Ron Dupree's thread on making a door bottom encouraged me to get cracking on a long standing job, the skinning of my LH door. I decided on producing a sample skin to identify the problems if any, in the process.
I had borrowed the bead roller in the pictures, which came with a 5/8" wheel on it and found it worked very well.
First I noticed that the bead roller's wheel had a centre line and thought I would be capable of aligning that to the centre of the bead on my skin.
So I pencilled in the outline of the door frame and then added another pencil mark inside the first, to match the centre of the bead.
It was then a simple matter of guiding the centre line on the bead roller onto the inside pencil mark and rolling around the perimeter of the door.
With that done, I managed to roll the bead in once more, without too much damage. The second roll was with slightly more pressure on the wheels.
I thought the finished product looked quite reasonable for a Model T and decided I would go ahead and use this not as a sample, but as the finished skin.
So I cut out the bottom as Ron did in his post and bent the straight sides into place.
I will now weld in the bottom section and cut and shape the bent areas to fit around the door frame.
The next step will be to fit the door into the door opening, the dimensions of which, now that the door is slightly larger with the skin in place, may well need to be enlarged.
Wow, that looks great, Jack. How long did the project take start to finish?
Don't know what you mean by; "looked quite reasonable for a Model T".
Why would the door now be slightly larger? Did you use a pattern?
What did you use to finish the bead in the square corners?
Does the skin have a crown?
Looks good! About the only thing different I would have done would be to make it in one piece and not weld-in the bottom.
Jack, I know a guy who does metal spinning and he uses bees wax on the rollers I think. Scott
Very nice !
I beaded the RH fake door today - it is in pretty much the same condition as the LH door above. Happy with the result of both.
It took about a half day to get the LH door to the state you can see in the last picture.
I have a little work to do to get the curves into the door. That's what you mean by the crown, Ken ?
And I used a thickwalled piece of 5/8" pipe, seated in the bead, to finish off the right angled ends at the two corners. It didn't take much hammering to achieve a reasonable result - it's quite thin material.
The skinned door is now larger than the original wooden frame, by about 1/8" to maybe 3/16". Even with just the wooden door frame, there wasn't much clearance for the door between door hinge post and the latch post (or what passes for it on this vehicle), so now I may have to trim a trifle off the door hinge post.
Thanks for the suggestion, Scott. I'm working on my own with this and when you're turning the corners with the wheel screwed down tight, at the same as time as you're trying to stay on the line, a little bit of lubrication (ie bees wax) might have been a significant help. Maybe there'll be a next time ?
I can't do much more at this stage as I'm still waiting for a door hinge to arrive from Langs. I had one previously, but put it away somewhere safe and haven't been able to locate it since !
By curves in the door, I think Ken is talking about the actual shape of the door. I'm not sure if your car has a standard Ford body, or something else, but the front doors on the Ford bodies are not flat like you have.
The rear doors have no shape - they are all form since they are flat running front to back and have a curve running top to bottom. The front doors do have shape as there is a compound curve running front to back with more curve towards the front of the door where it curves into the cowl and less towards the rear. It also has a compound curve running top to bottom. This creates a low crown in the panel which should be put into the panel by shrinking or stretching before the breads are formed. Once the panel has the proper shape, the flanges are then turned. Because the edge of the panel now has a curve to it, the edges need to be shrunk as they are bent over to maintain the curve of the door. The beads are added last. The problem with putting in the beads first is that the beads have now stiffened the panel and it is going to be very difficult to put in the proper shape. You can shrink the edge to try to add some curve to the edge, but the bead and the inside edge of the bead are going to remain the same length which is going to cause the panel to buckle up. You still need to put the crown into the panel either by shrinking or stretching.
You can make the panel in one piece but it is probably more work. I would not cut out the entire bottom flange, but just the corners. The issue here is that as you turn the flange around the corner you need to shrink the metal which is being folded over. Because the curve is so sharp, there is a lot of shrinking required. I have an original door here and those two curves are actually wrinkled because the metal could not shrink enough when the panel was stamped. By cutting back the flange through the corner to about 1/2" or so, you only have to deal with shrinking that small flange, rather than the entire width. It's easier to weld in a piece on the corners than to do all that shrinking, and you will probably end up with a better looking piece.
How about an english wheel or a planishing hammer to ad some curve to the panel?
