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A few months ago I acquired this 1931 Model 67. The car belonged to an elderly gentlemen who has since passed. He began replacing the wood and didn't get too far on that as you can see. This car is mostly complete but there are a few pieces that I'll have to find. The engine looks to me to be a later 248 and I was really hoping that I could find the right one. There is a Craigslist pic that I've attached of a burned car for sale in Texas. It was posted the Buy/Sell Forum recently. I do not know if the engine will fit but someone here will likely know.

I will start on wood replacement as soon as I finish my woodshop. My recent move back from Texas left me with a bunch of wood working tools with no place to go. Some other items that I will need include a back window garnish molding, a few pieces of side window garnish, and some interior door handles and cranks.

I cannot find any rust through on this car, not even the bottom of the doors. I have no history of the car beyond what I've mentioned. My goal is to get her back like new.

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How fortunate that you have posted. I, for one, am very curious how Buick originally built the sheet metal over the wood framing. Your pictur of the drivers side seems to reveal a lot of insight into that. May I ask you for your observations on the following:

The header metal over the windshield, how is it attached to the metal headers running down the side of the car? Or is it attached? Is the seam just filled with lead?

And the rear windows, is this the same type of construction, ie; leaded seams?

Are the door jambs on the body also covered with metal, or is thw wood exposed here where the hinges for the doors attach.

Meanwhile, a great car... I wish you the best with it.

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Looks to me like the old guy made some good progress in his wood replacement. Gives you a standard to match. From your long list of aged Buicks, I'd say you're not afraid of wood-framed cars. Please continue to share your experience with this one.

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  • 1 year later...

Two years ago I posted pics of my 1931 Buick Sr 67. About six months ago, I began the process of dismantling and cleaning. One week ago, I sent all sheet metal to the plastic media blaster and I'm anxiously awaiting to see how it turns out. The car had very little rust, except on the floor pans. The pics are the sheet metal being unloaded at the blaster. More to come. - Joel

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  • 2 weeks later...

My parts are back from the plastic media blaster. I am happy with the way they turned out. The parts were all blasted on both sides and in case the pics don't tell the story, here is the long and short of plastic blasting. It does a great job of removing all of the old paint. It leaves no marks on the metal and doesn't generate enough heat to threaten warping. It does not remove rust but it will remove loose rust like what you find in pits or the light colored surface rust. I was fortunate to have very little rust on this car but nonetheless, there is a bit more work to do. The cost of the blasting was one grand, I'm looking to do more of this kind of outsourcing as it saves me lots of time. My plan now is to work out all dents, sand and lightly sand blast rust areas, clean and prime with SPI black epoxy primer.

The plastic blasting revealed an interesting ink stamping in the driver's door - maybe it was the beginning or end of a roll of new sheet metal.

Next up will be some pics of the progress of the re-wooding.

Note to Mr. John De Fiore: Here are your questions from two years ago and my answers - I am sorry to be so slow in response.

The header metal over the windshield, how is it attached to the metal headers running down the side of the car? Or is it attached? Is the seam just filled with lead?

That header has a fairly heavy guage piece of metal on each side that will screw into the wood that is the top of the hinge post. Then, the seam is filled with lead.

And the rear windows, is this the same type of construction, ie; leaded seams?

No leaded seams back there - the metal is stamped and the rear hinge post is wood with metal covers nailed on. The wood comes out easily after removing all the nails and bolts and screws and roller mechanism and top wood support and bottom circular wood....Okay, the wood doesn't come out easily!

Are the door jambs on the body also covered with metal, or is thw wood exposed here where the hinges for the doors attach.

The only place where any wood will show on this car is the top jamb of the doors themselves. All hinge posts are covered with nailed on metal pieces. The hinges screw into the wood.

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  • 1 month later...

The woodwork is well on its way. I started with some complex pieces - but there is some rhyme and reason to the order. I have to "work into" a couple pieces whose originals were completely rotted away. This is time consuming work; the cuts happen quickly but the measuring and marking and figuring the correct sequence eats my time. I got plenty of surface rust spots to remove and lots of primer coating to do before the wood goes in permanently.

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I have to replace all of the wood, there was not one salvageable piece of wood and three or four pieces (lower rear body) that are completely gone. The best pieces were the door wood that holds the handles, latch and window regulator.

