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Projects What do i do with the rear hatch on my 56 station wagon?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bruce Fischer, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. It looks like the rear on the car must of been sticking out of the shed or barn while in 20 years of storage because thats where the rust is.I took off the rear top of the hatch for rust repair{i do body work} but i dont have a break to make the bend for the lower part of the hatch.I took it to a metal fabcator and he wanted $800.Way out of my buget! just to repair the bottom of the hatch .Any one have any ideas what do do on this repair? Thanks Bruce.:cool:

    Attached Files:

  2. treb11
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,424


    You might have better luck posting in the WTB section and on for a replacement

    posted via smoke signals made with a Mexican blanket
  3. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 5,821


    Not likely to find a Buick liftgate on fordbarn! :)
  4. spooler41
    Joined: Feb 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,099


    If I were you, I'd spend some time shopping around for a more reasonable fabricator.
    Thats way too much for a patch panel.

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  5. RoadkillCustoms
    Joined: Jul 10, 2008
    Posts: 270

    from Mesa, AZ

    You don't have a brake, but do you have a welder? If so, scoot down to your local metal supply and grab some 18 gauge. Most metal supplys will be able to brake a quick fold into it for just a few more bucks. Leave the pinch weld on the hatch, but aggressively wire wheel the rust off/out of it. Cut the hatch leaving some metal to weld to (leaving factory bends and creases where possible) and slowly stitch weld the piece into place...
  6. Peanut 1959
    Joined: Oct 11, 2008
    Posts: 1,827

    Peanut 1959

    Didn't you know? Every rod and custom ever built is a Ford! ;)

    Peanut 1959
    OT Studebaker Lark VI
  7. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,656

    from California

    first thing I'd do is take the glass out and get the tailgate glass bead blasted inside and out.

    I have to wonder what the hourly rate is of the guy who wants $800.00 to do it?
  8. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,106

    Rusty O'Toole

    I have made many bent and folded patch panels without a brake. All you need is a good work bench and a couple of pieces of angle iron. Old bed frames will do.

    Clamp the angle iron to the edge of the work bench, the bottom piece pointing down, the top piece pointing up. Clamp the sheet metal between them. Vice Grip body clamps are handy but you can do it with big C clamps if you have to.

    Now the secret part. You bend the metal down with a hammer but you don't use a steel hammer, use a hard rubber mallet. It will bend the metal down without creases or dimples.

    Secret # 2 don't try to bend it all at once. If you are going 90 degrees, do it in 3 or 4 stages. Start at one end, tap the end down a little, work your way to the other end bending the whole length down the same amount. Now start over at the beginning and bend it a little more. The second pass should have it about 45 degrees. Do a third pass and a 4th. You can finish by using a body hammer and dolly to make the flange perfectly straight.

    No doubt a brake is faster and better but you can do just as nice a bend if you take your time.

    Secret #3, make a test piece. Cut a scrap of metal about 6" long and the width of the piece you want to make, and try your bends. It may take a couple of tries to figure out exactly where to put the bends, how to do them, and even how much metal you need. You see every bend eats up some of the width of the metal, about the thickness of the metal for every bend.

    There is a knack to it, once you make a few dozen parts it will come natural to you.
  9. Thanks for the in put you guys.Bruce.
  10. I'd call Flat Top Bob if I needed one. 800 798 2581 :cool:
  11. Rusty O'Toole have the most things covered, but i just want to add that some pieces of wood and clamps can be easier for a first time metal shaper, if you don have clamps, you can screw the wood at both ends with the sheet between, then use even pressure with a board, and hammer on the board for a finishing touch, works with round watshmacallits too!
    Metalworking is an art, but bending it, is simple!
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2014
  12. If it were mine the first thing I would do is take the glass out before it gets broke,then I would sandblast the hatch.

    If nothing else the big box stores sell pre-bent angle sheet metal and and you could take a zip wheel and cut the rusty metal out and weld in the sheet metal. HRP
  13. Ok guys just to let you know i did take the glass out .Dang the glass is heavier than then reach hatch. lol.I am going to blast it.The metal guy said if i cut the metal out with the right measurments {i am going to leave a little extra on for welding}He would make me a piece for about $75 bucks that sound a lot better doesnt it? Thanks Bruce.
  14. Poh
    Joined: Apr 17, 2007
    Posts: 266

    from Quincy,Ca.

    Sounds like you have it figured out, I was gonna suggest to go to the high school, one of them kids in metal shop love showing off their skills, prolly for a six pack of sodas.

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  15. MP&C
    Joined: Jan 11, 2008
    Posts: 2,259


    Last edited: Apr 17, 2014

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