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Replace body wood with steel?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Leviman, Jul 19, 2013.

?
  1. Wood frame

    32 vote(s)
    16.7%
  2. Steel frame

    112 vote(s)
    58.3%
  3. Hybrid Wood/Steel frame

    48 vote(s)
    25.0%
  1. nitrohemi
    Joined: Nov 19, 2006
    Posts: 135

    nitrohemi
    Member

    I am working on a 26 chrysler 4 door sedan. it has a lot of wood. most is in very good shape. I am welding the panels together ther were nailed to wood. I am keeping the orignal wood floor and original wood top. any wood that will be seen is goign to get sanded and stained. chopping it is going to be difficult but just needs planned out. the back of the front seat is shaped much like a t buckt or touring back so that has to stay as it supports the center door posts but that is just something to work with when its finished
     
    biggeorge likes this.
  2. hotrod40coupe
    Joined: Apr 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,562

    hotrod40coupe
    Member

    I guess I am just too old school but I think wood is the way to go. That's where the soul of the car lives. Steel is O.K. for a fiberglass car but not a steel body.
     
  3. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,225

    Ned Ludd
    Member

  4. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 8,762

    mgtstumpy
    Member

    I redid the wood in my 35 Chevy, nice and tight. I had help from a shop fitter who did fitouts all the in time in timber so he knew what he was doing. Only 4 non original holes in body sub-frame for seat belt bosses. Doors hang and close perfectly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  5. txturbo
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,771

    txturbo
    Member

    Your gonna hate a wood structure if ever involved in an accident. I would replace the wood in every case except a restoration.


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  6. ezdusit
    Joined: May 10, 2008
    Posts: 246

    ezdusit
    Member

    I chose to retain and restore the wood structure in my '32 Plymouth roadster. The day may come when someone wants to restore the car back to original. I want to preserve as much as I can to make that possible. As far as, "Given that and the necessary information I don't understand how it isn't obvious that wooden-framed coachwork must be easier to reconstruct than pressed-steel," I disagree. There are very few pieces in the original structure that aren't compound curved on one facet or another. They are a bitch to reproduce and install.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Normbc9
    Joined: Apr 20, 2011
    Posts: 1,122

    Normbc9
    Member

    This '32 had a wood problem. I replaced it with a steel all thread rod. The A, B and C posts plus the drown cap too. Then I fashioned a rod for the dash topper. It was a bit of work but certainly less expensive than replacement wood. Three year now and no troubles.
    Normbc9
     

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  8. I've done a few of the chevies of the 20s and early 30s , I have taken all the wood out , And I used 1x1 in the outer edges , and used 1/2 x1/2 in the substructures , The 1x can be shaped with common sense , and a vise , or placed on a 2x4 and stepped on, the 1/2 x1/2 can be bent over one's knee , I used the smaller with a little tar paper cushioning behind the compound curves , I have had no complaints , Joe
     
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  9. Hyde_Auto_Body
    Joined: Sep 10, 2009
    Posts: 87

    Hyde_Auto_Body
    Member

    My shop's wrapping up a '29 Pontiac 3 window coupe. When we received the body it was just a pile of sheetmetal. All the wood had been removed. The car was destined to be a street/strip car so we made a complete inner skeleton that also doubled as a roll cage.
     
    biggeorge likes this.
  10. I chose to replace the wood with steel as there was no usable wood left. I used sheet steel to replicate the wood in some places and 1" X 1" square tubing. No blue prints so I did what I was most comfortable with.
     

    Attached Files:

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  11. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,317

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    These are terrible photos but they show the wood work Dad did for his Auburn cabriolet.

    Piecing together the patterns of the old wood:

    [​IMG]

    A majority of the wood completed withotu its metal skin:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Finished after 12 years of work:

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,317

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    He had to piece the wood together, because when he bought the body, it was in a pile like this.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Wood rots. Wood breaks. Wood splinters. Steel generally bends.. it rots, too, but you can always weld more in. I'm thinking if I'm going to drive the car on the street and I'm not worried about a correct restoration, I want the steel.
     
    biggeorge likes this.
  14. Gotta agree with Fred here. Steels safer imho.
     
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  15. Christom
    Joined: Nov 3, 2011
    Posts: 217

    Christom
    Member

    I wanted to keep my "traditional build" car as intact as possible - part of the old-school way I was looking to replicate. Luckily the '30-'31 Ford coupes used a lot more steel construction in places than many other cars so I was fortunate in that respect. No wood in the doors at all and not that much of the body either. With only the roof and door pillars really having any amount of wood it was an easy decision for me to retain the original wood construction with this car. I was also thinking about the look of the unlined interior of the car and keeping it traditional meant steel was never really on the cards for this one. Besides not much body twisting power coming out of the old flatty V8 anyway!
    If I was to build a full-on high powered street rod I would steel it out a bit more for sure - but that original Model-A frame would be the biggest worry and the first thing to upgrade for strength! I really hope not to have a crash in it all the same! :(
     
  16. Well that depends. Do I wanna keep it as original as when it left the factory? How often would I drive it? Am I reselling it?
    If it were going to be a daily driver, I think I would replace the wood with steel. Maybe hybrid, I wouldn't see why however. If it's just a sunday cruiser or something, I think i would keep to the wood. Would have to be very good strong wood though...
    Yes, people drove around with them daily at one time, but everyone had a wooden frame. You put wood up against several tons of plastic and steel, I think you might have a bit of a problem there...now I can see why people don't drive pre 1940s vehicles every day. Gotta be careful with the idiots on the road today. Been in an accident before, and it hurt. Lady looking at her GPS hit me and my grandmother head on on the driver side. I wasn't even driving. But it sure stirred me up and taught me that driving is no joke, do what you need to do to remain safe.
     