Thank you,

Joel

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These are the two main boards that fasten to the frame. There's quite a bit more left to do to these - seat mounting, center post and front door post mortising, and attaching to the cowl. There's also a groove to be cut in one side to accomodate a wire servicing the interior light. The old wood is pretty much rotten but very useful as a pattern.

Joel

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  • 2 weeks later...

[ATTACH=CONFIG]290958[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH=CONFIG]290952[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]290957[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]290956[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]290955[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]290954[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]290953[/ATTACH]

The plastic blasting revealed an interesting ink stamping in the driver's door - maybe it was the beginning or end of a roll of new sheet metal.

That is from the Wheeling Steel Corporation in Wheeling, West Virginia. I think they are Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel company today, one of the few surviving steel mills in the Ohio River valley that stretched from Parkersburg up to Youngstown, Ohio, and across into Washinton, Pennsylvania and then to Pittsburgh. At one time, Wheeling had the world's largest nail factory and also made galvaized sheet metal products, like garden watering cans, by the thousands. Wheeling was also home of the Mail Pouch tobacco factory whose ads, painted on the sides of barns, was a familiar sight throughout the midwest. Nice to see the stamping survive, but too bad the decal will be now be covered by paint.

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I was hoping someone would comment on that ink stamp and provide some interesting history and details and you did. Thank you for sharing that - it made me wonder just how much was good ol made in America stuff that is now long gone. I too have thought that it's too bad the stamp will be covered with paint; but then again there is perhaps no better way to preserve the stamp than to paint over it. After all, paint protected it for 84 years! Thank you again for sharing your knowledge.

joel

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  • 4 weeks later...

The woodworking continues. Shop time seems pretty rare thesedays; I'll take what I can get and try to make the most of it. I thought I'd try something and create a pictorial of the replacement of door wood. I'm sure I'll have to skip over many steps but hopefully there will be enough to follow along. The wood I'm using is cypress; stable and strong, rot resistant, lightweight and easy to work. I'd call it a bit too soft in my opinion - it better hold screws or I'm hosed.

I cannot imagine doing this without having some old wood to look at. Precious and few are the moments when I get a complete piece of old wood to work with. (Just noticed that some pics are sideways - sorry about that).

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Each door has a main vertical post that is on the latch side of the door. These posts are tapered through their thickness and hopefully you'll see that in the pics. From a blank, I sawed the taper first but I cannot throw away the cutaway waste because it is immediately carpet taped back together so that the matching door curvature can be cut on the bandsaw. It might all seem a bit rediculous but I have learned that getting the cut sequence right and preserving flat sides of boards for as long as possible can really payoff. In the pics you'll see that I also carpet tape together two posts as a mirror image. This is all to ensure that I make the same mistakes at least twice!

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My other related hobby is woodworking and I have an old circular sawmill that I use to saw logs into lumber. It is not uncommon to saw through bullets, escpecially lead shot. Here is a brass jacketed bullet that I sawed through on my table saw. I'd guess it to be something like an old .30 cal.

I appreciate all the comments - there's more to come.

Joel

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Edited by JoelsBuicks
trying to rotate some pics (see edit history)
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I have learned the hard way to never blindly duplicate pattern wood - no matter how solid it is. After 80 years, wood warps and twists, shrinks and cracks, and rots. The pics below show the old wood pieces for the tops of the doors. Three of the four sides of this wood are curved to fit the door metal. Each side has a different curve. To get the correct curve, I like to use pieces of thin paneling to make patterns. With a hand plane, it doesn't take long to get the right subtle curve on the panelling and use it for marking the blanks. Again, I carpet tape the blanks together so that I can make mirror image pieces for each side of the car. When it comes to making those finger joints at the ends of the boards, the important thing is to get them to fit the other piece of wood - not to duplicate the original.

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The rear doors have a short vertical section that will also hold the three hinges (1936 rear doors only have two hinges). The cross section of this piece is also tapered but not visible in the pics. The mortise allows for that middle horizontal piece that goes across the door - just below the window.

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I'm making progress but still a long way from done.

