I've tried 4 different approaches at making the eight curved wooden pieces for my 26-27 top. All have failed miserably, due entirely to my complete lack of woodworking skills.
So...I'm throwing in the towel, raising the white flag, surrendering, calling it quits, etc. and would like to purchase a set of these curves from someone. Thing is...I can't find any vendor who'll sell me just the 8 curved pieces. I already have a beautiful old set of unused top bows (the straight pieces)
Do y'all know of a person or vendor who'll sell me these?
PO Box 179
He makes/sells bows for $30.00 each
I have made the bent pieces using oak and a steam box. There are 16 pieces as they are 1/4" thick and doubled in each section. To make it easier to bend I used three pieces and inserted them in to the sockets, they are not glued. Bending oak may take some trial and error but it is relatively easy. For the thickness used here, about 15 - 20 minutes in WET steam and some form of bending jig to hold the part while it dries (it takes about 10 seconds), if you don't work quickly the wood will break. While removing the wood from the steam box you should start bending it immediately and placing it in the jig. The jig can be a series of nails in a plank in the form of a curve or a curved jig cut on a bandsaw or a 2x10 plank cut on a curve. There are a variety of jigs. On one of the arms the wood is inserted firstly at the factory and a large rivet is placed through the wood. It would be most difficult to remove the rivet therefore the wood may have to be modified to fit around the rivet. It took me some trial and error bit it is relatively easy to perform. Once set up it is easy to make several pieces.
If it's a 20's open car, the wood in the curved portion of the top bows are only used for tacking the covering and are then hidden by the bow cloth.
On the 24 I have just completed I made each bend from two bits of scrap wood. I made a simple paper pattern. I could have made the curve in one piece but you can't get it into the metal bow. So I made it in two bits and after sliding them in, held them in position with the little tabs on the metal bows.
Sorry I didn't take any pictures, but it's not too difficult and it is hidden once the job is complete.
On one of our club tours, we had a presentation by a manufacturer of wood products and samples of their work. They do what you want and have patterns for almost all T wood. They are:
CLASSIC WOOD PRODUCTS
1006 N.Raleigh St.
Greensboro, North Carolina 27405
336.691.1344--ask for Ricky Hite
I used poplar as mine were original. Bends much easier than oak. I used steam but will boil next time.
Where did you get the poplar Dallas?
When I bent my oak strips, as I pulled them from the steam box with gloves I bent them immediately by hand and placed them in the jig, no clamps, in about 10seconds they were set I could lift them from the jig and throw them on the floor and they would stay bent. If you delay at all in bending the wood will break, you must work very quickly. There is a formula for time and thickness of material and arc relative to thickness. The steam must be WET, dry steam will only kiln dry the wood and it will break like bakelite. 15 - 20 minutes in the WET steam box is sufficient any longer will cause the wood to dry and break. I had no trouble inserting the bent wood into the sockets (on a 26-27).
The later cars I have seen and the later bows bought from the main suppliers have no bent wood in them. For the Touring the top bow kit is four lengths of straight wood, as I remember three different lengths. There are no bows to bend. The straight lengths are riveted to the metal bows. The only wood required for the curve are tack strips for the cloth covering the bows.
I see no need for bent oak bows for the one man top on the late 20's Model T's. They were not supplied originally.
(Message edited by Tony_bowker on September 10, 2017)
FWIW, my brother makes them from the Ford prints, from elm wood as specified. He has them in stock.
Additional comment: To fit the bent wood components into the sockets the tabs must be opened up, the large tab may be required to be heated red to open to avoid cracking it should bend back in place relatively easy. The bent wood pieces are cut short enough to allow the straight cross pieces to fit firmly into the sockets. The assemblies are either bolted or riveted through the wood.
They sell poplar at The Home Depot
That's what I used in mine too, bends nice and stay put once cooled.
Thanks for the all super responses everyone...they're much appreciated.