MrLiken

Early DB Top help

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Some visual progress.  I I made an aluminum stiffener and attached it to the underside of the bow and further stiffened it with epoxied on 1/8 MDF.  Sewed the flap together and then sewed it to the larger piece of that wraps up the front bow.  

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A few more questions for Dave...  regarding the top pads.  I'm having trouble figuring out how wide the pads should be and are they normally rectangular (not wider in back, narrower in front)?  If yes, they are usually rectangular, I know the upper edge of the pad must be positioned such that it will hide the seam between the top main panel and the side panels.  My top material is 51" wide which dictates where the seam will fall (around 24.5" from top center line).  Once this distance is marked on each bow,  it dictates where the upper edge of the pad must locate (roughly 1" inboard of this mark).  Then the pad follows the bow curves down to wherever it reaches?  I think this is what the photo you showed as an example on page 1 of this thread (March 4) is doing.  The lower edge of the pad doesn't cover, nor is it parallel to the top side linkage and I think this is why.  I'm also a little confused about if the pad is pre-assembled or built up on the car.  The way I understand Stitts, he builds the pad on the car , that is, he tacks bowdrill/pad cover first, then the jute webbing then padding, then closes it up by hand stitch.  In you March 4 post, the photo looks like a pre-assembled pad.  Was this just to show finished pad construction?   As always, your help is greatly appreciated.

 

I hope you have/had a Merry Christmas!

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The top pads are fit to the top, but "pre-made" then installed.  They are usually wider at the back than the front on late teens and up cars.  Many earlier cars had rectangular pads.  On the Dodge, they should be around 12 inches wide at the rear and 9 inches wide at the front.

 

I use top material to make the base for the pad, this gives substance and matches the interior of the top.  It should be positioned to cover the inside seam, as you mention, and come far enough around the curve of the bow to keep the top from "hitting" the side of the bow.  Cut the material wider than needed, and stretch to fit the bows.  Once you mark sides, fold the material over, sewing in a piece of bowdrill on each side.  The bowdrill should be not quite as wide as the pad, coming from each side. 

 

Once it's sewn, install it to car, then put straps on next, which are INSIDE the pad.  This is very important, as that's what's holding the top in place.  Then, cotton batting (not the jute shown for illustrative purposes), and sew the two pieces of bowdrill together, folding the inner piece and sewing that edge to the inner piece with a hidden stitch.

 

Just like any upholstery job, hard to explain, easy to show someone how to do.  Hope the pictures help.

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Thank you Dave.  That does help a great deal.  I wanted to be sure there was nothing sacrosanct about the pads having to be rectangular.

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You're mostly welcome, as I tell my kids!

 

One more comment,  both the pads and the two side panels for the top are NOT straight line items.  They have a curve to them, to fit the way the top bows lay, and this fitting to the curve is all important in making the top.

 

To mark the two seams on the top panels, I put a piece of welting cord on the top of the pad, held with a single thread stitch to pad at each bow and in between each bow, and mark the cord at random 8-12 inch lengths with a marker.  These will be my marks to sew the panels together. Lay the main center panel on top, stretch it front to back and temporarily tack, pull taut sideways then mark from cord.  Do the same with the side panels.  Join these marks with lines on table, leave 1/4 inch sewing allowance,  cut a small vee in fabric at mark, and use these to line up when sewn.  TRUST YOUR MARK, don't second guess and think they're wrong when laid on table.  You then fold over and  top stitch this seam, always with the top stitch toward the center of the car.

 

The same is true when you go to mark the side edge of the top.  You MUST mark it on the car, it is NOT a straight line.  See the pictures for a top on the car, and on the table.

 

When I custom fit a new top, it probably goes on and off the car a dozen times, each time a step in the process of marking, sewing, etc.

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Thanks Dave.  In the stitch diagram you posted, is this for sewing the pad  (top) material to bowdrill?  Would you also use this joint for the top main panel and side pieces?  The reason I ask is would you avoid using a joint where the needle goes all of the way through the joint on a weather exposed surface?  Maybe I'm over thinking it....

