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Getting your head around a chop....

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by dabirdguy, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. dabirdguy
    Joined: Jun 23, 2005
    Posts: 2,404

    dabirdguy
    Member Emeritus

    Having never done a chop before I'm still having a bit of trouble gettin my head around what has to be cut and where on a '55 Merc Wagon.

    The guys on Metalmeet want to slice and dice the roof
    (you may need to register there to see this) per their photo shop chops:
    http://www.metalmeet.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13368

    [​IMG]

    My old friend Choprods is of the opinion that the roof can be dropped intact by slanting the rear pillars forward.

    Has anyone used a plastic scale model to "try" their chop? There is one here:
    [​IMG]

    That comes with all the inside goodies. The model costs $75.00 but if the concepts are made clear nad it really works that is money well spent.

    Opinions?

    Glenn
     
  2. The best way I've found is to enlarge a photograph and go after it with sissors. It gives you a very accurate idea of what will need to be done. From looking at your picture, I too would drop it straight down and slant the rear and center posts as needed.
     
  3. Ghost28
    Joined: Nov 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,193

    Ghost28
    Member

    I chopped a 51 merc 4 door, that was rough. And I think there will be a lot more to it than slanting the rear pillers on your car. if you had another roof it would be helpfull. cause when it goes down the top section will be narrower in width and shorter in length. I am not fond of angling the pillers to fit the upper roof cause of the work involved, or the look afterwards. the other point is the windshield, if not done right it will never fit and you will be stuck using plastic. :( Your wagon is really nice. that's why I am piping up about this. I used to look at a car I hadn't done before, with all the lines taped off for about three weeks. Constantly changing my mind and retaping. This worked for me and the chops came out good. Have fun with it...John
     
  4. dabirdguy
    Joined: Jun 23, 2005
    Posts: 2,404

    dabirdguy
    Member Emeritus


    Yes that would work similar to the above, but it is limited to two dimensions.

    Exactlly! that's what I'm trying to get my head around. And yes, I do have an extra complete wagon roof. I may live dangerously, but I usually have a backup plan..LOL.
     

  5. dabirdguy
    Joined: Jun 23, 2005
    Posts: 2,404

    dabirdguy
    Member Emeritus

    Oh, and by-the-way...the C pillars don't matter because this will be turned into a 2-door sedan delivery.
     
  6. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

    We did both of these things. My brother took a good side photo and made a black and white "pencil" type drawing on his computer (he's a cad cam/math modeler) and figured out the scale. Then cut the pics up with scissors, dropped and streched the roof with cut outs. Went through a whole roll of 4 inch masking tape over the course of 2 weeks before we took the sawzall to our 48 ford f-6. We like it.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

    Another good point. We had to quarter the f-6 roof cause it got wider and longer. It takes alot of carefull planning and measuring.
     
  8. Quartering the roof is not bad, if your working with straight glass, but on these curves windshields, you may want to opt on 'keeping the windshield width' the exact same as original or leaning the A posts in rather than making the roof wider. No matter what, keep your plan involving the original windshield......and cutting it down to fit..........not designing a wider windshield....thus ending with a chopped car no-one can make a windshield for. And that car forever setting without a windshield. Carl Hagan
     
  9. temper_mental
    Joined: Oct 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,718

    temper_mental
    Member
    from Texas

    I have chopped a few cars I would steer clear of that car due to the front glass. My 2 cents
     
  10. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,082

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    wrap your head around the windshield first.
     
  11. Ghost28
    Joined: Nov 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,193

    Ghost28
    Member

    The pillers of a sedan delivery of that year are exposed, or the panels are inset. I believe they will come into play if you are looking for period correct conversion. And also when you add metal to the top as in quartering. Yes the top will get wider across the windshield area but if the glass is cut straight across the top. then ground to fit. the top portion of glass left will be wider also and fit the new opening, if done correctly. I believe this car can be cut and look right if not chopped too much...John

    p.s. Yes figure the windshield out first
     
  12. dabirdguy
    Joined: Jun 23, 2005
    Posts: 2,404

    dabirdguy
    Member Emeritus

    The windshield issue is why I was contemplating buying the model.
    I have 2 good stock windshields to play with, plus a busted one to practice cutting on.
    The geometery of what changes as you roll that whindshield is the issue I'm having mind games with.
     
