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Structural Wood


Myron Williams
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Hi,<P>I'm about to begin the restoration of a "basket case" 1935 Packard Limousine. The structural wood is in sad shape, and I wonder if anyone might know of a good book or any type of instruction on this type of work. I've been able to get one book that is written by a fellow up in Northern Idaho, and I have obtained a copy of the Fisher Body Service Manual for the early thirties. Any suggestions on other resources?<P>I contacted the Studebaker museum and they do not have any blueprints covering the wood, so I guess I'm on my own. Any advice from folks who have done this type of work before would be greatly appreciated.<P> confused.gif" border="0

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Hi Myron,<BR>Two suggestions for you on the wood for your Packard:<P>The <A HREF="http://www.nationalwoodieclub.com" TARGET=_blank>National Woodie Club</A> website has lots of good information and resources. Also David Miller's <A HREF="http://www.oldwoodies.com" TARGET=_blank>Old Woodies</A> website has even more information.<P>Good luck and welcome to the forest.<p>[ 10-22-2001: Message edited by: Bill Stoneberg ]

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We run a restoration shop and do wood work on cars all the time. There are several things that you must have to do the project. <BR>First of all, you will need a good table saw, a GOOD bandsaw, 3/8 or 1/2 drill, probably a GOOD router and lots of bits and drill attachments. We also have another table saw dedicated to dado, router table, thickness planer, radial arm saw, several cordless drills, LOTS of clamps for glueups and a sanding center, also a belt sander. <BR> <BR>Don't want to scare you off, but woodwork on cars can often be a real challenge. We are currently rebuilding a 26 Buick Master roadster with nothing but the sheet metal to work from. If you have anything for wood, it is wonderful! Don't throw anything away and take a lot of pictures of how the thing is assembled for the first time through. Also you might want to label the pieces with masking tape and magic marker. <BR> <BR>When you get ready for reassembly, start from the front and work back and from the bottom and work up, just like Don Marsh says in his booklet. I visited with Don and picked up several pointers from him and he picked up several short cuts from me. We build about 4 or 5 bodies a year at our shop and have been in business for about 8 years. <P>Don't be afraid to throw a piece away if it doesn't fit right or if it was cut wrong. Even after all this time, I still have some expensive firewood on occasion. <P>Stuctural wood - Been there, done that. Bought the Tee-shirt. GOOD Luck!

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My dad and I did a 28 Aurburn boattail (#7 of the first 25) some years back made the complete coachwork from the firewall back to the rear bumper, took 3 months and pails upon pails on sawdust. Good bandsaw ,beltsander and electric hand plane .remember use only hard woods like oak ,ash

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Hi,<P> Thanks for all of the encouragement! My car is a 1935 Packard Limousine, and the body is very sound. Unlike a lot of cars with structural wood, the outer body is fully welded and doesn't have any nailed together sections. Most of the wood is fairly decent, but the pieces that hold the hinges are quite bad and all of the wood is weathered from outside storage. The sills are quite solid, but they have swelled and shrunk so many times by now that I think it would be best to replace them. <P>I think the center divider added a lot of strenght to the body, and helped keep things square. The wood in it is still good and solid, but also very weathered. The piece of wood below the windshield and behind the dash board is another piece that is in very tough shape.<P>I have Don Marsh's booklet, and I hope to get up his way sometime this winter to visit him. I have to attend a meeting that is only 25 or 30 miles from him, so I should be able to make contact.<P>I know that I'm biting off a big job, but I hate to just part the vehicle out like the fellow I bought it from suggested. Hopefully, with patience, determination, and plenty of advice from knowledgeable fellow enthusiasts, I'll get the job done.<P>Do you think that if one starts on a job like this that all of the wood should be replaced, or should the solid pieces that appear to be more for holding the upholstery than anything else be left. <P>Thanks again,<P>Myron

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I'm doing a woodie Keller and am replacing only the wood that is rotten. Due to the rarity of this car, I want to keep as much of the original as possible.<P>For wood that is not visible, another alternative is RSP. It is a great epoxy product that soaks into the wood and gives it excellent strength. Beats the heck out of replacing the whole piece if a little rot is the only problem.

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Remember rot can be due to a few things, a fungus if left untreated will just cause new wood to rot, wood worms, whe we did ours the coach work was coated with an anti-fungicide. The epoxy fixes will not get rid of the original problem, only mask them for a while.

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Ron,<P>I'm with Hal... Tell us more about that stuff! I've seen products advertised in wood turning magazines and catalogues that will take old 'punky' wood and make it strong enough to turn on a lathe, but I wasn't sure if they would work on cars.<P>I'd appreciate any information you can provide.<P>Myron

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I have restored a few all wood pre-1910 bodies and have used Kwik Poly, a five minute epoxy. This product starts in the consistency of water and sets solid in 5 minutes. It sands easy and also soaks into the cell of the wood to re-inforce rotted wood. Awesome stuff, reasonalbly priced. You can buy from them direct or through Restoration Supply in Reno.

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  • 1 month later...

I have a 1926 Henney 162-A Limousine/Hearse that I am having to build from the cowl back... Good Luck on the restoration!! Everyone has told me that this car should have been hauled to the dump...but, with a little work-I almost have it running. Now for the body... Best of luck on the restoration, and please don't part her out. <BR>Smiles, Tony B.

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Well, I went home last night and dug out some old books that I think might be of use. I would suggest the local library, or a book search site such as abebooks.com, or bibliofind.com. I am sure that I will come across others, and will post additional items as I find them.<BR> "Motor Body Building" Cassell's Workshop Series. by James Sheperd. Cassell and Company Ltd. 1923.<BR> "Motor Bodies and Chassis" by H.J. Butler. D. Van Nostrand Company. 1912.<BR> "Antique Auto Body Wood Work for the Restorer" Vintage Craft Series. by C.W. Terry and Arthur Hall. Post Motor Books. 1969 (Reprint of Terry's 1914 "Motor Body Building" book...)<BR> -Smiles, Tony B. smile.gif" border="0

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