Also, what weight of cotton batting do you use for the pads?  Stitts mentions "blue coat wadding" but I've had no google luck on that.  Do you use multiple layers and feather them towards the edge of pads?  (there is a Model T top installation video where it's done this way  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24PVyCfqQhU  ).  

  

Edited by MikeC5 (see edit history)

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Hi Dave, I have the front to back straps in place and was doing a dry run on the pad jute straps.  One question that I have is that with the jute straps being 3.5 inches wide, I would need to use 4 of them to cover the rear portion of the pad where it is approximately 12" wide.  Or should I not worry about a gap between the pads and stick with 3?  I also notice a bit of trouble at the transition between the front bow and 2nd from front bow where the straps have to go from horizontal to almost vertical on the bottom two straps.  Would you hand sew the straps together to form a uniform curve in this area?  

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On ‎12‎/‎26‎/‎2017 at 5:43 PM, MikeC5 said:

Thanks Dave.  In the stitch diagram you posted, is this for sewing the pad  (top) material to bowdrill?  Would you also use this joint for the top main panel and side pieces?  The reason I ask is would you avoid using a joint where the needle goes all of the way through the joint on a weather exposed surface?  Maybe I'm over thinking it....

Also, what weight of cotton batting do you use for the pads?  Stitts mentions "blue coat wadding" but I've had no google luck on that.  Do you use multiple layers and feather them towards the edge of pads?  (there is a Model T top installation video where it's done this way  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24PVyCfqQhU  ).  

  

The diagram I show is for the top material itself, not the pad.  That's how the seam is made, and yes, the joint has a sewn seam that goes all the way through, but it's through three layers of top material (which has an inner water proof layer) and it's self-sealing.

 

I use the heavy white cotton batting for pad material, you buy it in large rolls.  If I were doing a car that the top would never go down (and that request has been made of me before) I use a piece of heavy jute with some light cotton batting wrapped around it, but it's too bulky like that to fold down correct.  The blue coat wadding is not available that I'm aware of, it's a dense cotton batting, not as dense as jute.  I use one layer and feather slightly along the edges, but the top bowdrill will push the material down well.

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45 minutes ago, MikeC5 said:

Hi Dave, I have the front to back straps in place and was doing a dry run on the pad jute straps.  One question that I have is that with the jute straps being 3.5 inches wide, I would need to use 4 of them to cover the rear portion of the pad where it is approximately 12" wide.  Or should I not worry about a gap between the pads and stick with 3?  I also notice a bit of trouble at the transition between the front bow and 2nd from front bow where the straps have to go from horizontal to almost vertical on the bottom two straps.  Would you hand sew the straps together to form a uniform curve in this area?  

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It looks to me like you're a little too far down on the back side of the pad.  The edge of your top is going to be just slightly below the edge of the front iron, and just over the top of the rear iron.  So, you probably should be closer to 10 inches at the back and 8 inches in the front.

 

Of course you know the woven straps you show go INSIDE the pad, before the cotton batting is added.  Both pad material and straps will be tacked to each bow.  The top bowdrill, over the cotton, is tacked front and rear but NOT to the middle bows.  If there's a little space at the rear between straps inside the pad, don't worry about it.

 

Yes, it's a little of a compound curve on the top, that's why you have to fit the pad material, and when you put the woven straps on, you may have to tack to one side tight, then pucker the material at the very centerline of the bow, then tack the other side.  That will compensate for the curve.  You don't need to sew the woven straps together.

 

Hope that helps....

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Thanks Dave.  I was just mocking it up to get an idea how the line of the roof would look.  Your advice is well appreciated and I'll have to be careful with that compound curve.  For the edge of the top, I'm hoping to duplicate the curve down  toward the rear that I've seen on other '25s.  

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I just wanted to thank Trimacar and MikeC5 for restoring some of my faith in this forum.A while back while trying to pass on some parts (for free) that I came across to anyone would could use them I was accused of everything under the sun and shamed in PMs by people that many here  have high respect for. I do not. I actually refused to visit the site and almost did not renew my membership in AACA.

 

Reading this open exchange an willingness to help someone is a pleasure and has got me back involved.