  13. temper_mental
    Joined: Oct 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,718

    temper_mental
    Member
    from Texas

    The issue with me is that I would drive the car after I finished all the modifications and with my luck or lack of I would get a rock chip right away. I have replaced my new truck glass 3 times and it has a crack in it now. Good luck with that rap around glass
     
  14. Ghost28
    Joined: Nov 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,193

    Ghost28
    Member

    Imagine if you left your windshield in and brought your top straight down over the top of it. Now think about cutting you windshield across the top. Because of the windshield angle the cut will come down and move towards the front of the car. Now keep in mind that the top has gone straight down. So you will have to lenghten the roof over the windshield to catch up with the slope of your cut windshield. Not a bad idea cause you have an extra top. Or grind the glass on the outside edge or sides, and roll it back to recieve the top. The problem with grinding the glass on the sides is it will shorten towards the center of the windshield because of it's slope, and prolly wont fit side to side once you have cut enough out. Lot to think about Huh? but thinking about it now might mean not doing it twice...Good luck ...John
     
  15. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,452

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Just thin the crown above the driprail. Thats all many 50s cars need in my opinion.
     
  16. First, get photoshop.

    Second, get a nice big profile picture of the car.

    Third, the model would look better on a shelf.

    Fourth, play with the photoshop.

    Fifth, get out the sawzall and go to town.

    Sixth, Don't overcomplicate it, use your head.
     
  17. pimpin paint
    Joined: May 31, 2005
    Posts: 4,937

    pimpin paint
    Member
    from so cal

    Hey,

    I don't boleve you can solve this chop problem by tilting the A posts inboard! The oem windshield's outer side areas at the A posts can't be reduced! If the cutdown windshield doesn't sit exactly dead center in the flange off the pinch weld, all the way around the glass opening, the glass will break! If not shortly after it's installed, shortly thereafter! One of the major drawbacks with ''dog leg'' windshields is that you must plan the chop so the pressure on the cutdown windshield is even all around the opening. If you don't and the body flexes or twists, something an old conventional frame is gonna do, you'll break or spit the glass.

    Swankey Devils C.c.
    "Spending A Nation Into Generational Debt Is Not An Act Of Compassion!"
     
  18. RodStRace
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,612

    RodStRace
    Member

    How about you get the windshield cut first, then build the metal around it?
    You have 2 tops, so you can cut one WS frame slightly to the right, the other slightly to the left and have all the metal you need.
     
  19. Just a few things that could help. I just cut the windshield on a chopped 55 crown victoria. and have a 57 lincoln in the shop right now.
    the 55 was only cut 2 inches and was a simple job. the Lincoln is cut 4 inches and is ten times harder.
    you probably know 55-56 ford and mercs use the same windshields. the wagon windshields are 2 inches taller than the hardtops. if you start with a hard top windshield you get the first 2 inches free. another 1 1/2 to 2 inches will be fairly simple.
     
  20. James Maxwell
    Joined: May 6, 2006
    Posts: 549

    James Maxwell
    Member
    from So-Cal

    Great ideas to use PhotoShop and plastic resins --- best of luck on the project!
     
