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Projects When building the early Fords & GM's are you keeping the wood or replacing it with steel?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HOTRODPRIMER, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. I know the wood kit's are available for most Fords and probably most Chevy's, I remember my pal Mike building a 1932 Chevy and the wood kit cost him twice what he paid for the car.

    I've noticed a lot of guys using metal in recent years. HRP
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN and nochop like this.
  2. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 14,558

    from oregon

    My mom told about getting firewood from old cars in the thirties and fortys in South Dakota, they would always go for the Chevys first because they had more wood in them.
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN, nochop and 2 others like this.
  3. error404
    Joined: Dec 11, 2012
    Posts: 285

    from CA

    I'm fortunate enough to have found a driving chevy truck with a (not original) wood interior. But I can't wait to replace the wood with metal :) It's probably more of a psychological thing than anything, but I'd rather have metal. That will be this winter's project. Replace the wood with metal, and put INSULATION in there, haha! It's kinda loud.

    Even though the wood isn't original, it's starting to fall apart, probably due to how much I drive the truck. Screws and nails keep backing out, and it's squeaks and rattles a lot. Probably doesn't help that the roads in my neighborhood are pretty rough, and I cross rough train tracks every day. I don't have a garage to park it in, and it's already getting below 40 most nights, and above 90 during the days. I'm sure the temperature swing doesn't help either.
  4. mlagusis
    Joined: Oct 11, 2009
    Posts: 1,021


    I have a 31 Chevy sedan and most of the wood is gone. I am almost done with the suspension work and will then conquer the body and new steel structure.
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.

  5. 8flat
    Joined: Apr 2, 2006
    Posts: 1,379


    I know a guy that build a '33 chevy, kept the wood and replaced what was needed. After a few yrs on the road it started settling and bowing the floorboards, to the point his doors wouldn't line up. Sad deal, it was a gorgeous car with very nice paint.
    I'd go with steel where it's structural, and if you want to have some wood for nostalgia sake keep some of the wood in non-critical areas.
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  6. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,989

    anthony myrick

    wood sux
    I plan on welding my next house together
  7. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,811


    My '29 Steelback project started with the rear section, I collected the doors and cowl, a wood kit would have been around $2,500. Think the top was an additional cost. I decided to buy a 1931 Ford Slantwindow 4Door body (ALL STEEL) and swap the '29 Cowl & rear section. Good idea, just lost interest in the project. Bob
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  8. No wood left in my 34 coupe body. I fabricated a lot of the back glass/trunk hinge/ rain tray structure and used a 36 ford coupe roll-down back window......they were all steel.
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  9. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,027

    from California

    if I had one I would do the wood. many moons ago I went to look at a 30 or so Chevrolet flatbed truck. all original never a repaint. the wood was rotten and all the panels were about to fall off. I would have bought it but it was a big one ton and too big for the space I had at the time.

    interesting way to build a truck cab that's for sure.
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  10. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 1,849

    oldiron 440

    At my age I'll take all the wood I can come up with....:)
    Blue One, ladyhrp, HotRod33 and 6 others like this.
  11. I replaced all the wood in my Briggs Body, 1929 Ford cabriolet with new wood. It was quite a job, but I am happy with the results. Building a metal substructure to hang the sheet metal onto would not be easy if you expect good fits. With wood you can creep up to a good fit by shaving the wood 1/100” at a time in just the locations where needed.
  12. nunattax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2011
    Posts: 2,473


    id go for wood. cant replace the smell of wood or leather.its the dark art to many but after 30 plus years im getting the hang of working with it.
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  13. AngleDrive
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 898

    from Florida

  14. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,027

    from California

    HOT ROD people build cars from complete junk that would have been scrapped 30 years ago and seem baffled by wood, which baffles me. wood is a very forgiving medium to work with.

    I graduated High School with a Masters Degree in woodshop, so maybe I am special.
  15. For me wood is good.


