had skied last year); enjoying a big hours long mountain thunderstorm from the front porch (while Nora chatters her teeth until slipping into a pill-induced bliss); Xander and Voices kill at minimum 14 mice (all-time record) plus they ate a few…; the house was swarmed by a sudden Gypsy’s curse of fat flies, hundreds roaring and driving against the doors and windows (while the kitchen door was in triage and before the storm door had been resealed)- followed by me with the big shop-vac removing the scores that forced their way in; dinner down at our cousin’s ranch outside of Belt; the whole time it felt like the 1970’s or 80’s- just cool nights, mild days, rainstorms- and finally a big fire in Helena sent the now-seasonal smoke billows on our last day, reminding us that the arctic is 30 degrees or more above normal and the collapsing jet stream is why our weather seemed “normal”; just as we near the foot of Malad pass in Idaho we watch from under the dark twilight of a churning storm ahead as the craziest verga down force of violent wind and rain hits from directly above in a hovering smoke that levitates with violent speed over the hillsides and mountains, and we are soon facing a wall of ripping waves that dwarf the truck, then we punch into the wall with a gale pushing hard from the side and down, as we pass through the whole truck lifts for a dizzying moment, then into the sideways car-wash zone with cleansing hail set to new-dent-level we motor up the steep pass with the highway transformed to a standing waterfall upheld by screaming wind. The most different weather I’ve ever been through, and I’ve been in some pretty different weather up on the 14er peaks.

Lawn mowed (with both new-this-summer mowers), edged, and weeded; time to jerk dead branches from the willows with the cutting pole.
More passable airspace for the birdies.
A feller might as well grind down and paint the old beehive, as it is covered over and has no bees. Next ladder work is bondo-ing up a gap under the soffit around the house at the gutter over the kitchen window (I already solved the drainage problem), then onto the roof again at twilight (the porch bees are all back in the hive for the night) to seal up a leaky spot.
Kitchen door is missing (just the storm door remaining)? I replaced the air-bump strip across the bottom, and the door could no longer shut. Obviously, this has always been the case. Off the door comes.
After a few passes with the circular saw on a rigged up square jig, the door is rehung and fits perfect on one end, so two more thin cuts aligns both sides, and the door is rehung to find it fits perfectly snug over the air dam.
The door jamb / portal is beat up and needs wood glue with clamps, scraping with blades, removal of old felt & nail air seal, and bondo over old holes from long gone hardware as well as old hardware still in place that I removed. Eventually all corners and edges are square and clean.
Might as well make the door square and clean while I’m at it, at least the inside of the door (the outside will have to wait).
The oscillating paint stripper churns up the old lead paint by heating it into a sludge and pulling it away from the wood in weird sticky glorps.
I’d spent 4 hours organizing the wood shed a few days back, and had moved this mystery cinder block to the big garage. I remembered what it was for as the door cleared up: eroding the sticky paint off the sanding burr. E ran across the county road and retrieved it from the garage.
Ready for orbital sanding: 60 grit / 80 / 100 / 120.
The yard Bluebird doesn’t have a door on his house, just a narrow slot. Lucky fellow. His chicks chirp a loud chorus about bugs, bugs, bugs!
I need a fat log to mount a new tool on, and so pull half of the remains of our beetle kill yard pine out from under plastic in the ice house. All lined up for the Chopper One axe.
Bees tasted the sap seepages.
I leveled the log with a wood grinding head on the grinder, pre-drilled holes into the log, then used some fat bolt screws as anchors. But what is that thing?
It’s tech from New Zealand- a kindling splitter.
A friend’s dad was sitting at a campfire splitting kindling on his knee and drove his hatched into his knee. I’m not saying I’d never be dumb enough to do that, but now we don’t have to find out.
Yeah! Idiot proof!
Winter likes to plant a snowbank on this edge of the porch, so I strip and repaint it, along with the post and along the roofline as well.
Big clouds poofed up as evening shadows pushed the sun out of the valley. Time to jump up to top for a sunset tour.
This big thunderhead sat over the valley to the east.
Almost dramatic….
Really close to getting spectacular.
And it all slips away.
Close up of the new air dam that started the door project: the gray rubber fit into the aluminum rail.
Refurbished door jamb in bluebird-roof blue & white, with new rubber-poly weather sealant in brown. The hinges are stripped of their thick layers, spray painted white, and sport new screws.
The bright blue is like a UV light bath as you come through the doorway. The storm door is now mostly air tight again as well.
The refinished door with a bit of dash. I didn’t trust stripping around the big window without flexing the door and snapping the old glass, I also had to dig out and bondo over big cracks in the three wooden panels after cutting away the thick layers of paint. The panel boards had to be painted to cover the triage (and the panel wood was really basic stuff), but the door was pretty nice and matched the wood trim we’d already exposed. So the old gal is now a bit “aged mountain hippy”. Make sure to pull her closed tight!
I rounded up all the old batteries and oil, and here had just drained the oil from the derelict Chevy Viking.
The siphon pump came up with nothing, as the gas cap was gone and the gas had evaporated out. One less thing.
Stormy sunset of electric blue, periwinkle, rose, and static yellow.
Cold front rolls over the ranch, condensing from the Little Belt Mountains.
The setting sun is just touching the high grasslands along the East side of the ranch, with the Highwood mountains poking up from far down on the great plain of the Missouri River.

Up at the Montana ranch for the last 10 days of July, spanning our 10th wedding anniversary, and E’s birthday. The hills and pastures were still green. The little front pictured here dropped our night temps to 38 degrees, with daytime highs in the 70’s with a few “hot” days in the 80’s (our overnight lows in SLC are about the same as the daytime highs at the ranch).