Acquired this body from a forum member. It was made by someone else for a Model T but saved me a ton of money as it replicates my 1917 Maxwell's body very closely. A non car person saw it yesterday and asked if I used a modern bookcase for the body, That was the final straw! I'm getting rid of the 5 boxes routed into each side that scream reproduction as I've never seen an original with this design. I'm no woodworker but would ask those that are what do you think of the idea of filling the 1/2 inch wide by 1/8 inch deep groves with epoxy mixed with wood flour? I plan to paint the body olive drab to replicate a WWI vehicle so a show car finish is not my goal. I just want it to look more period correct.
Geez, I may be nuts but I kind of like it. I suppose filler is possible but how about some of this 1/8" thick veneer panels they sell glued over the existing wood? Comes in various woods and would cover the existing panels totally. I think it comes in 4' X 8' sheets.
I agree with Charlie B., just panel over the whole side.
BTW, why do you have 2 batteries?
LOL Howard - I can see how that would make you need to do something to fix it (lol can also see why someone else would ask that question). The picture really makes it appear like those are not routed grooves but positive trim pieces sticking above the flat surface of the side.
There are probably plenty of folks who know better than me but I would think that any kind of wood filler would work just fine. Especially since you are just going to paint over it. Fill it in and then sand it smooth.
I also vote for Charlie's idea to cover it with new wood instead of using filler. I suspect over time, since the grooves are 1/2" X 1/8", you would have trouble with the filler slowly being lost due to flex in the panel. Filler would work OK in a smaller application, but the wide shallow application in this case would worry me.
Just my $.02 worth....
Yes, panel it, filler will definitely flex out.
Jerry, It has two batteries because the Maxwell is a 6/12 system. It originally had a large 1 piece battery that had 4 cables. It starts on both batteries as 12 volts and then switches to a 6 volt system and charges each battery individually.
I would like to see more pixs of the org body it don't look that bad to me. charley
Howard, Not to add insult to injury but my first impression was "early 70's waterbed!"
I would definitely "reskin" the sides. If this were my project I would consider using hardboard (Masonite) or even 22 gauge sheet steel for a smooth paint base. I, personally would shy away from thin plywood as the surface prep for paint would then require more filling and priming than I would want to do. I wish we were neighbors, cause I'd be over there helping.
This looks like a fun project and I'm sure you will end up with a very beautiful "show piece" when finished! Please keep us up to date with photo's as your project progresses.
I would probably do something totally nuts like have an artist paint historical scenes with a maxwell in each of the panels... But I am a little touched anyway.
Like this one of Jack Benny
The original body looked good but was full of dry rot and missing the floor, the seat and seating area. The original sub frame is under the new body. As originally built it had a Model T gas tank in the rear with a Stewart Vacuum tank and a trapdoor bed board to fill the tank. I wasn't wild about that and went back to Maxwell's original design of a cowl tank with gravity feed. I plan on using all the original hand forged hardware on the new body.
I'd like to end up with something similar to this Maxwell pictured in a factory magazine of 1916.
Pretty neat stuff Howard. I always enjoy the pictures of your Maxwell.
I'd find the missing running board/fenders etc. and research for more information & pictures of the ambulance. Discard the original wood box and replicate the ambulance box and bows as close as possible. Just my 2 cents.
I've tried to find information on that ambulance for years. The Red Cross has nothing, Jamestown Historical Society has nothing. I doubt that it was actually used as an ambulance as Maxwell rated the load capacity at 750 lbs and once you get that big wide body on the Maxwell there isn't much payload left. I suspect it was actually relegated to light hauling once overseas. When I tore this truck down it had been overloaded and has 3 bends and a bow in the frame. Maxwell called it a "Light Delivery" for a reason!
Howard: There is a product called "Quick Poly" It is a 2 part liquid that is used to restore bad wood. It soaks deep into dry rotted wood and is a very thin liquid. You have a few minutes before it "kicks" and hardens almost instantly. It will turn your dry rot to almost a hard fiberglass like piece. It will be very strong and accept paint very well. If you are planning on replacing the lower grooved body sometime in the near future (less than 10 years) I would just use Bondo to fill the grooves. Anything you use to fill the grooves will require several coats of primer to make the surface smooth. This is my opinion for what it is worth. I would use quick poly to restore your original wood, and then build a top to replicate what you want as to an early ambulance. That way you still have your original car and also the ambulance, just my opinion. Nice car , have fun with it ...
Turn that box into a bookcase and just start from scratch on a new box. All the cuts are straight and you have all of the unique hardware you'll need.
the floor may be gone but where is the bad wood??? worth a lot more with org wood if possible. charley
Donnie: That stuff is called Git-Rot in boating parlance. It is NOT U-V stable (needs paint or varnish to protect it) and also being an epoxy based mix, poly styrene based (bondo) fillers wont stick to it. Weird but you can fill spots in bondo with it but not the opposite. Keep the book case look.
