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1938 Buick Century Model 61 - Four Door Touring Sedan - Trunk Back


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Posted (edited)

Today, I sandblasted the rear seat ashtrays. I then painted the ash receiver with aluminum paint. After that dried, I taped off the rim of the ash receiver to protect from the brown paint which is the first stage of woodgraining. I then painted the area that will be woodgrained with brown paint. I cleaned up the ivory knobs for the ash trays. I paint filled the recessed areas in the knobs. The knobs are only 3/4 of an inch long. I used a very small paint touch up brush to paint the recessed areas.  

 

Next, I decided to work on interior door and window handles. I have accumulated plenty of those in the past year or two. I have 9 vent window handles, 15 window handles, and 15 door handles. I buffed them all up and selected the best of each type including two extras of each to allow me to more closely inspect them in the future and pick the very best to use. Those small vent window handles and the ring that goes behind all of the handles are really hard to hang on to while buffing. They can get flung quite briskly if you lose your grip. One of the rings is still in the boxwoods near where I had the grinder set up in front of the garage. Since I have plenty of extras, I decided not to waste any more time looking for it. Later, I paint filled the recessed areas. This requires simply painting the area, wiping the raised area with a paper towel, followed up with a quick wipe with a painter's wipe. The next job on them will be to change out the knobs and finish woodgraining the ashtrays.DSC_0020.JPG

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Posted (edited)

This morning, I used a vice to crush the old window crank handle knobs enough so that they could be removed from the window cranks. I then used a wire brush to remove the surface rust from the metal handle shanks that were under the knobs. I also worked the handles back and forth to break free the knob shanks that were rusted so that they would not turn. I then installed new knobs using epoxy. 

 

I finished the woodgraining on the rear seat armrest ashtray assemblies. 

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Matt: You've done a heck of a job on your '38 and in what I consider a short period of time.   By the way, I sold all of the '37 spark plugs I had, or, actually traded them for some AC-46 plugs.

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There is a secret to the plastic/bakelite knobs - get a good soldering iron and put it on the end of the shaft for a good 10 minutes or so - the heat transfers up the shaft and you would be surprised how nice the handles slide off and on (sorry I was a little late in posting). 

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3 hours ago, Dynaflash8 said:

Matt: You've done a heck of a job on your '38 and in what I consider a short period of time.   By the way, I sold all of the '37 spark plugs I had, or, actually traded them for some AC-46 plugs.

 

Thanks Earl. Glad you were able to trade those plugs for something you can use. 

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12 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

There is a secret to the plastic/bakelite knobs - get a good soldering iron and put it on the end of the shaft for a good 10 minutes or so - the heat transfers up the shaft and you would be surprised how nice the handles slide off and on (sorry I was a little late in posting). 

 

Thanks but I don't think I have the patience to spend 10 minutes per knob on the removal. I probably took less than 10 minutes on removing all of the knobs. The replacement knobs that I had came with instructions to use epoxy to install them. From having looked at Gary's restoration, I assume his new knobs were different. I have no idea how old my replacements were as they came in a bulk parts purchase from another 36-38 Buick Club member. 

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Posted (edited)

This afternoon, I installed the Door Handle & Window Winder Plastic Escutcheons and Chrome Bezels on the handles. The Eschutcheons were slightly oversized. I took a file and gently went around the back edge of each of them to gently remove any burrs and/or reduce the diameter slightly. This did not remove any visible amount of material but the chrome bezels could then be slipped over the eschutcheons. I also applied a clear coat to the woodgrained areas of the rear seat ashtrays. This evening, after the clear coat had dried, I installed the knobs on the ashtrays. I pieced together the majority of the broken parts for the rear seat armrest assemblies. I used duct tape to hole them together temporarily. I was planning to use epoxy to patch them, but they seem to be too fragile in my opinon. I think that I will pick up some fiberglass resin and hardener. I plan to try rebuilding and coating them with fiberglass. This should help keep them intact better. I feel like they are just too brittle to just patch the existing broken edges and fiberglass seems to be the best idea I have to make them a bit more solid.  