  17. Bugatti coupe for inspiration, a Chevy coupe replacement wood kit, and a Chevy coupe with replacement steel. The kits are expensive and as mentioned earlier, lots of compound pieces. Good luck.
     

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  18. heatnbeat
    Joined: Jan 6, 2009
    Posts: 184

    heatnbeat
    Member
    from Madera,Ca.

    I have a 1933 Chevy 5 window and remove ALL THE WOOD! I replaced it with tubing and bent channel. Using a stretcher and shrinker I bent the channel to the configuration I needed!
     
  19. weps
    Joined: Aug 1, 2008
    Posts: 534

    weps
    Member
    from auburn,IN

    My Auburn had no wood in it when I got it. I am not a carpenter, and did not want to have to buy wood working tools for this one project. Steel tubing and fabricated parts have gotten it back together. After the interior is done, who would know?

    ** mine is not a cabriolet /\ like the posts above. having an open car like that, and its' value when finished would have me learning how to do wood!
     
    biggeorge likes this.
  20. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,113

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Trust me, I have tried every possible combination of settings. No matter what I try, I simply cannot get a good bead on wood. No matter the amperage, I just set it on fire. Anybody else having this problem? Anybody having any luck?
     
    biggeorge likes this.
  21. Greg in Jax
    Joined: Jun 27, 2010
    Posts: 209

    Greg in Jax
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Gas weld with wood rod.
     
  22. trbomax
    Joined: Apr 19, 2012
    Posts: 289

    trbomax
    Member

    I know this is not an option in the OP but the wood turned to crap in my 28 chev after 3 years of being subjected to a sbc and weekly runs at the strip. My choice was to replicate the entire car,inside and out with fiberglass. What I have is a one piece glass body shell with a glass molded inner structure that duplicated the wood. Same with the doors,deck lid and all 4 fenders and splash pans. Haveing to build all the molds was very labor intense,but worth it to me.An x member boxed frame was part of the build in '62 as well.
     
  23. ago
    Joined: Oct 12, 2005
    Posts: 2,199

    ago
    Member
    from pgh. pa.

    One of the reasons so few GM cars survived compared to Ford and Mopar was because of the wood.



    Ago
     
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  24. ModStock
    Joined: Oct 12, 2013
    Posts: 3

    ModStock
    Member
    from So. utah

    Hi. New here . I searched and found this about wood to steel .
    Well I picked up a 30's GM and looking for ideas/advice on how to do the doors .
    The wood in mine is shot and want to do it once in steel. While im in there
    i'll have to make some patch panels for the rust at the bottom.
    I have the skills/tools for welding but wondering whats works without making it too heavy .
     
  25. In my case, I planned to make some changes to the cab, plus add a sleeper. I am more comfortable working with metal, so it was a simple choice. As you can see, there was quite a bit of steel in the original structure
     

    Attached Files:

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  26. ModStock
    Joined: Oct 12, 2013
    Posts: 3

    ModStock
    Member
    from So. utah

    THIS is just what I was thinking of at least for the sides of the doors.
    For the window surrounds/frame I may have to use square tubing to give the trim pieces something screw to and some 1/8th " flat plate across the door for the window crank assembly and lower door.

    A guy near my work can cut 1/8" plate with a laser.

    My other question is . Should I pull the door off and start tacking the frame in and then install the door and have it closed so I can weld the rest in ??? To retain its shape .
     
  27. Roger Walling
    Joined: Sep 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,149

    Roger Walling
    Member

    When this thread started, I thought that steel would be the obvious winner. After all, this in not The Antique Auto Club of Americia.

    This is traditional HAMB, get out the cutting tourch and coathangers and put it together!

    I can duplicate anything made out of wood, faster, stronger, lighter (or heaveier) out of steel that will withstand termites, rollovers, and squeaks.

    Wood is for outhouses and boats (a very good thing for something that has to float) but I don't want my seat belt brackets made out of it.
     
    biggeorge likes this.
  28. Heck Roger,,Wood is traditional

    Noah built the ark out of wood,the Trojan's built the horse with wood and Henry Ford used wood.:D

    All joking aside,I don't think wood is good with all the cars especially the early chevys,,my Deuce still has all the original wood and it's still as hard as steel. HRP
     
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  29. ModStock
    Joined: Oct 12, 2013
    Posts: 3

    ModStock
    Member
    from So. utah

     
  30. I am in the same boat right now, I picked up a 60C body(Steelback fordor) and the wood is gone but the steel is good.
    I am wondering what about using the subrails from a tudor and then modifying them to work for the rear door and B pillar? Or just build it from scratch...
     

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