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Interior - panel mounting problem - Nov 7, 2009

Photo # 1 - Once these snap studs are screwed in place to hold the panel, the head is covered with a snap on button. And the button can be made using your own upholstery or with a different color if you want to accent the buttons. This photo shows the two parts used for making the button. I had already purchased a box of studs and a box of the button parts for a couple of other specific locations where I knew I wouldn’t be able to use the Ford type clips. So I had the solution sitting right here.

Photo # 2 - Unfortunately, the snap studs themselves won’t work for my particular problem. At 5/8", they are too short to reach all the way through the foam, the backer and in some cases the distance to the mounting hole to be effective. So I made a quick trip to my local Ace and picked up just the snaps, as seen here. I then bought #10 sheet metal screws in various lengths from 1" to 1 ½". Note that you must use the tapered head type of screw in order to fit the button over the end of the snap. A #10 pan head screw will interfere with installation of the button. You could also use #6 pan heads (they will fit inside the snap) but I wanted the heftier #10 screws.

Photo # 3 - Since the buttons are very visible when the upholstery is done, you have to consider design and layout of your mounting holes much more than when you are using clips which are hidden from view. I had to lay out and re-drill all new holes for the snap studs. And I quickly decided that to keep things uniform looking, I would not only use the buttons on the top rear panel, which was creating the greatest installation problems, but continue the button design throughout the bottom rear panel as well. Here you can see the bottom panel installed with just the snap studs on foam. But this gives you an idea of how the layout of the buttons will look when completed.

Personally, I like the look of buttons in an interior. Which I guess is obvious from my ‘32. But this alternative solution to panel mounting and the visible buttons may not suit everyone’s taste. Which is totally understandable. But for me, I’m excited about the addition of the buttons as a design element of the upholstery. In fact, I’m now strongly considering carrying this design through to the roof panel as well. And I’m even entertaining thoughts of using buttons on the rear side panels as well.

What I discovered while mounting the lower panel was the pure joy of mounting a panel this way. I always have a terrible hassle with clips, trying to get them lined up properly and then trying to remove them without damaging the panel itself. With screw studs, panel removal if a painless process. Granted, it does take longer, but there is almost zero possibility of damaging the panel.
And putting the panel back in is a breeze compared to getting all those hidden clips to line up properly.
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