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Chopping a '36 Chevy Sedan

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Woob, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 8,142

    sololobo
    Member

    Very impressive body work, I am a fan of the seldom seen body styles. I love the big butt on this gal, it is so cool. Really dig your plan all around. Keep up the great progress. Love the modified coupe shown! Thanx for sharing this sweet build. ~sololobo~
     
  2. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    As you know there's enough noise going on in the shop when the bodywork is happening that when somebody stops by, either conversation or productivity suffer, usually the latter. It'll be easier to tolerate visitors when I get to the actual mechanics, but in the meantime here's some real time video recorded a little after 8 tonight... no editing.

    The white plywood is a pattern cut-out from the passenger side to keep everything symetrical and the music is from the Blues Hour segment of the local college's Vintage Voltage radio show broadcast over the airwaves every Saturday night.

    Enjoy!
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
  3. GaryB
    Joined: Dec 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,529

    GaryB
    Member
    from Reno,nv

    looks like your on your way ,look'in good. your videos speak for themselves.........:rolleyes:
     
  4. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    I’m on nights for the next few & the boys are off from school for Fall Break so I don’t plan on getting much done on the hot rod for the next couple of weeks. I did manage, however, to sneak a few trips into the garage this weekend, including one this morning immediately after waking up on my way back in from taking out the trash. Like a kid coming home from the store, I just didn’t find the straight way back to the house.
    [​IMG]


    To get my welding fix in for the day I walked-in, turned on just enough lights to light-up where I was working, fired up the welder, started solidifying the driver’s side wheel opening and began making a second pass over the passenger’s side to fill in any gaps leftover from the first go ’round. There’s still some hours left to go back here. ’ just showing where it is at the moment.
    [​IMG]


    A few trips in-and-out of the house to find everybody doing their own thing afforded me the opportunity to go back out and start the rear pan after breakfast. But it's afternoon now so I’m gonna try to catch a few Zzz’s before I go into work.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. bigalow49chop truck
    Joined: Apr 20, 2010
    Posts: 46

    bigalow49chop truck
    Member

  6. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    I really haven't been happy with the way the doors turned out. Struggling mentally with the accepting the fit, I finally decided to cut them back apart and start over. This time, I took the two pieces and temporally welded them in place on the car with some tabs I cut from some scrap.
    [​IMG]


    It's not easy staying motivated when you're cutting apart something you've already worked on. There's always that little tug in the "make it work" direction and sometimes that's OK since things can be fixed. This wan't one of those times and to get the body line, bottom edge, and skin face all to line-up before piecing the top frame together required nothing less than total deconstruction (as if the 1st time wasn't enough) :sigh:
    [​IMG]


    But it turned out to be the right thing to do as this view down the side shows. The wood sticking out underneath is there to hold the bottom edges between the three pieces in place while I'm welding them and will be there until I get the inner door structure fabricated and in.
    [​IMG]
    The top pieces of the doors are very lightly tacked in place so I can step back to take a look at something:


    I've been wondering since the beginning of this, how much this one's roof crown was going to be accentuated when chopped, potentially exaggerating that "bald forehead" look. I've always liked what Cleatus did in his Body Tech: A Fool Chops at Home, so before I did the chop I measured up from the windshield base and drew a line across the top of the opening. When I still had the top separate from the body (seems like forever ago) I ran the saw up both sides of the opening while it was easy to get between the pieces... intending to raise the top of the windshield opening about an inch if necessary. Since I wasn't sure about the proportions compared with the side windows it all had to wait until I did the doors and is the reason I haven't done anything but basic work on the "A" pillars.
    [​IMG]


    I don't think it's disproportionate the way it is, but am still leaning towards lifting it a smidge. I've got time to consider it while working on both doors. Besides I can always blow it back apart just like the doors if I don't like it :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  7. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    Here's a video of putting the top of the passenger side door together.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
  8. Nice job, I missed all the previous updates, but it is looking good. I like the change to the wheelwell since you are going fenderless.
     
  9. GaryB
    Joined: Dec 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,529

    GaryB
    Member
    from Reno,nv

    coming around very nice,lookin good
     
  10. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    Now that the door is a single, solid unit again thoughts go towards cutting it free from the car and getting it on the saw horses to finish it up:
    [​IMG]


    Now I don't know about you guys, but when I brought this rusty hulk home on the trailer, the wife had an immediate reaction when she saw it.
    It was, "It needs to be chopped and you need to suicide the doors."