Thanks,

Joel

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John, I'll estimate about 60 hours so far into the woodworking. It's an interesting question because I really need to include things like old wood disassembly and just thinking about correct sequence and modified joinery, so it's probably a lot more time. The rewooding involves having to create some different joint methods since installation involves building the wood into metal skins instead of applying metal skins to wooden frames as they did in the factory. A good example of this are those mortise and tenon joints to accommodate the horizontal cross member that goes just behind the board that holds all of the latch and window regulator mechanisms. I still haven't figured out how that board will go in but one thing is for sure, it can't be screwed in from the outside like it originally was. Most of this is very enjoyable work but there is frustration when you're left guessing because there's no old wood left to help figure out the correct way.

Thanks,

Joel

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I'm really impressed. After reviewing prior posts I have to ask about your comment that the Cypress better hold screws. What would the original wood have been? I cannot imagine it was pine, too soft. Nor oak, so hard. Although if there was a choice to be made I would guess soft wood that has some flexibility would be better suited to a object moving over such rough early roads of the period.

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John, as far as factory wood selection goes I am convinced that for the most part there was very little discrimination. I would say that 70% of the wood is Poplar and maybe 20% either White Oak or Red Oak. The other 10% is Maple, Cottonwood or Sweet gum and I've even seen what I think is Sycamore. The pieces that hold the latch and window regulators look like spruce to me.

You might be surprised to know that most of the wood pieces were not made from blanks of whole wood. They are laminated together in thicknesses of about 1" and then milled to final size. They have good reasons for this - probably the most likely reason is that thick wood doesn't dry evenly or quickly. Also, laminated wood is stronger and more stable. Even more surprising is that it is common to see Poplar and Oak laminated together in the same piece.

My only concern with the Cypress is that it may not tolerate much torquing of wood screws - like for the hinges or the supports for the center door post (both top and bottom). Interestingly, the factory also had this concern as they used one through-bolt for each hinge side in addition to two wood screws. They did this for the center post support as well. While I don't think Poplar is much better than Cypress at holding screws, I plan to do some experiments and may end up injecting an epoxy into the holes with the final tightening.

As you referred to, this car will not see the kind of road conditions that it faced in the early 1930's. I'm counting on it living a life of luxury - frequently used but never abused.

Thanks again for the kind words,

Joel

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Laminates! With each bit of information it seems the original manufacturing process would be longer and longer. It's amazing that they turned out as many cars as they did.

I imagine the various laminate levels had forms originally, and then the unit was assembled and just rough sanded to the approximate size needed. I don't know much about the various woods, but the popular is an interesting choice. When I lived in Rochester NY this was referred to as a weed tree. Mostly cause it grew fast, and could not be burned as firewood.

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  • 6 months later...

I am doing mine all in ash.  That is what I always understood it to be, and sometimes in oak. Supposedly, it had a lot to do with which forests Fisher could buy. 

I wish I had seen your thread long ago. It looks like we are suffering the same trials. I am re-wooding a 30-61 and am very slow. It is almost all cut out, with the exception of one or two pieces and the roof slats. I am sure I will have to redo a lot when I start final fit-up.  I have a question or two for you.

1. How do you get the hinge piller wood back into its metal wrap?  and 2. How on earth does one get the wood installed for the rear quarter windows?? Fisher seems to have put the screws in from the outside and then wrapped the metal around the window openings after installing the metal skin.

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Ernie, I'm on a business trip this week and have limited time to respond but the rear quarter wood involves two steps that differ from original construction. First, in the rear door hinge post, make your mortise longer than normal so that you can install the cross board and then push it up so that it effectively fits under the window frame. On the other end, instead of fastening to the outside, you can put the screws in from the back and then screw into the cross piece. I'm butchering this explanation but it's the best I can do without pics.

As for the center pillar, the method I used was to use cement margin trowels like you'd use a shoe horn. Those center pillar wood pieces are not for the faint of heart!

I gotta go but I'll reply later with some more info.

