How much retro-fitting does one have to do to make the wood frame and door kits work properly? Most of the grooves are too small for the sheet metal to fit into. Some of the pieces of wood need to be cut in order to fit together. A lot of shaping needs to be done. I don't want to ruin the kit by over cutting and shaping but it seems to be the only way to make the sheet metal fit. Just about ready to have a bonfire.
Over the many years of driving vibration, road conditions, minor accidents and owner fixes and alterations, most, if not all 80+ year old vintage cars have attained a shape all their own, so each car is unique.
While some of those kits, were were hopefully made according to original Ford plans and tolerances, they were more likely made using patterns made using the worn wooden parts from a car now in the possession of the woodworker creating the pieces, so there is no guarantee that the pieces will fit your particular car. If the parts were made using original Ford plans, it would be a good opportunity to get your car back to where it needs to be, but there is no way to guarantee what the wooden parts were based upon unless you had a set of plans and made the parts yourself and if you do install them, you might be converting the shape of your car to the inaccurate shape of the car the pieces were based on which might be far away from the shape your car has assumed on the opposite end of the spectrum. Jim Patrick
PS. Another consideration is the skill of the woodworker, his ability at reading plans and his level of perfectionism in making sure the mutitude of compound curves and radius' involved in making wooden body frame parts are absolutely correct and not just close... So, even if the parts were made using Ford plans, if the woodworker is missing any of the above attributes and abilities, the parts might still be off a little or alot. If you want it done right, do it yourself or help a competent woodworker to do it, so you can make sure it is done right. Jim Patrick
I purchased the kits from a reputable supplier via one of the "T" vendors. I've done wood working all my life as a carpenter and as a finish carpenter. I can read, draw, and engineer prints as well as design and scratch build about anything. The wood frame on my car was too far gone to use as a pattern and pieces were missing, so I purchased a kit. I spent countless hours making this stuff go together, they do not provide any prints or instructions when you get a kit. Maybe my standards are different then the folks who mass produce this stuff. The other day a good friend and retired master carpenter stopped in for a visit. I took him to my shop for the sole purpose of getting his guidance and thoughts on some of the woodwork. I'm sorry to say I can't put in print his thoughts about the quality of the wood kit. He did however make several suggestions that were helpful. Jim, I have the skill It's just that I'm trying to make a steak dinner from turnips and was wondering if anyone else had the recepie.
I have used a wood kit for my 1919 Roadster and purchased a few pieces for my 1924 Coupe. I built the Roadster many years ago and remember that things went together pretty well. HOWEVER I did find out by trial and era that all original T sheet metal, doors, etc is NOT ALL THE SAME. AS far as the Coupe is concerned I purchased an original trunk lid to replace my shot lid and after trying to put in the new wood, I found that the original lid that I had bought at a meet was not square! It was 3/8" off. I finally found another and it was only 1/4" off!?
The T Metal I have had and continue to collect and use for another upcoming project is about the same way.
Upon reading some T historical data and checking out some pics of cars in mass producing Model T's ther was a little give here and there as far as the bodies are concerned.
I would say that the wood kits that are made today were copied from one original car and produced that way. Its a safe bet that a person will have to do a little refitting here and there for the best fit up. It just wont just drop in.
I dont think you can say its all the kit makers fault. Its kind of like the saying that all Model T's were black and those of us who drive and restore them know thats not always true.
Model T's are not all "exactly" the same. And that includes sheet metal.
Dennis, We, on this Forum value our vendors and their dedication to our hobby and the satisfaction of our Model T needs. By the same token, they value us and our goodwill in that they don't want to sell a product that casts doubt on their good name, the workmanship of their products and services they provide, so it behooves them to keep us happy, since without us, they have no business.
If you are sure that the quality of the kit lies in the poor workmanship of the pieces, it might help for you to tell us where you purchased the kit. I doubt if there is a Model T vendor that does not read the Forum and if he saw his name here, it not only would help those who are considering purchasing a wooden body kit but, might also help the vendor to see he has a problem with the products provided by one of his suppliers. The squeeky wheel gets the oil. Jm Patrick
I bought a wood kit years ago for a '25 touring. The car had good wood up front, but was missing the rear seat and its part of the main sill.
I figured that replacing the sill would require taking the front seat structure down, so I did.
But.....I also ordered a set of 'Wood Plans' that are still available today. That set of plans really helped me in the rewooding. I used the wood kit, and modified those pieces that didn't work by following the cutouts of the large plan sheets. I recall the door pillar curves in the wood kit were off, the main sill was fine, and the rear door wood was off too, the curves weren't quite right, but the wood plans made it ok. And, I'm not a wood worker.
So, my advise, get a set of Wood Plans from Leon Parker, he is on this forum.
another source for plans and kits: www.fordwood.com
Fordwood.com, (the Cubel's) is where we ordered the wood kit for our 24 Runabout from about 5 years ago. I had no original wood except the door. It was interesting to say the least trying to figure out where everything goes and I still don't have all of it assembled. The quality of it was very good but I found I had to tweak it around some to get it all to fit.
The only cars that I have re-wooded, have been non-standard bodies(i.e. Blacksmith built pick-up, Home-built race car, two after market boat-tails). I had to design the wood that was missing to fit into the body, but most of it was flat and easy to do.
However, people that I have talked to gave good advice (if ever I were to do a "standard body"). Assemble the wood without much concern for the sheet metal. (I would check a little bit to make sure something wasn't way off). MAKE SURE the frame is straight and square and fits properly on your straight frame. (Perhaps build wood frame on car frame) Add sheet metal from top of body down, fitting top edges first. Modify the sheet metal at the bottom and edges to fit the wood.
The doors will have to be assembled and glued within the body to square them to match, allowing for sheet metal thickness, nails etc. Then, again, modify your door sheet metal to fit the wood, not the other way around.
Makes sense to me. And one of the boat-tails did require some re-fitting of the metal.
To anyone trying to fit wood to their metal. Ford had four or five venders making bodies for the Model T's. Even with the plans you have to fit the wood to your metal. The plans are very close and you may have to move a part some. You lay your pillars in your sheet metal to get the correct measurements for your door openings and then transfer the measurement to the sills. With the plans I sell I send pictures to show the wood construction. Some people have had very good luck with the wood kits. They may have had sheet metal that fit for them. I have had to do reshaping on the repro metal to get it to work also. Leon