What type of wood to use?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2014: What type of wood to use?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chuck Godfrey on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 01:39 pm:

in the next month or so I will start taking her apart and start the restore. the back of the cab had been replace some time back with some scrap wood that had been painted. if you where going to replace all the wood. what type would be good to use? I found some L brackets someone had used on the doors I am sure they where not used when the cab was built years ago. the truck started up and runs ok with weak coils and old spark plugs, it has no starter, which is fine, not sure if the mag works or not, it will need new bands in the trans. looking forward to getting it done.1919


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris from Long Beach & Big Bear on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 01:55 pm:

Jim Honadell of the Long Beach Model T Club gave us a lesson in replacing wood. He took apart a 1924 Sedan and found Douglas fir as the factory wood used.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tyrone Thomas - Topeka KS on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 01:59 pm:

I would one, use an oak lumber. some say red oak is not good for outdoors but once sealed I do not see the difference between red and white. I would use either an outdoor plywood or a hardwood plywood. Either must be sealed. As far as hardwoods, I am using poplar in a speedster as body frame in low stress area's but it does not take sealers or paint well.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 01:59 pm:

If any of the old wood is good, I'd keep as much of it as possible. You have an aftermarket body because Ford didn't supply wooden ones, so there's no "official" Ford wood. I'd take a piece of it to a hardwood dealer for identification and buy new wood of the same kind to match it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jack Daron - Brownsburg IN on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 02:22 pm:

Many of the old bodies were made from Gum,or Maple. Oak is much to heavy and shatters to easily.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth from NC on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 02:24 pm:

The whole thing should be hickory! That way it matches the spokes! =P


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jack Daron - Brownsburg IN on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 02:26 pm:

Hickory will knock the set right out of a carbide blade.Very difficult to cut and work with.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth from NC on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 02:36 pm:

LOL Jack if somebody replicated that wood body out of Hickory it would probably weigh over 400 lbs. Not to mention how many saw blades and drill bits it would take.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jeff V on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 02:39 pm:

Well, if you go with maple, try and find northern maple. Tighter grain. This would be more in keeping with what was used at the time. Wood used today is more likely to have a looser grain (faster growing southern trees and younger trees) rather than old growth that is tighter and harder.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fred Schrope - Upland, IN on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 04:01 pm:

I'd just patch it up and drive it the way is is. They're only original once.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey, N. California on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 04:05 pm:

While oak is very pretty, it has a lot of problems as a body wood. It likes to split, it's an open-grained wood, and doesn't weather well.
What kind of wood I would recommend depends on where you live; out here in Northern California, the selections of hardwoods is limited. I am using Poplar on my body, and may use it for the wood pickup bed, as it is a tight-grained wood, I can buy it in the sizes needed, and takes paint pretty well (sorry to say, but most of the wood was originally painted!). It can be stained to look like something else, and looks pretty good even!
Just my ideas.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jack Daron - Brownsburg IN on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 04:19 pm:

David,I like Popular myself. I have cut several trees off the property and dried them for my body wood uses. I really prefer Sycamore,as it is light,tight grained and has almost no acid . A screw into it will last 100 years and not rust. Oak would completely disolve a screw in far less time. Trouble is finding it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Eagle Ida Fls on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 04:29 pm:

I have used a lot of oak but I like Ash and Poplar now.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chuck Godfrey on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 04:31 pm:

I live in Knoxville Tn. I have looked at the body a little closer. it looks as if everything was cut in a manner to allow the joints to meet and be screwed together for strength. it also looks like the cab was screwed to the wood rails that run along the frame. I guess black was the color of choice back in 1919 for the painting of the cab. I would think the bed was left natural.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Spaziano, Bellflower, CA. on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 04:34 pm:

The most common species of wood used in automobile body construction that I have found was ash.

It has a fine grain similar to poplar however, it is much more solid and dense. Ash is truly a hardwood where poplar is rather light.

Oak, whether it be red or white, tends to twist and warp with exposure to moisture. It really isn't suitable, in my opinion, for auto body construction. It is also too heavy and brittle as Jack Darron has mentioned above.

About ten years ago, I installed an upholstery kit and top on a '25 Touring for a man that had re-wooded the car himself. He used only maple. The wood was so hard that I couldn't use my commercial Senco staple gun because even at full air pressure from the compressor, the stapler wouldn't set the staples completely.

