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Running Board Material


John D. Starr
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I am working on a 1934 Hupmobile model J. It is original and "all there". I have been looking at the running boards, and while they don't look too bad for an 86 year old car, they do need their "rubber" surface replaced. I know there is a guy in Western Canada who does this kind of thing, but don't think I can (or want to) afford him. My question is "could some one recommend a material, and a source?" My current thought is to machine the pattern into the material and glue the material to the running boards. I have thought that with a pattern I could possibly cast new ones, but it seems like I will have to do the machine work to create the pattern, so why not just machine them. I also have no experience with casting rubber like products and am trying to avoid what might be a long learning curve. Any thoughts on the matter will be appreciated. As you might expect with an aerodynamic body shape there are some curves, I will probably have to join the material to get it to conform to the curves. 

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I can not help you with your question, but thought I would jump in about one guy in western Canada. My dad and I had the running boards for our 37 Buick Roadmaster Phaeton rebuilt and covered by a fellow in McBride British Columbia, his name is Kris Arneson. He does beautiful work, but he charges what he is worth!

Oops, had Kris' name wrong. Fixed now...

Edited by 37_Roadmaster_C
wrong name (see edit history)
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I can't say enough good about Kris Arneson.  He did some work for me this year, and the quality is outstanding.

 

Yes, it's expensive, but it's the kind of thing you look at and smile, instead of the kind of thing where you spend less money but aren't happy when you look at it.

 

He fabricated a dozen Pierce Arrow floor mats for me, even including the Pierce logo in the mat.  Everyone who purchased one was extremely pleased. The picture doesn't do it justice, they are perfect reproductions of the original mat.

new floor mat.jpg

mat insert.jpg

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My 1939 Buick has old runningboards, some voids and cracks, and they are not reproduced for my model.  I cleaned them and used a paint brush to spread multiple coats of a rubber liquid I bought at a local building store.  I poured the rubber into the voids until the area was level with the existing mat.  The job is shiny and serviceable.

 

 I think of it as good, old mats; better, voids filled and shiny black; and best, new vulcanized, manufactured and professional.

 

Good luck with your Hupp.  Gary

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On 12/22/2020 at 12:53 PM, John D. Starr said:

but don't think I can (or want to) afford him.

Like many things on an old car, sometimes you just have to grimace, groan and then be thankful that you only have to buy that particular part once. 

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You can cast polyurethane, but there are many grades to choose from which differ in hardness and in weatherability.  Machining elastomeric materials is very difficult because by definition they tend to stretch and tear instead of fracture (commercially it's often done by cooling them to embrittle the material). 

 

I am not familiar with the appearance of your running boards.  If the pattern is in the metal and the rubber skin is of uniform cross-section, this is much easier  than if the metal is flat and the pattern is in the rubber.

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I would also recommend Kris Arneson.  I just received my matts from him recently & they're a perfect match to the originals.  Kris was awesome to deal with and explained everything that I asked.  Yes, they are pricey, but worth it & you'll have to wait.

IMG_1113[642].JPG

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