I think David is right this should be done before the beads are put in.
Wonderful job. You are to be commended for tackling this. I am surprised that the beads are so straight and even on the curves.
I agree Richard. The beads look great. It's hard enough following a line on a powered roller much less a hand cranked one. Even with a helper cranking it's difficult.
Jack - Yes, a crown refers to a "bow" in the face of the panel. Either front to back, top to bottom or both. Running a bead around a panel perimeter will actually cause the panel to form a concave or "potato chip" shape from the tension induced by the bead. I couldn't tell if your panel had a crown. The crown is what gives a panel strength and prevents oil-canning. Many doors will not only have a crown in the primary panel face but also have a curvature in the entire door front to back, top to bottom or both. The crown and overall door shape need to be handled on their own importance.
Dave - I would agree with you that it's easier to "cut and paste" but it's not always the quickest method. You have to count welding and grinding as part of the process. This takes time too and unless the welder is experienced, the part may or may not look better. Perhaps some might even call it over-restoration by not having the "wrinkles".
As far as shrinking for the radius, much depends on the tools/equipment you have available. I've made the quarter panels on a 22 Coupe--The ones with the small radius in the upper rear corners. There wasn't a speck of welding on it so it can be done.
Thanks for all the comments, I have more work to do on the curves but I'll get to that - I've no experience in metalwork, so it's probably time to enlist some expert help.
The vehicle I'm restoring is a 1917 English T with a LH opening door. It would have been much easier to buy a new door from one of the suppliers, but no one seems to manufacture a LH door for these vehicles.
A bit of progress on the curvature of the door.
With a mate's help, I've now been able to add curves to both the top and the latch side of the door. I don't know what gauge this tin is, but it's very thin and we have no trouble with penetration of the weld !
So the skin now fits the wooden frame very well. I've got more work to do on the bottom strip and maybe a little finessing on the hinge side, but I'm very pleased with progress, to date.
I'll keep updating as I go.
Pretty much finished the door now - just a little decoration on the inside and I'll do that later.
We added the bottom strip today and then made the final fold so that the inside edge of the skin can now be hidden by the interior trim.
It's time now for a bit of tidying up, a thin film of body filler in the few places it is necessary and an initial coat of paint. I'll let you all see how it looks after that.
I am very impressed. Keep us posted.
Jack, the job can be made a little easier if you have less width in the return on the inside of the door. On my original 1915 there was only about 1/4" return, and this can be tapped over with a hammer without heat.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
I am most impressed. Thank you for sharing your skills. It is always cool to see someone create something out of 'thin air."
that was most impressive...particularly from someone who isn't a pro at this...
I sure hope the wood frame fit the body before it was skinned!
The door frame came close, when I fitted it but as I mentioned above, it will now be wider due to the skin. I have re-wooded the whole body, so I'm confident that my bandsaw and I can "adjust" the hinge post to suit the new dimensions of the door.
If not, I'll make a new hinge post - it won't be the first time ! The skin between bulkhead (firewall) and hinge post is going to have to be modified anyway because of the British style left hand opening door.
Yes, I had seen older and original skins which had the short final fold, but was a little concerned about splitting the wood (jarrah), when I nailed the skin to the frame. The result was as you see and it'll all be concealed anyway.
Thanks for all the commentary.
Jack, if you used recycled jarrah I would be concerned about splitting it too. I used lighter, new Meranti and had no problems.
I made my task more complicated than in needed to be. I had good original skins with the piecrust ripples where it closes to the door frame and I wanted to preserve these. So I didn't even bend the return out of the skins to re-bend it around the door frame. Instead I made my joints so that I could instal the timbers in the door skin and then wedge them out to fit the panel. Much unnecessary fiddling, but it kept me amused!
Allan from down under.
Finally finished the preparation and hung the door today.
It fits so well, you'd think it was all handmade !
A great job indeed! I have wondered though about the right curvature on doors that are found at meets. I have seen doors that have been rewooded that looked good but the curvature was not exactly right to the body.
Also will all T doors interchange between the 15-23 years because different body makers made the bodies. I have some doors that are for the same year and side but are a little different in the curvature. They both appear to be original in their condition and are 'not warped out of shape as many are.'
In other words did each body maker make their own doors?
Jack, it is folks like you that Henry must have surrounded himself with in the early years. People that could take the dream and turn it into reality.