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Workshop hints

Mike Meakin

During my build, I often find that where I would like to mount something (mirrors,external lamp units, exhaust hanger points etc) there isn't anything substantial to take a fixing. I favour what used to be the "tinker's saucepan repair". Using a hole cutter ( the two you need to cut apertures for dash instruments are fine) I cut discs of 1.5mm aluminium sheet, mark rivet centres to match those on the rest of the car, then drill and countersink.

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Cleaned up and finished by hand, they are ready to fit to the panelwork wherever needed. If the panel is curved or shaped, the disc can be annealed and gently formed to follow the contours. I prefer to drill one pilot hole, fix the disc with a skin-pin (Cleco), then drill the rest. Using countersunk head rivets for fixing leaves a nice, flat surface. If you need a heavier duty 'mount', another disc can be fitted on the inside of the panel, so you rivet though all 3 thicknesses, ending up with 4.2mm thickness, spread over 100mm area. For me it provides a visual 'engineered' finish - obviously, you can use the same, to cover up any mistakes!

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I've also used the same discs to provide an "escutcheon" for cable trunking - particularly for the headlamps. Stainless steel replacement shower hose (wound stainless over a polythene inner) is available at under £4 a length (about 1.5m) and cuts easily (best if clamped either side of the cut). Quickset araldite ensures the stainless doesn't 'unravel'. Headlamp cables pass easily through the poly inner. Carefully cutting a close-fitting hole in the centre of a 100mm disc allows the stainless tube to just pass through and be clamped (jubilee or cable tie) on the inside, to prevent it pulling back through. A slightly larger hole in the panelwork allows the pipe and wires through, then the disc is riveted on. So much cheaper than the real thing (stainless coiled cable duct in Vintage Car type suppliers is £52 a metre!) and there's that smug satisfaction of "Did it myself " from bits and bobs.

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