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I'm glad you are enjoying the thread and am sorry to learn of the bad experience you had.  I am surprised that a senior member of the AACA forums would be treated like that; it's not as if you were brand new to the forum and trying to sell something.  I guess some folks are a bit paranoid of scams and get carried away.   It is great that a craftsman/enthusiast is willing to help an amateur, such as myself.  There isn't a whole lot of information out there on how to go about doing a top from scratch and Dave's postings on the subject and help here really encouraged me to give it a try.   I try to help others where I can too.  It's really the backbone of the hobby to me.

Edited by MikeC5 (see edit history)

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Thanks 72Caddy...I'm glad to help.

 

on the finished top picture you show, pad is underpadded, you can see the outline of the edge of the pad showing through.  It also looks like the pad doesn't cover the bow curve enough.

 

you want to keep your side line as high as you can and still get down to where the metal starts.  If you go too low, you'll have interference issues with side curtains.

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I see what you mean on the padding.  I found this cotton batting on-line which is 14 oz. per yard.  Does this look as if it will do the job?  

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Hard to tell from picture, but that looks like low quality batting, made from "linters".  Linters are the very short fibers left on a cotton seed, after long  fibers are removed in the ginning process.  You want batting made of regular cotton with longer fibers.

 

Unless you have another use for it, you'll end up with a ton left over from a roll .  Where are yo located?  I could send you enough to do what you want....or if you want a roll, I'll let you know where I get some...

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I'm glad I asked Dave.  No one in the family does quilting so a full roll would be wasteful.  The only place close to home that has cotton batting is Joanne fabrics and it looks to light and fluffy.  The pads front to back measure around 8 feet so assuming I used 1 layer of full pad width that's around 5.5 yards.  If it's wide enough to cut down the middle only 3 yards.  It would be great if you can sell it to me.  I'm in Waterford, CT.  Please let me know the total and preferred method of payment.

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Just email me your address, roll width is enough to do 4 pads if you cut carefully!  I'll send you three+yards....  David.coco@comcast.net. 

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If you cannot return the "batting" you have you might be able to sell it to a local Funeral Home.  We/they use it for positioning.

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14 hours ago, MikeC5 said:

Thanks Tinindian.  I wouldn't have thought of that.  

 

I'm not sure I would have WANTED to think of that!  Ah, the secrets of business being revealed.

 

 

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So I'm doing an initial test fitting of the cotton batting pad material and I'm not quite sure if I should try and taper the pad so it gets thinner at the bottom edge of pad or leave it full thickness?  I suspect it needs to be tapered up top in order to avoid a visible ridges on the top panel.  I'm guessing from David's earlier photos of the Dodge top that it does need some tapering.

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I did my first pass at tapering the cotton batting and have temporarily folder up the cotton wrap and the outer bowdrill as in these pics.  I''m unsure if I should taper more of the upper side.  The 3rd photo shows the pad on 2nd bow from front and 4th photo is same with my finger squashing it down.  Is the gap here between top of squashed pad and bow surface too large?

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I'm not sure what I'm looking at, is there no side seam on pad?  Bottom of pad should be top material, top of pad, sewn on edge with top material folded over bowdrill.   Slight feathering of cotton on edges...

 

Bowdrill on bows should be fastened or glued on top, so that edge of material and fasteners aren't visible.  It appears from picture tacks and staples are visible on front of bow?

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Hi Dave, I’m using a less expensive top material that has a white cotton inner liner. I’m planning to have the inner liner of bowdrill go on separately before top material.  So I’m just using bowdrill for pads and have no side seam.  (I just used a single piece of bowdrill for the pad outer wrap).  I secured the bowdrill to each bow, then installled the jute straps, then the cotton wrapping was glued to the straps, then the cotton batting (also glued).  I then tapered the cotton batting at uppper and lower edge of pad, then folded the bottom cotton wrap piece over the batting, then upper cotton wrap, then folded lower bowdrill flap up on top of cotton wrap and finally folded upper bowdrill flap over.  No glue on these folded over pieces.

As for the bow coverings, I erred in using staples in some areas where I originally thought they would not be exposed.  I plan to add a strip of bowdrill with tacks to cover these areas.  I can’t use glue with the bowdrill since it absorbs it and shows through.  A lesson learned...

Edited by MikeC5 (see edit history)

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