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John N. Packard

Top Restoration

10 posts in this topic

Who can direct me to information on the proper restoration of a soft top for a 1928 Packard sedan? Thanks!<P>jnp

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John,<P>What kind of information do you need? Do you need to clean it, fix some bad spots, make it tighter, install a new one, etc ?<P>Dan<p>[ 08-09-2001: Message edited by: D Binger ]

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John -<BR>I assume that you are looking for info about "how to" completely restore the top. If you're interested, I have an article somewhere on how to do sedan/coupe top restoration for this era car. I could photocopy and send it to you. Interested? cool.gif" border="0

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John,<P>I have no idea as to what type of top construction is used on a 1928 Packard. However I know that most of the top rebuilding instructions I was able to find had nothing to do with the style tops used on early Chrysler products.<P>So, take a close look at the car as well as the instructions Ted has offered to send you. If the instructions seem to match the car then great! If they don't match, then don't force the job to match the instructions.<P>I shouldn't really post this as it is common sense and I am sure you have enough of that. However I know a fellow whose initials are TF that did not have that much common sense. It took some work to undo the mistakes. smile.gif" border="0

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Dan,<BR> I'm starting with wood for top bows and an open hole in the roof of the car! I'm told that the top bows can be bent by putting them in a steam bath. What I don't know is what chicken wire, cloth, and top material are required. Unfortunately there is no pattern left on the car to use as a guide. Ted, I'd love to have a copy of the article. Tod, I find that common sense escapes me when I commit to and get involved in these projects! I thought perhaps there might be a video or book out there to guide me through the process. Thanks for your interest.<P>jnp

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Here's an update: "Retopping the Enclosed Car" by E.W. Stitt published in the January 1962 issue of Antique Automobile Magazine. An excellent article with photos; but not much information on replicating & replacing the top bows. He refers to "roofing cement" to be applied to the tack strips. Is this the black tar that is readily available for house roof repairs? A light cloth, blue cotton wadding and the top material are to be applied in that order. Any suggestions as to sources for these materials? Is the top material also referred to as "decking". I have PRO and Restoration Specialties catalogs that list similar materials. Thanks for your comments.<P>jnp

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John,<BR>I cant help much with the top but I can tell you an excellent method of steaming wood to get it to shape. I use it when fitting wood on the boats.<BR>Take a 6' log piece of PVC pipe and two end caps. Put a 1/4 " hole every foot along one side. Place the pipe holes up.<BR>On one of the end caps put a guick connect fitting so you can connect an air hose to it. Cement this pice in place.<BR>Place the pipe someplace sturdy and at waist level.<BR>Go get yourself a Turkey Frying Kit. This consists of a large pot (5 Gallons) and a propane cooker to set the pot on. Plus you will need some tongs, oven mits, and a tank of propane.<BR>Take another quick connect and drill out a hole on the lid and bolt it in.<BR>Connect the hose between the pot and the PVC pipe.<BR>Now all of this contraption is OUTSIDE, not in the basement.<BR>Fill the pot with water and place the top with the hose on top and start heating.<BR>Put the wood in the PVC pipe and put the other end cap on gently. Dont beat it on, it has to come off when the wood is steamed enough.<BR>As steam is created in the pot it goes into the PCV pipe and comes out the small holes. After 20 minutes to an hour depending on the wood, you are ready to take the wood out and place it in your form.<BR>Good luck<BR>Bill

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Thanks Bill for the detailed description of the steamer. I had heard about this approach in general terms; but not with the detail you provide. What is a good way to hold the wood being bent in the form? Clamp two curved sections around it or use a series of wood clamps? It appears to be a very slight curve (large radius). How long do you leave the wood clamped before it takes a set? The wood I have is oak.<P>jnp

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John,<BR>Build a buck to form the wood around and then I use clamps, the long kind you can get at Home Depo that slide, not the screw type clamps. You dont want to put pressure on the wood to make indentations. Use lots of them.<BR>Oak will take awhile to steam and overnight or a day or two to dry completly. Depends on the thickness.Thin = short, thick = long.<BR>If the wood bends easily when you take it out of the steamer its ready.<BR>Good luck.<BR>Bill<p>[ 08-21-2001: Message edited by: Bill Stoneberg ]

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Use air dried oak if possble.The materials are availible from LeBarron Bonney.There are several grain patterns ie,colonial,long grain,short grain.Many closed cars of the era used the long grain.Phil

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