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Today, I applied a coating of fiberglass resin to the rear seat armrest assemblies. I may go back with another layer of resin and some fiberglass cloth on one or two small weak spots in the near future but I feel much better about the chances of the armrest assemblies surviving with the coating.  Next, I cleaned up and painted the section of vacuum line that goes from near the wiper motor, through the firewall, and to the section of vacuum line that it connects to in the vicinity of the starter. After the paint dried, I installed it, fired up the engine, and tested the wipers. The last job of the day was to install the glove compartment. The glove compartment comes with screw anchors shipped loose. The instructions call for inserting them at the preformed screw holes in the fabric covered cardboard glove compartment assembly. That is much easier said than done. After much aggravation, and trying several different methods, I got them all installed in the right areas but with less than stellar success in bending the little tabs over to secure them neatly to the glove compartment assembly. Then the real fun began. Eventually, I got the glove compartment manipulated into position and got enough screws in it to say that it is installed.  The glove compartment instructions also call for reusing the original screws to install it. I do have a couple of screws that I plan to remove and reinstall with some washers that I was missing after my next hardware store trip.   

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Posted (edited)

This afternoon, I decided to get started on the headliner. First I laid it out on a table. I then removed the bows from the old headliner and transferred them to the new headliner. The instructions indicate that there is a center line drawn on the headliner to assist in installation. Mine did not appear to have the line, but I centered the bows in the new headliner bow casings and slit the bow casings to leave 2 to 3 inches of bow exposed on both ends of each of the bows. Next, I followed the instructions and installed the bows starting at the rear. At each bow, you need to gently stretch the fabric outward to eliminate wrinkles and then hook the bow casings on the hooks on the ceiling designed for that purpose. After installing all of the bows, I then attached the rear of the headliner above the rear windows. The instructions indicate you can use spray on glue or double sided tape. Since I have lots of double sided tape that I use in my engraving business, I chose to use the tape method. I then proceeded to the front and gently stretched the material and stapled it across the front tack strip, starting in the center and working outward. I removed the dome light before starting the headliner installation. The instructions indicate to be sure to be careful to note the location of the wires for the dome light, as the hole will be cut at the conclusion of the installation. Tomorrow, I will finish this job. I still need to tack or staple the rest of the rear and both sides. When the sides are gently pulled and staples at the sides, the wrinkles shown in the photos should disappear. 

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Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
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Great work!  Installing my headliner was very satisfying.  It was a job that I feared, only to find out it wasn’t bad at all, and the results are just great!

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7 minutes ago, 39BuickEight said:

Great work!  Installing my headliner was very satisfying.  It was a job that I feared, only to find out it wasn’t bad at all, and the results are just great!

 

I will admit that I had heard a lot of horror stories about installing headliners. I was a bit intimidated by it, but it really seems a lot less intimidating once you actually start it. 

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Posted (edited)

Today, I finished the headliner installation. The minor wrinkles are mostly gone. The only difficult part was eliminating the new wrinkles that developed with the loosening of the fabric caused by cutting the hole to install the dome light. I was able to use a couple of staples to secure the headliner fabric around the dome light to the wooden dome light mounting board to resolve that issue.  Then I cut the excess material around the outer edges. That was probably the hardest part of the installation. My scissors were not sharp enough, so I used a razor blade knife to do most of the cutting. 

 

I then got ready to install the door opening windlace. The front door leading edge has a metal channel. Installation requires cutting the excess salvage from the bottom section of the windlace to be able to install the windlace in the metal channel. Hoping to buy some better scissors tomorrow, and also needing to repaint the metal channel since a small section of it is visible immediately adjacent to the end of the dash, I decided to wait until tomorrow to install the windlace.

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Posted (edited)

I cut the excess material off of the front door windlace so I could install it in the metal channel. I then installed the windlace into the metal channels. I think if I ever do this again, I will be sure to open up the channel a bit wider next time. While inserting the windlace in the first one, in a couple of places, the inner rubber that has to be trapped in the metal channel broke out of the stitching. I then resewed the seam to hold the rubber in the correct location again so it could be trapped in the metal channel as designed. I then installed the front door windlace on both front doors. I still need to finish securing the cloth flap that covers the area on both sides of the windshield.

 

A set of foglights that I ordered on ebay arrived. I buffed them up and installed them. I later determined that I made a tactical error - I should have tested the lights before buffing them. Neither of the foglight bulbs worked. I double checked everything and tested the bulbs independently. I contacted the ebay seller who replied that he was unaware that they did not work. I uninstalled the fog lights and they are now boxed up ready to be returned. Luckily, the auction listing for another set of the same make and model fog lights specifically listed as tested and working, ended this evening. I now have another set on the way. They were also less expensive than the first set.

