MrLiken

Early DB Top help

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Can someone tell me what kind of back window I need for my 1918 DB Touring? I've seen it both ways. I have one back rectangle window. Willy

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This is what was originally on a 1922 Dodge, six diamonds, the experts can say whether it's correct for a 1918.  I'd have to dig up dimensions, my memory tells me 12 inches high and 4 inches wide, but then again, I barely remember what day it is....

 

Now that I look at it closely, guess this was one of the original "split windows"?

IMG_5873.JPG

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Those windows look like soft plastic - I can't imagine that was what they had.

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The plastic (or, in the period, what they called isenglass) windows, in the cathedral style as shown, was what Dodge Brothers used for quite a few years in the teens and twenties.  What you see is absolutely correct for those cars.

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Hi Dave, I don't know if you saw my reply from Sunday on my pads question.  I realize that using top material for the pad wrapping does add strength to the whole pad assembly and that using bowdrill exclusively instead for the wrap gives up some strength.  I have tried to compensate for this by the separate straps (one in middle and two diagonal) which have are made from seat belt material wrapped with bowdrill. 

Edited by MikeC5 (see edit history)

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Seat belt straps should be plenty strong, that's for sure!  I make my straps out of top material, folded twice so that one ends up with three layers, then sewn together.  That's strong too.

 

Yes, it's a little more expensive to use the correct top material for pads and straps,  but in the overall cost of restoring a car it's small dollars.  All the correct materials for a top restoration can be bought for under $1000.  

 

I admire you for doing this yourself, any reservations I have are because I'm somewhat of a purist, and I like to see things done as they were originally done at the factory. There's a reason they were done that way.

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I hear you Dave.  If this turns out reasonably well and I gain enough confidence, I plan to eventually re-do it with the 'good stuff'.  I was afraid to plunk down that much on materials without ever having sewn anything prior.  I was concerned that it wouldn't be strong enough for those straps so I looked for something better. 

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Was there only one type rear window for a 1918 Touring? I have the rectangle window, but it looks like I need to figure on cathedral. I noticed several different style cathedral windows, different in numbers of windows. If I must have cathedral windows, Trimacar, how could I go about getting the dimensions from you? That would also mean I have a rectangular window for someone else.

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Hi Dave,  before I sew up these pads I wanted to ask if it looks like I have too much cotton in them.  Does it look overstuffed?  I used the full thickness of cotton batting you gave me..

Pads 1.jpg

Pads 2.jpg

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The full thickness of the batting is fine.  It will compress some when you close it up, and a little more when you put the top on.  Take your fingers and feather the edges, pulling off that sharp edge on each side .  This will make the pad a little smoother.

 

I can't tell from the pictures, but your outside edge might be a smidgeon too far down the bow.  On a Dodge top, the side line runs from just under the front bow by about 1/2 inch, to just below the tack hole that you see through the metal on the two rear bows.  If you get much lower than this, side curtains will be hitting the top when doors open.

IMG_5873.JPG

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The pads are sewn up.  The right side looks smoother.  I just couldn't get the wrinkles out of the left side.  I hope they won't be obvious under the top material...  I also threw in a couple of photos of the temporary top rests I made.  I turned them down on a lathe and then heat/bend.  Eventually I'll find some vintage ones and replace these.  Finding the correct Dodge ones is a bit of a holy grail...

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MikeC5, give me a photo of what you need for the top rests - I think I have an extra pair.....

 

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Hi Willy, I have this photo from a '25 touring (unfortunately without scale).  The Dodge parts list says the top rests are part numbers  1420 (RH) and 1421 (LH), which may appear on the casting part of the assembly.

Top rest.jpg

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I'll check. Did you ever get your rear window? I have one, and it doesn't go to my 1918 DB. Willy

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MikeC5, The extra pair I have are not the same as your photo - not even sure they match.

CIMG4338.JPG

CIMG4339.JPG

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Thanks anyway Willie.  I've got a lot of other work to do before I worry about the top rests anyway.  I got a pair in a box of parts that came with the car but they seem a bit too small to  (lengthwise) to grab all 4 top sockets (and that is without the roof fabric getting in the way) so I'm going to wait until I get the top on, then fold it down and measure what's really needed.  The real Dodge ones seem to be as rare as can be so I'll probably just make do with a matching pair that are functional but not 'correct'.  My car has had a lot of rust repair and won't be winning any trophies so I'm not concerned about that level of authenticity.

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Well I'm plunging ahead after a summer/fall respite.  I have the rear window installed in the rear curtain and have secured the inner bowdrill lining (this is a 2 layer top).  I'm at the point where I need to make up a double welt to go around the inside to cover the staples.  The 2nd photo shows the bowdrill fabric folder up to show the wooden window frame; 3rd photo shows the bowdrill stapled to the wood on interior facing side of window frame.  I'm thinking of using a double welt covered with same fabric to hide the staples (unless there are suggestions of a better way).  My question is about the dimensioning of double welt.  If you buy 8/32 double welt, does this mean each of the two cords is 1/8" or the overall width of the two side by side is 1/8"?  I can't seem to find anything that spells out the convention (and I need to get the correct double welt foot for the sewing machine).  

Rear window.jpg

W2.jpg

W3.jpg

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I'm using a Singer 111W155.  It's a beast of 1957 vintage but works well.  

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This is my first time ever doing something like this.  It may not come out perfect but I will learn from it.  I made it a little bit harder by not spending the money on the more expensive top material that has the black grain on outside and tan color on inside (so inside of car is not like a cave).  Instead I bought a less expensive top material and am using a separate inside layer of tan bowdrill fabric.  I thought maybe a could use spray contact cement to glue it to the top material but the glue soaks through the bowdrill and leaves uneven staining (on test strips).  David Coco says some cars were done like this back in the day (but not DBs).

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Well, don't remember what I said, but most cars that had an inner lining had one that was like a headliner, under the bows and hanging down to hide the bows.  This was only on the most expensive of the early open cars.

 

Most other toppings were laminated, either two or three ply, with the bottom layer being a fabric and the top layer or coating being a flexible, water proof covering.

 

I'd disagree with using a cheap fabric.  Let's say you have the choice between a $25 a yard topping, or a $70 a yard topping.  12 yards or so for a touring car, so the difference in cost is $420, a minimal cost difference in the overall car cost.

 

I'm glad you're learning how to do the top!  

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