I removed the reinforcement strips from the top of my fenders. I'm going to recreate these somehow, but the stock ones were too ugly.
I spent a good amount of time removing all of the factory wax sealant, rust preventative stuff, crud, and undercoating from the inside of the fenders. I plan on painting the inside of the fenders, which will require more prep later, but for now they just needed to be cleaned up!
The left front fender I bought had an antenna hole. I saved a donor piece from an old fender for this exact purpose - to have an exact match to the thickness and contour for future patch panel use.
I stripped the paint and scribed out exactly the shape required to fill the hole.
I tried to get the fit perfect to make the welding easier. I was pretty happy with it, there were almost no gaps all the way around.
For TIG welding thin sheet with tight gaps, it is ideal to use as little heat as possible. Because of this, using thicker filler wire requires more heat than is really required to weld the joint. I use .023" MIG wire, which is only a little thinner than the .030" panel. I set the MIG to "steal some wire" settings:
Then I welded it up! I used 30 amps with a 1/16" Tungsten, moving pretty fast, and only a little bit of filler.
It's not the most beautiful or consistent weld, but it works for this purpose.
The back. Decent penetration all around.
I slowly started hammering the weld back to flat and grinding away the bead. I'm using bluing to mark the high and low spots with a sanding block.
After a few hours of hammering, it's done! It isn't 100% perfect, but will hardly require any filler.
There was one big dented area on my donor fender, and I'm trying some new dent removal techniques. This spot didn't go quite as well!
Since the sun was shining today, I decided it was a good day to remove all of the paint from both fenders. Neither one was in the best shape, so it's best just to start fresh.
Aircraft remover is wicked stuff!
I'm going to continue on with fender work this week. I also have to build mounts for the lower corner since I changed how they mount.