Photo # 1. To create a smooth surface over the chip board and potentially provide some additional rigidity, I next attempted an application of spray insulation foam directly over a chipboard base. I used a foam product called Great Stuff which can be purchased at any hardware store.
Photo # 2. Whereâ€™s what the raw foam looks like. But after sanding down the foam, I discovered it produced way too may voids and air pockets to provide a really smooth working surface. It would have required a ton of additional effort to produce anything really solid and workable.
Photo # 3. Finally, after the many fits and starts shown above for making these curved backer boards, I stumbled onto an old issue of Rod and Custom showing a guy who built Carson tops using Â½" square hardware cloth (wire mesh screen). The lightbulb went off immediately and I thought the hardware cloth would make an excellent base for the curved corners. Here is a shot of the first piece of wire mesh being formed into the lower portion of one rear corner. A couple of notes to keep in mind. One thing I discovered during my earlier experimentation was that this vertical rear corner could not be made in one piece and still allow for easy removal and installation. So I am making the corner in two sections with the â€œbreak lineâ€ down near the bottom of the curve where it will later be partially hidden by the seats. Secondly, you will notice I have laid duct tape over the metal support pieces welded into the body. This is to prevent any accidental adhesion issues which will become apparent in later steps of the process.