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Thread: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

  1. #1

    1920 Chalmers Restoration

    Hi,
    It was late the other night, when I posted an update to my Chalmers restoration, to the wrong site. So I'll try again.
    I continue to do a ground up restoration on my 1920 Chalmers 5-passenger Touring. It has taken me years of research, and the hunt for parts goes on. Very little of the original wooden body structure remained, when I brought the basket case home, about 5 years ago (what the fire didn't destroy, the termites ate). Replicating the wooden body structure has been my biggest challenge, as I have not been able to reuse any of the existing remains, except as patterns. I have presently manufactured about 50% of the structure, using mostly Ash. I'm making drawings, sketches and taking photos, as I progress.
    I plan to complete the restoration in 8 years, which will be the car's 100th anniversary.
    I would like to hear from anyone else working on a Chalmers of tht period.
    Thank you,
    Bob

  2. #2

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    Hi,
    This photo of my 1920 Chalmers touring gives you some idea of it's condition when I started it's restoration. I still have a long way to go. I have the remains of the top, and the two left side doors & center post. The front winshield shown, belongs to a 1922/1923 Chalmers touring. I'm in the process of making a 1920/1921 windshield for the car.

    BobClick image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
    Senior Member keiser31's Avatar
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    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    Love those early touring cars. Good luck with it and please show us more.
    1931 Dodge Brothers DH6 business coupe w/ wire wheels
    1931 Dodge Brothers DH6 business coupe w/ wood wheels (my 1st car and still have it)
    and visions of my past old cars....

  4. #4

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    One of the many parts that were missing on my 1920 Chalmers touring was the front windshield assembly. I tried advertising to acquire the windshield, but never received a response. I decided to consider other options to be able to replicate the parts.
    With the help of some of my friends, who were Chalmers owners of the same period, I was able to gather data, in the form of photos, sketches and dimensions, enabling me to create full size drawings, of both the left and right side windshield uprights, in addition to the upper and lower windshield framework.
    With this information, I realized there was a common lineage in the windshield design, from the period beginning in 1918/1919, through 1920/1921, and ending in 1922/1923, the last year of Chalmers production.

    The photo (Top), shows the pieces of the 1920 Chalmers vertical upright (ready for welding), cut from sections of the 1918/1919 vertical upright (Center), and sections cut from the 1922/1923 vertical upright (Lower)

    To be continued.Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    1920 Chalmers Restoration part 2


    I had obtained a set of 1918/1919 vertical uprights, and a pair of uprights for a 1922/1923 Chalmers touring. Using my created drawings, and examining both sets of uprights, I determined that by measuring, then cutting the uprights, at the appropriate places, I would be able replicate the 1920/1921 upright configuration.
    The next step was to fabricate tooling or a fixture to secure the cut pieces, enabling me to weld the various sections. The base portion of the uprights for both the 1920 through 1923 were identical in design, and both attached to their respective cowl's with the same hardware, however the similarities ended there.Click image for larger version. 

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    The photo shows the fixture that I used to support the various cut sections secured, prior to welding.

    To be continued.

  6. #6

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    1920 Chalmers Restoration part 3


    The photos show the differences, looking aft at the base of both the 1920/1921 (right photo), and the 1922/1923 (left photo), where they attach to the cowl. This design change was the result of Chalmers going from a two piece straight windshield in 1921, to a one piece radiused windshield in 1922. The first thing that I had to do was straighten the radiused portion. This task was accomplished for me by a blacksmith friend, who demonstrated his talent, by heating, then straightening the lower section of the vertical upright. His effort drew a very large crowd one Saturday, at the local fair.
    The center photo shows John applying the final blows to straighten the heated upright on the anvil.
    To be continued





    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7
    Senior Member keiser31's Avatar
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    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    Nice!
    1931 Dodge Brothers DH6 business coupe w/ wire wheels
    1931 Dodge Brothers DH6 business coupe w/ wood wheels (my 1st car and still have it)
    and visions of my past old cars....

  8. #8

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    Chalmers Restoration part 4

    The 1920/1921 Chalmers touring cars were the last years to have a two-piece front windshield. The 1918/1919 front windshield, also two-piece design, had wider windows, consequently the pivot points, for swinging the window on the vertical upright, had to be relocated, to different elevations. Using my layouts, I was able to relocate the new pivots. Fortunately the cross-sectional area of the uprights in the pivot location remained constant.
    The uppermost section of the vertical upright fitting had to be replaced with the later designed 1922/1923 fitting, which was introduced in 1920. This was done by cutting the 1918/1919 fitting, and reorienting it's location on the upright, to compensate for the slanted 1920 front windshield.
    The last change was the relocation of the window stops, which I fabricated, and located on the uprights, to match the new window locations. This was done in conjunction with the other cut and fitted pieces, which were placed in their respective locations and welded.
    The final step were grinding, filing and priming the parts prior to paint Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    1920 Chalmers Restoration

    This photo shows the right side vertical upright, cleaned, primed, and temporarily installed on the car.Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #10

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    1920 Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	149180Chalmers Restoration

    Front Windshield
    Part One
    The End

  11. #11

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    Click image for larger version. 

