I have been watching the video's from Classtique and from Vince Iaccino. I had everything lined up perfect with the back three bows. Then I raised up the front bow to get everything lined up and the whole assembly slid backwards an inch or two. I was able to connect the leather straps from the front bow to the brackets on the windshield, but it appears that all that does is pull the front bow downward. It does not pull it forwards so that everything lines up straight.
Am I doing something wrong? The front bow sticks out about 2 inches in front of the windshield, and the dimensions all around appear to be correct.
The second and third bows(from front) should be straight up. You can put a thin tack strip to accomplish this.The back bow is set by measuring the overhang at rear.This easy with a plum bob. The front bow will overhang windshield .The many drawings posted on here should give you those.Good luck.
Dave; Jacks description is spot on.
You are correct; at this point the short front straps mostly pull down. Once everything is assembled and the webbing is in place from the front to the rear it works as an assembly.
The temporary tack strips are really important; you will not get everything to stay in line without them. I use some of the spring hand clamps to position them while getting them oriented. I also tie a heavy cord or string from the headlamp to the second bow, loop it around the bow, then take it to the third bow, loop it around, then take it to the rear bow and let it hang with a weight on it as a plumb. I do this on both sides.
Keep checking the rear overhang with the plumb as you install the top. It's easy to pull it out of alignment when you're installing the webbing.
When you go to put the top itself on you want to be out of direct sun, but in a warm location so the top remains pliable. Let it sit in the sun before you put it on.
Patience...... you can't have enough when working on a top. If you start getting frustrated hang it up for the day.
Gary, my trimmer taught me to use thin laths on all the bows, from front to rear in one piece. That way they all remain in the same relationship to each other. He has me fasten them on the underside of the bows so they can stay in place while the webbing and top fabric are fitted.
Others may do it differently.
Allan from down under.
Allan, Good point. When I did my top I used the burlap upholstery webbing. As I went from stage to stage, they slackened as something later was tightened. The laths should be more rigid and keep everything in the correct place.
Good point. When I did my top I used the burlap upholstery webbing. As I went from stage to stage, they slackened as something later was tightened. The laths should be more rigid and keep everything in the correct place.
I had tack strips holding the 2nd and 3rd bow straight up. The rear bow was just right, and the front bow was leaning on the cowl. I raised the front bow and the entire assembly moved backwards. I attached the front bow with the front tie downs , but that does not pull the entire assembly forward. It just tightens it up.
If the front bow and tie downs are in the correct location and the 2nd and 3rd bow are not vertical but lean backwards, what must you do to get the 2nd and 3rd bow to move forward and into a true vertical position?
I do not see anything on the classtique or Iaccino tapes that give me an answer. Thank you.
Dave; that is why, in addition to the tack strips, i use a heavy cord from the headlight posts to the second bow..... So the second and third bows cannot shift when the front bow is tightened. Using as a plumb in the back is a bonus.
Gary has it,just pull them back upright.Be sure to have both sides the same or you'll have a real mess..
This earlier post shows a good way to secure the irons and bows in stable position. Lots of clamps on the wood rails holding the irons in alignment.
The next thing I tried was to pull the front of the straps tight to the front bow. It appears to make everything straighten up when tight. The straps holding the front bow to the windshield brackets are not even tight. It must just be a function of the whole assembly that when you have the straps correct on the front and rear bow it provides enough tension to keep everything in place. I also need to mention that the straps holding the rear bow down in the back are in place and are tight.
I think I can proceed to tack it all down unless anyone else has some suggestions. Thanks to all.
You have to begin by installing the straps properly to hold the bows in the right positions.
1919 Fords don't have webbing straps across the bows. The top pads serve that function. Also, the front windshield straps and the rear curtain straps are webbing, not leather.
If you've ever dissected original top pads, sometimes they have long straps inside made from leftover leatherette. The original pads from my '17 roadster and my dad's '17 touring don't have any type of leatherette strap inside, they have a burlap type webbing. The original pads from a later 1918 through 1922 roadster top (square sockets) that I had on my possession at one time did have long leatherette straps in the pads. I have discussed these leatherette straps with others and they have seen the same thing.
Talked to my dad - he sewed and installed the top all by himself on his '17 Ford in 1950, using the original top as a pattern. He used the original pads but put new covering right over the old.
