Hi all. I was wondering how Henry made the wood pieces in his car bodies. I was looking at a wood kit piece shown in an ad. The piece was curved and definitely cut out of board. The way the grains ran, all you'd have to do is lean on the car and the thing would break. If the piece had been steam bent, you could really abuse the piece and it would remain intact. So, how were Henry's original parts made?
Most of the structure for my mid 20's touring is cut not bent. The upholstery tack strips at the top of the body and top bows being the exceptions.
That's the way the wood is in my '14 also.
I would say to cut the curves out of good quality, kiln dried wood. If you can select wood in which the grain has the same curvature as the curve you are trying to create, all the better.
Steam bent wood is bent with heat and moisture (steam) to attain a bend and then clamped in that position and allowed to dry, however, if the steam bent piece gets wet, or moisture gets to it, it will start to unbend and try to attain its' former shape. That would be disastrous on a car body frame, if the steam bent pieces started to un-bend and straighten out. Jim Patrick
They did what suited high volume manufacturing.
Its easy to make repeatably usable wood parts from properly dried hardwood by sawing or other machining in tooling / fixtures made for the purpose.
The last thing they wanted was parts they had to fool with to make fit.
Not only are the ribs curved but the sides are cut on an angle because the body gradually gets wider toward the back. Come to think of it, there are very few straight pieces in the entire woodwork. I've cut wood for bodies before. I didn't find it to be too difficult until I started putting it all together. There is a lot of aggravation involved in getting everything to line up right. In fact, my dad was helping me and I recall him saying that, "...it was enough to make a preacher cuss."
That is why God invented thin wedges and glue!
What can I say, it works.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Several years back the Rolls Royce club published an article in their magazine showing how coach builders built RR and Bentley bodies. The Brits used the same techniques as Ford did well into the 1940's.
Two things stood out:
1. The wood workers used steel gauges to fit doors and windows to avoid door racking and perfect opening fit, then they used steel jigs to align the wood frames front to back top to bottom.
2. The metal men then fit the steel panels to the wood - not the wood to the panels.
I think the hardest part of rewooding a Model T is fitting the old steel parts to the new wood frame. Maybe nice new soft steel is the trick?
Thank you for your answers. Everyone, have a wonderful holiday season.
Jammin Jungle Jim (Behrens)
Check out a posting from August 2010 titled
New cutting process saves ford huge timber mill
Here it is: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/118802/153508.html?1280769462
Thanks another peice of the puzzle for me
With a little work most times you can tell whether its cut or bent.
Bent wood will have the grain parallel to the bend, cut wood will have the grain cut through at some part of the curve.
Depending on the piece, sometimes the grain is obvious through the paint , sometimes a little light sanding will reveal the grain.
BTW watchout for lead paint if you sand!