For a nice, clean mounting of the rack to the bed, ¼-inch stainless steel bolts were secured in an Enco Mfg. lathe to have their heads shaved off. By doing this, Alexander created a set of threaded mounting studs which were then countersunk ¼-inch into the mounting base ends using an air-driven drill with a ¼-inch bit. The studs were set in place and TIG welded to complete the step. During the welding process, the polished stainless steel radius ends were affected by the heat dissipation and required a little freshening up to regain their fine luster. A DA sander and 400-grit paper got the process started followed by 800-grit used by hand. Some final finessing on a rotary buffer brought back the original brilliance. In order to secure the overall width of the rack, the side mounting bars were bolted to a sheet of plywood at a measurement of 30¼-inches. This allowed Alexander to lay out the three cross bars for fitment review. The overall width of the cross bars was determined using a pair of squares and a measuring tape to confirm the 30¼-inch measurement accounting for a ¼-inch C-notch per side. The bars were then trimmed to size using a wet saw and then deburred. With the toughness inherent in stainless steel, it was a good idea to first remove some of the internal material of the bar stock to prepare it for the C-notch process. This was accomplished by securing the plastic covered rod stock in the lathe and gradually drilling out the material starting with a 3⁄16-inch bit and progressing to a ½-inch bit. The rod was then transferred to a mill where a ¾-inch Roto-Kut hole cutter was used to complete the C-notching process. It’s a good idea to have some machine oil handy for both the drilling and C-notching to help lubricate the cutting surfaces.
With the crossbars now ready to go, Alexander prepared them for final fitment by first establishing placement by measuring for the center bar first. He did this using a square and a ruler at either side to locate the mid-point of 12-inches. The adjacent crossbars were then located at 8½-inches from the center of the middle bar to center of each end bar. All measurements were then checked on each side with a square for perfect symmetry. The bars were then TIG welded in place to complete the fabrication of the rack. Once again, heat dissipation played a role thanks to the TIG welding. This time to correct the problem, Alexander contacted the Eastwood Company for one of their Deluxe Automotive Polishing Kits to lend a hand in restoring the vibrance to the affected areas. The kit comes with everything you would need to complete the job including a wide assortment of felt buffs, bobs, and rouges, plus an informative instruction manual. To bring back the dazzle, Alexander used an air-driven drill with a multi-stitched sewn felt wheel and some coarse grey rouge to work the affected areas. With this completed he proceeded using a conical bob topped with white rouge and worked it through every crevice and across the entire surface to finish the job with an incredible brilliance. The completed rack was then bolted into the bed using some thin rubber insulating washers. Not only does the rack look just plain bitchin’, it’s ready to hold down any of your necessities when you decide to hit the road. CCT