Anyone know who makes a touring top kit for a 1912? I looked in Lang's catalogue but no luck.
Contact Mike at
6961 W Shadow Lake Dr
Lino Lakes, MN 55014
Toll Free: 1-800-208-9032
Contact us for prices and fabric samples.
Classtique will direct you to obtain multiple measurements from your project. They will fabricate the sewn pieces and will assemble the center and sides of the largest top portion. From there you will need to follow an instruction sheet furnished, for order of the remaining assembly. A recommendation is that you use an automatic stapler as opposed to original tacks. I have had tacks pull loose at the bows when the top was lowered. Also have extra finishing tacks on hand. The shanks on these are weak, and you can assume that 1/4 of these will fail as they are installed.
If you are a person of the elderly persuasion you may find a hand-squeezed stapler too much for what's left of your grip. In that case a pneumatic stapler is practically a must. VOE.
I have a stapler where the handle is reversed so you are squeezing down on top of the staple--it makes life MUCH easier. Not as easy as a pneumatic one though.
So staples hold stronger than tacks?
I did upholstery on collector cars for about 25 years. If you do not have experience installing Model T tops I would recommend you do not do it if you want it to look really nice. The earlier tops are very difficult to install correctly.
Staples or tacks can work fine. They both come in different lengths and it is important to use the correct length. I would never use a hand stapler. Mine is air operated and cost about $ 140 25 years ago. What is really important is that the wood they go into is in very good condition.
About the time you get it finished you know where to start. The advantage is we have more time than the professionals. Crawling out of the garage and spitting the tacks out I ventured over to the Upholstery shop next door. It seemed obscene that he was using this contraption for domed nails:
A Kalamity Dick invention?
(nail.ftempo.com) no connection.
This was my first DIY Touring top. Nothing complicated about assembling this...Vendor instructions are simple and clear. The most difficulty I had was keeping the tack rows aligned, and tacks that bent when I was driving them in. Had I a similar finished top to look at, I would have had fewer questions, however the top maker easily walked me through these. Important is that the 4 bow positions remain rigidly secured where they will be positioned on the stretched top.
Excellent videos...Thanks Dan.
Thanks for all the information, tips and a great video to boot. I talked to Mike and will wait until after the holidays to order seeing how the mail is slow this time of year and our post office ends their strike. Also I do have a pneumatic stapler from when I did some upholstery on my last project.
Finish tacks bending sideways were driving me nuts until I put a piece of Gorilla tape on my hammer. Problem solved.
Interesting solution Steve...I'll try it out. I use a plastic tack hammer...could be high enough durometer that it may be glancing off the tacks.
I don't know how comprehensive the instructions are, but the most critical element in having the top fitting correctly is getting the bows set at the correct spacing, angle and height. A good top fit is often compromised by having the second and third bows on a tourer set off vertical, at different heights and often too high.
My trimmer taught me to use a thin flexible lath of timber, nailed to the under side of the bows, to maintain the correct spacing of the bows during the fitting.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.