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installing door panels 36 model 40


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Getting ready to install door panels--obtained from Hampton Coach-and not sure how to attach to wood frame. Appears that some have attached with screws with nickel molding around head and others appear to install without fastener. Without looks a bit cleaner. Molding for window would provide anchor at top but not sure about bottom. Is it just adhesive? Tips would be appreciated. Thanks

Rod

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At least in 33, the panels have tack strips built in behind the panels, so the panels are tapped into the wood. Gives a clean " blind " look to the panels. The shop that did my 1933 90 interior used these also, so the strips can be got new somewhere. I remember them using this stuff. We had to custom make the entire interior, Hampton didn't have the panels for a 90.

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Rod,

 

Here's a couple of pictures of the tack strip from my car.  It's about 1/2" wide.  The strip fits over the panel before the upholstery is attached.  Once its on the upholstery panel is pulled over the edge and onto the nails.  The whole panel can then be tacked onto the wood.  I haven't looked for a source of the strips yet.

 

Greg

 

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Interesting. I don't recall that strip from removing the original but still have and will look at. Also will pull panes from Hampton Coach and see if any solution there. Thanks for the replies and may have to make a strip myself. 

Assume you just attach strip to the board and carefully hammer the brads/nails into the wood while protecting the material? Doesn't sound too difficult and certainly a clearer look. thanks

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A lot of wood bodied cars used the following method, on closed cars with fabric upholstery.

 

The door and other panels would be made with no fasteners, panel board with padding then fabric, wrapped around edges and glued.

 

Then, to install, one would use a headless nail or brad, similar to a small finish screw, 3/4 inch long or so.  There's a slight trick to do this.  Position the panel, and hold in place. Take a brad and wiggle the point through the fabric (trying to get between the weave) about  3/4 inch in from edge of panel (you have to hit wood, and usually the metal panel is folded over the wood about a quarter inch).  Nail the brad down until it's just depressing the fabric.  Take a pin, at right angle to the brad and in line with fabric, stick it in fabric about an inch away from brad, the "pop" the fabric over the head of the brad.

 

Like a number of trimmer (upholstery) jobs, hard to explain, but I could show it to you in 30 seconds.  This gives an invisible fastener, you put one about every 5 inches or so.  This was a very common way of installing panels back then....

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trimacar is correct.  One of my old Fisher Body manuals has a picture of a "pricker".  It looks like a wooden handle with a hardened point which was used to tease the nap up over the top of the brad.

I also found on ebay this item

331612106495 We used to sell these by the dozens when I worked for GM in the 60's.  They were used to replace the long metal strips that the brads were attached to.

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Really appreciate the responses. I looked at the item on ebay and appears most likely too large for any help--but hard to tell dimensions from photos and no description. Trimcar's description seems pretty straight forward and think I understand. When installing do the brads 5-6 inches apart would do the trick? 

Tinindian do you recall which body manual had photo? would be curious if I could replicate. Using the straight pin does sound doable. I forgot to look at my panels last nite but pretty sure no tacking strips and to remove the fabric from panel and make the tacking strips most likely I would damage the panels. 

Thanks again

Rod

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Checked my panels last night and found them to be just as Gregg showed in photos above-I just didn't remember. I looked at the tacking strips and looked at panels from Hampton and material glued to panel and I attempted to remove a portion of fabric to determine if I could place the metal strips under the fabric and then re-glue. As I attempted to pull the cardboard liner began to separate so it was apparent that was not going to work. Will have to use Trimcar's described method to attach the panels.

 

Gregg-how did you re-fabric your 36? Not having looked for source maybe you haven't replaced the panels. The strips look pretty simply and some of mine pretty rusty, others in pretty good shape. Think on my new 36 I might not order the Hampton set if I can find good upholstery guy locally. The person now using is really slow and not quite the quality I would like. Again thanks for the responses and if any other ideas out there let me know.

 

Rod 

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Rod,

I'm not anywhere near to putting in upholstery yet. I have all of the old panels that have the original stitching pattern. I'll probably just try to find a local person to do it. I'll be interested to see how hours turns out.

Greg

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Rod,

I'm not anywhere near to putting in upholstery yet. I have all of the old panels that have the original stitching pattern. I'll probably just try to find a local person to do it. I'll be interested to see how hours turns out.

Greg

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Install with tacking strips as original in 1933. I restored a 34 Ford at one time, it had the clips behind that popped into the door frame.

At least this is what we did for a 33 90.This was work in progress. 1936 maybe completely different. This is wool broadcloth, as original for this series, but a different pattern then original which does not exist.

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Outlaw

That looks awesome and my interior would appear to be very similar and wool broadcloth is the material. Understand tacking strip and seems to be solution but don't understand how it connects to panel then to car. Looked on internet and "tacking strip" seems to be just a small nailer of cardboard to small metal channels with clips primarily for headliner. I think you are saying on the 34 the clips had a hook or protrusion that fit into holes in door frames. If you don't mind would you describe how the tack strip attached to the panel?

Appreciate you suggestions and help. Thanks

Rod

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To clarify, the strip or the short ones I mentioned in post 7 go over the edge of the panel before the upholstery is applied.  What used to happen was the original long strips got bent or the nails pulled out of them so the short ones could be used to fill in the gaps.  It took a pretty good trimmer to be able to take a panel off and replace it without losing some of the nails.  Personally I think the proper cardboard backing and brads is easier for an amature to use.

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I'm definitely an amateur and agree the tacking would be easier. I can't get the material off the cardboard backing without tearing the cardboard so think only alternative is to use brads thru the panel. Really appreciate all the input and will start testing with a piece of the panels-have an extra-and see how skilled I can become. Thanks again to all.