He said he propped the top bows up by tying cords/rope between the sockets. Tension is put on the ropes by attaching the front bow to the windshield and rear bow to the tack strip with the cotton webbing straps and buckles from the factory, no different than when you normally put up the top.
Here is the front strap - leather.
Here are the rear straps - webbing.
Here is the top strap that is holding it all together.
This is the same way the top was when I purchased the car. It was not original, but it appears to work.
Royce - what you have is what I feel I have to do except the straps are parallel in a 1919. Next to put on are the pads.
I used the wood strips on the side to hold it in place, but now that the straps are there the wood strips really are not doing anything. The old working diagram of a 1919 top states the straps are 87 1/2 inches long and mine are currently 88 inches. I let them sit all day in the heat to stretch a bit - 85 today. Too hot for me. Need to wait for it to cool down to do any more.
You have to have straps of some sort. They can be hidden inside the pads of you prefer it that way. I think I should have installed them parallel on my '12. I have since seen a number of original 1911 and 1912 tops. All had the straps parallel originally.
Why is there vinyl on your lead bow on a two man top? A one man top has that because of the way the top is secured to the windshield stanchions it gets a lot of weather with not much overhang. But a two man top overhangs and the windbreaker seals against the windshield and the top is held by harness straps to the windshield hinge, but the front bow is covered with bow drill like the other three, not vinyl. If you got that idea from the video, she's working on a one man top, not a two man top.
The front bow on a 1919 Ford was covered with leatherette from the factory, not cotton bow drill. It should be cut on the bias to avoid puckering.
It has nothing to do a "windbreaker" which came later.
Ford used top material on the front bow, and yes, you must cut it on the bias, or you will never get around the curves. I've found contact cement helps a lot while doing this operation. Bowdrill is used on the rest of the bows, and it needs to be cut on the bias also.
The pads do have a strap hidden inside, but in addition, my '13 roadster had only one strap running from the front bow to the back bow down the center. I'm not sure about the touring cars.
The instructions I have seen that come with the kits are very complete and I think they were about 6 pages long.
I think the hardest part about the whole thing for me was getting the bows to be vertical when "latched up" and doing the job by myself.
Here are a couple of tools that I have found that make the job easier.
Scaffold the car.
I made the horses 24" wide and 22" tall with a strut for stability. Place the scaffold on the rear and both sides of the car making a "U" so the top is accessible by just walking around on the scaffold.
I use the small Irwin clamps (8 of them) and a roll of lawn chair webbing from Lowes. The block is the scrap off one top bow.
Get a nice straight 8 foot 1"x4" poplar or similar.
Put the car on a flat place with the tires aired up etc.
This looks about where you are this afternoon so, I would use a couple of clamps and the board to make setting the top straps easy as follows:
Clamp the 8' straight edge 1x4 to the top of #3 bow, running the 1x4 right down the center of the top of the car leaving enough board to be over both #1 and #4 bow.
Clamp the 1 inch thick "block" between the 1x4 and bow #2. The dimension from the #2 bow to #3 is about 29 inches. Check the dimension between the two top socket mounts on your body. Adjust the top bow c-c between #2 & #3 to match.
The #2 and #3 top sockets and bows will now stand upright on their own.
Loosen the belts and suspend #1 bow and #4 bow from the 1x4 with two pieces of string.
You already have your belts front and rear to the #1 and #4 bow but don't have them too tight. The whole top assembly is now standing on its own with a single 1x4, two clamps and some string.
The "line" of the top (the 8 foot 1x4 straight edge between #2 & #3) is to be parallel to your body top prop mounts in the drawing.
The top of #2 bow is supposed to be about 1" lower than the top of #3 bow. The highest bow on the car is #3.
The main deck will probably be sewn for the main deck rake as follows:
A two man top I just measured is 12" from the main deck seam to the bottom edge of the top at #3 bow. The distance from that same seam of the main deck to the bottom edge at #2 bow is 11".
You can see this by just laying out the main deck on a flat surface.
Clamp two lengths of the top strap from #1 bow to the #4 bow. Parallel to the centerline of the top unless you want to cross them. Once you set the top straps there is no need to use the temporary chair webbing and you are past that.
The top straps are placed just inside the pads under the center of the main deck and parallel top straps would probably be the best.
