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PPG Auto Refinish
10-Jan-00 Adding a Firewall Recess Part 4

Mr. Sandman...

ImageLet me start this article by stating that I'm NOT a body man! I'm basically self taught (in everything) so what I'm doing here is probably not the correct way to do this… but it's my way. After being burned by body shops in the past, I decided to do most or all of the body and paint myself. With the money I save I can buy better parts and any tools I need that I don't have and still come out ahead. Also, it would be hard for me to explain the paint job/flames I envision to someone and have them turn out right, so I'm just using my art background in a larger scale. I've done a little bodywork in the past like the grille, dash, and headlights and mounts on my last car, but that's about it. I've done a lot of sheet rocking (dry wall)though and I think they're both very similar (to me) so I just pretended I was mudding a small cove in a wall.
ImageI bought some Evercoat brand Everglass short strand fiberglass-reinforced filler at the local auto body supply store on their recommendation. It's a very attractive blue-green color. :) I used all hand tools for the job. After sanding any high spots in the fiberglass cloth, I roughed the surface of the firewall and started applying the mud.
ImageSomeone once told me “Never use sand paper without a block.” so that's the advice I used. I spent Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon alone, sitting on the front crossmember facing the firewall, sanding and sanding, and sanding some more, applying more mud where needed.

It wasn't too bad. It was relaxing and I got a chance to listen to some of my favorite CDs, but there are probably more exciting things to do on a weekend.
ImageHere's a shot of all the tools used for this project. The wire brush is used to tap the sandpaper every once in a while to unclog it.
ImageAs I worked the area I would inspect and circle with a pencil any spots that needed more mud… an old sheet rocking habit.
ImageHere it is just about ready for final inspection. The next article will show you what it looks like when finished.