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    1920 Chalmers Front Windshield
    Part Two


    The restoration of my 1920 Chalmers front windshield, upper and lower frames, began with the remains from a 1922/1923 Chalmers single piece windshield. Those remains consisted of only the upper and lower horizontal frame sections. The upper section was in pretty good condition, but the lower section was badly rusted, and both the left and right vertical frame pieces were missing. Fortunately, I had previously found pieces of generic windshield frames at swap meets, which matched the Chalmers frame design.
    I started the restoration, on the lower radiused frame. I cut off the badly rusted end portion, keeping the lower track, which retains the rubber seal. Again, I was fortunate, as the spliced piece was short enough, and I was able to use a straight piece of frame, which I welded in. This lower section still had rusted through areas, which I filled with Liquid Nails. When this adhesive hardened,in about a week I filled the remaining holes with JB Weld, and sanded smooth.
    I did all of this work in a dual fixture which I made, to insure that both frames would be accurate. Again, using the generic frame sections, containing the pivot point fittings, I cut the upper and lower lengths from the center of the pivot point in each direction, to match the original dimensions. Thus, I was able to replicate the 1920 vertical upright side frames. Once cut, the vertical side pieces were fitted into their respective fixture, and they are ready to be welded.

    The attached photos document the steps that I took to replicate my front windshield frames.

    Attachment 151477Attachment 151478

  12. #12

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    Here are the remaing photos which should have been included as part of Front Windshield Restoration.

    BobClick image for larger version. 

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  13. #13

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    Here are a few more photos which were lost in transmission.
    BobClick image for larger version. 

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  14. #14
    Senior Member durant28's Avatar
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    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    Looks like you have a challenge on your hands, but well worth the work and effort. I love the orphan cars in the 20's and when I get done my Durant, I'd love to find a Chalmers, Cleveland or Peerless to restore. I like the ones that no body else has. Keep up the great work and before you know it you'll have the ole gal back on the road. Keep us posted with the pics. Love to see what other people are doing with their restorations. Keeps my motivated on mine.
    "A man is respected and honored not for his wealth, but for what he is, what he does, what he stands for." William C. Durant

    Mike L.
    AACA,
    Vice President Durant Motors Automobile Club
    1971 Triumph TR6
    1928 Durant Model 65 4 Dr Sedan

  15. #15

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by durant28 View Post
    Looks like you have a challenge on your hands, but well worth the work and effort. I love the orphan cars in the 20's and when I get done my Durant, I'd love to find a Chalmers, Cleveland or Peerless to restore. I like the ones that no body else has. Keep up the great work and before you know it you'll have the ole gal back on the road. Keep us posted with the pics. Love to see what other people are doing with their restorations. Keeps my motivated on mine.
    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for the encouragement. I will continue to try and update this site with my progress.
    I was looking for a Model T, when I found my first 20's Chalmers. Now I'm hooked.

    Bob

  16. #16

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration Planking

    PLANKING

    My 1920 Chalmers 5-passenger touring chassis is badly damaged, and beyond economical restoration. I have a second 117" w.b. chassis of the same period, which I am using for the buildup. The wooden structural remains are being used as patterns to construct new parts. The two chassis sit side by side. To be able to transfer data, and accurately locate restored parts, I needed to employ a method more sophisticated than using a scale (ruler), straightedge and a square. To solve this problem, I came up with a method I call Planking.
    Planking is accomplished by using a series of flat wooden sticks. (Paint stirrers available from Home Depot, in 1/8" and 1/4" thickness.) These are bonded together horizontally or vertically with C A glue, to be able to connect two or more hard points. Starting from a known hard point, on the original chassis, like the centerline of a body tie-down fastener, I take a Plank, and locate a center point on it, and drill a hole just large enough to cover the existing hard point. Once this point is established, it's just a matter of laying down and bonding adjacent Planks toward the next critical locating position. If subsequent points are not in the same horizontal plane, the planks can be stacked and bonded to achieve the required plane. Once the data is recorded, the Planking is transferred to the new bodies wooden sill, for identification and marking of that hardpoint(s) location.

    Note: Both circles and Planking edge surfaces can be used to indicate critical location points.

    The first photo (004) shows the Planking bonded together. Circles indicate hardpoint locations.

    The second photo (002) shows the Planking as created on the original chassis.

    The third photo shows the Planking transferred to the new chassis. Circles correspond to new chassis hardpoints, and edge surfaces locate where restored parts get installed.



    Click image for larger version. 

