I do not want to bend the metal tabs on the bows in an attempt to remove the old wood. I wish I could just burn it out, but then I have to repaint all the top irons. This is for a two-man top from 1920.
What is the best way to get the old wood out?
You have to open the tabs up to remove old wood and install new ones. Once in awhile they do break,requiring repair. Good luck.
When you have the wood out you can anneal the tabs with the torch. You have to repaint OK, but there's less risk for breaking tabs when bending them down again
Around here, you just lay it on the ground and the termites will have it cleaned out in a couple of days.
And you let the carpenter ants build him some new ones too, right?
Believe it or not Dave, those tabs are pretty malleable, you just have to straighten them enough to work the old corners out. Once their out you can straighten carefully to get the new ones in (remember you have to steam bend the new ones).
I'm assuming from the information provided, you don't wish to save the old wood. You must anneal the tabs or they will break off. The old wood doesn't care because you are going to discard it anyhow. I would save a section of the wood however, just to make sure the new piece is the same, and be sure to get the length right too.
Also note, that there are two rivets on each end, which are semi tubular rivets. A good hardware store will have them, or maybe McMaster Carr. Langs has them too.
Dave spend the extra few cents on getting the aluminum tubular bow rivets from Snyders...they're easy to install with a hammer and a vise...hardware stores don't usually have them...they've got pop rivets, and steel rivets and sometimes you'll run across the aluminum tubular rivets, but only in 3/4 inch size...you need 1 1/8 x 3/16's.
Pop rivets would work, but they tend to tear holes in your bow drill after awhile and they leave an unsightly bulge where the head is.
And those tabs...I didn't anneal mine, I just bent them and bent them back after I installed the new ones. But I suppose it doesn't hurt to be cautious.
Just carefully pry up the steel tabs, unless they are rusted rotted, the Ford steel is tough and then will bend gently and fold back down over the new wood.
What kind of wood are you using? Frank Iacinno at Red Hook Restorations said I should just use 1/8 or 1/4 inch plywood. Your strips look more like ash or poplar.
Others - what do you mean by annealing and how is it done?
Dave,I have done a few top bows and I use Popular,but I laminate mine and form the bend on a jig I made. To anneal just heat the area up with a torch till it is almost red,and allow to cool.
Poplar strips from the big home improvement stores, were right width, just dog-ear the ends to insert, two strips made the right thickness. Added polyurethane wood glue between the strips (that stuff needs water to set) as the strips were steamed first for slight bending needed on the wife's Bar_B-Que grill side plate.