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Posted (edited)

Today, I installed the rear door windlace on both doors. I then installed the front door pillar post. The blind nailing technique went much easier than I expected. It started off a bit slow but I soon was good enough to install the second one in a short time. The hardest part of the job was installing the dome light switch. I found that it was easiest to use an awl to locate the small screw holes for the switch and punch through the fabric before inserting the screws that hold the switch plate to the door pillar.  

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Looking really great. I made myself a 6” ice pick using a small needle file handle and 1/8” music wire ground with a long tapered tip. Then it was sanded progressively with finer paper then polished. When you do a few bland nails using an upholsterers pin is ok but after a while it’s tough on the hands and I found my little ice pick just perfect for pulling the fabric over the nail head. The extra length give a little more leverage when lifting up tight material. I also start using a push nailer where I could and found I was getting things done at least twice as fast. I’ll see if I can take some pictures of my tools.

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This evening, I got started on the rear quarter window header panel installation. This piece is attached to the wire-on that goes the length of the car. I tacked the passenger side header into place and installed the wire-on along the headliner seam from the rear quarter header panel to the windshield. I was going to install the driver's side panel but the cardboard backing of that header panel was bent a bit from being in the box since it arrived from LeBaron Bonney. I laid it out and put some weights on it to hopefully straighten it out so I can install it soon. I don't know if I will have any time to work on the car tomorrow due to multiple other things that I have to do tomorrow.   

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As you put on the door and quarter panels, you may want to put on a piece of plastic film like you would find in a newer car as a "just in case" to keep water staining at a minimum 

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Posted (edited)

After lunch, I installed the cowl panels. They just have to be curled slightly and inserted into the correct location. They fit into a channel on the opposite side of the metal door windlace channel.  

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Matt, great job on the interior. That's a lot of work in the windlace, headliner, quarter window headers, etc.

 

This car is coming together quickly, you have a very dedicated work ethic.

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39 minutes ago, r1lark said:

Matt, great job on the interior. That's a lot of work in the windlace, headliner, quarter window headers, etc.

 

This car is coming together quickly, you have a very dedicated work ethic.

 

Thanks. I wish I could get it finished but a couple of paying jobs mean I probably won't be able to get back on the Buick until early next week. 

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1 hour ago, r1lark said:

Matt, great job on the interior. That's a lot of work in the windlace, headliner, quarter window headers, etc.

 

This car is coming together quickly, you have a very dedicated work ethic.

 

agreed 100%

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Today, my latest Fog Light purchase arrived. They are both in much nicer condition than the non-working set I sent back. One of the two actually appears to be New Old Stock. I am convinced that this one has never been installed on a car before. I interrupted my engraving job to give me a little bit of time to work on the Fog Lights. I installed the apparently NOS one. I buffed the other one and then installed it.   

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Posted (edited)

I had a little bit of time to work on the Buick this evening. I decided to start working on the rear seat arm rests. These will still need a bit more tweaking but they should come together in the near future. The rear quarter panels that need to be attached to the top of the arm rests will be a bit of a challenge. Due to the broken top edge of the arm rest panels, I think I will add some additonal bracing in the area between the top of the arm rest panel and the rear quarter panel. The instructions for the interior kit call for covering the arm rest panels with two coats of foam and then using staples and/or tacks to attach the arm rest covers. The covers were badly wrinkled coming out of the box. After some time, I think I can stretch them out a bit tighter and they will be fine. The scariest part of the job was cutting the holes in the arm rest covers for the ashtrays. I was able to do that by being careful and taking it slowly. 

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Posted (edited)

Today, I decided to start on the door panels. I positioned the panels in the correct location on all four doors and used a razor knife to cut a small hole for the window and door handle shafts. The panels themselves are designed to be installed with metal clips. The instructions direct you to install the clips, put the panel in place, cut the opening for the window and door handle shafts and then mark the location where the clips touch the door.  You have to drill 1/4 inch holes in the clip locations to install the clips to hold the panel to the door. Drilling the 1/4 inch holes was not much fun. Actually installing the clips was less fun. The directions indicate you can use the palm of your hand to push the clips until they snap into the holes. That only worked on one or two of the clips. After multiple attempts and multiple episodes of slightly repositioning of the clips, I finally discovered that the only way to snap the clips into the holes in the doors was to use a clean cloth to protect the fabric panels from getting dirty, position the clips in the holes and then tapping the panels at the clip locations with a rubber mallet. Eventually I got the door panel installed. I did not use the clips on the bottom as the way the directions indicate to install them puts them in a position on the door that is recessed a bit below the level of the panel, which means there is no way that the clips will work there. I will use some adhesive to secure the bottom of the door panels to the door. There is also one screw that goes in the bottom corner of the door panel which I need to install. I finished the panel installation on the right front door. I then installed the window crank handle, the front vent window crank handle, and the door handle. 