    Had it been left to me, I probably would have slipped the hinges in their existing pockets and moved forward thinking about rolling down the road when Summer comes. But before I go farther on cleaning up the door, I need to accomodate her wishes and put the hinges where they belong:
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    But look at the outer-most screw hole of the lower hinge in it's new location. Can't put a bolt in there... but there's plenty of room towards the back:
    [​IMG]


    So I take some pieces from the former extra door hinges:
    [​IMG]


    and use the jamb-side from the existing hinge and the longer door-side from one of the others to give me even more "reach" into the door for mounting.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
    kiwijeff likes this.
  11. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    Just a couple of bolts to check the fit and alignment before I commit to drilling more holes that may just need to be welded back in if I didn't get it right on the first try:
    [​IMG]


    And what do you know? It works!
    [​IMG]


    Now I can tear it down and spend some time sitting comfortably over it to get it all as nicey-nice as I can.

    To be clear, my metal work is nowhere near the calibre of some of what I've seen on this board. I'm not trying to make it out to be something that it isn't. This rod is being built without the use of hidden hinges or any other "kits". I want it to look as good as I can make it look with what I have... from my own garage, with my friends and with my own hands & my own tools, in my time away from my 'real' job so I can drive it around every day and make some runs down the track.

    Thanks for all the encouragement. It's greatly appreciated.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  12. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    It’s been a milder than anticipated Winter in Colorado and although I haven’t posted much about the ’36 lately, I’ve still been getting at it between everything else Life brings my way.
    [​IMG]


    I’ve got the driver’s suicide door mounted, but not to my liking. It would be an exaggeration to say the passenger side would bind a little when you attempted to fully close it. It was more that it would just pop itself back open about an inch when you let go of it. Keep in mind there are no latches installed yet, and a latch would hold it sufficiently closed, but I want it to swing cleanly through its full range of motion without encumbrances. I’ve left it as-is because I feel I’ve left myself enough adjustment in the hinge-mounting assembly to get it spot on.
    [​IMG]


    Armed with the results of the passenger side door, I set about stretching & reversing the driver’s side with some minor corrections in mind to alleviate having to fight with this one after it’s swinging. They didn’t work. It’s worse. This one was bad. Since my last writing I’ve mounted the door, taken it back off, made some fixes to my previously attempted built-in corrections, and re-installed the door to see that it’s closer but not right. It’s now about the same as the passenger side but it’s going to take more than a minor adjustment. I know what I need to do but I also wanted a break from it before pulling it all back apart again. I just didn’t want to stop working on the car.
    [​IMG]


    Once you stop working towards a goal, it can be very hard to get going again. Something will always come up to keep you from getting back on track but as long as you keep moving in the right direction, you’ll get closer with each step. Keep driving forward. Choose not to focus on anything that doesn’t get you there. Obstacles are what you see when you take your focus off your goals.

    So I moved around to the trunk. I’ve been needing to finish the floor back there ever since I did the channel. Lowering the body put the floor height up into the deck lid opening. When you opened the trunk you’d see under the floor to the frame. I didn’t want to cut the floor and slant it back to the bottom of the opening because there’s not only body mounts in the center of the back, but the gas tank also goes underneath and I want to leave full fuel capacity.
    [​IMG]


    The original space had a dip in the back with a couple of clamps bolted to the floor. They looked like they were used to secure the spare. I decided to deepen the stock dip and form it into a well. It’s solid, supports the old floor nicely, and is all-but-finished. I’ll be taking care of the last little bit of welding back there in the morning.
    [​IMG]


    This enjoyable little metal-bending diversion gave me the time to do a check-up from the neck up and get my attitude in line with the original undertaking while still moving the overall project in the right direction. Obviously the trunk needed to be finished at some point and now that it’s over I’ve got a fresh drive to tackle that door.
     