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  17. #17

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration Wheels

    When I purchased my 1920 Chalmers, it came with 21 inch disc wheels, which were not standard. Chalmers 5 passenger touring cars were equipped with 32X4 (24inch) Kelsey wooden spoked wheels. (The 5 passenger Sport model that year had 24 inch Houk wire wheels.)
    I had previously found the remains of a 1921 Chalmers with spoked wheels, and was able to salvage from it, the hubs/hubcaps, and enough spokes to use for patterns. The felloes were not salvagable, and the rims were missing. Fortunately, Dodge Bros. and other car manufacturers of the period, used the same 24 inch rims and felloes, so I was able to purchase these parts, along with clamps and rim bolts. I had a wheelwright make the spokes from my patterns, and he fabricated four new wheels, using the existing hubs.
    The attached photos represent some of the steps taken to go from simple remains to almost finished wheels. (I'm still working on the five rims)
    The wheels are hanging on my garage wall, patiently waiting to be mounted on the Chalmers.Click image for larger version. 

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  18. #18

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    Question!
    Did anyone happen to notice? Which I just did for the first time. In the photo of my old wheel, dated 11-8-06, the felloe appears to be reversed. The square holes used to lock the rim bolt heads, are on the outside surface of the felloe, and the round holes are on the inside surface, where the bolt threads would protrude. The raised stops for the rim clamps are also on the far side. As you can see in the photo of my finished wheels, the holes are just the opposite, which would put the nuts on the outside surface.
    Am I missing something?

    Bob

  19. #19

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    Hi,
    I just realized where I went wrong.
    I'll give you a hint. It's something I didn't think through after removing the hub, and posing the photo.

    Bob

  20. #20

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration - Steering Wheel- Part 1

    The 1920 Chalmers steering wheel is made up of a walnut ring (the wheel), attached to a steel spider. When I purchased my car, the ring was missing, and only the spider remained, attached to the steering column. I located the partial wooden remains of a ring, in pieces, with one of the tongue and grooved sections missing. I also found an aluminum spider, which matched my original spider, to use as a fixture. I mounted the aluminum spider to a board, held in place with two steel cans, screwed to the board, to support my new spider, and secure the ring sections.Click image for larger version. 

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  21. #21

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration- Steering Wheel Part 2

    With my ring sections secured to the board, I was able to determine from the space created by the missing ring, it's radius and length. Using this information, I created a pattern. I chose to make the pattern out of oak, instead of walnut.
    My next project was to design a fixture to secure the pattern, and be able to cut the tongue and grooves, matching the existing tongue and grooves. Once I established the correct angles, I created an interchangeable cutting surface (30 and 90 degrees) on the fixture. I was then able to cut the tongue and grooves with a razor saw.
    When this was completed, I removed the pattern from the fixture, and fit it into the ring. Next, I marked, then radiused the edges using a rasp to match the mating ring contours, and formed the finger grips. Once I was satisfied with the new oak section, I finish sanded it. I was then able to glue all of the ring pieces together, using my aluminum spider fixture as a support, thereby completing my steering wheel project.


    Click image for larger version. 

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  22. #22
    Senior Member keiser31's Avatar
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    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    Very well done! If the rest of the car goes that way, it's gonna be a stunner!! I enjoy making my own parts when I cannot find the correct item. You should feel really good about your work.
    1931 Dodge Brothers DH6 business coupe w/ wire wheels
    1931 Dodge Brothers DH6 business coupe w/ wood wheels (my 1st car and still have it)
    and visions of my past old cars....

  23. #23

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration

    Thanks Keiser31,
    I really appreciate your inputs. I really enjoy making my own parts also. In my case, I don't have too many options, as there aren't very many Chalmers cars/parts of the 1920's still around.
    Regards,
    Bob

  24. #24

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration- Patterns and Fixtures- Part 1

    One of the biggest challenges in the restoration of my 1920 Chalmers touring, is the replication of the wooden structural members, which makeup the framework for the car's body. None of the original body pieces qualify for reinstallation, due to their damage from fire and termites.
    Some of the remains can be used to make patterns. In many cases, the part had so few remains, that it is insufficient even as a pattern. In these instances, I have to resort to a layout of the surrounding parts to determine what the missing piece looked like.

    The photos below show the original vertical structural members, which were originally installed between the front and rear doors.Click image for larger version. 

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  25. #25

    Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration- Patterns and Fixtures- Part 2

    With the help of some of my friends, who have Chalmers of the same period, who were kind enough to share photos and sketches of my missing parts, verifying the information that I needed.As part of my restoration process, I am making drawings, sketches and taking photos of the assemblies as I progress.
    To assure that parts are accurate and interchangeable (left and right hand parts), I am making patterns and fixtures. These methods, not only assure commonality, but they also enable me, by design, to precisely determine where the required work to be accomplished on the part, thus allowing the mating of parts.
    Most of my fixtures are made of wood, and their design is based on how they will adequately secure the part to be worked. Another consideration in the design is to insure that the surface area where the part is to be worked, while in the fixture, is clear, so that the particular woodworking tool can be accomodated without damaging the fixture.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    The photos depict two of the fixtures used to perform operations on the vertical upright structural members shown mounted in preparation to being worked.
    The fixture on the left is designed to accomodate one piece at a time. When flipped over it will accomodate the opposite hand part.

    The fixture on the right is designed to handle both left and right hand parts simutaneously. This fixture is designed to cut out the slots in the uprights, accomodating the door latch mechanisms.
    Both fixtures are used with a radial arm saw.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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