Video: Harbor Freight Tools’ 1967 Firebird Restoration, Part 4

jeffsandingdoorHowdy, folks. We are now at part four of our romp through the trials and triumphs of Jeff Tann and his men as they trek onward to victory, with the view of a perfect Firebird as their guiding star.

On Friday, we showed you part 3, where the guys went to town deconstructing the engine, which is in dire need of some new parts and tender, loving care. Using Central Pneumatics’ 1000 lb. engine stand and impact wrench, the work went a lot smoother than it would have otherwise.

The poor old engine may look crummy now, but in the hands of Jeff Tann, it has a bright future. You can view part 3 here.

On to today, Jeff and company have the body of the car ready now for the next phase: the paint job. Demanding though the job may be, Jeff and his team aren’t ill-equipped when they have Harbor Freight Tools by their side–as well as the musical talents of Ted Nugent and his Gibson Byrdland, rocking the smash hit “Stranglehold.”

The guys start by sanding the car, which they do using a Central Pneumatic 6″ Dual Action Air Sander and Jitterbug Orbital Air Sander. Off comes the rust and whatever else remains of the 45-year-old factory paint.

hoodprimerNext comes the priming. This is an arduous and tedious process, and one that requires a steady hand, a focused mind, and a clear plan of what needs to get primed. Before applying the primer, you always have to ensure the places you want painted versus non-painted (e.g. glass, mirrors, chrome) are taped off with masking tape and a disposable material, like newspaper.

Also, it’s a good idea to wear protective gear for your face and worn-out clothes you don’t mind parting with, should they get stained with primer or paint. To give him the upper hand in the process, Jeff uses a Central Pneumatic Professional HVLP Gravity Feed Spray Gun.

He uses the tool to get his hood primed using its low-pressure, gravity-fed system. Long, even, and row-over-row strokes, done at a distance of about 3-5 inches away from the surface, are the key to this task and ensure that every square inch gets covered consistently. He moves on to the body of the car, which has been taped-off in all the right places, and primes it as well.

jeffspraysrearfender_1Jeff must be a real professional at what he does, as he applies the primer from the bottom to top, supposedly in order to prevent overspray; so, where most of us would go top-to-bottom, to go along with gravity, Jeff seems to have mastered the unconventional method of the opposite. A bit tricky, but it goes to show how capable the guy can be.

All future painters should take note of the technique Jeff is using to get the job done correctly. He doesn’t try to rush things; he takes his time with this step in the restoration, getting down on the ground to get at the rims of the wheel wells. And regarding small dents, the team uses a filler and then re-primed and sanded off the leftover debris to get the panels straight.

Come back in a few days to see what happens next, when the crew takes on restoring the underbody in Part 5.

jeffspraysfrontfender

About the author

David Chick

David Chick comes to us ready for adventure. With passions that span clean and fast Corvettes all the way to down and dirty off-road vehicles (just ask him about his dream Jurassic Park Explorer), David's eclectic tastes lend well to his multiple automotive writing passions.
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