I resorted to using upholstery tacks. I couldn't use my upholsterer's tack hammer because I couldn't get enough force from it. The wood was so hard, I had to use a small claw hammer.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Phillips on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 05:12 pm:

Fred Schrope got it right
just patch it up and drive it the way is is. They're only original once.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dale Kemmerer on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 05:25 pm:

Use ash for the frame work especially, popular for skin


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jared Buckert on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 05:29 pm:

I agree with running it as is, but if you want to restore it, I'd build a whole new cab, using this one as a pattern. That way you can still drive it while you're building a new cab.

Ash is very common in automobile bodies, due to the strength to weight ratio. If this body was built by a professional body manufacturer, they might have used ash. Have to strip some paint in an inconspicuous spot and identify it to be sure.

Hickory would match the spokes, if you want a natural body and natural wheels. You could do a hickory veneer over some other wood, then use some sort of varnish to seal everything.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Nicholas Lingg - Tarboro, NC on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 05:32 pm:

Whatever you use ( I let Red Oak and Long Leaf Southern Yellow Pine) But it doesn't matter what wood you use. Just make sure it's true quarter sawn. Quarter sawn Poplar is just as good looking as Quarter White Oak.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Danuser on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 06:11 pm:

Hopefully you have the windshields they should open on top, if you are missing the wood cab hinges to open it with, I have NOS ones and reprod ones in stock


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chuck Godfrey on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 06:18 pm:

windshield frames are there. no glass tho. it has a after market gas pedal on it and the doors are suicide doors and the bottom section of the doors are a thin metal. a 2 piece windshield and from what I can tell there is a door glass and back side glass each side and a rear glass.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 06:38 pm:

Ash is the ideal wood to use I think. Its fairly easy to work with, wont easily split and not brittle like Oak. For body work its ideal. MHO

But the body on your TT truck doesn't look that bad from the pic.
If its still pretty solid and just needs a touch up here and there clean it up and get it going with new tires and good wheels and drive like it is for a while. Then if you want to make it look better then fix it up.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chuck Godfrey on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 06:52 pm:

The door sag bad and the body is really loose on the frame some of the lower wood is split and busted out. when I got it running and the short drive in the yard the body was all over the place. had to remove floorboards just to be able to use the pedals from the body moving front and back so much. I do need some new rear wheels these look to be split rims like what use to be on the big trucks. full of rust holes around the rims.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By ED THIBODEAU on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 07:38 pm:

The cab looks to be identical to the one on my 23 dumptruck. Which has had some of the wood replaced. The original wood is white oak, and the outer door skin and the open panel beneath the qtr. windows is 18 ga. sht metal. The window sills are hinged so you can open them them and lower or raise the windows. Your door handles are the same as mine. the back wood has been replaced and the back window is a little smaller than yours.
the wind shield is two piece with the lower part fixed and about 6" tall


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By mike_black on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 08:31 pm:

Chuck,
If you're going to "patch", you're probably going to paint, so, I'd use what is available. When I did my 15, I had to make a few wood pieces--I used white oak--because I had a large stack of it in my shed. When I did my 25 TT, I used #1 cypress--because there was a sawmill 20 miles from me that only sawed cypress. I'd bet if the truck was owned new by a business, whatever bed and sideplanks were used were probably painted like the cab. TT's were kind of expensive when new, so, I'd bet poor farmers couldn't afford a new one, and big farmers would have wanted them to look nice and painted them. My guess is the "natural look" (unpainted) didn't happen until the first bed was replaced by the "typical" farmer who picked up the truck for cheap and tried to get through the depression as best he could. You can wait on the bed until last--you may run across an oil tank, wrecker, grain body, beer truck, or something you've not yet even thought of yet.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Landry, Hudson, NH on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 08:54 pm:

Red oak has open cell structure and will absorb water from the end grain. White oak will not. You can actually (slowly) suck air through the end of a small piece of red oak, but not white.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 09:45 pm:

Ash.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chuck Godfrey on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 09:45 pm:

WOW!!!!! all kinds of ideals and wood choices. Ok if I just patch her up and give her a coat of paint what about use L brackets and such to give her some strength back in the Cab? Ed Thibodeau I would like to see a pic if you have one.
here is one I did a few years ago


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Joseph Geisler on Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 12:07 am:

