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Old 08-19-2016, 06:36 PM
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Camaro roof on a '33 Ford coupe

Starting Monday at work, I'm going to be on a new task which is a '33 Ford coupe. They want the roof hole for the fabric insert filled seamlessly with metal. I have a rough plan and a part to use (center section cut from aftermarket '69 Camaro roof, call it a leftover) that fits decent at a glance.

I'll probably also do hidden hinges on the car. Never worked on a 30s car before but I can handle it, I believe. Wooden structure does make me a little uneasy. Another tech fabbed / fitted floor and firewall and I think I'll be welding that up too.

Searching around, I don't find any articles on the roof patch.
I'd like to know if anyone here has done one and learned anything worth passing along. Using the Camaro patch isn't set in stone but might not be a bad idea.

1- Should I do the roof or hinges first? Weld up floor, do hinges, then patch roof?

2- Should it be on the frame when welding roof? Bracing will be in place.

3- Should any permanent support members be added to the structure, or will the patch not sag if done well?

Anything you can warn me about will be duly considered and appreciated, so thanks in advance These are my noob Qs about 30s stuff.

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Old 08-19-2016, 07:27 PM
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Back in the day we used any available sheet metal to fill those roof sections so the Camaro piece is fine as long as the curvature is close and you get a smooth result. I would make sure the doors fit the body as it is a lot easier to move body metal than it is door metal. In other words make the holes fit the doors rather than the doors fit the body. Dunno abut wood in a 33 Ford my memory fails me on that account but if there is structural wood replace that with metal. Tack every thing to see that it all fits and works before final welding but you know this correct.

Sam
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Old 08-20-2016, 08:46 AM
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Back in the day we used any available sheet metal to fill those roof sections so the Camaro piece is fine as long as the curvature is close and you get a smooth result. I would make sure the doors fit the body as it is a lot easier to move body metal than it is door metal. In other words make the holes fit the doors rather than the doors fit the body. Dunno abut wood in a 33 Ford my memory fails me on that account but if there is structural wood replace that with metal. Tack every thing to see that it all fits and works before final welding but you know this correct.

Sam
Thanks, Sam. I kind of like the idea of a removable panel like I saw on the web, heck even a flip-up panel would be cool there. Figured back in the day, a discarded metal sign with screen door hinges and a rope was probably a common solution

Naw, seriously I appreciate the tips. I asked the guy doing the floor and firewall about the need for bracing and kinda got this face . "The bodies have to remain somewhat flexible" is what he said, and that echoes what you just told me.

The wood I saw was fitted into like a C-channel inside the B-pillar. I should say it supports a flimsy structure, the wood isn't actually the structure. But I figured as long as we're closing it in, I could possibly add some bracing that might help ease headaches in the event of a rollover. Even if it were wooden

The car is begging for a chop but theres no plan for that

If I were to post pics of the process (maybe hinge install too), could that be done on this thread or would seperate threads for each area in the project forum be most appropriate?

Matt
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Old 08-20-2016, 08:53 AM
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Heres what I'm getting-



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Old 08-20-2016, 10:01 AM
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Back in the day we did the best work we could do with the materials at hand.

These rat rod guys have messed with your mind as all we would have done with one of those things is to rip around the field with it or take it to a destruction derby. Best use for a rat rod is parts for a decent build or scrapper material.

Anyway just scribe that piece you have to fit the hole and then tack it in. Tack hammer and dolly tack hammer and dolly until you have it in place. We used oxy back in the day. O or OO size tip works well with a lot of practice.

Always do your best work on one of these as this is your best calling card for future work.

the wood as I remember was in there to attach the fabric liners that the old cars had in them.

Keep on doing what you are doing.

Sam
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Old 08-20-2016, 12:30 PM
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Honestly when I see rat rods I walk right by them. Some might have nifty antiques attached but thats the extent of my interest in that um, genre. But if you bought one of these when you were 15 and it was raining on your date, a sign might be a crafty fix at that time. Just messing around, about that.