  13. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    After completing my trunk floor diverison, I got side-tracked by the back window reveal. It’s another area that I knew I’d get around to after wrapping up the bulk of the chop work and, since I was standing right there and had all the tools out, now was as good a time as any to get after it.
    [​IMG]


    It’s plain to see a little realignment was necessary between the upper and lower curves after removing the center few inches of the window. All that was required was to cut some slits so I could re-curve both sides gradually. Measuring from the chop line, I went back and forth from side to side, making alternate slits in the passenger’s and then the driver’s side and then back again to make the adjustments equal and without any kinks.
    [​IMG]


    Once I liked what I saw, I made a cardstock pattern of one side and checked it against the other before welding any of it together. This shot was taken with my phone after realizing I hadn’t taken any of the completed rear window. The placement of the car in the garage makes it difficult to get back far enough to take a straight on shot right now. I’m sure throughout the course of this project I’ll take some close-ups.
    [​IMG]


    In the ultimate attempt at procrastination, I started leading-in one of the seams created from stretching the door. I rationalized that it would be far easier to lay the lead while the door skin was horizontal instead of dealing with it once it was remounted vertically to the car. It would also be much more fun than going after the door hinges for the 3rd, 4th, or 5th time… I honestly forget. However, since the door bottom needs to be skinned, I could only go so far knowing that I’d just undo my own leadwork while welding if I’d brought it too close. So I stopped.
    [​IMG]


    Ultimately, I remounted the door and found the cause of the last bit of resistance to closing was not in the hinge alignment but due to interference between the inner door structure and the previous “B” pillar mounting location alongside the floor. I moved this a while ago when I lengthened the door opening. The fact that the channel caused the floor to be higher up on the door hid the impediment from plain view. It was little more than an hour’s work and the final problem was solved. ‘ gotta love an epiphany rush!


    But before I could re-skin the outside, I had to have something to re-skin to, and the inner structure wasn’t in much better shape at the bottom. All those year of having the drain holes plugged in the bottom didn’t help this one much so I fabb’ed a panel to give myself a starting point.
    [​IMG]


    The next order of business was to remove the offending area far enough back to get to good metal so I’d have something to weld to. This was no small task.
    [​IMG]


    Not so quick and easy to undo after 70+ years of exposure to the elements – not accounting for unknown time some PO may have garaged it after paying extra for the Master Deluxe version (La-dee’-dah). The outer skin and inner structure had physically become a single, corroded piece and required a good deal of time and patience to separate. It took some hours, a hammer & chisel, pliers, and periodic heat from the torch; but the pieces eventually separated.
    [​IMG]



    I tacked the newly formed piece in place and stopped to go watch one of my sons Little League practice. There will be more time for this later.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
  14. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    I’ve still been making time to work on the ’36 since the last writing. It's just not always so entertaining to read or write about doing the same things over on the other side:
    [​IMG]


    I’ve taken the door stretch one further and am now working on the lower outer skin. Anyone reading this who owns a slip roller could’ve had this done in the time it’s taken me to form the buck and I bet there's one or two in the Homemade Tool thread.

    The idea was to have something the same shape as the bottom of the door to form a new piece around.
    [​IMG]


    This is where I left off that night. I still had more forming to do before attaching it to the door but it was starting to get a little late for all the tin knocking so I stopped. Although not entirely visible in this pic, the bottom edge is folded over itself and will slip over the inner structure piece.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    I’ll be doing one for the driver’s side as well, but want to make sure everything works as planned before making two.
    [​IMG]


    With the door inside-up on a couple of saw horses, I hooked the lip of the new outer skin
    over the bottom edge of the interior panel and tacked it in place at the outermost edges.
    It’s worth noting here that I made the interior door structure flat and solid as you see it by
    design. The original was not so to begin with, but since the floor is now 3-1/4″ higher up
    the door from the bottom due to the channeling job, I’m thinking an upholstered panel won’t
    go as far down the door with it closed. Because the lower 5″-6″ of metal will be plainly
    visible whenever the door is open, I kept it relatively flat and intend for it to be painted
    only.
    [​IMG]


    A closer look from a reverse angle shows the channel for the
    weatherstripping that will seal the bottom of the door to the body’s sill
    plate. If you click on the image to enlarge it, you will also see the lip of
    the outer skin is wrapped over the edge of this channel. The overlap will
    be pinched closed along its entire length similar to the original.
    [​IMG]


    I then flipped the door over, outside-up and tacked the skin in place,
    spacing the welds far enough apart so as not to create any hot spots
    that would warp the sheetmetal as they cooled. There’s still plenty of
    work to be done here even after I finish welding everything already
    shown, including closing-off the original hinge pocket holes in the front of
    the door.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  16. Smokey2
    Joined: Jan 11, 2011
    Posts: 920

    Smokey2
    Member

    GREAT POST..................LQQKIN' GOOD !!!!



    smokey 2
     
  17. Orn
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,055

    Orn
    Member

    Nice work!
     
