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Installing A Roof On A 1929 Franklin 130 Coupe

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Looking for additional information / research on "putting a top on a 29 "130" Coupe.  This coupe does not have a flat top where one piece of material can be installed without having to worry about curves and round corners.   I have read the "instruction" at the club site.  But they are for "one piece of material installed on a somewhat flat roof area."  Jocelyn & I have figured out the material and how to install the cotton and burlap.  The roof bows and wood are in great shape, as is the chicken wire.   And we have an idea of what needs to be done with the roof material.  We believe there are 4 pieces/patterns of the roof material that need to be installed to get around the curves and corners of the roof where it goes down.  Just want alittle more information/research on how to attach the pieces together, specially by the rumble seat area.
 Jocelyn and I believe we can do this roof job once we get past these problems of getting around the curves/corners and attaching the 4 pieces together.  Also, a good source for "dip channels and trim" would be helpful.  You can see the dip channel in one of the pictures.
Any help on videos or where to continue our research would be greatly appreciated.  Some pictures are enclosed.

Thanks in advance ....


29 Coupe 9-4-20 031.JPG

29 Coupe Roof 009.JPG

29 Coupe Roof 004.JPG

29 Coupe 9-4-20 028.JPG

29 Coupe Roof 005.JPG


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It is a sewing project and you need access to an commercial sewing machine, plus it will take a great time and care - or you need to find an upholsterer.


The metal pinweld bead will be difficult to handle - it is brass, lead, or aluminum and has a nails soldered into it about every inch (it warps and distorts, the nails break and ....).


The drip rail will also be difficult (generally aluminum) - they often have a fold down edge to cover the nails (if really lucky you will have the type with a piece of fabric covering over the nails).


My upholsterer would not blink and eye telling you this is an 8K project to do properly (I have seen a lot done improperly too - just try your best). 


Nice car !!!




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Well, this is a project that isn’t that difficult, as far as fabric goes and excluding metal trim, BUT it requires near perfect marking and sewing.


Chicken wire, then burlap, then cotton padding.  I’d put a layer of muslin over the cotton padding, to give you something to temporarily fasten cording  In next step.


Measure and mark on the muslin the seam lines, top and back.  Over those marks, put a piece of heavy white cording, marked with black magic marker at random places about 18 inches apart,and the very end of each piece.  Secure the cording to the muslin about every two feet with thread.

Now, lay your central top piece on car, securing front and back with a few tacks driven half way in.  Front and back, Mark a centerline on car and top.   Feeling through the top fabric, mark (Chalk)along the cording front to back.  Lifting up edge of material, mark each random line and front / back off cording.  These are your reference lines to sew side pieces on.  Take off car, using a yardstick make sure your marked line is linear, though it may not be straight front to back, it may have a slight curve to it .  Cut material 3/8 inch outside that line, and put a small notch at each cross mark.  These are your reference marks for sewing together.


Repeat on rear panel, ignoring rear window cutout for now.  Repeat on side panels, cutting relief along rear tack strip.


Sew together, then fold each seam and top stitch, with seam on the outside of your top stitch sew line.


Install to car after removing cording.


Very difficult to write and explain upholstery.  Any questions let me know.  David Coco Winchester Va



Edited by trimacar (see edit history)
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Thank you "Franklin Family" for all the views, and specially the comments given on this site.   And thank you to those that have reached out to me on my email account, specially Paul.  Your very lengthly email on our situation was really great and eye opening.  Jocelyn and I have learned allot and been pointed to several new directions. 

We are still in the research mode and figuring out which way to go on this Coupe's roof.  As suggested, the roof has been carefully removed and saved as patterns.  And the roof's wood has been repaired for some minor stuff.   

As we have several Franklins and Rickenbackers waiting to have roofs replaced, so we continue as to what we can do on our budget .....

To all, thank you again,


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