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1922-45 Buick wood repair


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Hello All,

Meet Buick # 3. A 22-45. It was supposed to be a parts car. But it turned out to be far too complete to deserve that title! I will go into more detail in another post on how little this car must have actually been driven.



It seems as though the tarp covering the car became compromised on the passenger side for a period of time long enough to cause some wood damage.




You can see the uprights to the body panel between the doors are rotted away at the bottom.



So, we cut out the dry rot and critter damage. Then, we used a mix of hard woods to remake the components. We used what bolts we had on hand, but the proper square head bolts are on their way. Note that, from the factory, the wood strip that the floor boards rest on is a separate piece of wood attached to the side of the main plate that runs the length of the interior of the car.



As you can see the passenger door threshold was toast.



So, we salvaged it as best we could to make a template from it.



The original sheet metal threshold (on the left) just happened to fit our first try (on the right)!






I laid out the old floor planks to make the new ones. I replaced all of those seen here. Some of the front seat bolts had to be replaced. The others had some of the top threads broken off.  So we lengthened them with threaded couplings and all thread.



Reinstalling the front seat was key to getting the panel between the doors properly lined up with the contour of the body — the bracket that attaches it to the seat does not get it done. To get the correct gaps between the front and back doors, the seat had to be moved back and forth in tiny increments. Much time was spent here! 


If you look closely, you can see where we snuck a block in between the two pieces of wood that make up the panel to replace what was rotted out. (See earlier pic.)


Some of the wood planking that supports the spring seat had to be replaced from rodent damage. 





Boy, was I happy to see all four doors on this car! It was very convenient that the sheet metal panel between the doors was rusted through at the bottom. This enabled us to screw it to the body wood on the other side!



You can see the rest of the water damage to this side of the car with the running boards removed. Brackets are good shape. 

Edited by JBuick
Correction. (see edit history)
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Wow,  Finding a parts car this nice is amazing.   You are having to much fun.    How is the engine ?    Is it free locked up ?     All the parts there 'under the hood' !     I'm glad you chose to rebuild / restore your Buick.  You will find others who have a 1922-45 Buick so if you need help,  they will be happy to help.   I am a newer Buick fan.   I've had a 1938-46s coupe for 8 + years.   Restored it to like new where I drove it on my longest drive for over 1800+ miles.   I also had a 1937-46 coupe .   I now only have a 1935-58 Vicky , 2 door sedan.   Last of the wood bodied Buicks and also the last year Buick had mechanical brakes.   My 35-58 was only available in two colors.   A Douglas Fir Green and a two tone Pony brown.    I have the Pony Brown version and I have not seen any others.     I saw one in Douglas Green - restored and was very nice.   So, maybe another two tone 35-58 will show up.   I'm about to get it on the road in about a week.   Major goal having it on the road.   Welcome to our world of great per-war Buicks.   


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You are fortunate to have enough original wood to get patterns from. The wood in my 1925-45 had been replaced by my father but was wrong in too many places so I am working on patterns to correct it.  I also made proper sheetmetal repairs and got it primed just last summer, so this photo is how it looks now.  There seems to be only minor revisions to wood frame design between 1922 and 1925.   That panel between the doors and its attaching bracket are different but probably equally difficult to get adjusted.  The bracket has one foot on the sill and the other on the seat riser, and tightening down the riser side bolt will tip the panel and change the door gaps and alignment.   I figured out how to cut compound tenons for door wood framing, but have not figured out how they originally cut those curved corner pieces for the front seat back.  Welding this old sheetmetal takes a little different technique than for "newer" sheetmetal.  It will blow through if a heatsink is not clamped on the back side of the weld.  I used a strip of flattened copper tube behind every weld. 



25-45 body sheetmetal.jpg

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You did a fantastic job with the photographs.  I had a pretty good idea of what you were telling me about, but the photos put everything in perspective.  You had better be careful - those two '21's will become jealous🤣


Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918

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Jim, Nice car you have there!  This car has been a lot of fun to work on. We have started the engine and believe it is in perfect condition. I am going to do a separate post for the first time drive of this car and will include the link to YouTube. That will be very soon.


Thank you, Kevin, for the sheet metal welding tip! I do have some body work to do here and there. Looks like you have the doors lining up nicely on that car. 


Jb Buick 22, Wow — cool drawing! Yes, that would sure be helpful. Thanks for posting it! 



Today, I applied some linseed oil to spokes. The wood was dry as could be and soaked it right up. You can still see the factory pinstripe on the wheel felloe. Here’s the before…



And after…




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 Several years ago there was a fellow in the Pittsburgh PA. area who was calling about verifing what his boss' wood body frame was for. Hunting a value assessment. I asked if it was for sale and he never got back to me or returned my calls. They had it at a "Man-Cave" type display as a NEW OLD Stock body frame.





I believe the 160781 # on the casting was for the cowl support and put it as a 1923 frame.

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