I put my best foot forward with every job, but its also important to not do more than a customer wants. Before I form opinions or offer options, I like to find what the rest of the world thinks. So here I am.

I'll be using a Miller 212 MIG with .030 wire on this, and will probably go the extra mile. Meaning rather than doing all the welding before grinding, I'll smooth welds as I go. Planishing in between with fine access to both sides. Should be a fun challenge to keep the necessary filler as thin as possible.
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Old 08-23-2016, 06:06 PM
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Boy it was a heckuva time cleaning up that patch! It ended up being what I assume to be a GM roof skin, cut off a donor car. So its late 60s steel, but it was covered in a half dozen layers of funk on top and surface rust on bottom.

I held down the corners of the patch that stuck up, and spray painted the edge all around. Cut the roof just inside the spray paint line and while nobody was looking, tossed the gutter aside. Went with my gut on that.

Then I was able to set the patch in place with it catching the edges of the roof hole just barely here and there around the perimiter. I taped it there. The right side had some dents around the hole that required a bit of bumping to relax. No biggie, and I began tacking at the worst area of panel height conflict.

It worked out. The roof did not go floppy when I cut out the old recessed flange. As it stands, just tacked, it seems as solid to the hand slaps as any small car roof. Even with no support other than the crown of the part itself. This was as I suspected. My reason for cutting away the old flange plus a little is that there is much tension anywhere metal is sharply stamped. Like around that hole. I didn't want any part of that warpage potential, nor the potential for cracking if I left it in. There was no reason not to butt weld it.

You be the judge. I have a lot of careful work to do but I think the job my friend did selecting the patch piece was the key to this working. I am pleased with it so far, few tacks had to be cut but a couple more might be tomorrow when I fuss over it more before closing the seam.















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Old 08-23-2016, 08:19 PM
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Looks like it was made for that old Ford... Like you say, its' probably better than welding it inside the frame and looks much cleaner inside too.
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:30 PM
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I agree and suspect that there is enough crown in your weld area that distortion will not be a big issue. Be sure and let is see it after you finish the welding.

Good stuff!

John
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Old 08-24-2016, 11:28 AM
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For sure, John. But oh boyoboy, I'm combating warpage... the patch wants to go flat at the corners and make ponds half a foot across. Still winning but whew it's touchy!
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Old 08-24-2016, 06:06 PM
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Well, you guys know how it is on great big open area patches...



... as you go along, after awhile they become more resistant to warpage and less touchy. What I found was that in some areas where I had fitted the patch too closely, I encountered big trouble. Studying the situation and cutting some tacks in those areas got things under control. Mr Spitznagel (dent puller/ shrinking tip) was of some assistance.

Coincidentally, the side I did like I normally do encountered few warpages. The side where I tried the grinding and planishing as I went... went awful. I think I'll stick to welding first then grinding at least on this job, that has worked for 16 years now.

It will need filler of course. A support or two may be needed. As it is now, the center of the patch is rigid enough to hold maybe ten pounds, then BLOMP and the patch flops to concave. Filler will firm it up some, but all bets are off until I've finished welding, grinding, and whatever straightening I can manage.

Oh, you want to see so I'll shut up. It still looks OK and I'm enjoying the challenge. It will turn out fine but not stellar and the bill shouldn't send anyone into orbit.





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Old 08-24-2016, 06:25 PM
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Soooooo, Is this one going to be really rewarding or really frustrating??

John
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Old 08-24-2016, 06:48 PM
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Well,.........



A support or two may be needed............
Noooooo....you're scaring me now......planish away until it's self supporting and then you've nailed it. The time you spend planishing will come back in bondo carving savings time..... Do we change the clocks forward or back for what I just said???
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Old 08-24-2016, 07:11 PM
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John- It will be very rewarding if I'm happy with the result. Frustration is just a part of it, and the risk factor on this is high! I am heartily enjoying the task thus far, for what thats worth. I realize this is not a job everyone would even tackle so I factor that in.

