MochetVelo

Glue in Wood Frame?

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I'm restoring a 1924 Citroen with wood body frame. A few of the joints are wobbly, and I'm replacing a few pieces. Is the use of waterproof wood glue or epoxy possible, or is it to be avoided? Past repairs included dozens of little nails.

 

Phil

 

 

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A friend of mine glued the joints he worked on and then cut sheet metal to fit  as strapping to reinforce the connections. Either glue should work ok.

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My Auto Restoration Tips and Techniques book says to use NO glue unless it was originally glued.

 

This is because it makes the body too stiff. The car will squeak, groan and some of the wood might even splinter as you drive around. The body is made to flex as it travels over uneven roads and all the joints take part in this flexing. Gluing the joints prevents this flexing and some parts will crack or split.

 

The parts are also virtually impossible to replace in the future without breaking or cutting the parts out.

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You might look for a product called "chairloc" that is made to tighten  the joints in wooden chairs.  It swells the wood but would allow the joint to move slightly.

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Any "Fisher Body" that I have had apart had all the joints glued except "A" "B" and "C" pillars and the ones above and below the windshield.

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I hesitated in responding, because there are some places that this stuff can be used and some where it shouldn't be used. Git Rot (sp) is an epoxy that travels through the wood and soaks into the wood as it travels. Although it works as any epoxy resin it's slow kick time allows it the penetrate both the good wood and the rotted wood before it sets up. It does a nice job of replacing dry rotted material, but also has multiple uses when rigidity of the wood is required. Used judiciously it can be the restores best friend. I've used it several times over the last forty years on wood that I was afraid that I was going to have to replace. Repairs are still holding up today.

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2 hours ago, Buffalowed Bill said:

I hesitated in responding, because there are some places that this stuff can be used and some where it shouldn't be used. Git Rot (sp) is an epoxy that travels through the wood and soaks into the wood as it travels. Although it works as any epoxy resin it's slow kick time allows it the penetrate both the good wood and the rotted wood before it sets up. It does a nice job of replacing dry rotted material, but also has multiple uses when rigidity of the wood is required. Used judiciously it can be the restores best friend. I've used it several times over the last forty years on wood that I was afraid that I was going to have to replace. Repairs are still holding up today.

 Yes, I have used a similar product called Kwik-Poly. When it is first mixed the viscosity is thinner than water. It really penetrates well.  The larger the quantity  mixed the faster it cures. 

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Kwik Poly is excellent for wood repairs, and can act as a "glue" if allowed to seep between joints.  I would hesitate mixing a large quantity, as it hardens in minutes.  The little cups they send with a kit are about right, to be able to brush on in the time before it starts to set (2 to 3 minutes after mixing at 70 degrees F or so).  You can chill the liquid before hand and it will take longer to set.  You can order it directly from manufacturer, they'll send it to you along with a bill and you pay by return mail.  http://www.kwikpolyllc.com/

 

There are other liquid epoxies made for wood, mostly in the marine industry.  I've used West System with good success, it will soak in, but takes a much longer time to harden.  It probably does not soak in as well as the Kwik Poly.  http://www.westsystem.com/ss/

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Posted (edited)

I too recommend Kwik Poly for the reasons trimacar mentioned. That said, there is strength in using both wood screws and machine screws with blind fasteners. I have used both threaded inserts and small metal stock that has been tapped with machine threads. Makes very strong joints. Kwik Poly can be mixed with Durham's Wood putty (dry powder) as a filler to provide a basis for building up a surface for nailing.

wood2.jpg

wood1.jpg

Edited by Friartuck
pics added (see edit history)

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This is the wood frame for the body of a 1925 Buick Tourer.  I used a couple of things from www.rotdoctor.com   CPES (clear penetrating epoxy sealer) is 2 part epoxy that goes on like water with a brush.  It soaks in, then dries after several hours.  It keeps water from penetrating the wood.  I used a brush and applied 2 coats on all my wood.  For what I felt needed to be joined, I used their "all wood 2 part epoxy glue".  The 2 parts are like syrup.  What I like is the long set up time.  mix it and you have over 2 hours to work with it.  Plenty of time to get all the clamps on and to get everything square.  I have also mixed it with sawdust to repair tack strip areas for convertible tops.  It will dry rock hard. so you use a little with a lot of sawdust.  I also mixed some on a disposable plate with a toothpick, and would wipe dowels and toothpicks to fill old screw and nail holes in the wood.  I knew where the old holes were when I went to reassemble because the sealer over everything was clear.  Drill pilot holes and everything fits back like it was.     Be sure to wear disposable gloves.  

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I like many of the above posts. Reclaiming  damaged or rotting wood with one of the epoxies is great. An important point mentioned at the beginning of this thread is that some joints should not be glued with Epoxy as they do not allow for enough flex in the body. I think that is an important point to consider when assembling you wood frame.

I have used an epoxy sawdust mixture to fill in or reshape specific pieces and that seems to work as well.

