I didn't want to post this on the Ford Barn forum or facebook where the experts will smile, laugh or ridicule my crude efforts at rust repair. But here I will just post it for my own reference.
That old 52 Merc looks good from a distance but, up close, it has some major rust damage. I'm talking holes you could put your hands through. I'm hoping to improve on that a bit with some patching. My 40+ year old Smith Roles arc welder is great for heavy metal but its very hard to make a decent weld on light steel like old car fenders, without burning right through it.
I've been researching different welders from the infinite wealth of knowledge on the net. Conclusion seems to be that the little low amp ac stick welders are a waste of money even as cheap as they are. Cheaper Mig welders might work for a while but likely won't be a good investment for long term use. Good mig welders are a LOT of money and more than I want to spend right now just to repair some rusty car body parts.
So I started out today with something very simple (I thought). Removing a rusted out support between the fender and radiator. Fabricating a replacement out of heavier metal and getting it fastened in place actually went well (for me). The heavier metal is easier to weld without burning through yet still light enough to bend into the shape I need.
Its far from "show quality" but it will be strong and with a little black paint should be fine.