I have some old coils ('15-'27) that have good internals but the boxes are falling apart. I was wondering what type of wood these were or what the best wood would be to make new ones. I thought it might be a good Winter project to make some new boxes. If this has been discussed maybe there are previous discussions.
Rich, wome Quik-Poly will fix those right up!
I think Ron makes new boxes. I know you like a project, but it might be easier to buy wood from him, or send these in as trade ins. Instead, spend your time painting! LOVE your work!
Thanks David. You are probably right. I do like woodworking. I also like to spend time saving lost causes but I don't really need these. I still wonder what kind of wood they were.
I would recommend maple.
Thanks Andy and Ted. I have some Maple and will try a little.
What about "Box" wood!
Or, as my mechanic says, tree wood!
Allan from down under.
The ones I have sure aren't maple. Maple is HARD !
New know-it-all at a wine tasting, looking at his glass, 'Ah YES! This the variety known as "Red" You can tell by it's color!"
BTW Dennis, there really is a wood known as "Box Wood" I forget it's "real" name, but it's likely some coil boxes are made of it! Very fine grain and cuts into narrow planks easily, thus it's name and use.
As for me, when asked "what kind of bush is that?" I usually respond with "Green" unless it's poison oak. . . That's the trouble with poison oak, it can be a little plant down on the ground, a vine climbing up a tree, or a bush!! AAUGH!!
Now Richard, with all your talent, I would expect you to find old fence post of some unknown species to mill and and cut into something spectacular!
I have several board feet of Black Walnut burl that I harvested and dried when a neighbour tore out and began burning about 1500 old trees. I still plan to make a steering wheel with some of it someday. Maybe I'll make some coil cases now too.
The wood has a similar feel and grain/composition to poplar. I presume Henry
bought vast tracts of forest somewhere and set up a mill for this. Anyone know
that bit of FOMOCO history ? Prolly would tell us what kind of wood he preferred.
ooh, let me know when you do, I'll buy some stock in saw blade manufacturers!
They would be mighty purty though!
Around these parts folks sell their walnut trees--get real good money (thousands) from the gunstock folks and the high-end car manufacturers. Burning them seems wasteful!
There is a soft maple.
Rich, Those almost look like they met with some termites? Is that possible?? One looks like it had been rebuilt at some time too (Modern Capacitor).
David, Some city folks seem to have money to "burn"! They buy land here to grow grapes, then rip out the walnuts and burn them.
I have a few very large old walnuts on my ranch and have been offered up to $2500 per tree. I happen to like old walnut trees, so I plan to keep them.
John, That is so sad. Yep City Folks--not to insult anyone here that's from the City, not all folks from the City are "City Folks" but Dang'd!
Surprised them yuppie EIR folks don't outlaw the tree burning--carbon footprint, you know!
Back to Ts! The grain looks too tight for Poplar, maybe old growth? I've heard that Maple was specified, but I can't find where I "heard" or read it.
I would think Poplar would be the best wood to make them from. It is a very sturdy wood that will not split, twist, or cup. It has close grain like an expensive hardwood. It is very straight and will plane down on a planer as thin as you need without chattering. It is easy to work, is inexpensive and can be obtained in your local home improvement store.
In times past, because it had grain like a hardwood, furniture makers used Poplar to mimic more expensive woods such as walnut and mahogany because it was a light wood that stained very well and very evenly.
When I was restoring a Mahogany Regina Music Box, as I was removing the finish, I discovered that some of the wooden pieces were poplar. It was disappointing, but when I was ready to stain it, I found that the stain went on so nicely that one could not tell it was not mahogany.
I'm using poplar to replace some of the body wood in Barney. Some have said it is too easily subject to rot, but I will seal the wood, and Barney won't be out in the weather much at all, so I figure I'll never have to worry about it in my lifetime!
I'm also using poplar for the interior wood trim in my craftsman style house remodeling because it is easy to stain to resemble other woods. And it's not too expensive, nor hard to find here, as other hardwoods are.
Basswood would be a good choice for these boxes. I don't know if that was originally the material but its grain and nailing properties would be perfect for this application.
Seems to me Henry owned lots of acreage of woodlands in the Upper Peninsula. Whether or not any of that wood made it down to Sandusky Ohio where, from 1914 on, the little boxes were made for the coils I do not know. I do know, from info I got from a retired employee of the factory that built them, they were made of Maple. That factory is being demolished as I type. It also made crayons and I believe art paint back in its heyday. Then NAFTA and the Mexican government took it all away.
I would avoid using basswod, poplar, and other softwoods b/c the points bolted to the top will not be as stable as it will with hard maple. Bolts will loosen over time due to 'creep' of the compressed wood and affect current settings. FWIW, this occurs to a degree with maple too, but softwoods will be worse. jb
Weren't all coil boxes made by American Crayon Co??Bud.
Wow, Great info and ideas. I have some Poplar scraps left over from this Buick body. I'll try some of each. Maybe a poplar box with maple top would work.
Dewey, et al;
When trying to preserve wood against the elements, it is common practice today
to put a "skin" type bodied sealer on the surface, much like a coat of paint. This
type of coating may have its place, but for service items such as coil boxes, you
are far better off applying an oil (such as linseed) and making the wood repel the
moisture, as opposed to leaving the wood still impervious under a skin of sealer
that is bound to develop breaches at joints, cracks, etc.
