July 27, 2009

Tricky decision

But I think I’ve done the right thing and I’ll come back to that in a moment or two. I’m still working on the pod – I had hoped to be finished by yesterday but the weather was just not good enough. We had steady light rain almost all day which meant I couldn’t work outside and my space to work inside in my conservatory is rather restricted. I managed to get a bit done but not enough 😕

So I grabbed the opportunity to do a bit more from late this aftenoon through into the early evening. I won’t show any pics until I’m ready but work both inside and outside is now nearly complete. I have had to reluctantly come to the conclusion that I will be unable to achieve the level of perfection that I would have liked. It is, after all, an old pod that has been round the block a few times. It has got marks, areas of discolouration, scrapes, digs and imperfections almost all over and much as I would have liked to deal with them all and make them perfect again, this just will not be possible.

I originally intended to hack out and repair all of the gel coat cobweb crazing on the top of the pod but I now realise after doing the repairs to the bottom that this would be an impossible task. For a start, the gel coat filler I’ve got isn’t a sufficiently good match to the exisiting colour. It’s close, especially if you rub down to the original, unfaded gel but not quite close enough. It doesn’t matter on the bottom because nobody will ever see that close up, but it would be a terrible eyesore on the top. So I’ll just have to live with the crazing, which is not that bad and is a natural thing anyway. And I’ve seen much worse on some much newer microlight pods, I can tell you.

At least the pod is now good and solid with no cracks or splits. I found one last small one today just under ther lower mounting hole for the electric fuel pump where the nut when tightened pulls the curve of the pod side flat. I whacked a few layers of cloth on the inside which will sort that problem out and I’ll add a bit of gel coat filler on the outside tomorrow. And that’s when I had to make my tricky decision.

Ever since I’ve known MYRO, it has had the words ‘Cyclone AX3’ in non-standard vinyl lettering on either side of the pod nose as you can see in the header image. Now, unless your alternative is very good (and I don’t think this was) it’s never a good idea to use anything non-standard in a prominent place – like the nose of a microlight for instance 😀

I had started to remove the lettering a while back and I finished the job yesterday. Shock horror. Because the lettering had been on years and the gel coat underneath was still practically as good as new, it was as though the lettering was still there and had just changed colour 😯

My initial reaction was one of despair. I couldn’t see any way out other than having the outside of the pod sprayed which is precisely what I’ve been trying to avoid. Then I had a couple of thoughts. Where I’ve rubbed and buffed the gel coat on and around the repairs I’ve done, it’s come up much brighter. So I thought, to heck with it – if I have the pod sprayed I’ll have to rub it down all over, so why not rub it done anyway but with fine wet-and-dry, and try to remove the outline of the lettering while doing so. So that’s what I did this evening. I used 400 and (finer) 600 and carefully rubbed down the whole of the top of the pod. Why was it a tricky decision? Because if I’d got a bit over-enthusiastic at any point and rubbed through the gel coat, then it would have been ruined and would have had to be sprayed.

However, that didn’t happen and on initial appearances, the idea seems to have more or less worked. I’ll know for sure tomorrow when I’ve finished repairing that little split I’ve mentioned, finished the pod rubbing down with 600 and 800 grade wet-and-dry and buffed it up. So watch this space – and see if your face is reflected in the shine 😉