I have been working on a 1919 Mcalughlin which had very little wood left in it when I started so there was a fair bit of guess work that went on

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They still make cars with wood frames:

 

 

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I am a bit surprised at the comments that some joints should not be glued to allow them to flex.   Can any one advise why you would do this now days. 

I can understand that in the old days when these cars were built the roads were very rough and that the body/chassis would flex a lot but now days on the good roads we have I would have thought that this was not necessary and in fact the stiffer you could make it the better it would be.

 

I ask this because I am about to rebuild a wooden framed car with a substantial chassis and I intended to overlap, mortise or dowel all the joints, glue and screw them and gusset all the corners etc. to make it as rigid as possible.  

I notice on the Morgan video above that this is what they do but I also realise that they are total different type of car. 

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As I said before any "Fisher Body" that I have had apart had all the joints glued except "A" "B" and "C" pillars to the body sill and the connections between the "A" pillar and the horizontal pieces above and below the windshield.  The connections always had heavy metal brackets doing the connecting.

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In the early days of cars they had a lot of trouble with bodies flexing and squeaking and eventually falling apart especially closed bodies. The chassis were flexible  and caused the bodies to flex and twist. To combat this, body makers added steel braces and tried to make them as rigid as possible.

 

Weymann took the opposite approach and made bodies with flexible joints that could work and not squeak or wear out.

 

In the end the solution was all steel bodies that were stiffer than the frames. To the point where some cars dispensed with frames, and used the body as the chassis.

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Lots of interesting points above. The end question I have is.... If you epoxy glue all the joints including all the posts so it is as stiff as possible. Will the wood eventually break as the car tries to flex. ( I assume the current epoxies are much stronger than the glues in the day)  Would a touring car be less inclined to need to flex and or have wood break compared to a closed car? ( I assume a touring car may be OK to Epoxy)  I also note that I can see where my steel frame for the car could certainly have  quite a bit of flex.

 On my car the motor mounts (cast iron, hard mounted to the frame) were often broken on the engine... there was a lot of flex going on to break the engine mounts. It took several engines to find a front motor mount the wasn`t broken.

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Today's roads are way smoother than in the teens and twenties. No way would you put your car through what they put them through every day back then! Look at this video for a typical day's driving.

 

OK slight exaggeration but not by much. Cars met life in the raw in those days.

 

As others have pointed out closed bodies were meant to be rigid. Open cars not so much. They were not so stiff to start with, and nobody cared if they squeaked and rattled a bit, you could not hear it over the wind noise. It was when closed cars came in vogue that the real complaints started.

 

The steel or aluminum body panels over the framing stiffened them up too.

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Another thing, the now nearly 100 year old wood is not as strong or flexible as when new. But, I would glue the joints if they were glued originally or strengthen them with epoxy. The kind of driving they get today should not over stress anything.

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Posted (edited)

On my 1925 Buick, There is a heavy metal plate riveted to the 2 frame rails at the rear above the gas tank.  This allows each side of the frame rail at the front of the car to dip or rise above the other frame rail as you go over various road conditions.  Say driving up a curb on one side.  I am hoping that this very short video loads for you.  The rear axle is on jack stands.  I raised the front of the car in the middle of the axle, and it takes very little to show the twist that occurs in the frame under normal conditions.  The wood body has to deal with some of this, but they handle it quite well.  Almost all of the wood on my car is glued together.  Hugh

 

Buick Frame Movement.MOV

Edited by Hubert_25-25 (see edit history)

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12 hours ago, Hubert_25-25 said:

On my 1925 Buick, There is a heavy metal plate riveted to the 2 frame rails at the rear above the gas tank.  This allows each side of the frame rail at the front of the car to dip or rise above the other frame rail as you go over various road conditions.  Say driving up a curb on one side.  I am hoping that this very short video loads for you.  The rear axle is on jack stands.  I raised the front of the car in the middle of the axle, and it takes very little to show the twist that occurs in the frame under normal conditions.  The wood body has to deal with some of this, but they handle it quite well.  Almost all of the wood on my car is glued together.  Hugh

 

Buick Frame Movement.MOV

Nice to see the video. that is a lot of flex for sure and my 1919 Mclaughlin has a way finer(lighter) frame than you have there.

No wonder the motor mounts are always broken. In fact on mine the plate between the two rails at the front also had a crack in it too.

I assumed the kids had been using it as a toy in the fields to cause the breakage but maybe not. The odometer on my may on it showed 12,000 miles on it and I think it was correct original miles

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23 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

Today's roads are way smoother than in the teens and twenties. No way would you put your car through what they put them through every day back then! Look at this video for a typical day's driving.

 

OK slight exaggeration but not by much. Cars met life in the raw in those days.

 

As others have pointed out closed bodies were meant to be rigid. Open cars not so much. They were not so stiff to start with, and nobody cared if they squeaked and rattled a bit, you could not hear it over the wind noise. It was when closed cars came in vogue that the real complaints started.

 

The steel or aluminum body panels over the framing stiffened them up too.

Neat video. You are correct. our cars will never see roads like that every. I guess we just get too fussy sometimes when It really shouldn`t matter. shine them up and get them out on the road.

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