Thanks,

Joel

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Ernie, I'll see if I can better answer your questions.  I have some pics that might help.  First, I've read about many people using ash and quoting that it is what they were originally.  Although I have yet to identify any original wood as being ash, I see nothing wrong at all with using it; it's strong and machines well.  In my cars, there are many pieces that are almost completely rotted away and those could have been ash.  Perhaps I don't know my ash from a hole in the ground. My ash supply has been thoroughly invaded and ruined by the powder post beetle and that is why I don't use it.  I even made an auxiliary table saw fence out of ash and those beetles ruined it as well.  I mentioned in an earlier posting that I was concerned that cypress wouldn't hold screws but it turns out that it does very well. 

 

The front door hinge posts are nearly wrapped by the post metal but not enough (with a little persuasion) to prevent removal of the old wood and inserting the new.  I did have to pull open the metal but not too much and nothing more than what I could do with my hands.  Probably what is most important is that the new post has to be fashioned just like the old.  That is, you have to pay attention to every dimension because you essentially have to "roll" this piece in around its vertical axis.  There's more to it.  The cross piece behind it has to be there in position for the final fit-up.  Also, the bottom pieces on each side have to be removed before the post can be placed.  Of course, the top metal piece above the windshield has to be off as well.  

 

I have put more time than I care to recall in the thought process of sequencing the wood replacement.  Once the glue is applied, reversing is hardly an option.  I'm still having problems with the top part of the wood structure because there were no patterns left and the books aren't very detailed.  I'm also struggling with the right sequence for putting the top rail wood in permanently - which will mean that the back half of the car will be married to the front half and for that reason, the wood surrounding the rear quarter windows will go in permanently which in turn, fixes the positions of some other frame pieces around the rear door.  I don't have the rear door wood ready yet because I may have to make small adjustments to build the door to fit its opening.  I'll get through it.

 

Good Luck,

Joel

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks, Joel!  Great looking project. Pictures are definitely worth a thousand words. Do you have info on how you dealt with the center hinge posts? Also, I am still very curious about the quarter window wood situation. Take your time, as I can't do anything with mine for at least a few weeks.

Ernie

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First, thanks again for the very nice words. The curved piece over the wheel well is actually several pieces laminated - probably as many as six pieces if I remember correctly. I glued them all up and then squared up the resulting chunks into something about 5" x 5" x about 20". Then I made some patterns out of thin 1/4" plywood that I could easily cut and make them fit the metal contours. I used those plywood patterns to mark the chunk and then cut the rough profile on my band saw. It's important to add that I often have to take the waste piece and use double sided tape to temporarily put it back together so that I can use the flat side against my band saw's table to cut another curve.

The sequence of cuts is important and it takes a while for me to think my way through it. Getting that joint between the post and the curved piece is tricky but once I realized that the inside edges on both pieces were on the same plane, I just placed those faces against the fence on the table saw and made that cut - just like the old one.

I really wish I could get someone to measure the width of their 31-67 at the belt of the car - as pictured in my recent post in the Pre-war section. It was suggested that I could just use the door to get the right fit and that would work if my doors had their original wood but they are void of wood and just limp metal, so they have no shape. I guess I'll have to build the doors to fit the opening as that is the ultimate goal.

I need to get my pics updated to show more of the work that I've done around the rear quarter windows and the top sides of the car. Permanently marrying the back half of the car to the front half is something that I have avoided so far. It's decisions like this that some days has me going to the shop and doing nothing but thinking.

By the way, the center post wood was inserted by prying open the metal and then using some broad putty knives and a masonry margin trowel like you would a shoehorn. Again, I need to get some pics. If that sounded easy then I have mislead you. The center post wood has more angles, curves, ledges, cut-outs, tapers, and bugaboo's than I care to remember.

Lastly, as encouragement, I now have almost all of my chrome back from the chromer and safely stored away.

Thanks again,

Joel

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Great post, Joel! That's the kind of information I have been looking for. It is nice to know I am not the only one out there suffering this pastime, though I may be the most unsuccessful sometimes.  Like an idiot, I rarely use patterns.  I get too excited about the finished product and jump right into the Ash wood $$.  Usually it is ok, but sometimes, like with that curved piece, it is painful.  Keep the great info coming. 

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Happy Thanksgiving to all. I thought I'd take advantage of this quiet morning and post some more pics of my progress. These pics are of one of my center posts with the new wood. There's not much to say except that I'm glad these are behind me. The original wood was well rotted at both ends and on both pieces. The original wood that was wrapped in metal was still in good shape. I think if I had this to do all over again I would find a way to splice in new wood at the ends and leave the rest for another 85 years.

