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Fabricating Stainless Steel Trim


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I am missing one length of stainless trim for my 1938 Chrysler convertible (rear body side)  and this trim is one year only, and specific to coupes and convertibles. Not having had any luck in finding a replacement after years of searching, I am now wondering if it would be possible to fabricate what is missing. I have the other side  as a mirror image pattern. I also have many extra pieces of trim from sedans that are way too short and the wrong curvature (most segments are straight, from doors), which I could weld together to get the proper length, but forming the correct contour would be my main challenge. Has anyone here attempted something like this, or know anyone that has done this? Or perhaps there might be someone that offers this as a service? 

 

Any input would be appreciated.

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12 minutes ago, RSayak said:

I am missing one length of stainless trim for my 1938 Chrysler convertible (rear body side)  and this trim is one year only, and specific to coupes and convertibles. Not having had any luck in finding a replacement after years of searching, I am now wondering if it would be possible to fabricate what is missing. I have the other side  as a mirror image pattern. I also have many extra pieces of trim from sedans that are way too short and the wrong curvature (most segments are straight, from doors), which I could weld together to get the proper length, but forming the correct contour would be my main challenge. Has anyone here attempted something like this, or know anyone that has done this? Or perhaps there might be someone that offers this as a service? 

 

Any input would be appreciated.

 

Street rod builders do this all the time. Typically high end builders will make dies to use in a Pullmax machine to form the trim. Others have fabricated trim using a bead roller with custom roller dies. You can also TIG together pieces to get what you want. You can also machine the trim from bar stock and polish it.

 

https://www.hotrod.com/articles/0502cl-cutting-welding-stainless-steel-trim/

 

 

 

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Rusty_OToole said:

If it is a complicated shape it may be easier to make it out of brass or copper and have it chrome plated. Some early cars had brass moldings that were filled with melted lead or solder to make them easier to bend by hand without kinking.

 

That's also common, but a single piece of chrome plated trim will not match the rest that is stainless.

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This is a formed stainless strip moulding. Making it out of chromed solid brass would probably be the "easiest" but the shine would differ between it and the door trim that it continues from. And making all new trim out of solid stock would probably be crazy expensive.

 

I have considered the bead roller forming method. It would have to be a multi step process to get the right triple peaked profile. The trim is only about 5/8" wide. Getting the proper gentle curve and twist along the rear body line would be challenging.

 

I might try the welding multiple straight sections together and gently forming the shape.

2018-08-29_15-20-20.jpg

2018-08-29_15-30-28.jpg

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I assume the edges roll under so the attaching clips are captured.  That's going to be the hardest part. You'd need to roll the edges first, then form them upwards, then roll the "V". Ugh. A tipping roller would probably be the right tool for the latter two, or a custom machined set of rollers. I'd start with a strip that was curved to match the fender in the flat, using a shrinker/stretcher and then form the contours. I would think that would better follow the shape without risk of kinking the cross section if you tried to bend it after forming.

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11 minutes ago, keiser31 said:

Have you tried here for that stainless....?

http://www.frenchlakeautoparts.com/

Yes. That place has been hit up and personally visited a few times over the years. I've also tried Fat Fender Relics, and they didn't have anything either. 

 

7 minutes ago, joe_padavano said:

I assume the edges roll under so the attaching clips are captured.  That's going to be the hardest part. You'd need to roll the edges first, then form them upwards, then roll the "V". Ugh. A tipping roller would probably be the right tool for the latter two, or a custom machined set of rollers. I'd start with a strip that was curved to match the fender in the flat, using a shrinker/stretcher and then form the contours. I would think that would better follow the shape without risk of kinking the cross section if you tried to bend it after forming.

You are correct. it has rolled under edges for the clips. I like the idea of forming from  a strip that has the right curve for the body, that's probably the best way to approach this. 

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