  21. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,954

    chopolds
    Member
    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Don't rely on photoshopping, or plastic models to plan you chop. Use them for a rough idea of what it will look like, but when it comes down to brass tacks, Measure, measure, measure! Those "handy helpers" will NOT help you when it comes to fitting up the windshield, how much you might need to lean the glass back, how much you will come up short just above the bottom of the A piilars, how much to widen the roof, etc.
    Wraparounds are the toughest chops to do. Do 90% of your planning around fitting up the windshield. DO NOT change the shape of the opening to fit the lowered roof...no tilting A pillars, or leaning posts in! You can't bend the glass to fit!
    I've done a bunch of wraparounds. Weld in a support just below where you make your A piilar cut. You don't want this shape to change. You WILL have to widen the roof slightly (if you go with a conservative chop), but you might get away with just slitting the roof back about 12-18 in. on each side, just where the roof flattens out. Then add wedges to widen it to where it needs to be. After you get the roof tacked in, be sure you fit up the glass. Make a template, even if you have to do it in fiberglass, to keep the curvature, and cut it to fit, and see where you have any problem areas. Then work the metal to fit the glass, you can't do it the other way.
    If you get all the metalwork right, you still have the problem of cutting the curved glass. That's an entire new post!
    Getting the stainless to fit is another issue, not as abad as the curved windshield, but still takes some finesse, and a TIG to weld up the stainless.
    The side glass, and the rest of the roof shouldn't be too hard.
     
  22. Circus Bear
    Joined: Aug 10, 2004
    Posts: 3,237

    Circus Bear
    Member

    That is going to look great chopped. That glass will be a bitch though. Grab the Tex SMith Choppin top's book. They discuss sinking winshields there. That may alllow you to not have to cut the windshield, and you can hide the wipers (if you like that look) since they
    get sunk also.

    Edit: I just saw Chopolds replied while I was typing. He rules. Hey Chop, whats you opinion on sinking windshields?
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
  23. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,954

    chopolds
    Member
    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Edit: I just saw Chopolds replied while I was typing. He rules. Hey Chop, whats you opinion on sinking windshields?[/QUOTE]

    Personally, I don't like them. In any area that has rain, and such, I can see it developing problems. Maybe not in Socal, but anywhere else. The sinking is not the issue, it's how do you reseal it up and have it STAY sealed? I know they cut the gaskets, and use sealer, but I can't see it lasting very long in changing weather conditions. Maybe for a "show car", but not one that's going to be driven a lot. And if you even had to take the glass out, it may be tricky with all that sealing going on, as well. How about water laying in the pocket rotting it out? Even with drains built in, I can see problems. And a lot of cars use the gasket to keep the stianless trim in place. That might be a problem.
    Just too many issues for me!
     
  24. Circus Bear
    Joined: Aug 10, 2004
    Posts: 3,237

    Circus Bear
    Member

    Very good points Chop. Thanks for the info. I'm not a big fan of the look either, but it seemed like an easy way to get around the glass cutting. After seeing you response it appears that this type of shortcut (like most shortcuts) will most likely bite you in the ass later.
     
  25. Did I misunderstand Chops reply....."no tilting a pillars, no leaning a pillars in" but then.......later down the paragraph.........'you may have to tilt the windshield back'

    so.......then this would be moving the A pillars, eh??? Carl Hagan

    Or are you saying leave the A pillar put, and somehow tilt the windshield inbetween the A pillars without moving, leaning, tilting the A pillars.
     
  26. No laying the pillars back, just the glass.
    if you look at the glass from the side. the line of the windshield follows the roof as you lower it angle of the windshield changes on wrap around windshields you will take more off the bottom corners than off the top.
    this 57 lincoln that I'm doing right now is chopped 4 inches on the A pillar. I'm taking about 2 3/4 inches off the bottom corners and about 1 1/2 inches off the top.
    I photo shoot this whole job and post it as I go
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
  27. Frosty21
    Joined: Jan 25, 2007
    Posts: 958

    Frosty21
    Member
    from KY

    Just turn the windshield upside down, and build a roof to suit.;)
     
  28. Models are a great way to go. Just heat up a knife with a lighter and cut it like buttah. Then you can melt some scrap plastic to the thing to stick it all back together. Then just sand her down. I do it all the time. I am currently doing it to a '37 Ford but I have to fab my own pillers for it.
     
  29. once again if you pick up a 56 ford merc HARDTOP windshield which is 2 inches shorter than the wagon/sedan windshield you can chop the wagon close to 4 inches without taking any off the top. just have to trim the bottom corners to lay it back to meet the lower roof
     

    Attached Files:

  30. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,230

    19Fordy
    Member

    Is there a way you could just cut (section) the a little top above the drip rail so as to reduce the crown in the roof? Leave everything else the same.
     

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