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Old 12-15-2010, 02:30 PM
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Fiberglass Headliner Inserts

I am looking for someone on the East coast that makes fiberglass headliner inserts for 32 Ford coupes. Would like to be close to NC because of the size I will have to pick up. Any info will be a great help.

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Old 12-24-2010, 05:42 PM
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Inserts

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Originally Posted by liner
I am looking for someone on the East coast that makes fiberglass headliner inserts for 32 Ford coupes. Would like to be close to NC because of the size I will have to pick up. Any info will be a great help.
I know you have had this on here a long time, are you talking inserts like they made for the street beasts 34 that fit in and smooth every thing out? I really don't know if any one makes them except maybe someone that makes 32 glass bodies. you might get one that was made for a SB and make it fit. Or call around to body makers and find out if the make inserts, so you know what kind you are looking for. I would think you could cut a SB down to fit it. Maybe I should ask, do you have a glass car?

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Old 12-26-2010, 04:10 AM
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I too am looking at doing a one piece headliner for my 41 Willys. It's a real problem. It certainly would have been easier to do when the car was first built. The body could have been on a rotisserie and the FG could have been molded relatively easy. On a finished car it is much more difficult.

Your 32 has a relatively flat roof with rounded corners. I've seen and been a party to making the paper board style for these. It can be done for the corners but one piece it's tough. You have to splice it somewhere so getting the seam smooth is the problem. Then just getting it in and out of the car is tough. The upholstery shop says he can put the headliner material in if the head liner is already mounted so I guess you could make it a permanet install. That's what I'm thnking for my car. Gotta be difficult..one mistake and it is new material and hope it is not leather. $$$$

I have a number of ideas but none are very easy. Vacuum forming seems like the safest as far as dripping FG resin all over. There still many issues.

I think it may be best to simply make a center plate covering the flatest part and make individual corner pieces. Still a lot of work.
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Old 12-26-2010, 04:53 AM
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Here is a thread from the HAMB that details how to do a one piece headliner in a '41 Willys coupe. CLICK HERE It starts at post number 18. This one is done with a leather hide. This same concept will work in almost any older car that had no headliner or a headliner with bows, and can be done with vinyl, cloth or Ultraleather as well.

There are better materials to use than the waterproof panel board that is used as a base for the foam and cloth, like PVC foamboard. I never glue windlace, I always sew it, which is far faster and more accurate. The cardboard strips he cuts can be replaced with blind tacking strips from an upholstery shop. The rest of the info is solid.
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Old 12-26-2010, 12:28 PM
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I used the body of my deuce to make a glass headliner insert. Not too difficult but required a bit of "trimming" to get it to fit perfectly. Mine took three fittings and some slight modifications to get it right.

You'll need to use a release agent on the top (I used waxed paper which was a mistake) and then the glass can laid down.



I used three layers of chopped mat with strip reinforcement in an "X" pattern so there would be no "flexing" once its installed.



Once cured the whole thing just popped off. Using waxed paper didn't allow the glass to be as smooth as I would have liked so there will be a little "bodywork" to do before covering with vinyl.



The top was then cut front to rear down the center and narrowed about two inches and glassed back together. After a little fitting and trimming its just about ready for vinyl. That will come in the spring once I decide for certain what color I'm going to use.



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Old 12-26-2010, 01:44 PM
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Headliner Insert

Thanks everyone for all the info on the headliner insert. I like the way Centerline did his and may just make my own. I already have enough fiberglass to do the job. I am thinking of using a good mold release wax and then spraying a good coat of PVA mold release on the body. That way I will have a smoother finish on the insert. The only thing that worries me is making sure I get all the wax and PVA off the body before painting. Centerline.... how hard was it to get the insert back in the car. Could you bend your insert any with the x bracing in it. Also, do you apply the headliner material before it goes back in the car or do you have the headliner insert in and then apply the material. If you can't tell, this is my first street rod build. I have built all types of race cars but have never done any upholstery work before. My car is a all glass car. Thanks again all for your help.
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Old 12-26-2010, 01:52 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I read the whole HAMB one. Lots of red X's unfortunately and some of it has been deleted. Still a lot of info. It is a Willys very similar to mine.

I looked into the exterior mold as you have done. Nice job!! It was maybe possible when construction started but now with a fresh paint job I just could not risk sticking a mold. It still would have to be sectioned both lenthwise and widthwise to fit in the car. It's quite a bit longer behind the seat than a 32-34 is. Just getting it in and out will be a problem. That's why I'm looking at a molded in place headliner. I could probably vacuum bag it after the initial layup. I did find a very stretchable vacuum bag that would be great. I would have to make a fairly smooth finish on the inside. Probably have to make some kind of table to lay on while sanding. What a FUBAR. haha

First I'm going to finish the tack strip all the way around the rear this week. I'll also put a seal in the A post so I can do the vacuum bag if necessary. From there we'll take a final look and make a decision. I may just go with a wire hung headliner for now and actually do a "frame off restoration" in a year or so doing the mold at that time. I really want to continue driving the daylights out of this car. It is so much fun.

thanks again
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Old 12-26-2010, 01:55 PM
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You will find that upholstering the inside of the headliner shell as Centerline did it will require a lot of skill. Curved shapes that transition between horizontal and vertical are quite daunting. It will not go on in one piece. It will require trimming, cutting, and sewing to make it look right.
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Old 12-26-2010, 02:11 PM
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I'm inclined to agree. I'm willing to compromise with some seams and what ever it takes to make them look nice. I really just want the smooth round look and not the panel board look that is common.

The back part is especially difficult as there is a lot of compound curve there. Seams will be fine as they are nearly invisible anyway behind the seats. Even a seam all the way across is ok. It is the general shape that is important.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 12-26-2010, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liner
......Centerline.... how hard was it to get the insert back in the car. Could you bend your insert any with the x bracing in it. Also, do you apply the headliner material before it goes back in the car or do you have the headliner insert in and then apply the material......
The headliner is flexible enough to easily get it in and out of the car. It works best with two people though. I've had it in and out three times fitting and trimming it so it fits well. I will upholster it before its permantly installed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTwoLakes
You will find that upholstering the inside of the headliner shell as Centerline did it will require a lot of skill. Curved shapes that transition between horizontal and vertical are quite daunting. It will not go on in one piece. It will require trimming, cutting, and sewing to make it look right.
Dan, you are quite right and I knew this going in. Luckily my wife's hobby is quilting and she's pretty well versed in all that wiz-bang sewing stuff. I'll be relying on her for advice and sewing help to get the vinyl cut, pieced, and sewn together correctly before installation. Will probably have a few questions for you too, when the time comes. We'll see how tough a job it winds up being a little later this spring.

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Old 01-10-2011, 07:54 PM
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'41 Willys headliner

In the book, "Custom Auto Interiors" by Don Taylor and Ron Mangus, they illustrate the installation of a headliner in a fiberglass Willys coupe. They cover all areas of the install, from the wood base, the foam, the windlace, and the leather used for the covering. It is very informative, and even if you don't use all of the info they provide, you can gain an enormous amount of ideas to use on your own project.
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:13 PM
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Thanks for reminding me about that book. I saw it at the book store and just glanced thru it. Very neat. I 'll have to go get the book.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bentwings
Thanks for reminding me about that book. I saw it at the book store and just glanced thru it. Very neat. I 'll have to go get the book.

It's a great book, And you can learn a lot from it.. I have one..
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