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Sajeev
Community Manager

Community Question: One new skill you must learn to restore your classic?

Something I've learned over the years with my old cars is that they force me to learn new things. 

 

The next "big thing" I need to learn is how to do plastic welding.  I bought a "welder" on Amazon and I will have to practice on some junk part before using it on the big task: the big, broken dashboard in the photo below! 

 

IMG_4802.jpg

 

So what's your next big thing to learn?  Wish me luck! 

53 REPLIES 53
Rob1
Instructor

Interesting Sajeev let me know how that turns out,for me i want to own and learn a plasma cutter Iam still olde school torches and grinder as taught to me from my grandfather who made his living welding railway tracks together oxy/acetylene if U can imagine he worked Canada and U.S side to him the torch was king.R 

Sajeev
Community Manager

I am terrible with a torch, I am sure these things are far, far easier.  If you can handle an old school torch I am sure you can plasti weld like a pro already! 

Rob1
Instructor

One thing I can say for sure Sajeev is the ability to repair plastic is a art that going farther in the future for our upcoming generations of restorers will be required as todays autos have a serious amount of plastic component's everywhere and in my limited experience with plastics hot glue guns and or me just dont work everything I attempted to glue back together either melted or fell apart or both.LOL Good Luck 

Sajeev
Community Manager

Rob you hit the nail on the head!  Old plastic bits are hard to find (unless you have a truck/muscle car with reproduction parts available) so the time has come to figure out how to weld these together! 

Rob1
Instructor

No question Sajeev so far the Corvette purveyor's of replacement plastic bits have it all so Iam good for along time and trust me brittle is the name of the game with nearly 50 YO plastic everything I touch just disintegrates in my hand so many pieces replaced and counting,on a not so popular car the pieces are just plain getting near impossible to find most salvage yards here turn over so many cars that the older stuff is just gone so while travelling about you are looking for personal salvage yards and braving dogs and bees to check out whether the part you need might be there you are on the rite track figure out how to repair.R

61Rampy
Detailer

I worked for Ford in the 90s, and since we are in Phoenix, plastic bits are super brittle. It was common to break switch retainers and retaining tabs.  I managed to use my soldering iron to re-attach switches and tabs to plastic panels, but used no filler. It worked, but wasn't much stronger than the brittle plastic itself. 

gerald102413
Detailer

Using a spray paint exterior painting gun for my auto front bumper. I'm so use to using touch up paint the old fashion way using Angelus brush, but I have to start somewhere.

JimR
Instructor

TIG welding. Done.

Guitar74
Gearhead

Welding with a wire feed. Learned how to stick weld in high school. My beads with a stick welder make my wire feed beads look like Fido's butt.

 

That and patience. Patience would be the trait I would most like to learn. I fear that if 47 yrs isn't enough to teach it to me, I'm doomed at this point. 

Rob1
Instructor

LOL Guitar you will likely gain some patience as you grow older then once old will begin to loose it once more wandering around your shop looking for your glasses for twenty minutes getting distracted at finding other stuff you misplaced only to find your specs on top of your head.Cheers R

Guitar74
Gearhead

Are you kidding? Half-heimer's has already begun to set in. It is not uncommon for me to come back in the house 2 or 3 times when I leave for work.

MustangKen
New Driver

Ditto ....patience, patience, patience.  And the brains to just walk away from the project for a while if everything is going south.

Guitar74
Gearhead

I have learned to walk away over the years. I guess sometime knowing that you are hitting the "law of diminishing returns" brick wall is as good as patience.

Peter_Boniface
Pit Crew

If you can stick weld mig should be a breeze. Just a matter of heat and wire speed. In general set your heat and set your wire speed till it sounds like frying bacon on a hot skillet. That will be close and fine tune from there.  Don’t try to use flux core on light gauge metal. Flux core needs a enough heat so the flux floats to the top of the weld and that is too hot for much under 1/8”. 

Rick52
Pit Crew

Agree, stick welding is like learning to drive a car with a manual transmission, so MIG welding is like switching to an automatic.

GRP_Photo
Instructor

And if you can't stick weld?

61Rampy
Detailer

I learned to stick weld back in high school- a long time ago. I sorta taught myself to wire feed weld, but the absolute hardest part is to NOT move the welder handle towards the work, as you would with stick welding. Haven't wire welded in 25 years now. Prolly should learn again.

Guitar74
Gearhead

Not moving in to compensate for the stick has been my problem. 

Guitar74
Gearhead

I will keep that in mind. Now I have to get a gas bottle.

Marv48
Pit Crew

When I read the headline patience is the first thing I thought of.  After that there are so many things, especially if your car is not a common one.  Welding, bodywork, painting, etc.  But, we do have the internet and if you want to you can learn just about anything!

Sajeev
Community Manager

Patience is definitely the key: I always think I have it, but then I have to find it again because I keep on losing it! 

NITRO450EXP
Instructor

Guitar74

Bad news at 52 Years, I haven't learned it either.

So probably no hope for you in next 5 years atleast.

Nitro

JimR
Instructor

Don’t feel too badly Mr. President. 

Guitar74
Gearhead

😂. Good one! I will remember to tell someone what that guy on that thing said about my......

Taddeo53
New Driver

For my current project-swapping a 1275 MG Midget engine into my 1958 Morris Minor 1000 Tourer - I need to upgrade my electrical skills. Moving from positive earth (ground) to negative and from dynamo (generator) to alternator. Will also be adding volt, oil pressure and water temp gauges. Longer term I’d love to learn to weld but live in a very rural area where there are no welding schools. 