I also realize I can be tough to "read" from day-to-day. Yesterday was a fine normal day for the most part but today not so much. I enjoyed the afternoon most. Theres something that bugs me (bum hand) to varying degrees on and off mentally and physically and the last few weeks... well, I'll spare you, John. The pics tell the work story, and I am confident that this will turn out just fine. Looks OK to me in the pics, lol



Pugsy-

Don't get me wrong, it IS self-supporting. I did say the center holds maybe ten pounds, right? Are the pics sufficiently revealing? It doesn't look too bad. What I'm sweating are shallow lows that can probably be dollied once the surgery is all smoothed out. But yes, as others have cautioned and as found in most all cars, support may be needed in bumpy, real-world traffic.

The planishing method was just a mess for me. So many rounds of grinding and hammering does too much collateral damage to surrounding metal. I do get really neat seams by grinding once. The new method had to be abandoned for now. What do I need to read?



Defensive wisecracks follow:

As far as I know, this thread is the only documentation of this operation that exists. I'm not getting any nay-sayers on the method I chose.

I've heard one suggestion that this could be filler-free. I say show me the one you did that was, please.

Then here we go back up the mental rollercoaster-



I sure appreciate you guys' input, I really do. Keep me on track, I'm cutting new ground on this giant roof patch.

Matt
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Old 08-25-2016, 03:41 AM
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Originally Posted by idrivejunk View Post
John- It will be very rewarding if I'm happy with the result. Frustration is just a part of it, and the risk factor on this is high! I am heartily enjoying the task thus far, for what thats worth. I realize this is not a job everyone would even tackle so I factor that in.

I also realize I can be tough to "read" from day-to-day. Yesterday was a fine normal day for the most part but today not so much. I enjoyed the afternoon most. Theres something that bugs me (bum hand) to varying degrees on and off mentally and physically and the last few weeks... well, I'll spare you, John. The pics tell the work story, and I am confident that this will turn out just fine. Looks OK to me in the pics, lol



Pugsy-

Don't get me wrong, it IS self-supporting. I did say the center holds maybe ten pounds, right? Are the pics sufficiently revealing? It doesn't look too bad. What I'm sweating are shallow lows that can probably be dollied once the surgery is all smoothed out. But yes, as others have cautioned and as found in most all cars, support may be needed in bumpy, real-world traffic.

The planishing method was just a mess for me. So many rounds of grinding and hammering does too much collateral damage to surrounding metal. I do get really neat seams by grinding once. The new method had to be abandoned for now. What do I need to read?



Defensive wisecracks follow:

As far as I know, this thread is the only documentation of this operation that exists. I'm not getting any nay-sayers on the method I chose.

I've heard one suggestion that this could be filler-free. I say show me the one you did that was, please.

Then here we go back up the mental rollercoaster-



I sure appreciate you guys' input, I really do. Keep me on track, I'm cutting new ground on this giant roof patch.

Matt
Yep...planishing is a PITA for sure and takes a lot of time.
Hard on the arms too.

A fella came to a metal shaping meet with a door for a 28 Ford. He had a block of wood in the door to hold the patch panel he'd made to the correct shape as a support. The poor guy screamed bloody murder when I said the block needs to come out. He's going on, getting flusterated, but he finally pulled it out after a couple of the "pros" told him it had to come out and that when the shape was correct, it would stay in place.

Planishing, shrinking disc help to get those oil cans stiffened up. It's like magic when you get the thing from flim flamming on you. Real rewarding.

If your filler free comment is above is for me, I didn't say filler free. You would be there until the moon turned blue.
I haven't done a roof fill yet, but have done a ton of metal welding and a lot of warping, ha...

Keep at it, I'm loving this stuff. The roof shape was an amazingly close fit.

And yes, I do understand, you're working in a business environment and time always comes into play and must be considered.
Us guys working on our own rods at home can tap and shrink w/o worrying about getting a huge bill for labor.

Do you have a shrinking disc BTW?
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