Check the position of the #4 bow, both height in relationship to #3 bow and position back for "rake" (curtain not vertical) to the body tub.
Set and tighten the rear web belts to resist "pushing up" on #4 bow which simulates "latching up" the front belts. Clamp the "front to rear" top strap tight on #4 bow both sides.
Set the #1 bow for the overhang you want in front of your windshield. Clamp down tight on the top strap on bow #1 and #4. Tighten the front leather straps.
Now, you should be able to "latch up" the front leather belts onto the windshield with some resistance from the "top".
Be sure the top stays square when you latch the front leather straps and the #2 and #3 sockets go vertical "latched up". Be sure you like the "profile".
If you see #1 and #4 bow are right where you want them, tack the straps down. Just clamp #2 and #3 bow until you set the pads and get rid of the 1x4.
The heavy webbing that completes the top stress line is inside the pad bottom. You set the top straps first, so be sure you know where the edge of the pad will be located so the top strap is not under the pad.
Clamp front and rear of the pads so when you "latch up" the front leather straps the top "pulls" the sockets #2 & #3 vertical.
Nail the pad web front and rear. Tack the top straps and pads onto the #2 and #3 bows when "latched up" and the sockets are vertical. This was your last chance to scoot the #2 and #3 bow some to make them stand vertical.
Don't finish nail and trim off the pads and top straps until you are sure you like the way the "top" latches up and everything is square etc. Finish the nailing of straps and pads to all four bows and trim.
You have finished the hardest part of the project.
Set the rear curtain. Clamp before tacking and be sure it pulls smooth when you "latch up" the front straps. You probably have some adjustment up and down with the rear curtain so lay the main deck on top of the bows and check that the main deck and rear curtain "match" where they meet at #4 bow on each side.
The front wind break over the windshield goes on #1 bow before the main deck.
Set the main deck and be sure it pulls smooth when you "latch up" the front straps.
Ken in Texas
Somehow I am not getting the question through to anyone. How can I word this so someone on the forum will understand?
Bow's 2,3, and 4 are not the problem.
WHAT HOLDS THE FRONT BOW IN POSITION? DOES IT JUST REST ON THE WINDSHIELD, AND THE WINDSHIELD KEEPS IT IN THE FORWARD POSITION? DO THE LEATHER STRAPS JUST PULL IT DOWN (HOLD IT DOWN) SO IT DOES NOT FLY UP IN THE WIND?
If I lower the windshield the entire assembly will collapse. Is that correct?
Dave, the front bow is held cantilever style from the bow it is attached to, and the straps and top material keep it from folding down. The front straps hold it down, so, as you asked, it doesn't fly up. the straps go clear to the back of the body.
Now all this made me realize one other important detail; the body must be square, not twisted, so the top is square.
#1 bow is like a crane boom,it just hangs out there, when in the up position.It floats so to speak.The front tie down straps secure it from flying up in the wind.When doing the top it is wise to raise it slightly so you put tension on the top when it is tied down.HTH
Thanks to everyone for all the good information that I can use as I install my top. I looked at all the touring tops in the MTFCA pictures. It looks like some of them are put together a bit differently. Here is the picture for mine :
Is the front strap in the correct location or should it be a bit farther back?
I went back out in the garage and pulled the top straps a little tighter. Then I pulled the two front bows farther forward and the front bow cantilevered forward and upwards. Maybe that was the problem that got me so frustrated. I still think it will be wise for me to look at another car before I tack everything in place. We have 2 outings this coming weekend, so that may help me out a lot.
Thank you again to everyone that contributed.
No. The leather strap holds the top "up" just as you have it.
You can fold the top section of the windshield back from right where you have it in the picture and the top doesn't collapse.
The leather strap hooks to the center of the windshield pivot which does not fold down or move. The lower section is fixed in its position on the cowl.
The top does not "attach" to the upper part of the windshield.
When the top is up, the top of the upper windshield section sits against the underside flap on bow #1 if the upper windshield section is up in the vertical position.
Your #1 bow should overhang just a little forward of the top of the windshield and not be hitting it. Looks like #2 bow is not vertical.
When you drive the car, the top and windshield will be moving and hitting each other if you don't have the #1 bow out a little in front of the upright upper windshield section.
Ken in Texas