Andyc
New Driver

Patience. 

Oh,and how to rob a bank

hearsedriver
Intermediate Driver

i have already learned how to use my American lathes (Atlas) and crappy chinese milling machine. now it is on to electroplating. thankfully nothing i work on has major amounts of plastic (dash knobs, that's all folks)

no you do not become calmer and more patient as you age. you find that your patience for modern stupidity diminishes to zero as you have less life left to waste on it.......

bkmcgraw62
Pit Crew

For me it would have to be body work.  I put it right there with hanging wallpaper and being forced to watch CNN.  Can't stand it and have spent years trying to learn the art.  I've determined it is best to pay someone with the patience and skill instead of spending hours making things look worse.   I have the patience for rebuilding motors, wiring, and all other aspects of restoration but not body work and paint.  Oh and transmissions...don't do those either...

Teddy5159
New Driver

I'm considering a new interior.  I just removed the seat from my '65 Mustang and am now staring at it wondering if I want to attempt it.

 

Khynes
New Driver

Go for it!  I replaced most of the interior in my ‘66 and was really pleased with the result.  Main new skill acquired: how to hog ring and remove wrinkles in new upholstery. 

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Rob1
Instructor

Professional looking job Khynes gotta luv those Pony cars.R

Teddy5159
New Driver

OK, Talked me into it. lol   Is that a picture of your car?

Rick52
Pit Crew

Distinctive Interior Pro Car II seats...awesome!

IMG_6731.jpg

61Rampy
Detailer

Buy good hog ring pliers, too! Also, no matter how many old hog rings you cut/pull out, there will always be one or two more hidden ones!

TimViall
Pit Crew

Simple soldiering for a variety of electrical tasks (like the AC/Heat display going dark in my 2002 Corvette).

GRP_Photo
Instructor

I was fortunate enough to learn that playing with slot cars in my teenage years.

Guitar74
Gearhead

I learned soldering from having played guitar since the 80s. How does it apply? I like to swap out pickups, make my own cords, and do my own repairs. My advice? Start on big thins and work your way to small stuff and pc boards. It's real easy to lift a trace off of a pc board if you use too much, or not enough heat. You then end up in a REAL pickle.

warrene
Intermediate Driver

When I finished the restoration of my '36 Ford, I decided to have a radio, these are not cheap but I did find an 'ash tray' radio dial & knobs unit, with the two cables, those radios mounted under the dash on the firewall.  I was able to get it lose and working, the dial turning and with a bulb to light it.  I had a '54 Ford tube radio, so decided to mount and use that instead but did not work, I bought a book and leaned how to rebuild these tube radios, parts from Antique Electronic down in AZ, got it working and mounted under, adapted it to those two cables and now we have a working radio in my '36, I've rebuilt lots of tube radios since.  You're never to old to learn.  Also made a fancy speaker that mounts up between the visors on the header, works really well, the antenna is the chicken wire under the top material

Warrene

 

silverado
Intermediate Driver

You need to have mechanical skills and welding would help. With electric and oxy acetylene welding.

Tinkerah
Technician

The newest, most recent skill I've learned is to be a savvy shopper! Tools and parts for our old school stuff could be available from a multitude of far away sources, and prices and quality can vary widely. As for plastic welding...I've been intrigued with the idea for some time but have had such great success with epoxy I haven't been able to justify acquiring a tool. Good Luck Sajeev!

Guitar74
Gearhead

Being a savvy shopper is a great skill. Being well informed and frugal enough to get quality and value is not a small thing.

JimR
Instructor

@silverado 

....and welding would help. With electric and oxy acetylene welding.

Agree that it often comes in really handy. But oxy-acetylene is pretty old tech. In my experience it’s not used much anymore other than for really heating stuff. MAYBE the occasional brazing.
If you can only afford one welder, a MIG (some call it wire-feed) IMO is probably the handiest. And companies like Lincoln make relatively inexpensive 110v setups that will handle a majority of common tasks. With a small mixed gas bottle and kit, a Harbor Freight cart, some magnets, gloves, auto-dim helmet and an assortment of visegrips (that many guys have already) maybe $500-$600 all in.
And it’s not hard to teach yourself the basics and get better with practice.  And practice is easy to get because once you get one you’ll keep finding more and more uses for it.

Rob1
Instructor

Oxy/acet yep the past Jim thats what I learned on to begin with and still have in the shop,stick welding first with the proverbial Lincoln buzz box then wire feed way easier although for the tougher jobs I have a old gas powered DC,in the late seventy's I did a stint with a well known contracting company Dominion Bridge on structural steel and ran a carbon arc cutter carving thru inches of material at a time very impressive to operate and noisy.R

DUB6
Technician

Not only will YOU find more uses for it, but your non-welding friends will find plenty of stuff that you can help them out with...

hyperv6
Technician

Check YouTube. I bet there is several Canadians with good how to videos on this. 

This is something I have wanted to learn. Please do a story on the results. 

Historian
Detailer

I did that as a kid, using a butter knife and my mom's kitchen stove on plastic model cars I customized.  Pissed my mom off, ruining her butter knives.

Sajeev
Community Manager

Butter knives are probably cheaper than this thing! 

Rob1
Instructor

@Sajeev How did you make out with the plastic welding unit.R

Sajeev
Community Manager

Still haven't tackled this project yet, sadly.