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1941 Ford Woodie Restoration

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Forum topic by 41Woodie posted 11-23-2021 01:57 AM 468 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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41Woodie

2 posts in 57 days


11-23-2021 01:57 AM

Quartersawn Classic Wagons is an LLC I just started in order to restore a 1941 Ford Woodie.

Here are the questions

1.) Should I use a planer/molder or shaper to make large profile mouldings. What are the advantages and disadvantages to both of those pieces of equipment.
2.) What is the best method for perfect centered finger joints? Is there special considerations using finger joints on radius profiles or complex angles?
3.) Does anyone have an idea on how to make repeatable body panel parts on the Ford Woodie Wagon using jigs?
4.) Does anyone see an issue with making the complex mouldings in multiple pieces being that they can be screwed and glued against the plywood inner panel?


11 replies so far

View xedos's profile

xedos

469 posts in 633 days


#1 posted 11-24-2021 02:02 PM

1. Planer/molder. Safer
2. Make sure your width is an exact multiple of the finger.
3. CNC
4. Yes, there would be that many more places for failure.

View Kudzupatch's profile

Kudzupatch

358 posts in 2541 days


#2 posted 11-24-2021 03:37 PM



4.) Does anyone see an issue with making the complex mouldings in multiple pieces being that they can be screwed and glued against the plywood inner panel?

Not sure what you are doing but originality is a often a HUGE factor in the restoration of old cars. If I saw finger joints I would be very put off and probably would move on to the next car.

Obviously not my car but that is cutting corners and I think will come back to bite you.

-- Jeff Horton * Kudzu Craft skin boats* www.kudzucraft.com

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1632 posts in 1236 days


#3 posted 11-24-2021 05:40 PM

Note – There were finger joints in the maple mouldings over the rear fenders of Ford Woodies going all the way back to the first Ford manufactured station wagons in 1929. Some restorers have reproduced these joints exactly.

-- You know, this site doesn't require woodworking skills, but you should know how to write.

View Kudzupatch's profile

Kudzupatch

358 posts in 2541 days


#4 posted 11-24-2021 06:32 PM



Note – There were finger joints in the maple mouldings over the rear fenders of Ford Woodies going all the way back to the first Ford manufactured station wagons in 1929. Some restorers have reproduced these joints exactly.

- Phil32

If that is the case than I stand corrected and bit surprised!

From what you say I assume it wasn’t used in many places on the car? I have never had the chance to see but a couple of (rough) woodies up close. Would love to have one but would scared to drive it too.

-- Jeff Horton * Kudzu Craft skin boats* www.kudzucraft.com

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

8770 posts in 2720 days


#5 posted 11-24-2021 07:21 PM

1) Are you going to be doing enough of these moldings to justify your own shaper or molding machines? I would probably explore options of someone making them for you. There are services that do that and some may even use your wood if you want.

2) There are several finger joint jigs out there that use the table saw, both ready to use and DIY. I seem to recall that the Incra I-Box jig gets good reviews. As for perfectly centering them, sometimes it is easiest to start with extra wide pieces and cut them to final width to make sure that they are centered. A DIY router jig that I really like is the Woodsmith jig. I haven’t actually made the jig but used the exact same technique to make a one-off jig for cutting extra large finger joints for a cabinet project and it worked extremely well. The great thing about this design is that you can cut custom finger sizes and if done correctly, they will be perfectly centered and repeatable with minimal setup. You do have to be careful with chip out but that can be pretty easily dealt with.

3) I think that I would have to see the part you are trying to make and simplify to help with making jigs for body panels.

4) I agree that gluing your molding together is probably not a great idea for something that will be exposed to weather. Using a service to create custom molding as I mentioned in #1 would be my approach if the volume doesn’t support owning my own milling machines.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

3371 posts in 1936 days


#6 posted 11-24-2021 07:38 PM

Nothing really to add, just a seconding of what Lazy said on all 4 points.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1632 posts in 1236 days


#7 posted 11-24-2021 08:09 PM

I published two issues of The Restorer magazine devoted to the Model A Ford Woody Wagons. One had a feature article on rebuilding the body structure of solid maple and birch panels. The owner/restorer considered using the table saw approach to the finger joints, but opted for having the company (Milwaukee Knife Company) that supplied the original shaper cutters to Ford make them. There were five finger joints in the molding over each rear fender.

The article was in the January-February 1982 issue of The Restorer, national magazine of the Model A Ford Club of America. Here is a photo of the finger joint. Note that the fingers are not centered. That Station Wagon went on to win Best-of-Show at the 1980 MAFCA National Meet in Reno. It was the owner’s 4th woody to win a national meet.

-- You know, this site doesn't require woodworking skills, but you should know how to write.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

8770 posts in 2720 days


#8 posted 11-24-2021 08:47 PM

I was thinking box joints. Those tapered fingers are a different animal that require a cutter that has the right shape. Probably done with a shaper of some kind?

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1632 posts in 1236 days


#9 posted 11-24-2021 09:00 PM

The shape of the fingers makes them compatible with themselves. The cutterhead was probably 4” in diameter and mounted on a commercial grade shaper. Could they be cut in one pass? Maybe not. Note that the sides of the cutter fingers have to cut as well as the tips. How would you sharpen such a cutter?

The maple framework was the primary structure of these early Woodies. The birch plywood panels were secured to the maple. By 1941 the structural framework was the steel body. The birch panels and maple trim were attached to the steel.

-- You know, this site doesn't require woodworking skills, but you should know how to write.

View Kudzupatch's profile

Kudzupatch

358 posts in 2541 days


#10 posted 11-24-2021 09:08 PM

Learn something new everyday! Thanks @Phil32.

I would love a 1940 Ford Woodie but well out of my price range. Mid 50’s up through the very early 70’s were more my interest.

-- Jeff Horton * Kudzu Craft skin boats* www.kudzucraft.com

View 41Woodie's profile

41Woodie

2 posts in 57 days


#11 posted 11-25-2021 04:02 AM

I will be ordering a 3hp shaper. I saw a used steel city machine for 700.00. I will ad an auto feeder to the machine. There is a guy who supposedly worked for Nick Alexander who sells complete wood sets for the 41 woodie for 20k. Whiteside finger joint bit for 1 inch spindle is 160.00. I was contemplating getting the leigh fmt or festool domino next week for cutting mortise and tenons. Thanks for the comments guys. I really need a set of drawings for the wood body.

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