Depot Hacks-Construction and Body Style

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2005: Depot Hacks-Construction and Body Style
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Willis Andersen, Jr. on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 07:59 pm:

For you depot hack fellows out there, some questions: In mounting the side panels, is it ok to glue them into their rails/stiles, or has anyone tried having the panels float (like in frame and panel doors). I ask this question as I am wondering what the stress/twisting does to the panels after many driving miles. Next: In mounting the hack body to the T chassis has anyone inserted narrow rubber or leather washers between the wood and metal to reduce squeaking? Finally: Anyone heard of a "Severinson" style body that had rounded sides where the wood meets the floor panels? Any pics available? I'm told these style hack bodies are very high in finished height. Thanks.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Jeandrevin on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 09:36 pm:

Willis,
I am pretty new to T's, but and "old timer" at cabinet making and furniture building. The raised panel design is a MUST for that style construction. By that I mean, the panels MUST float freely. It would be even more important in a Depot Hack than in doors and furniture. If the panels cannot "flex" and move and expand with moisture, and contract freely as they dry out, the will surly split. The styles and rails are the structural strength. That is why they are mortised. The panels are srictly decorative and cosmetic. My 2 cents.

Tim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Syverson on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 09:57 pm:

Willis
My father and then I used to build depot hack bodies.The "Severinson" style body you refer to is probably ours--Syverson.The sides rounded in at the front to meet the dashboard.The total height of the body when on the car was about 82 1/2 inches,so you could get it into a normal ht. garage. Ray Syverson


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Elkins on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 06:47 am:

Tim's right...glue in the styles and rails spells big trouble. I build cabinets too (yet another hobby more than anything), and depot hacks are nothing but big cabinets:-)

Dang it Tim, I wish you'd move south. I need a neighbor like you!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Jeandrevin on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 07:08 am:

lol Ray,
Yep, you and I would really hit it off. One more winter like this one here in Ohio and I might just do that! Cold beverage....model T's and warm nights in the shop....It just don't get no better than that!

Tim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warren Mortensen on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 08:31 am:

As far as using leather or rubber washers, there's no harm in it but all those wood joints tend to squeek after a bit of use. This was typical of "woodies" in later years also. It's just part of owning one.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Elkins on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 05:08 pm:

Like Warren said, the wood is going to creak and groan, just like a wooden boat. This is common, and really a necessary (evil to some) characteristic of wooden construction. Even our houses creak and squeak. If the wood isn't allowed to flex it will fail over time. Flexing wood makes noise when it is attached to other pieces of flexing wood. Many wooden boat owners enjoy the sound as it is unique to the construction. I would think that a hack owner would be the same? Most of us like the sounds our T's make, even though your typical soccer mom would think it obnoxious over her sculted leather-clad minivan.

Tim, I'll save ya a chair!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Syverson on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 09:44 pm:

Here's something interesting concerning the gluing of the side panels to the stiles and rails.First let me say that I also make cabinets and I know what happens when wood expands or contracts due to moisture content and that is why raised panels float. When my father was making the depot hack bodies,the ones with the side panels that were three panels high,they were made of three mahogany boards 3/8 in. thick edge glued togetherwith a chamfer at the joint ,and over this on the outside was glued the white ash framework. All glued together. You would think this construction would break apart or split.(maybe some did but I never heard of it) I have a pair of old side panels a guy gave me after his hack was wrecked in an accident, and this body was made in 1968. These panels don't show any sign of splitting or bulging or what you might expect,they hadn't moved a bit.
Later on mahogany plywood was used instead of the solid for the panels and by the time I began making them this was what was used.
If kitchen cabinets were made like this they would more likely break apart or split because of the big swing in moisture content during the different seasons.A wood car out in the garage wouldn't suffer the same, probably seeing a moisture content change of 4% during a year(I think this is close).This would make a 13 in. high panel grow 1/8 in.if it started out on the dry side. Maybe a glued up framework over 3/8 thick mahogany can take this.All I can say is that the 40 year old side panels are still in excellent shape. Ray


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George House on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 10:27 pm:

Willis,
Let me throw in my 2 cts. worth. I always put rubber 'washers' between the 6 body mounting brackets for the reason you suggest. I even use a Model A radiator mounting pad (harder rubber) under each rear motor mount and it greatly reduces vibrations. I have a depot hack reproduced in the early 80s from Ft. Collins Co. Its also "very high in finished height" as you say because its a pefect reproduction of an original and they didn't have the short garage doors we do now. They mostly used barn door-type of verticle door pairs on the residential garages of the teens and twenties and were taller.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Elkins on Thursday, February 21, 2008 - 06:32 am:

Ray, where are you?!! Are you sure you didn't get it backwards?:-) Are you talking moisture absorbed from the air, not considering condensation from humid air against cold wood? The season changes aren't near as hard on cabinets in the house as they are on cabinets or bodies without climate-control.

The humidity here can go from 30% today with 25 degrees to 60 degrees tomorrow and 90%. 4% change in the moisture in wood happens as soon as the temp comes up enough for everything to start sweating when the humidity starts up. When it can't soak it up, it starts dripping onto the floor. The humidity don't swing that wildly in the house, and the temperature change is never that drastic to cause condensation. It rains from anything in my shop that condensation can form on on a warm day after a cold night. Even the seats in my cars get wet and water runs down into the bodies from the glass.