Rod

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Outlaw-you are correct. My panels are from Hampton Coach. They are totally fabricated and ready to go--just trying to figure out best way to attach. Appreciate your help and suggestions--as always I need all the help I can get.

Rod

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Sorry a bit slow these days, I see your issue now- Any help at all from Hampton Coach ? This may sound extreme, but if you are using a windlace to cover the seam, could a Velcro be used ? Or, I'm sure you thought of this. use a good glue, even something like Goop and glue the tack strip to the panel, let dry 48 and go for it. Might experiment first. I've seen interiors where they used screws and let the screw head show, looks horrible. Maybe contact Jenkins for advice, they are pretty good people.

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Actually thought about hot glue/glue gun but would prefer to be able to remove and maybe not destroy the panels. Did think about gluing the tack strip but just didn't think it would hold. The windlace was to my way of thinking the easiest solution but the windlace attached to body and not door and while it would hide the brads when doors closed, when open it would show if installation tore the material. This car  has undergone frame off but I did a great deal of the work and a trailer queen it will not be. Just don't want any noticeable errors if they can't be avoided. Looked at Hampton's website but didn't contact. I've not found them to be particularly helpful in the past. I am going to experiment a bit and actually forgot that I purchased a pneumatic nailer for upholstery some time ago and hopefully I can drive the brads with it and not cut up the panel material. That will be my first experiment. Never done business with Jenkins but if the process above fails I will give them a call. 

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I'll be facing the same challenge in the not so distant future and I wonder if using rare earth magnets might be a possible solution?  There's a lot of holding force packed into a small thin disk, maybe even too much but that could be managed by size or number. 

 

To make a hold point, you could carefully mark and drill a recess into the wood and then glue in one of the small circular magnets.  Make the recess deep enough for either two magnets or whatever corresponding iron disk you'd glue onto the back of the panel.  It would be a painfull process to get everything aligned just right but who knows, it might just work.

 

Good luck and feel free to relegate this to the crazy idea pile!

-Joel

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Rare earth magnets are extremely strong and have a multitude of applications in auto restoration.  I have used a series of them attached to my firewall behind the dash to hold wiring loom.  Work great and do not require one to drill any additional non-stock holes for attachment points.  If anything one needs to be careful they are not too strong for the application. 

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never used never thought of this solution. I found some with countersunk hole in middle which would allow hole to countersink magnet and then nail to wood with nail. Any suggestions/idea of size or how close the magnets should be placed one to the other. Metal to back of door panel--I assume the metal makes no difference so long as ferrous? I'm actually intrigued by this idea.

Thanks

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Guys, you are way over thinking this.  Brads are very easy to install, and if done correctly, you can't even tell it's done that way.  To remove panel, you can gently force it over brad, then put brads in new place when installing the second time.

 

Magnets is new, have talked to people who wanted to use Velcro, but the original way works fine and is simple.  Why complicate it?

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On the series 40, the cardboard panels had thin metal clips with tabs.  The tabs were pushed thru cardboard and bent over to hold them in place.  The clips had a partial slot in them to hold the head of a tack.  All of this was installed prior to fabric.  After removing my front panels and fixing the window tracks, I was able to reinstall the panels using a flashlight to help see the tacks and original holes they were in.  Lightly hammered on the cloth at the tack location. These tacks in clips were on the edges as well as several places in the middle of the panel.  The top part was just tacked thru cloth along edge of window and then covered with window trim.  This on my original 36-40.  Wish I had a photo of the clip.

 

Tom

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I have been reading this with great interest,due to my int is on the slate for a winter project,the truth is if i could find away around all that nailing i would,remove a door panel after and what?even though it is stock i dont know.

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  • 6 months later...

an update which thought may be of interest. I bought some super magnets, have a hot glue gun and bought some velcro. Put in the upholstered piece over the rear fenders and had nails hidden under the upholstery but couldn't get good bite. In frustration used a brad gun and used 2 inch brads to get a bite to hold in place and pulled the material over the brad as suggested by trimacar. Also checked out instructions from Hampton and that is what they suggested. Much to my surprise the material was easy to pull over the brad and couldn't even see where they were. I will use shorter brads for the panels but this is what I will use. Should be able to pull off the panels without damage, if necessary, without destroying them. I believe trimacar is correct and sometimes the newer methods aren't better, maybe not as good, as the tried and proved methods used forever. If I have problems with panels I'll post but have tried on a couple of other places with other parts of upholstery and its worked without problem. Used a dentist pick to pull the cloth over the brad and didn't tear the cloth and can't tell.  

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Here are the pictures I used at the AACA meeting seminar to demonstrate the described method, showing the steps. The brad is like a finishing nail, some head but not much. I used an upholstery pin to "pop" up the fabric, but you could use a smaller one if you wish. Even this bigger pin, if properly used, will not leave a mark.

Note the dot on the fabric, that was used to demonstrate that I wasn't using different fabric so the brad appeared hidden. If done carefully, through the weave of the cloth, you'll never see how brad was attached. There has to be some padding behind the fabric, you can gently lift the surface of the fabric. Use cotton for padding, not foam, the foam will disintegrate over short periods of time (research foam, and you'll find that wholesalers sell foam by years of life, such as "8 year foam" and "10 year foam").

Yes, some cars had metal strips with nails already on them, but many didn't. If you're planning to use strips, make sure to put panel up to door, mark where nails go, and predrill holes. Look at the nails on the strip, and place your mark for predrilling where the ROOT of the nail will END UP, not necessarily where the POINT of the nail is located (if nail is at a slight angle for example). Remember, at the factory they were driving nails into "new" wood. 80 years later, the wood has cured, so to speak, and is much, much harder.....

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