Bob Zetnick

1929 DA-6 4-dr sedan roof framing

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Vern, this is my roof insert drawings ( and for anyone else that can use them)

As I said in a previous post the original framing seemed to be oak and had finger joints to create the curve. I had the help of a local woodworker who didn't have that expertise. He came up with the idea of (3) 1/4" laminated layers where each layer was bent to the shape of the curve. The 3 layers beacme the 3/4" thickness on all members.

I hope these are readable.

The 'Layout' scan shows the layout of the roof members and their lengths.

The 'Profile' scan shows the curvature of the pieces. I took a string and stretched it from one end of the roof opening to the other end in both directions; front and rear. I then measured from the string up to the roof opening at each top bow location. I interpolated the middle bows from front to back (from 3/8" - 1")The middle part with the dome light I traced from the original (so don't have dimensions of that piece)

The 'Detail' scan was for my benefit to put together the roof as it was....just shows how it was screwed together and the different roof layers. In later research I saw that this car did not have metal trim, so disregard that aspect of the detail. I found a website where the guy was redoing a roof insert on a '33 Plymouth where the detail looked just like mine. He said that in the old days there was this sealant called "Dum-dum'. He said that 3M strip-caulk (that I got at an O-Reilly's Auto Parts store) was a good substitute and was still pliable after 6 years; no leaks. Anyway, I used this strip caulk on my roof. Again, on a previous post, I said that adding cotton padding made the top insert too thick, so I took that out and put in a quilted moving blanket cut to size. The quilted aspect of the blanket keeps the padding from looking too thick and the padding keeps the bows and chicken wire from showing through the final vinyl top I got from Lebaron Bonney. It stands about 1/4" "proud" of the surrounding metal.

This is the site I looked at to help me 1933 Plymouth Roof Installation

I would recomend looking at your own car to make sure these measurements are true for yours. I know these bodies were stamped out assumably the same, but being in the design business where you are given record drawings with measurements that are said to be accurate......well, it usually doesn't work out that way. I would just check to make sure your roof opening has the same perimeter measurements.

Hope this all helps and have a good weekend!

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Thanks John! I still do work for an architectural firm......between the little extra money for design and artwork and everyone's help on these boards hopefully I'll get 'Arabella' on the road again soon!

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Here you can see what the previous owner and his "car guy" did to my '31 coupe roof right before I bought it. Yep...it's way wrong...knew that when I first saw it. Anyone with half of their wits about them would NEVER have done it this way. Not only does it leak, they also ruined a perfectly good expanse of roofing material by putting screw holes in it.

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I know noone asked for these but here is another roof shot of a spare that I have, I have shown the finger joints as they were calles I believe.

Bob I would appreciate if you send those pict. to my e-mail of jhason2@yahoo.com, I cannot seem to read them here because of their size. My roof measurements would not do you any good Vern as it is from a 2 Dr. vehicle but I am sure Bobs will be a big help.

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Thanks Bob I do have the side strips and a few across peices but what I do have are flaten (out of shape.)

Jason:

Just click on the picture two times this will enlarge it then right click and print out I have done this and came out fine.

:( to bad your top will not fit

Vern

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I see, when I click on the pict. it does enlarge it but I still cannot read it, I will go ahead and try and print it out, thanks

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Jason, I just e-mailed the drawings to you...maybe a little clearer

Vern, I did see a 4-dr sedan top in good condition on Ebay about a year ago...it didn't sell, don't know what became of it. I check Ebay for parts as often as I check these boards for info.

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Bob,

I am about to start on my roof and have found your drawings and comments from this post very helpful. I am however unsure of how you took your measurements.

Do I take it that in the “side profile”, this is indicating the curvature of the timber on the perimeter of the hood insert, or is this the roof center line? How did you then determine the curvature of the individual cross bows, or is that what these measurements indicate? I see you have given the curvature of the front and rear profiles separately.

Thanks for any help.

John

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6 hours ago, Bullfrog_eng said:

Bob,

I am about to start on my roof and have found your drawings and comments from this post very helpful. I am however unsure of how you took your measurements.

Do I take it that in the “side profile”, this is indicating the curvature of the timber on the perimeter of the hood insert, or is this the roof center line? How did you then determine the curvature of the individual cross bows, or is that what these measurements indicate? I see you have given the curvature of the front and rear profiles separately.

Thanks for any help.

John

John,

The "side profile" is the perimeter of the roof insert. The individual cross bows I interpolated the curvature based on the curvature of the front and rear frame perimeter as there's not a whole lot of difference in height at the middle. Hope that helps. Good luck!

Bob

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John, BTW, the flat top steel peremeter edges where the fabric wraps around did not fit into the "grooved" profile as I showed in section....it overlapped a bit...that recess just may have been for the sealant....anyway, I've had questions on that....just a head's up.

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I have just about finished the basic frame including the cross bows. I have the remains of my old roof on hand and have been using that to confirm what I am doing. The measurements above have been mostly spot on and a big help, but the piece of timber for the interior light has me puzzled. My old roof, and the hole in the metal trim surrounding the roof frame for the wiring indicate that the light on my car was about a foot back from what is indicated above. It would make the light about 4' 8" from the front of the roof.This seems silly to me as it would not provide much lighting for the people in the front seat, not to mention difficult to turn on from the front seat. I have pretty well decided to move it forward, to the position shown in the above drawings, as it seems more practical, although not as was original in my car. But I just wondered if Bob or anyone else has found this? 