What I mean is (and I'm not trying to argue with you at all) some parts of the country are like what you describe maybe, but the Mississippi Valley jungles are murder on wood construction if it's not climate-controlled, especially in the spring and fall. I've joined a lot of red oak countertops and such, and they don't split, but if they were left out in a garage or shed they'd rip themselves apart. You seem very knowledgeable with cabinetry, so help me out...what am I missing? :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Elkins on Thursday, February 21, 2008 - 06:40 am:

Ray, don't get me wrong, I'm trying to pick your brain, not butt mine against yours. I should add that I haven't done anything with mahogany except refinish a piano once. Is it less prone to absorbing moisture than say oak or hickory, or just swell less with comparable amounts of moisture? It sounds like your father may have known something that has been lost to time, using the ash strips with the mahogany?

Hey, I'm all ears when it comes to learning something new! :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Jeandrevin on Thursday, February 21, 2008 - 08:26 am:

Ray S.
I don't mean this to argumentative or disrespectful at all. You should be proud of your father's history and glad you inherited the trade. But something bothers me about your statement above. You said:

"If kitchen cabinets were made like this they would more likely break apart or split because of the big swing in moisture content during the different seasons.A wood car out in the garage wouldn't suffer the same, probably seeing a moisture content change of 4% during a year"

I would agree with that for a car if you are never going to take it out of the garage, but I have never driven my kitchen cabinets down the road in the pouring rain either. I also have never twisted my kitchen cabinets over a windy road, or shifted them from 30mph to 0mph when a deer ran out in front of them. I stand by my statement that the wood needs to be able to move. The use of plywood definetely lessons the effects of moisture, both in swelling and in splitting. But if a guy is going to use good old solid lumber.....it needs to move!

Just another couple of cents worth of my thoughts.

Tim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Jeandrevin on Thursday, February 21, 2008 - 08:44 am:

Years ago, I apprenticed under a woodwrite in Vermont. He tought me to make Windsor chairs, which I did for a living for 10 years. Windsor chairs are made from green, unseasoned wood. The tennons are dried in hot sand, and set into holes drilled in green lumber. The green wood, then shrinks around the dried tennon and the joints gets tighter and tighter with age. In the process of learning this 300 year old art, I learned about the grain in different woods. I also was tought how to carve a wooden bowl and treenware from green logs. Sellection of lumber and grain is also critical. Good strait grain will not split as it dries. It is incredible how much information has been lost over the years previously known by true craftsmen. "Secrets of the trade". Furniture made several hundred years ago still stands proud, made long before garilla glue existed. That is true because of the jointery and craftsmanship used in its construction. Chairs, for example, with loose rungs and legs were made in factories with kiln dried lumber. Just a fast take-off of a truly "crafted" chair. It sadens me these skills will someday be gone forever. Mostly because they are so labor intensive. My chairs sold for over $800.00 each. But, each one took 40 to 50 hours to produce, so I wasn't getting rich. There are a limited number of people who can either afford, or appreciate that kind of quality to spend that kind of money.

Ok....off the soap box....lol

Tim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck on Thursday, February 21, 2008 - 09:31 am:

Let's see. I live in Louisiana, well-known for its humidity. My speedster is parked in my climate-uncontrolled (for the most part) garage. My speedster's stake bed is made out of red oak (from Lowe's!) and is glued together with Titebond II and also screwed together with Deck-Mate coated deck screws.

It doesn't creak at all, so what did I do wrong?

Seth


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Jeandrevin on Thursday, February 21, 2008 - 09:53 am:

Seth,
lol....you aren't campairing apples to apples here.

1.A stake bed....4 feet long with 2 rails down the side. Maybe 40 board feet of lumber including the floor. Weighing maybe 200 lbs.

2. A Depot-hack body..... Vertical sides with rails and stiles, raised panals, a floor, and rear doors. 6 foot tall sides swaying side to side with the slope of the road, weighing maybe 800 to 1000 lbs. Not exactly the same thing.

Tim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck on Thursday, February 21, 2008 - 10:01 am:

Tim,

Weighing maybe 60 pounds - if it was going to weigh 200 pounds I would have never built it.

My frame twists like all T's do when driving over irregular surfaces (plenty of those around here), though obviously not nearly as much as it would if it was a depot hack full of occupants.

Maybe it's those balloon tires that allow me to run 26 psig without fear of the tires coming off the rims.

Seth


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Syverson on Thursday, February 21, 2008 - 11:00 am:

Ray E..Its possible I may have misinterpreted what I read about the moisture content swing outside the house. Inside a house the wood can dry out quite a bit during the winter,down to 6 or 7%,and get up to 13 or so in the summer if air conditioning is not on all the time.Maybe out in the garage its not such a radical difference.
When you get a wood floor put in your house it needs to be stacked inside for awhile before it is layed down,so it does its swelling or shrinking first.If you are making a depot hack body you also want the wood to start out with a moisture content closer to what its going to have for the rest of its life.
When I look again at these old depot hack side panels I see abit of thought went into them.As I said they are three boards edge glued together,3/8 thick, all 4 1/2 wide. on the interior side a v-groove was cut afterwards at the glue seams.This made it easier to clean up the glue joints and also looked nice.It also provided a place for the wood to split if it had to.The exterior of this joint was covered by the thin horizontal rails of the outer framework.The glue joint was not centered behind these 3/4 wide rails but was about 3/16 up from the bottom edge,and this horizontal stile was glued only to the upper mahogany panel board.So if the panel were to split it would probably split at the v-groove and wouldn't be so noticable, and it wouldn't be seen on the outside because it was behind the rail.
Sorry if I ramble on.I live in northern Illinios and that old side panel is from here also. If there there is a huge swing inthe moisture content of these side panels then I am just as interested as anyone in knowing why they hold up so well. Ray


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