    And the steel is real

    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  16. Al, the diagram drives home the reason this type of cars building style was called coach works. HRP
  17. On my current '30 A project the original wood was toast , so I went with a roof wood kit by Classic Wood in Greensboro NC. By doing so , it located my "B" pillars correctly. I've used Brookville subframes and they were not drilled for door post attachment. Made it a whole lot easier to hang the quarters and tulip panel also... Kit was spot-on as far as bolt holes ,bracket holes fitting, etc. Saved me a ton of time ..
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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  18. primed34
    Joined: Feb 3, 2007
    Posts: 1,127


    Still have wood in my '34 Chevy coupe.
  19. nochop
    Joined: Nov 13, 2005
    Posts: 2,003

    from norcal

    I’m leaving the wood, still nice and tight
  20. Using she will out last you !
    ladyhrp likes this.
  21. WB69
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,545


    I've done both. Even done a mixture of wood and metal in one. Like the metal better when said and done though. Just my opinion.
  22. 3W JOHN
    Joined: Oct 8, 2015
    Posts: 828

    3W JOHN

    I used wood in my T touring.
    nunattax, ladyhrp and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  23. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,675

    from Colorado


    Cab is extended 6-1/2”, so I used individual pieces from Bert’s in Denver and created the rest out of white oak.
    Lil32, ladyhrp, 3W JOHN and 1 other person like this.
  24. That looks great, do you have any more views? HRP
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  25. When I bought my 34 roadster one of the most appealing parts to me was the wood was original and beautiful. The owner before me removed all the wood, chemically stripped the body and reinstalled it. It's still in the car.

    EFD40194-0940-43E7-9DC2-9F2FFB9DE458.jpeg DB7302C2-65B5-499A-8117-8A1993546B21.jpeg 197A7106-BEB7-4FCE-AF8C-9A2C474E1670.jpeg BAB985DD-697A-4DA0-B96B-6F77AA592133.jpeg
    biggeorge, GuyW, Lil32 and 10 others like this.
  26. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,675

    from Colorado


    I was able to massage the roof profile by making my own patterns
    burl, GuyW, Lil32 and 3 others like this.
  27. jaw22w
    Joined: Mar 2, 2013
    Posts: 1,180

    from Indiana

    My 1926 Model T coupe had surprisingly little, at least to me, wood in it. Only wood is the rear and quarter windows for garnish attachment and the top. I chose to go with reproduction wood. I never messed with A's much, but I think they had more wood than the '26-'27 T's.
    ladyhrp, 3W JOHN and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  28. Richard Head
    Joined: Feb 19, 2005
    Posts: 513

    Richard Head

    I've built four 32 ford 3 windows two of which, had wood reinforcement and two with the steel structure. The cars that stayed with the wood were fairly nice uncut original bodies, the others were chopped, one I had unchanneled from a previous abortion and the other had been hit hard at some point. I resisted doing the steel on the first one, but the owner insisted on it. It was really easy to get everything aligned and people that have ridden in it say that it feels a lot more solid than wood reinforced 3 windows they have driven.

    The wood in my 33 ford 3 window was gone when I bought it. They also torched out the brackets where the wood attaches to the subrails. The body half of the door hinges were gone and the door half were in bad shape. I intended to reinstall wood in the car, but I have found that when you're starting from scratch with reproduction wood and hinges from another body, it is really difficult to get everything to line up properly. For the past year, I have been contemplating using steel instead of wood. If I would have made that decision fifteen years ago, I would be driving the car now.

  29. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 3,191

    Flathead Dave
    from So. Cal.

    I'm doing both metal and wood on my avatar. Metal roof and wood trim around the window areas. It seems easier to do it this way and it won't take away from the look of the car. I also think it's safer in the case of a roll over.

    My 27 Coupe, originally had wood for the roof brace and wood around the rear windows.
  30. We dug all the rotten wood out of Richards 34 Chevy,the doors were falling apart along with the body, we used metal throughout the build. HRP



    The wood in the back was removed also. HRP

    Lil32, ladyhrp and 3W JOHN like this.

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