Thanks,

John

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Thanks Tom, all very helpful when one is as "wood challenged" as I am (I am deeply suspicious of anything I can't weld!!). The plymouth construction is somewhat different to the DA, which has a few different challenges, for me anyway. I will comment on those later, but I need to know that what I am doing is going to work first.

So far so good.

John

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Bob, yes I wondered that. My DA did not have the corner lamps and the positioning of the main interior lamp was about level with the front of the rear seat, giving good light to the rear passengers, but probably pretty poor for the driver and front passenger. I have moved it forward (same position as in above drawings) but turned it around, to make the switch easier to get to from the front seat. Not as it was, of course, but no one will know (unless they read this!!!).

John

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John,

 

Who knows...people said my '29 wouldn't have had a mohair headliner, but that was the way my car was in '71 when I got it...I've put a new headliner in it and I put in mohair....what actually went in on the assembly line 90 years ago is anyone's guess,...that said, we do have good educated guesses w/ lot of knowledge and photos.

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Just finished installing my roof in the DA, so thought would add some comments to this thread for anyone else doing so. As I said previously, I had the remains of my old roof on hand for comparison. I found Bob’s drawings and measurements extremely helpful and mostly the same as mine, but there were a few differences, so I will mention these as I go along.

The timber I used is Australian Oak (or Tasmanian Oak), which is not really Oak but a very strong eucalypt hardwood. I used 9mm thick strips, 40mm wide and laminated 3 of them together to for the perimeter and bows. This gave a total thickness of 27mm (near enough to 1 inch, as per my original roof timbers).

I had originally planned to use the steel surround of the roof to clamp and form the perimeter pieces, but found this did not work for two reasons. The first is that the roof surround is not strong enough to do this and can distort. The second is that my roof was different profile from left hand side to right hand side. More on this later. So for the perimeter, I used Bob’s measurements to form the laminations.

Now, the original bows connected to the perimeter timbers by a 45degree joint (I have no idea what that is called), but I used what I believe are called housing joints, because they are simple and so am I when it comes to woodworking!

So I marked out where the bows were to go (bearing in mind that they are not at right angles, as the side perimeter pieces taper in towards the front) and then routed them out to suit. This is where the first difference with my roof comes in. Where on Bob’s drawing, all the bows are spaced 1ft. apart, on mine only the front 5 were, the remainder were different. I went with my measurements.

Now, because I had routed out the perimeter pieces, they had lost some strength till it was all screwed and glued together. I actually screwed the perimeter pieces to the roof surrounds, so it was all built in situ. But remember I said that there was a difference in profile left to right? Well, when screwed into position, the routed perimeter pieces followed the incorrect profile on one side, meaning that the roof would have a noticeable lean left to right. So I made a couple of adjustable props out of some tubing, to push the RHS up to the same profile as the LHS (see photo). I then screwed and glued all the bows in place. So far so good.

In a previous post in this thread, I commented on the position of the interior light, in the end I sought advice from a mate with a similar DA and shifted the light forward to where I decided would suit me, as well as turning it around, so that the light switch was closer to the driver, instead of the rear passengers. I mention this because if you look at the pictures and think it is wrong compared to yours, it will be!

I then screwed the metal flat pieces around the perimeter, as per Bob’s photos. I checked my old roof, and Bob is quite correct, the roof does not drop into the recess, but overlaps by about ¼”. See my drawing below.

I then again differed from the accepted method and used Luan Ply instead of the chicken wire. I did this because I had been told that the flow of air could cause the vinyl top to balloon up using chicken wire, but I am really not convinced of this. In the end I was just more comfortable doing it that way. It is glued and screwed all round, and to all bows, and sits inside the metal perimeter pieces, only slightly proud of them. The vinyl and padding easily covers this and it finishes up smooth. I used a quality tonneau cover material that my motor trimmer recommended, one that will not stretch too much in the heat of a sunny day.

I had the motor trimmer fit this, particularly to get good flat corners where there are multiple layers of material.

I had taken great care to pre drill all screw holes and particularly the horizontal metal thread screw holes, so that they all lined up, and this paid off, it all went together well.

I took great notice of Ian Greenlaw’s roof fitment in his thread “Slow progress but getting there” page 18, and sought his advice on a few things, thanks Ian. I basically did as he described and really without too much mess. That really surprised me. I screwed everything down and it all sat down well. Because there is really only a small bead of mastic visible, it cleaned up much easier than Ian’s. One thing that I did do, though, was to use a margarine tub lid as a spool to wind up the used tape (covered with sticky mastic) so as to minimise the possibility of it going everywhere. As I was doing this by myself, I needed to make sure that I could put this roll of very messy tape on a piece of newspaper on the roof, as I worked my way round the car.

So that was it. I had not been looking forward to that job, but the whole thing went better than expected and I am very happy with the result. I am sure glad it is finished though.

John

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What blue paint did you use? Looks great. I am in the process of painting my 29 DB truck. I found PPG “Baja Blue” give the dark shade I desired. I used black undercoat also.  Here are some pictures.

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John, looks great! The Luan plywood is a good idea..... I did the chicken wire, but had to add a padded quilt moving blanket to smooth things out a bit....I think your roof lies flatter.

 

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