  18. FlynBrian
    Joined: Oct 5, 2007
    Posts: 759

    FlynBrian
    Member

    Nice Job! Gonna be a sweet ride!
     
  19. GaryB
    Joined: Dec 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,529

    GaryB
    Member
    from Reno,nv

    glad to see your back on it, taking this ole 36 to whole different level. don't see many sedans. your works looking good
     
  20. motoandy
    Joined: Sep 19, 2007
    Posts: 3,304

    motoandy
    Member
    from MB, SC

    amazing work and a huge undertaking. a big inspiration for us backyard builders. Thanks for sharing your journey.
     
  21. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    It was easy to reinforce the area behind the hinge, but since the third,
    outermost bolt would be through-bolted, I wanted to reinforce the outer area
    as well. I slid a 3/16" piece of flat steel that extends 3"-4" on either side into
    the opening:
    [​IMG]


    My concern was that had I not reinforced the area, the third bolt could've
    crushed this part of the door when tightened:
    [​IMG]


    Looking through the windshield to the passenger-side floor, you can see
    where the 4-door center post was and how the sill binds when you
    attempt to close the extended door that last inch:
    [​IMG]


    So I cut the sill, pulled it to where it needed to be, and welded it back up:
    [​IMG]


    And with that out of the way, I ended the evening with one solid, suicide
    door swinging and closing completely:
    [​IMG]


    Next up - Replace the rusted-out bottom of the drivers door, weld-up the
    old hinge holes, reinforce the new ones, finish the window channel, and
    get the other door back on:
    [​IMG]
     
  22. GaryB
    Joined: Dec 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,529

    GaryB
    Member
    from Reno,nv

    lost track of your thread,glad to see your still moving along.doors are looking good
     
  23. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    Now that the hinges are solidly mounted to the doors, it’s time to take the flex out of the other side of the equation, the “B” pillars.

    While a lot of builders will generally add square tube steel when the time comes to replace the wood originally used to stiffen these and other posts, I don’t think it’s obligatory to add all of that extra weight to gain the required strength. Similar to boxing a set of frame-rails, strength also comes from the shape of a beam, not simply from it’s thickness.

    However, boxing the pillar in this instance necessitated leaving access to the suicide door hinge mounting bolts:
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
  24. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    Looking from the front at the rear side windows, it’s easy to see how the
    body narrows towards the back in this area. When the car was a four-door,
    there used to be a post here that allowed two separate panes of flat glass to
    make the curve (one in the back door, one in the sail panel). With the post
    removed I have a couple of options: either find a piece of curved glass from
    some unknown donor vehicle that matches the contours of the body – or –
    adapt the body to allow a full length piece of flat glass… making it roll up and
    down would be a plus for the back seat passengers. ;)
    No brainer, right?
    [​IMG]


    The first order of business then was to form a straight extrusion for the
    bottom of the window that would fill-in the body’s curve. The piece will also
    have to serve as a mounting surface for the lower rubber window seal. It
    isn’t “over bent”. The top needs to be a little more than 90 degrees to the
    bottom to match the contours of the window surround. I made the piece long
    @ ~24″ and would cut it to length once I was ready for the installation.
    [​IMG]


    After getting that piece fitted and the corresponding curve up the back, I
    set about building the frame that will ultimately receive the side & upper
    window channel and incorporate a mounting surface for the interior trim. The
    bottom of the inside isn’t finished in this image, but it does show the exterior
    weatherstrip extrusion. The last 3 headliner bows are pushed out of the way,
    but they come down & will be secured to the frame with screwed-in clamps.
    [​IMG]


    By now I’ve bent and installed the balance of the opening’s bottom with it’s
    subsequent curves in the back. I plan on adding more sheetmetal under this
    to mount the regulator with an opening for the window to be installed &
    removed from the bottom channels. To make sure I leave sufficient access
    when adding that structure, I’ll cut-out a pattern for the window from thin
    wood or cardboard.
    [​IMG]


    I’ve left the actual 1/2″ x 1/2″ rear channel structure out from the back and
    intentionally didn’t bring the sheet metal all the way down here. The channel
    is 1/8″ thick & will adequately support itself. When complete, the upright
    channel will be screwed to the back with a mounting bracket holding its base
    to the wheelwell. If you’ve ever seen the inside of a car door, you’ll know
    what I’m doing.
    [​IMG]


    On to the other side...
     
