My 1923 touring came to me topless, and I've been working on adding a top. We've lost Uncle Jack, our resident top specialist, so I hope somebody else can answer the questions I've run into.
Recently I showed this picture of the right side sockets I'm working on. As you can see here, the bottom socket is damaged badly enough to be replaced. The same applies on the left side, where one of the sockets also has to go.
The wood in these sockets is many decades past being useful, so it will all have to go.
I had assumed that each curve was one piece of wood, but a closer look here shows that each piece is really two thinner pieces, with the top piece here long gone.
To remove the old wood and install the new I had to straighten the tabs, so I turned them orange and let them cool so I could straighten them without breaking them. After taking this picture I tried using two propane torches at a time and found that worked better.
Old wood out, ready for new.
Paint inside shows that the sockets originally were painted before the wood was installed.
Old rivets have to come out. First a drill removes most of the mashed end...
...then a punch drives the rivet on out.
A good look at the wood shows two thin strips. Is there any reason not to make the new wood one single thicker piece? Was it done that way at different times or by different suppliers?
The wrecked socket and its replacement (top) are not an exact match, but I think the replacement is close enough to work. I'm guessing the slight differences are because of different suppliers.
The replacement socket has a bolt that the original doesn't have. Anybody know what it's for?
I believe the correct wood for sockets and bows is ash. Is that right?
Hi Steve, probably two thinner strips are easier to steam and bend than one thicker one. I would think they would be stronger as the outside bend has less tension with two strips than on one thick one, likewise the inside would have less compression than with two thin strips.
I would assume (correct me here) that thy would be laminated with glues after bending, then installed as one piece. The old time glues probably well gone my now.
(I am following this thread with interest as I also have this process to follow later in the year)
What about several layers of thin strips, about the thickness of paint stirring sticks, that bend easily, put in and glued as you go? I bought a good looking complete set of bows recently and the curved sections of the sockets are packed full of material that I believe is horse hair. I have only checked the front one, the one on the top of the stack when they are folded back, but the others are probably the same. The center, the actual top bow, appears good and solid on the one I unwrapped and I hope the others are good too. There are very few extra holes from previous top replacements. the holes will get plugged with toothpicks dipped in glue. I think that the wrapping is the second, meaning first replacement, that has been put on. I will be following this thread closely. Thanks Steve.
I suspect the idea of thinner strips being easier to bend is right. But I doubt that they were laminated. With a close inspection of the pieces I don't detect any trace of glue.
Two thin strips are what I used steve. No glue, the pieces I removed were in two roughly 3/8 thick. One nail was placed to keep them from moving.
Make your pieces about an 1/8 in norrow to the socket. The wood swells and wont fit after steam or boiling. Dont ask how I know that. My thread last summer shows my steamer and progress.
Im not home or I would post photos.
He he... Looking at that wood for some reason I keep thinking of Tut's tomb.
Stick with the two pieces. They are available. Also note on the front top sockets, there are at least two raised areas for common sense fasteners that are threaded to receive the 5-40 screws.
Steve yours look better than mine did (previous thread)
FWIW, my brother Jon makes those curved filler strips from elm, as per the Ford print that he makes them from. He has a number of them on hand and ready to go.
After looking at seven different dealer catalogues, it looks like I will be steaming. There's more than one reason.
Mister Thrifty is always conscious of price, of course. For some things I'm willing to pay full retail, but this is something I think I can do for a lot less.
The other reason is availability of what I want, which in this case is nil.
All the dealers offering top bows for 1923 list them as straight. As you see with this original, there's a reason they're called bows. There should be a slight curve to prevent puddles.
Most catalogues don't list the corner strips at all. Where they are mentioned, it's only as part of a top bow set. As I'm making my own bows, I might as well do the corner strips too.
Brass screws in little tubes: what for?
This socket has three of them.
Steve- when I rebuilt my top on my runabout I used straight pieces of wood, however, because of the geometry the bows become curved when you install the assembly.
That little screw is for the wrap around part of the top. Think it could be called a wing. Side curtains also snap on these.
That little machine screw is the male portion of the old time ANZO fasteners.
That is where the side curtains mount or where you also snap the top gypsy to the rear bows.
Here is the correct fastener for '23-'25. Only found at swap meets now.
You'll find that the Lift the Dot is now easy to locate, and you can get these in plain black if you wish, as shiny nickel may detract from what are doing on your T.
The threaded male post of the Lift the Dot is same as ANZO, so the post will screw in place of the old style.
Steve, if you have enough pegs, you might be able to get sockets from restoration specialties:
Thanks for posting those pictures. That project is on the short list for me too. I would assume those pieces were glued, but the only glue of that period was hot hide glue which could be completely gone by 2018 particularly if they were stored out in the weather.
One of today's projects was salvaging these pegs from some scrap top sockets.
I hope these will work with my new top.