We could all argue this thing all day. We'd all be wrong or we'd all be right. Popular is too soft but it WAS used in many of the Ford bodies. So was red oak straight grained. Ash was used too. Some bodies were sealed back in the day I have even seen creosote used. In the old bodies I have torn the old wood out of. I have never seen any Fir, pine, or any of the softwoods. But that is NOT to say for sure that they were never used. There were many other woods used. Read some of the old books that are out there if you are going to get really involved in this. You can get them from the Library of Congress or the Meseum of Science and Industry. I believe that it depended upon the firm doing the bodies also what was available locally. Ash works great but you'll need to buy several band saw blades before you start doing this work.
Suggestion: Do a 3 view drawing of your part from square stock first trace it onto the wood and then turn the blank sideways 90 degrees and then lay out the part again. as seen from a distance straight line of sight. Saw from the one side first and try to keep as much of the scraps as you can and then tape them all back together again. Duct tape works good for this. Then turn your piece 90 degrees and then cut that different profile out and then when you unwrap it all there is your piece! You will also need a really good professional set of chisels and learn how to sharpen them. There are lots more secrets to learn before attempting to do your own work. I have made some pieces 3 times before getting it right. Todays CNC wood shops have put the work I did into the history books. I last did a couple of MGTD's and when we purchased some pieces that I had not found in the rotted wood still present in the old bodies to copy... we got these perfect parts, from England,... cnc milled out. I could not do that and in the amount of time it was done in. WOW!
When I started learning and I was also teaching Industrial Arts. I had a lot to learn of course, but the wood suggested then was red straight grained oak, second growth hickory (if you could find it!), white oak but was harder to work and got too hard for nails. The red oak was heck too to nail into to attach the metal skins. I use to use a finishing nail with the head cut off in a drill motor and predrill the holes just a wee bit undersized and then press in the nails (tacks). Mel and I use to talk about this a long time ago. I still have several pieces of correspondence from us then. All this DOES NOT mean I am any type of an expert!!! It is just how we did it then. Popular was used in some of the body wood. Maple was not. I am sure though someone will disagree and I want to hear that information and reasoning as well. There are a LOT more brains out there searching today for information of how things were done. That is what makes this forum really neat. I'll bet Hap or someone else will write the next COMPLETE book on the REAL model T Ford (from the information and the events you guys are making right now), here on this Forum. It was only from the old timers who maybe asked when they were really old (then) and they told us about how it was back then if they remembered.
Thank you.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Julian Bankston on Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 08:40 am:

Chuck
Here in East Tennessee poplar will not stand up to the weather for very long. I just completed building a depot hack body using sassafras and am very happy with it. I have also used sassafras for trailer beds and it holds up very well. It looks somewhat like oak but is much lighter and makes the shop smell good while working it. It is somewhat hard to find but I have my own sawmill and was lucky to find some suitable logs.
Julian
Rugby, Tennessee


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By keith g barrier on Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 10:23 am:

I think, use whatever you want especially if the price is right and it is available. After all I don't think any of us are going to leave our cars in the weather all the time. KGB


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Henry Petrino in Modesto, CA on Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 10:45 am:

Chuck,

Your truck looks like I imagine my truck looked before the top of the cab was removed to make an orchard truck out of it. I believe the cab has poplar and douglas fir, but am not positive. The bed is all solid oak and weighs a ton. It took my son and 3 of his football player buddies to lift it off and then later put it back.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By mike_black on Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 09:10 pm:

Keith hit it! We don't use our cars like they were used in their day. When I decided to do my TT in cypress, an old man friend of mine told me it was too soft for a truck bed and sideplanks. I told him I didn't plan to haul a lot of gravel in it. I've been very pleased with it for almost 15 years now.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey, N. California on Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 10:27 pm:

I agree that Poplar is softer than other woods, but as I said, out here in Califunya, the selection is limited. As to hardwood/softwood, did you know that cork is defined as a hardwood??
I'd use ash if I could get any good ash here--often what is foisted off as Ash is actually white oak. I used to do a lot of work in wooden framed car bodies, and Ash was quite common, but I've seen Model As with fir in them, especially for the floor frame wood.Where I saw oak (closed car top bows usually) it was badly weathered compared to the other woods in the same car.
And yes, in the day, most all the beds were painted-back then clear-finished oak furniture was considered commercial, cheap furniture! Tastes do change!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George Clipner-Los Angeles on Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 11:09 pm:

I'm with Steve, I'd try to keep as much of the old wood as poss. Old wood can be freshened up with stripping and some thinned BLO.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rick Goelz-Knoxville,TN on Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 01:21 pm:

Chuck, there is a company down in Seymour in the old Camel tent buildings that has every kind of wood, i know they have ash because we picked up several pieces for something, can't remember for what.

Rick


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