1. Either re-cover with 1/2 CDX plywood (sanded smooth on both sides).
2. Replace all together with clear pine boards (as original)
3. Paint black with gold (gilded) inlays.
Man, the hot air is really blowing up here today!
Trooper Herm (remember Trooper Thorn???)
I would start over. Find some old weathered wood and just rebuild it, using the old boards as a pattern, especially if you are going to keep the body looking like it does. I think anything else will stand out as "too new"...even paint over filler.
I'm sensing you guys think I ruined a perfectly good body. I'd have liked nothing more than to have saved this but it would have been a total waste of time and money. The body is made out of poplar, I guess for light weight. Almost every fastener remained in the sub frame, I just grabbed the sides and pulled and the fasteners pulled right through the pulpy rotten wood. Front side looked good, backside almost non-existant, could poke your finger right through it. Had I not cared to save this and learn it's construction secrets I could have literally kicked the entire body off the frame in about 5 minutes. After I got it home it amazed me I didn't loose anything on I95 from Maryland to Georgia. I think the only reason it held together was the fact that I had put new temporary plywood doors on, a plywood floor and a plywood bulkhead and screwed it altogether with deck screws so I could fill it all up with spare motor, wheels and misc. parts. Then it was all strapped together on the trailer with aircraft cargo straps. Till I started disassembly in Georgia I didn't realize how lucky I was to have a father who always taught me go the extra mile in anything I did. It may have been overkill but I doubt if I'd be working with much if I'd just thrown it on the trailer and gone.
Here are a couple of Maxwell employees who can help you with your repair work...
I'm glad you saved all the hardware.
Cool project. I like it . Please keep us up to date with your progress.
: ^ )
Thanks Keith, I have to ask where did you get that photo? I have that exact picture on a period postcard I purchased on eBay. Collectors tell me some of these old postcards are actually real photos of local interest sold to small markets. I can't prove it but I believe the person on the left is Eddie Rickenbacker who drove for Maxwell's racing team. This other picture shows a young Eddie on the Mason racing team.
Howard -- The best fix would be to replace the two routed boards with new ones. After all, it's only two boards. And poplar would be a great choice for the material.
Maybe an easier fix would be to fill the routed areas. I'd use Bondo, as Donnie suggested. It'll work great for that. It'll also require a few primer coats to get the Bondo and wood looking the same for the paint topcoat. (It might be easier just to replace the two boards.)
Howard, I don't know of any wood filling product that will stand the vicissitudes of heat and moisture likely to be encountered on an open body exposed to the weather. I'm with Mike. Just replace whatever is needed on the original.
I love that hand forged ironwork and the twisted link chain on the fixtures. Fittings like that are like gold. The T hinges look a bit out of place next to that hand forged stuff. Might they be later replacements?
Allan from down under.
Allan, I agree about the hinges looking out of place and I have wrestled with whether or not to replace them but finally I just made the decision that since I'm 100% sure they are original it must mean that that was what was available without much expense and that is what they used so if it was good enough for them who am I to change it now.
I harvest the photo off the interweb.
Mine has lines I routed. Haven't gotten any comments about bookcases. Maybe yours will look different once painted.
I don't know...on a T it kind of looks dressed out all varnished up ...maybe it was the light?
I knew I saw that body somewhere else!
George, I know what you mean and I agree on a fully restored car it looks great. I'm trying to save an unrestored truck with a military look and that side detail is totally out of place. I probably should have let someone buy the body who was going for the show car look but it so fit my original design and saved me a ton of money so I couldn't resist it.
Understood that you are looking for the straight-side slab look.
What you say about epoxy with a wood flour does exist commercially.
1-The most well known is something from Abatron. http://www.abatron.com/buildingandrestorationproducts/woodrestorationmaintenance /woodepox.html
2-There is also a Min-Wax product that I have used extensively to rebuild window sills in old sash windows. It is called...High Performance Wood Filler. With the Min-wax one, cut the dry time in half/sand as soon as you can or you'll be days on it...it gets that strong. Do it right, it gets seamless.
3-Sort of off the wall thought, but if the edge moldings are surface mounted, jimmy them off and then 'clad' the side walls with a thin piece of MDO (Exterior Sign Board) I think it comes in 3/8 and maybe less? MDO of course would probably give you the greatest paint surface possible.
Thanks George, I'm a little afraid of touching the edge mouldings as I have no idea how the are fastened on. There are some type of threaded studs visible on the inside but nothing on the outside so I fear prying them off will damage or destroy them so I decided the path off least resistance is just fill the routed designs in as it will involve the least work. I already have the epoxy, just need to decide what to mix it with.
Howard, I have used formica to cover the ugly grain on plywood that was supposed to be solid but had those football shape patches in the wood. The formica is still intact after 25 years and several coats of paint. It gives a very smooth surface and is hard to dent, (although when painted it can be scraped like any other wood surface).