The first of many

This was the first one, it wasn’t unexpected. And there will be many more. It was the feeling of “f*ck me, what have I gotten myself into?”. I knew I’d feel this way at some point. And while it’s early in the project I’m glad it took a full week to hit the first of many of these little hurdles of self doubt.

It happened as I was trying to create a patch panel for the rear valence. The part that sits at the very end of the truck between the two rear most frame bolts. The one where the body shop just left it all open to the elements. I thought the patch panel would be easy since it’s not a bunch of complex curves. But it’s been a few years since I’ve worked with sheet metal in this way, and it’s a royal pain in the ass.

First was cutting the new piece. Tin snips are no good, so I was left using the angle grinder. The grinder works much better on metal suspended in the air, not a flat sheet on a concrete floor. Anyway, I finally got it cut, and it fit like crap. So I measured and cut another piece, too big on purpose. I then ground away the excess to make it start to fit and I’d tack as I went. 2 hours into it and I’m getting really frustrated. I do the math, with all the patches I need to make, this project should finish in about 6 years.

Anyway I kept at it and started to make some headway. I got the path tacked and got the bend about where I wanted it. Then I had to call it a night, I was exhausted. Another 8 hour day of cutting, grinding and welding. But I keep myself engaged by seeing the progress and maintaining the momentum. I’ll come together, it just needs me to give it hours.

Fast forward a couple days and I’ve been at it steady. I’m starting to remember some of the tricks I’d forgotten and working with sheet metal is getting easier again. I pulled out the old sheet metal brake I had stored away and a nice bench mounted shear, and this makes working with the metal so much easier.

I’m well into the rebuild of the rear valance and it’s coming along nicely now. I’ve gotten over the OMFG moment and gotten back on track. I expect more of those moments will come as this project progresses.

Author: Navin

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