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I've also been working on the top rails.  These pieces go from the top of the windshield to the back of the car behind the rear quarter windows.  They are mortised for the center post and rear door post.  In one of the pics, you'll see the rear post fitted and the piece of wood just above the rear quarter window.  None of this is glued yet because I haven't figured out the right sequence and you only get one chance with glue.  There will also be screws used - just like original but in some cases, the screws will have to be used on the opposite side of the joints because the wood is being built into the metal instead of metal built around a wood frame.  These top rails have been fitted to the metal of the car.  An interesting note is that these top rails are not flat.  They have about a 3/4" crown in the middle that matches the curved profile of the top of the side doors.

 

Another pic shows the passenger wheel wood that was discussed in an earlier post.  There is a steel brace that fits against that wood piece and ties into the sill wood at the bottom of the car.  There are all sorts of clues as to how the wood was done, the trick is to recognize them. 

 

 

 

 

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It seems that I will forever be plagued with asking myself what I want to work on today. I could and probably should have some method or organized approach but I don't. I guess that's because I view structure more as a burden than a benefit. As an example, I spent a good bit of my vacation time on Monday clearing a fence row with Dad's 60 year old Cat D6 dozer. He watches from a chair that I've set up just a few yards away. I grew up and old on this dozer and nursed it through its years but I never had the knack. When I've had enough clearing, I help Dad onto the dozer and at 81, he shows that he can still make that machine do what he wants. Today and everyday I am thankful that he is still around - my biggest cheerleader.

I decided that I would start on the wood that is surrounding or framing the rear window. I had only one piece of the old wood and you'll see it in the pic with the four new pieces. You'll also notice the thin paneling that I used to make a pattern. While these pieces are not finished, the hard part is done and just the lap joints remain.

Another pic shows double 3/4" plywood corner pieces that I made for the rear corners of the car. Maybe this is cheating a bit but I want to make sure they are strong and not vulnerable to grain direction weakness. I'll use tongue and groove joinery for these and some screws. Again, you'll see the plywood pattern I made that contours to the metal.

Lastly, I wanted to show the inside of the rear door post. There has been questions about the piece of wood that goes up and behind the rear quarter window metal. The question is how the horizontal piece will go in. The vertical mortise will receive the tenon of the cross piece and then the other end of the horizontal piece will be screwed to the last vertical wood - of course the screws are in reverse of how they were originally. Once the cross piece is up in its place behind the metal, just push it into the mortise. Lot's of good wood glue and two small angled screws will secure the mortise and tenon joint.

Thanks again,

Joel

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  • 1 month later...

Wow! I can relate to the project you are doing. Very nice looking woodwork.

My brother and I specialize  in make and installing vintage auto wood. I am currently doing my 1930 Ford

2 window 4 door(blind back). I am making all the 65 pieces of wood and saving a ton of money( $6,500 retail)

I am amazed at how similar the wood looks to the Ford, in fact your car looks like it has even more wood than mine.

Ford had no wood in the cowl area except the header over windshield. The piece over the rear wheel wells look so similar, even

the metal L bracket that supports it.

even the kits you buy for the Fords Do Not fit that good and many modifications need to be made to get things to line up and work properly.

Lining up the 4 doors is probably the hardest part of all. That is what gets us most of our work.

I was really surprised how much wood my Buick coupe has, thankfully looks to be in really good shape.

Will be following your progress, Thanks for sharing!  That's my brother in the pictures

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Thank you for the nice words. I get recharged when I hear about others going through this process. I remind myself often that almost no wood will show when this car is finished. And, for that reason, I have to make sure that fit and functionality come before beauty and time is of the essence. One close look and you'd see the saw marks, chisel slips, gaps and occasional patches.

I am facing very soon the task of building my doors. The wood pieces are ready but I have to find a way to make sure that I don't build a twist into a door. I'll probably make some sort of cradle to hold the skin square or flat or whatever you call it and then add in the wood. I'm open for suggestions.

My car has approximately 116 pieces of wood. Some pieces take a few minutes and others a few days; but it's always nice when you get one done!

Thanks again,

Joel

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