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Pallidan1

Replacing top

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I need to replace the top wood in my 1927 Dictator and my 1931 model 54. Does anyone sell the paterns for this?

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Your best hope would be Andrew Beckman at Studebaker Museum Archives in South Bend, IN and ask whether factory blueprints exist for your model cars.

The archive contains thousands of factory component original drawings & photos and has spent years indexing and storing them in a climate controlled building. It is a monumental accomplishment considering how they languished for years in desperate conditions and hazardous locations.

The photos are only a glimpse of what is present and were taken at an open house visit several years ago.

The museum can reproduce prints on file for a modest cost.

abeckman@studebakermuseum.org

Stude8

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Thanks for that information and the photos. I am amazed that someone was able to save all those prints and had the dedication to catalog them.

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The whole story of those drawings and thousands of 8x10 glass plate photo negatives is miraculous they survived as well as they did.

When Studebaker production ceased in Dec, 1963 the engineering records ended up being donated to Syracuse University in New York. So they all got loaded onto semi trucks and hauled out there. They were wanted to study the history of one of the oldest manufacturing companies in USA, 154 years at that time. Certain researchers published short history photo albums but eventually interest wained.

There was a bad chapter in the photo collection prior to 1963, many 1920's and 30's acetate film negatives were ordered disposed of as a safety measure due to the self destruction and flammability of the Nitrate chemistry they contained. None were copied systematically with modern photography methods so they are lost.

Once the Studebaker National Musuem was organized the funding became available to return the collections to South Bend. About 20 years ago I recall seeing 4x4 skids of 1930's advertising artworks piled in the unheated upper floors of the building that was the first Studebaker Museum, the old Freeman-Spicer dealership.

The truck trips back really had it all disorganized on arrival.

The present museum faculty finally made the correct logical order indexing and with untold hours volunteers and archival students, things were sorted out and stored in decent document cabinets after being documented and restored with modern accepted preservation techniques. Damaged drawings were sent to crews trained in correcting damage before being filed in storage.

It is a treasure of information finally safe and secure for time to come.

Stude8

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The archives are amazing. Just yesterday I ordered the Production Order for a '38 Commander. Hard to believe that it's available today.

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Well i sent the e-mail but unfortunatly the drawings for the wood are not available. But i was told to call and he would be happy to talk to me and see if he could assit me.

He did say he had the body panel blueprints which are a plus. Lose a little gain a little i'm happy.

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Hi, Pallidan1. Like you, I asked the museum for body timber drawings for my 1928 GB which is probably almost identical to yours. I got the answer that 30ft-long panel drawings could be bought, which I declined since they wouldn't fit on my garage floor, let alone my dinner table. Let me give you the benefit of my experience, plusmy thoughts and decisions thereafter.

  1. If the top deck is rotten, so too will be the bottom deck. You have to lift the lid, so be prepared to replace all the timbers together.
  2. Spend the first 3 months on taking photos, making drawings and in general documenting what is dismantled and what you have to do as carefully as possible. If necessary, get good advice from folk who know more than you about such things. It is well worth paying for such advice, especially from highly-skilled woodworkers (who will also have special tools, etc, which you can have recourse to when the going gets tough.)
  3. Buy a copy of Don Marsh's 18-page book "Tips on Auto Body Woodwork". Don't worry about cost--it is the essential information.
  4. Take Don Marsh's advice and buy a copy of the Fisher Body Service Manual 1926-31 for closed-body models. This cost me about $100 including postage from the US to Australia but it gave me priceless understanding and confidence that I could tackle the job myself.
  5. When you have taken the top-deck timber off, use the steel brackets at the tops of the door pillars to anchor scrap-timber bracing, so that the body is held together and the exhaustive measurements you've made are retained. as a pattern for the work ahead.
  6. Keep taking photographs and detailed notes at every step.
  7. Buy the best available products for rust-conversion, anti-rust priming and timber preservation/restoration. You will meet corrosion at every step (though I have yet to find unmanageable rust in my Studebaker--I dips me lid to their craftsmanship and metallurgy.)
  8. Make a careful study of what timber to buy and what qualities of grain, etc, to look for. As a Western Australian, I decided to use local and regional timbers matched to the conditions rather than go for a perfect factory reproduction in American Oak which sadly falls to pieces in our climate.
  9. The machine tools I have found invaluable, to date, are my variable-speed drill with a variety of cleanup attachments like nylon brush. wirebrushes, etc; a small angle-grinder with flap disks which clean metal or wood with amazing speed; a table-mounted router for cutting lap joints; and a belt sander for speedily shaping curved edges. On good advice, I have also invested in a medium-sized bandsaw which handles the curves but can also do accurate straight cuts.
  10. If (like me) you're new to this, practice making cuts, joints, etc on scrap timber until you can turn out the perfect final piece on the chosen timber.
  11. Good Luck! I'm ready to share info with you. I haven't yet got up to the top deck, but here are some early-days sill pics.

Cheers

Brian

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Edited by Brian in Oz
fixing price and other mistakes (see edit history)

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Thanks Brian for the advice, i will get the books asap. I am having my ex-son in-law who is an excellent cabinet maker and fairly good mechanic look at the cars he's pretty sure he can duplicate and install the wood. I personaly have never been able to stop turning bookshelves into toothpicks. I have no wood skills so i'm not getting into this pond without help. A plus is he has all the equipment in his home shop. I have purchased these two car sight unseen from Guam and had high hopes to be home (Arizona) for the meet so i could meet other folks that had the 20s/ 30s cars. But alas thats not going to happen. In the mean time i am getting other stuff done mechanicly so i can move them around and get the woodwork started when i get home the end of June. I'll post progess now and then, and i hope to be able to make patterns to share as i go.

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