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West Peterson

top material for 1930s woodies. What is it?

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I'm pretty sure Fords used "sedan decking", like 1920's - '30s closed cars...

If it was not a heavily grained leatherette, then I would think the next choice would be rubberized canvas, such as used on rigid-top sport-coupes and cabriolets...

Got a specific marque or body-builder in mind, West ? ( That might impact the "correct" answer...)

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I am embarrassed that I do not know the correct term. Maybe you have a contact at LeBaron Bonney that you could call? Todd C

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Any idea who built the wooden body (ie: Cantrell, Iron Mountain, Campbell, etc.) ?

I would lean towards the heavily "grained" sedan decking...

Le Baron-Bonney would definitely have a selection, and probably pictures on-line...

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Our 1948 Buick Woodie has long grained "Cobra" decking and appears original. It is the same as used in early sedan top inserts and is available from LeBaron-Bonney among others. A bit tricky to use in that it doesn't like to stretch but a heat gun helps a lot.

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That sounds like it, Jeff. I just want to know what it's called so that I can get it right in the story. I'll just have to call it leatherette, at this point.

Thanks for your help.

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LeBaron-Bonney-Hampton will send samples swatches too. I'd be careful of using "leatherette" - it's very broad as it's just a marketing term for vinyl

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Folowing Restorer, "cobra long and short grain vinyl topping" I believe will get you where you need to be in communicaiton with these vendors - LB of course is the place I would start with also, but I think most of the big A parts suppliers have it also. Most vehicles, I think, use the long grain, especially Fords.

I have heard the trick old timers use with this material is let it set on blacktop in the hot sun for a couple hours, so it stretches a bit for installaiton and will give a nice tight look when done. obviously this is something to be done on a warmer day. (I had one doen but it was done at a shop indoors in the dead of winter...)

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)

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West,

A 1930 Clifton Auto Fabric Catalog calls it Heavy Deck material.

The samples show Long Grain Rubber, Pebble Grain Rubber,

Black Back Rubber, Drab Back Rubber, etc.

TG

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I think that different manufacturers probably used some different terms to describe the top fabric. What is wrong with calling it "top fabric" or "top material"? May not be elegant, but it gets the point across clearly.

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I try to give our readers a little more description than that. Just like when talking about the upholstery of a car, we say leather, or mohair, or vinyl, or Bedford Cord, as opposed to "the seats are covered with fabric."

Since there are a few different types of material used for tops, I like to try and be more descriptive. Sometimes this alleviates a reader from calling me and asking for contact information of the car owner. "Can you get me in touch with so-and-so? I'm restoring one and would like to know just what type of fabric he used on his top."

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Then, I would call it whatever the owner calls it. If the owner restored it, he or she should know. If one of us gives you a suggestion, we might be wrong. Since there does not seem to be agreement here on what to call it, I would defer to the owner. Good luck with it.

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Yup. But I was on deadline and was looking for quick answer, and didn't even know who to call. Plus, I think everything was probably closed at the time I needed the information.

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West, just to throw my 2 cents worth in, be sure to use all of the proper under layments.

Most use off white linen, then galvenized chicken wire, then cotten batting, then the top overlayment as discribed before. Best regards, Pat O

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"Sedan decking" would be the appropriate "period" term, w/o getting into grain patterns, etc.

( Period. ;) )

It is more specific than "leatherette", and was used fairly exclusively for one purpose: automobile roofs for closed cars & trucks prior to WW II, and wood-bodied wagons until their demise.

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