Car Body Structural Wood Fabrication

  • Speedster734
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27 Jan 2005 19:58 #2753 by Speedster734
Speedster734 created the topic: Car Body Structural Wood Fabrication
Hello everyone:

I need much help in being able to totally rebuild rotted structural wood for a recently purchased Cord. Even though I have restored numerous cars, I have never have been challenged to the extent this car presents.

Is there information out here to teach me how to produce finger joints? Most of the finger joints used in this vehicle are one and one-eighth inches deep ... much deeper than can be achieved using a router table equipped with the standard available finger joint cutters.

I also need instructions and advice on the general subject of auto body structural wood joinery. I plan to rebuild the wood structure for my L-29. Any and all advice and or references to old books, magazines, etc. will be greatly appreciated.



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  • balinwire
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30 Jan 2005 17:04 #2782 by balinwire
balinwire replied the topic:
Here is a book that might help. ... 06-0072928

I have been working on a metal skinned tailgate and find having the old pieces for patterns and having a well equipped wood shop with a power bandsaw, sanders, etc. for the inital shaping.

No jigs and bits for the finger joints? Use a small coping saw for slowly cutting the finger joints. Use carving & draw knives and a whole lot of time and patience. Replace all the tapered screws with countersunk flatheads as original.

Most of all be patient, the compound curves may have to be done slowly, removing only as much as you need. Soon you will be looking at a whole new wood frame.

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07 Feb 2005 04:06 #2819 by Jack Richard
Jack Richard replied the topic: Cord wood replacement
I have done complete wood replacement on my 810 Cord Westchester, as well as on a 1928 Ford fordor, and I have found that it is best not to try and exactly duplicate the "finger joints" of the original wood. The important things are to use good quality hardwood ( I use red oak mainly, laminate the thicker pieces from 3/4" stock using waterproof glue) and make the size and shape to match the old wood and fit the car. The original wood was made with large production machines which made the tapered finger joints very precisely. What works better in the home woodshop is to use lapped joints or large finger joints which are not tapered but are about 1/2" in width. These can be cut with a hand saw and need not fit too exactly, rather can be slightly loose to allow some adjustment of the pieces so they fit back in the car correctly. Once the correct alignment is obtained, screws can be driven through the joint(s), and the wood removed from the car. The joints can then be glued with a viscous epoxy cement which will fill any gaps and the screws replaced to hold the correct position. Make sure the part can be reinstalled in the car once it is reassembled, then let the glue harden. I have found it is best to fit the wood into the body before it is sandblasted or painted - any binding spots will show up as rusty areas on the wood when trying it in place. Take your time and don't be afraid to make the new wood in more pieces than the original was, just make sure it fits properly and supports the body. After the body is cleaned and painted you can use a little RTV silicone sealer between the metal and wood to help seal and prevent squeaks, and I always use stainless steel fasteners.

Jack Richard, D.D.S. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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07 Feb 2005 05:27 #2820 by Tom Georgeson
Tom Georgeson replied the topic:
I have found that if the wood is not too far gone I could use a product called "Get Rot" (this procedure was mentioned in an old Newslaetter by Robert McEwan). This material will replace the missing fiber and allow the piece to be used. This product is used in marine repairs amd can be obtained at a marine shop.

Good Luck,

Tom Georgeson

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