 

I then decided to install the window garnish moulding trim. This is installed with drive nails. I decided to use the original holes rather than clamping the piece in place and drilling new holes. Having to locate the original holes and positioning the nail in the correct place might be a bit harder but that is what I decided to do. I then temporarily installed the window garnish moulding. I will have to remove it later to install the window sweep material on the back edge of garnish moulding. 

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After dinner, I put the driver's door panel trim in. With the lessons learned doing the first one, the second one went together much easier and much more quickly. 

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Posted (edited)

This morning, I decided to try attaching the window sweep to the left rear door window garnish moulding before continuing with that door panel. This way, once I install the window garnish moulding, it will not have to come out. I cut the window sweep the correct length and formed it to the correct shape by comparing it to the old window sweep material. I placed it against the bottom of the garnish moulding and drilled a few small holes through the sweep and the moulding. I then installed the sweep with three small screws like I used to install the window channel in all the doors. The screws sink into the window sweep felt. 

 

Next I marked the clip location, drilled the 14 1/4 inch holes in the door and installed the door panel using a rubber mallet. I then installed the window garnish moulding trim. After a small amount of trimming of the inside edge of the cardboard on the garnish moulding trim, I installed the window garnish moulding.  

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Posted (edited)

This afternoon, I installed the right rear door panel and garnish moulding trim. I installed the window sweep on the window garnish moulding and then installed the garnish moulding. I installed the window crank handle and the door handle. I then removed the right front door window garnish moulding, installed the window sweep on the window garnish moudling and reinstalled the garnish moulding. After that I finished the two right doors by installing the door lock knobs.  

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Posted (edited)

This morning, I removed the driver's door garnish moulding, installed the window sweep and reinstalled it. This afternoon, I decided to tackle the front door arm rests. One of them was in fairly good shape. The other needed all new padding. The original padding in the other was apparently destroyed by rats. I picked up some appropriate foam from a local upholstery shop and rebuilt the one that needed it. I then recovered it and installed it. I then recovered the other one and installed it. That job is a lot more work than those few sentences would make you think. The photos show the original condition, one shot after removing the brittle remains of the foam, one shot during the replacement foam shaping process, and then photos of the finished job. I am clearly not an upholstery expert but they turned out OK. The small imperfections actually look more prominent in the photos than they do when you look at them in the car. 

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Posted (edited)

Today I got started on the seats. The rear seat back has a fold down center armrest. This is probably the most complex seat part to do, so I won't be surprised if I end up going back and doing some minor adjustment in the near future. For an amateur doing my first interior kit installation, I am OK with how it turned out today. First I removed the old material and pulled more tacks out of the seat back frame than you would expect. It seems that Fisher Body employees thought that if one tack would do the job, two or three would do it better. Almost all points where fabric was attached to the wooden frame, there was a pattern of 2 or 3 tacks side by side. Following the instructions that came with the LeBaron Bonney kit, I used fewer tacks to install the new material than Fisher Body Division did originally. The center arm rest cover slides onto the original arm rest assembly and then requires tacks on one small seam and then blind stitching along both sides. My stitching could be a bit neater, but it is totally hidden when installed so I am not going to worry about it. 

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Funny about the tacks Matt. In 32’, I guess because the depression was on, the opposite was true. Most tacks on the seat were spread out 4-5” and the panel boards were much worse. My Olds and my buddie joes had about 4-6 tacks in each rumble seat area side panels with spacing easily over 12”! What a difference a few years make.

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That is a very comprehensive interior kit!  It's too bad that LeBaron Bonney has gone out of business, the old car hobby has lost a significant supplier.

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1 hour ago, r1lark said:

That is a very comprehensive interior kit!  It's too bad that LeBaron Bonney has gone out of business, the old car hobby has lost a significant supplier.

 

While their kits were clearly not perfect and the instructions could have been written to be a bit more user friendly, I am really glad I bought the kit before they went out of business. If I did not have their kit, I would have simply taken the car to a local upholstery shop and had them build an interior for it. I would not have been able to do it myself. 

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