Not Good Form.
When a guest is telling you a fascinating anecdote, to imagine a knot in your kitchen table is transporting you to an alternative universe is unpardonable.
The week got off to a slow start vis-a-vis the Special as the usual little jobs got in the way. However, it was a good time to think out how I was going to do the footwells and jot down a few ideas - which I didn't do; I just got on with it.
It's a bit daunting making huge incisions in all your hard work, but confidence is the key and after all, it's only a bit of metal and things can be tacked back on when you make a wrong turn.
Next came the side panels and the first use in anger of the bead roller. I think I mentioned some time ago that the machine was a bit slow at full chat. Not true. When concentrating on the one shot to get it right, I even turned it down!
Counsel popped in for a cup of tea and blather and suggested that 'Cleco' pins would be helpful. As it happened, I was given a box of them some years ago and they'd sat unused in stores waiting for this very moment.
The two sides and the top benefit from swaging and make the assembly extremely stiff, despite it being only 1mm mild steel. The edges I'll tidy up and make as evenly flat as I can before welding.
Talking of which, I thought it prudent to practise plug welds before attacking the real thing. A series of tests revealed several important things to consider. Firstly, remember to turn the gas on when you MIG weld. If you don't, it results in some interesting craters that, close up, look like the surface of the moon. Once the gas is flowing, the limitations of a machine with settings that are incremental and not infinitely variable, further distinguish the amateur from the professional. TIG wasn't successful because I was in a rush and didn't clear the swarf which kept the two plates slightly apart - result: Swiss cheese.
To distract myself from these future problems, I decided to do a trial fit on the chassis, and I'm pleased to report that the guessing stick had behaved itself for once.
For simplicity's sake and ease of construction, I've chosen to use 12mm ply for the floor. This I can make easily removable - one of the bonuses of the Hillman is being able to get at everything with its floor removed. Around the inner circumference of the firewall, I shall tack in a tubular steel frame. Extending that structure rearwards into the cockpit area will firm up the 'A' post (though the doors will hinge on the 'B' post) and form a cage on which the rest of the body can hang.
It was pleasing to see that I'd got the dimensions right so as to avoid clashing with the clutch operating arm. I must have been on good form that day.