Sign in to follow this  
Erndog

I need a definitive answer to a re-wooding question

Recommended Posts

Not sure if this is the best place for this question, but here it is. I have been in the process of doing a total re-wood of a 1930 Buick four door sedan, the big one, for many (too many) years. As I near the end of the process, a nagging question comes back to me. Should a person "screw and glue" the connections and joints throughout the body, or just screw them together and leave it at that?? The Fisher Body Service manual says that joints are "screwed and glued" throughout the book, almost every time a joint is described. However, my local restoration shop and others never glue their joints and say not to. The pros for "screwing and gluing" are maximum strength and less chance of squeaks. The pros of screwing without gluing are ease and the ability to readily replace bad or damaged pieces of wood in the future.

What is the current school of thought on this? Also, what is the best treatment for the wood when done, other than the asphalt-based coating Fisher Body used?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would screw and glue. It will stabilize the whole assembly and the chances that you will have to replace the wood again is VERY unlikely. Do what the Fisher Body Service manual says.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree you should use a good waterproof glue. There are several types to choose from today, including water-based. The glues in 1930 were not very permanent. This will reduce the squeaks and looseness that come from shrinkage and expansion. For finishing the wood, we again have superior products than in 1930. You can use a water-thin epoxy sealer such as is used on boats. A tint can be added, also. I use a black dye that works in epoxy and other products.

Phil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I draw my conclusion from experience with a 28 Chevrolet national 2 door coup and a 28 D.B. Senior. Use buttresses on joints where possible. Glue and screw as tight as possible. Paint the wood with a good clear sealer or boiled linseed oil, 2 coats better. NOW HERE IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO AVOID SQUEEKS. INSTALL A THICK MATERIAL (LIKE THE STUFF INSTALLED BENEATH HOUSE SHINGLES OR SIMILAR) between the tin and wood and then nail. That will take care of the squeaks. By the time the wood is ready to squeak in the future the glue will be all deteriorated anyway. All joints must be tight even without screws.

Harry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, guys! These answers are exactly the kind of information I was hoping to get. Please keep your thoughts and opinions on this coming. The more the merrier! Everyone will probably have a little piece of information to add that helps, possibly without even realizing it. It is looking good for the glue team. Any takers for the other side of the discussion?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose the opposite opinion would be the Weymann school of body building. His theory was to make all the joints flexible and let the body flex with the frame. He fastened the joints by sandwiching the wood between metal plates using machine screws, with linen cloth in between to prevent squeaks. Instead of steel or aluminum, the whole body was covered with a fabric like vinyl top material, or a synthetic patent leather known as Tole Souple.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Receiving a DEFINITIVE answer here is as likely as congress agreeing on time of day.................Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is an interesting question.

Do people leave out nuts, bolts, screws etc. when working on cars because the are better than the engineers designing the car and all of those extra fasteners are really not necessary??

My opinion (and job as a GM engineer) is do what the manufacturer says to do as there was a reason for the design we might not know about.

I would screw & glue with tight joints. I would probably use gorilla glue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Larry. I do not think nuts and bolts should be left out. Motor engineers spent millions to research and improve the motor car et al . I wonder do these modifiers think of installing an 8 cylinder engine into a frame that was designed for a 4 cylinder. It must affect the whole balance including the braking and steering system. I am subject to correction. Cheers.

Harry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I salute you for having the patience to do that work . I have a Reo Royale and I am replacing the wood that goes from the firewall to the rear wheel well under the door sill . This little job has taken hours to figure the outline of the wood and make a pattern . I have just started and it is very time consuming . Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Mark. The main sills were one of the biggest challenges I had. The front two feet or so of both had rotted away and been replaced crudely. I spent a couple of years agonizing over how to handle that. The worst piece by far had to be the rockers that curve up in front of the rear wheels. They curve in two different axis. Very difficult to make!

Had I realized the condition of the wood I never would have bought the vehicle. I never did any woodworking prior to this vehicle, so to say it has been a learning experience is an understatement. It has gotten a little easier as I go along, but not easy. Fortunately, nearly every piece that had rotted away completely usually had a surviving mate on the other side of the car. The most interesting thing I have discovered is that every piece is somewhat unique. Where I have surviving matching components, they do not always match in size. It appears that they had a definite set of templates to make the pieces from, but modified them on the fly to make them work.

Would I do a whole car again? I doubt it, but I no longer have any fear of doing some of one. If nothing else, I had to get lots of new toys to fabricate the wood with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We screw and glue. There is often little or no evidence of original glue left in joints due to various bugs, microbes and fungi using the glue as a food source over the decades.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When your car was originally built, the body framing was developed like this. Starting from full size drawings or blueprints, the carpenters cut and fitted all the pieces to make up the body frame. Then they took it apart, numbered each piece with an indelible pencil, and each piece was varnished to protect it.

These became the patterns. They would get out one pattern, make a batch of parts and the patterns would be put away again. There could be slight differences, one side to the other, as long as everything fit together.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's pretty much the impression I got. It made my life a lot easier when I realized it didn't have to be up to NASA standards, so to speak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My body is a Murray body and so far one side of the car is within an 1/8 of inch to the other side . I agree with your comments we are not building to NASA standards . One point of interest and I am no expert when speaking about redoing a car . I took a 4 ft X 4 ft piece of plywood . Notched the front to fit tight in between the cowl. Drilled holes up from the bottom of the car where the frame bolts go , into the plywood jig . Then I used these holes for reference points when tracing and trying to fit the new wood into position . If it did not fit my jig something was wrong .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Mark. You say 1/8 difference ?. A blind man would be happy to see that. The only joints that are critical are tenon and mortis. Lap joints? you can get away with but try and keep the surface to be glued nice and flat . I suggest you get a good wood rasp. My experience is no two piece is exactly alike. You also have to be creative and maybe change some pattern if it makes life easier. They are all going to be covered anyway . What car are you fixing ? Mine is a 1928 Dodge Brothers Senior 4 door. Cheers.

Harry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Somewhere on the internet there are a set of photographs and movies showing the "assembly" lines at the Fleetwood plant. I tried to find them and had little luck; yet, I have seen them in the past. They show the wood being cut and the bodies being jigged up. It is quite interesting. Remember they are cranking these bodies out by the millions; as Fleetwood was building well over 90% of GM's bodies. In 1928 and before they also built quite a few bodies for Chrysler.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe not to NASA standards but if you want the door gaps to end up right your wood has to be pretty accurate, especially on a 4 door sedan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True, Restorer32. That is the one thing that keeps me concerned. Unfortunately, I won't know how well I am doing until I get it mostly done and test-fit the doors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting topic. Many years ago I took a 1930 McLaughlin Buick apart with intention to restore "only the rotten pieces". Big mistake, did sell to a very patient man who did get the job done. I also follow the Morgan story with interest and if any ones knows what is right and best way to do wooden body check their site. Also Cupinol is the preservative they recommend.

Good luck on your project

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Larry. I do not think nuts and bolts should be left out. Motor engineers spent millions to research and improve the motor car et al . I wonder do these modifiers think of installing an 8 cylinder engine into a frame that was designed for a 4 cylinder. It must affect the whole balance including the braking and steering system. I am subject to correction. Cheers.

Harry.

Harry, I agree with you. I bring this up because the number of cars / trucks that I have worked on after someone else with parts like nuts, bolts, brackets etc missing amazes me. I have always figured (with few exceptions) that the person that designed the vehicle in the first place did it for a reason.

Regards,

Larry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe I'll let someone else click on that link first if you don't mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe I'll let someone else click on that link first if you don't mind.

I agree!! I would not click on the link either. Looks potentially very bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this