I have questions for anyone who has installed seat covers and a top on a touring car, or runabout/roadster. Should I mark, on the body, where the staples go that attach the seat cover so I can avoid hitting the staples with the ones to follow that attach the top? Does it matter? My tack strips are new so there are no old holes or staples in them. What size staples should I use? What kind of staples? Do the ones for the top need to be longer than the ones for the seat? Thanks.
Tommy, it pays to use stainless steel staples like all good boat trimmers should use.
Longer is better as long as your tacker will seat them. You can even tap them home further with a hammer if needed.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
Agree with the stainless staples but use plenty of tacks I found that they hold better I bought longer ones and used them in high stress areas.
It is also easy to get them too high and the west won't cover them
My top and upholstery kit from Classtique came with tacks, no staples. So that is what I used. Still holding fine 8 years later.
I just installed my top Tommy. I started using the tacks that came with my top kit. 3/8" is what it came with. After a couple layers they were not long enough especially where the top support straps were. 11/16" is what I used in multiple layered areas. Keep us posted on progress.
I mainly used the tacks also but the stapler is
Handy when you are pulling and need to fasten with one hand
When I did the top on my '13 I stapled just enough to "put it in place" then finished off with tons of those all but impossible to hang onto tacks. But I got through it!
Ditto what others said. I used a pneumatic stapler to get started and finished with tacks. In my opinion the tacks hold much better than then staples.
Use tacks for install, as you will be pulling tacks to remove wrinkles and folds as you work the material. Then once you like the fit, follow with staples in places.
With the tack heads, you can 'feel' where you placed them, and the power stapler has thinner staples that will miss the tacks.
Now when you get to the final top fit, use tacks too. But then you will find the narrow nose air stapler to be really helpful for the hidem-welt used on the later T's. The nose fits into the welt seam, and power staple really holds that strip on fast and secure.
Dan, is that front edge finished? Will it get some hidem welt?
Yes, this T is a '27 so it got Hidem welting, a split welting where you place tacks or staples between the split, and the welting closes to make the tacks hidden.
Hidem on a '24.
Your early T with the 2 man top will use gimp welting, and the larger black headed tacks are exposed on the outside.
Gimp welting, has fold over with one edge padded to present finished line. Tacks are exposed.
If you are using an air powered stapler you really have to watch the air pressure, so the staple does not blow thru the fabric. I just did the seats on a Model A station wagon, started with staples but switch to tacks, the tacks worked much better esp when getting the fabric tight and went just about as fast. If you use tack get a tacking hammer, it has a magnet on one end for starting the tack.
Are stainless steel staples for a power stapler available? If so, where? Thanks, Dave
David, You can get them from any Upholstery supply Company. I get mine from Albany Foam and Supply.
They have 3 sizes 3/8-1/2 and 1/4
Thanks everybody. Anybody else got tips, suggestions, or cautions? I've almost got my courage up enough to do the job on mine.
One question...when putting the top down, after installation, does it pull tight at any point? My fear is getting the material too tight and having staples or tacks pull out when the top is raised or lowered.
I put my top down for the first time the other day, nothing was tight or strained at all. Usually when one lowers the top you try to keep the material tucked inside the top irons so as not to pinch the top. The top boot then can be slipped on.
Lowe's has the stainless staples.
I've been doing some upholstery work for about three or four years now, and have found NO ONE with the correct 3/8" upholstery nails they used originally. Witmer Coach Shop in New Holland has the closest thing. They are 1/32 larger than the originals, but a whole lot better than the 7/16 variety you can buy from most places. Next, it would be nice if someone with stamping experience could reproduce the hide em welt tips Ford used from '23-27.
Concerning the upholstery nails: The ones on our T's would be considered low dome wouldn't they?
I did find some 3/8" head, natural finish high dome nails (1/2" length) but that is not correct, correct?
Larry, I know you have a little trouble posting pics, do you have Witmer's catalog and could you snap a pic of it where you find the nails?
Tommy, thank you for starting this. MUCH info here.
Yeah, I don't like to post pictures. Witmer Coach Shop has a catalog. I'm sure you could find them on the internet. The upholstery nails are in the catalog. I bought a large bag of them so I don't need to worry about anything. They might be Amish. They have all kinds of buggy stuff.
:-) Witmer's DO have a facebook page. :-)
If you look at original 3/8" upholstery nails, you will see they have a square shank with a chisel tip, like "blued upholstery tacks" but they have a cap over the top, kind of like an upholstery button. They don't bend like the modern "tacks" and can originals can be re-used.
I restored these and found some NOS when I upholstered my 1911.
A modern metric equivalent would be about 9.5mm. Maybe there is something available across the pond.
: ^ )
Keith: Even though the upholstery nails you posted are 3/8, I have never seen that type from a car that Ford assembled. I contacted Auveco a while back, and asked why they didn't make those nails any more. They said the company that made them for them either doesn't make them any more, or went out of business. I even gave them the part number!
What was the old Auveco part number?
Maybe it's been said already, (can't read all the responses right now), but, the staples I use are called tacks.
Why? If you've ever installed a top or upholstery, you will have learned that it's a process that involves constant adjustment to get it "just right". As for the top, you get it tacked down to the best fit you can manage, but soon you'll notice there's a rumple here and a crease there, that doesn't look right. You pull the tacks, (that you have only set 1/2 way in), stretch, tug & adjust till things look better, then put the tacks back in, but still not fully set. I think you'll find that probably a few dozen tacks will have to be removed and reinstalled in the process. Try doing THAT with staples... When things finally look good, drive down the tacks all the way. Don't afraid or discouraged to remove tacks, make adjustments, and re-install! That's part of the process and how nice looking tops are installed.
Here's a tip when installing the top. With chalk, measure & mark the center of your front & rear top bows and the center of the rear body panel. Then, measure & mark the center of the top panels. When installing the top panels, (rear vertical one first!), align the center marks. Begin installing your tacks, working from the center outward.
Here's another tip. Install the bowdrill by tacking it to the top of each bow, again, working from the center outward. Place the tacks between the center & the leading edge of the bow. Wrap the bowdrill around the bow such that it will cover the tacks when done, (protects the top material from any tacks that might stand up and rub a hole in the top). Fold and tuck the bowdrill edge under so that the edge is now located in the center of the bow. Using a needle & thread, sew the bowdrill edge done, making long, (1"), stitches.
Here's what I mean about the bowdrill application;
Below are the requested tack pages from Witmer's. For whatever it's worth they are Mennonite, not Amish. About all that means is they pick up when the phone rings rather than allowing it to go to an answering machine.
They are upstanding people and honest in a way that is rare to find today. A few years ago I made an in-person visit to stock up on a lot of different hardware. It was a long list. About a week later I received a check for partial refund with an apology note. On the hand written invoice a couple of miscalculations were made and things were so hectic that I missed it myself. How they caught it after the fact I still do not know, but they were correct and I will never forget it.
(Message edited by Wmh on December 27, 2017)
(Message edited by Wmh on December 27, 2017)
Kind of tough getting around the shadows, but these may be a little easier to read.
Oh my, look at the things they have!
Thank you posting the Witmer's catalog pics.
Do they offer a legend in the catalog? A legend? Is that correct?
C or M, I think Roman numerals but that cannot be right.