  25. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    Like most of you I’ll generally sit and stare at a project car for a good, long while before I ever start cutting into it and this one was no different. Subsequently, I’ve had it in my mind to raise the top of the windshield before I ever made the first slice to chop the top. These body styles have quite a bit of curved metal above that opening, the proportions of which become exaggerrated when the lid is lowered… so much so that the “bald guy’s forehead“ phrase was coined to describe the look some time ago.
    [​IMG]


    Taking a styling cue from Cleatus' "A Fool Chops at Home" & the Hirohata Merc, I marked a one-inch span across the top of the windshield for removal. I had already initiated the vertical cuts along each side of the opening when the top was first removed from the car. I knew it would be a lot easier to start these cuts and get them straight (inside to out) with the center of the pillar readily exposed than to get it going from the middle after it’s all been welded back together. The eventual “going to cut back into all of it” was also the reason these posts have not been much more than tack-welded together until this time; and with the slits in place, it was an easy matter to slide the saw in now and keep going.
    [​IMG]



    A look from the inside shows the gussets supporting the upper corners. Since they were designed to connect the other structural grid-work, they’re much heavier gauge steel than the body sheetmetal and also thicker than most of the bent-to-shape metal that forms the underlying structure. These need to be cut free from the sides, allowed to lift with the rest of the upper windshield frame, and then tied back in. The intended cut-line in white, up the pillar and back through the side of the gusset, is more easily visible on the right post in the image.
    [​IMG]


    Now it’s just a simple matter of sliding the top up that magic 1″ with everything cut free. Since there’s no easy access to the back side of this line, I’ll be using a simple but effective trick I picked-up from Gene Winfield, creating a divot along the seam to keep the weld below the sanding/grinding surface. The only part that should require any real massaging is the peak in the center.
    [​IMG]


    Although it was the best place to make the cut for the rest of the alignment, removing the inch here required the removal of some the peak’s gradiant fade. Small matter. We’ll either build this detail back in to match the original or smooth it out altogether… whichever I decide I like best when I step back from it and look at it again for a while. [​IMG]


    I still have to make, fit, and install the two little pieces to fill the resultant side gaps but they’re best left for my next set of days off.
    [​IMG]



    As you might imagine, the video shows a little more.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
  26. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    Having finished raising the windshield opening to adjust the proportions from the chop, I was about to move around to the back and go after the last of the major cutting and welding: namely re-doing the rear wheelwell openings. To refresh, the originals fenders swept back in a classic fashion that was very fitting for the time and style of the vehicle but not at all suited to the look of a fenderless hot rod IMHO.

    But on my way around to the back, I got caught-up in the ugliness of the floor’s inner sills. The dark part under the fresh(er) metal is not the car’s frame. It is the original piece, lowered when I added metal between the top and bottom during the channel. They looked better before (at least to my eyes), but at some point during the build I had to slice ‘em and put them back together. Later, I cut each one vertically in a couple of spots because of troubles already mentioned with lengthing the doors and moving the posts. All of this work and re-work left me with something that I thought would be better off being replaced… so I did.
    [​IMG]


    I cut the old ones out and threw them in the bucket where they belonged. Then I measured, cut, and bent some new ones out of fresh sheet. It’s nothing that anybody here couldn’t do with basic hand tools and the edge of a bench as their brake.
    [​IMG]


    Same thing - Passenger Side:
    [​IMG]


    And one from the top:
    [​IMG]
     
  27. GaryB
    Joined: Dec 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,529

    GaryB
    Member
    from Reno,nv

    like what you did with the windshield opening,it'll help with the overall look of the chop.glad to see your still at it ,alot of work and thought going into this ole sedan.keep-on keepin-on
     
  28. carlover60
    Joined: Nov 29, 2011
    Posts: 21

    carlover60
    Member

    Thanks for the pictorial progress! I bought a '37 5 window last May and I can appreciate more what the guy I bought it from had to go through with building the car. There is not as much sheet metal work on it but I can see how much TLC and sweat goes into a build after looking at yours!
     
  29. Dan in Canada
    Joined: Nov 21, 2012
    Posts: 83

    Dan in Canada
    Member

    I just have to say that this is one of the most brilliant chops I've ever seen. You must have studied that body for DAYS, figuring out where all the cuts had to go.

    Fantastic job!!!
     
  30. Woob
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 353

    Woob
    Member
    from Falcon, CO

    I appreciate all the motivation. Although the temps here have just recently come out of the single digits, progress continues.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015

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