Our grandparents were all big users of linseed oil back in the T era, but oddly,
we've been sold on other products as being better, that really aren't.
To work linseed oil properly, one wants to use the stuff labeled "boiled". This
has a drying agent in it that reduces the annoying "sticky" often associated with
linseed oil. For first or second applications, mix 50/50 with mineral spirits to get
a deeper penetration of the wood. THEN one can go over it with straight oil if they
please. I tend to just go with the mix and apply more at a later date if I notice an
The stuff is bulletproof, inexpensive, and easy to get and work with. All things the
fancy modern sealers are not.
Note of caution: Linseed oil WILL spontaneously combust when left on balled up
rags ! When finished with any work, lay rags out flat on a concrete floor or dry in a
similar way or all work will be lost when the shop burns down ! VELLY IMPORTANTÉ !
I usually toss mine in the wood stove and problem solved right then and now !
Yes Bud they were. I shoulda mentioned that in my earlier post when I talked about the same company making crayons and paints. My fault.
Ford coil boxes were made with maple.
Bass wood would be good to use if you can find it. It is the lightest hardwood. Very fine grain, easy to work. Kitchen wooden spoons and forks as well as drafting tables are made out of it.
Sorry Tim,I had a brain fart and never saw your post! I think years ago either the Vintage Ford [came today] or the model T Times had a article on it? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
can you just get the coil boxes?
Ken..no problem! I have 'em regularly these days. The article you mentioned I believe was in the Times. I made a copy of it and have it somewhere in the house but cant find it. Another brain fart! Written by Russ Herner who worked there until it closed. He's a member of our local club.
Maple. Ron knows.
Burger, Good point about the linseed oil, it does do wonders; most of my tool handles have had it applied at one time or another!
Coil boxes are made with old wood
I agree with Burger, but why make it? John Regan is already doing it!
Larry, there is no good reason to make these boxes. However it can be fun to do impractical things. I have learned a lot about how things are made and can appreciate details I wouldn't otherwise know. I suppose some would ask why restore an old car? Just buy one. I have to find my fun where I can.
If'n you get good at it Richard, I can use a few!
If I know Rich, they'll be made of the "right" kind of wood, too. I couldn't agree more. The details of a Model T are endless; there's a lesson in each one, and that can be a lot of fun !
About linseed oil, alas, it's getting harder to come by since the bulk of consumer paints moved into water-reducible vinyl and acrylic polymers . . . which really don't work on wood. "Boiled" linseed oil is not really boiled. It's heated with the addition of drying agents, and air is blown through it to partially oxidize it which helps it to dry faster than "raw" oil . . . but raw oil will work fine for the purpose. You don't want to apply more oil than the wood will readily absorb, surplus oil can form a gummy, slow-drying film that will probably wrinkle. A proper application of linseed oil is a great "primer" for a top-coat of an oil-based finish coat after it is thoroughly dry.
I would have guessed maple. Here in northern Michigan there are several maple varieties, not all as hard as rock maple would be.Linseed oil as the sealer as well..JD
Kenneth, I recall an article about the coil wood being made by the crayon company. Where did I see that? Also looks like a box a block of cheese would come in.
Erik,Sorry but i can't remember which but Tim might find it? I get both mags and i have way too many to look through but the Coilman would know.Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Erik, I'm pretty sure it was in the Model T Times..I have it somewhere in this mess...I won't have time to look for quite a while..nice weather for driving, plus I have to write a club article for the Times pretty quick too...I'll find it and let you and Bud know.
OK, Ken & Erik..here's a link that I can't believe I was able to find, of a post I put up here in January 2014, almost 100 years to the day of the contract from K-W to have the little boxes made...I included pics of the factory being torn down. The work stalled, but is now re-started and it's almost half torn down. Was a real blow to the Sandusky economy when that plant moved its operations to Mexico. NAFTA at its best. http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/411944/414736.html?1389537788
Judging by the looks of Richard's boxes, the company should be ashamed of their box quality !
I'm with you. I think I saw an article on coils and Crayola in the Model T Times a while back. Maybe about the time the new editor started?
Verne..see my post & the link above.
So it appears we haven't established the kind of wood Ford used for his coils! Since John Regan makes brand new coils, maybe he can help.
Ron clearly stated maple.
I think Ron Patterson Said the Ford Coil boxes were made with Maple! Yes i also know about the ones made of pressed Soybeans the mice like! Bud.
Several people mentioned Maple. With all the boxes Ron P. rebuilds I'm going on that assumption. If I get to this project and find anything interesting I will post it.
Thanks for all the information, ideas and comments.
Larry...they were made of Maple. Info from a friend of mine who worked in the plant where they were made. He even has a few of the originals that came out of there.
Come to think of it, I thought coils were made of sugar and spice and everything nice ...
I supplied wood to one of the makers of the newly manufactured T coil boxes that you all know quite well. It was kiln dried hard maple just like Henry used.
If I was going to go to the trouble of making coil boxes and was not worried about them looking original, I would use Honduran mahogany.