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1930 Series 40 Wood


tomsupon1
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Thanks Taylormade.  So looking at ash it's considered a soft hardwood and is subseptable to rot.  Wouldn't a hard hardwood that is not subseptable to rot be better? I was looking at black locust.   Or is it the workability that makes ash better to use?  Or is the soft hardwood better at obsorbing the shock of constant movement while driving?

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Ash is strong, and not highly susceptible to warping.  It is almost as strong as oak, but significantly lighter.  Fasteners will stay tight in Ash.  Most wood rot in old cars was from water seepage over many decades.  Cloth tops, open touring cars, poor drainage on windows, and outdoor storage lead to rot and rust.

 

Bob Engle 

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Tom, I may be the lone contrarian here and while I believe that ash has the right qualities, I have found it to be terribly susceptible to the powder post beetle.  I own and operate a sawmill that supported my furniture making hobby for twenty years.  Ash was once plentiful here and I have sawed it and have had limited use of it for furniture.  I kiln dried my wood in a solar kiln that would achieve around 150F during the day.  I recall I made some plant stands for indoor use and I made a table saw jig and they were all coated with polyurethane.  In a matter of months I began to notice the small piles of fine dust below the plant stands and around that wooden jig.  My stockpile of kiln dried ash was in worse shape than that.  Within a year, the wood stack was completely disintegrated.  Others have had obvious success with using ash and I hope that you will as well.  I just wanted you to hear another story.

 

Of the three cars that I have (are) rewooding, (two 36 buicks and one 31 buick) I have not found any original ash wood.  I have found poplar/cottonwood/gum, red oak, white oak and what I think is hard maple.  I have also found what I think is spruce for some lighter components.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the species of choice originally used - I'm guessing availability.  My experience is that poplar/cottonwood (I actually think it's cottonwood) is the most prevalent and then red oak a close second.  I have also noticed that none of these woods are really stable; much if not most original wood is warped, bowed, or twisted. 

 

I use white oak and cypress.  Both are known to be rot resistant but that's not a big deal because I don't think they'll be in the same environment.  The white oak is strong but tough to work; cypress is lighter and easier to work but not as strong.  I could have used red oak and walnut and hickory/pecan but each of these has its own faults.   You suggested black locust and I have sawed some black locust.  Once dried it is harder than Billy Hell and I cannot imagine trying to work it.  But having said that, there is nothing I know that is stronger, harder, and more rot resistant than black locust.  Still, I wouldn't even attempt it.

 

Good luck with your project,

Joel

 

      

Edited by JoelsBuicks (see edit history)
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As I understand it, availability was a key factor back in the day. 

 

Keep in mind also that when wood was used in bodies, auto technology and design was moving rapidly. I don't expect the designers and engineers were necessarily too concerned about the condition of the wood 80+ years later. 

 

Joel - thanks for the lumber lesson. 

 

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11 hours ago, Thriller said:

As I understand it, availability was a key factor back in the day. 

 

Keep in mind also that when wood was used in bodies, auto technology and design was moving rapidly. I don't expect the designers and engineers were necessarily too concerned about the condition of the wood 80+ years later. 

 

 

 

 

I believe that availability was key factor to which wood was used.  Remember that Michigan was all forested and that more money came out of Michigan lumber than the California gold rush.

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Kiln dried ash is fairly easy to work, but in about two years it will cure hard as the dickens.  A lot of the body builders used ash because of things mentioned above, doesn't warp and doesn't split.

 

As far as oak goes, I've seen people replace top bows and some interior wood with oak, and it was terrible...it split when a tack was put in it anywhere near an edge, or even away from the edge if the grain was hit.  I'm not an expert on oak, so maybe there's a variety of oak that will work, but as a trimmer I can tell you I groan every time I see wood replaced with oak.

 

Seems to be a poplar subject, when one wants to spruce up the old vehicle, and using the wrong wood is just aspen for trouble.

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II have always thought that the costs of the wood to the manufacturer were an important factor. I have read that Henry Ford owned his own forests just to get the wood he deemed necessary for his production purposes. I sense the cheaper the car, the cheaper the wood. But I also must add I have re-wooded expensive cars that engineered the wood for the service it was giving,  if it needed strength it got oak or ash. Body sills where strength and endurance were needed seemed to be white oak. Another car that needed a spreader bar just behind the front seat used a 2 inch thick piece of soft maple from side to side. I am also sure there were many factors that entered into production practice through the years. Bob's thoughts.

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I was told ASH on my 1930 60 series. And I was convinced after doing repairs. It is a hard wood, but easier to work with. You can nail into it and one big factor is , although its hard, it bends and flexes better then the real hard woods. Our old cars are always flexing if we drive em. My repair turned out great and is plenty strong.

Steve

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