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Those needing door panels.
#1
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HH56
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I am sure many others on the forum received this same email from SMS on announcing their pause in door panel manufacture. https://mailchi.mp/smsautofabrics/last ... -door-panels?e=4f37d4a633

For anyone contemplating a door panel order relatively soon that did not receive a notification, you might want to contact them. With the state of current affairs, who knows how long "temporary" might last.

Posted on: 2021/9/2 8:49
Howard
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Re: Those needing door panels.
#2
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kevinpackard
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Great. I wasn't looking at doing door panels soon, but like you said, who knows how long "temporary" will last. That's unfortunate.

As long as I can get the material though, I would assume that I can get a local shop to make new panels for me that match the old ones. Maybe?

-Kevin

Posted on: 2021/9/2 10:12
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Re: Those needing door panels.
#3
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HH56
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Depends. If the pattern or separations in the center panel fabric or vinyl is sewn in then probably could be done locally. If it is the heat embossed patterns or has the thin chrome like textured ribbon strip which many Packard models after 51 used then probably not.

Posted on: 2021/9/2 10:20
Howard
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Re: Those needing door panels.
#4
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kevinpackard
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Darn. That's what I have unfortunately. Picture is of the panels that were stashed in my trunk when I got the car. They are now stored away in the attic so they would stop taking up space. They are not in good condition.

-Kevin

Attach file:



jpg  IMG_7820edit.jpg (554.20 KB)
1059_61310610e37fa.jpg 1024X683 px

Posted on: 2021/9/2 12:09
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Re: Those needing door panels.
#5
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Leeedy
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Quote:

kevinpackard wrote:
Darn. That's what I have unfortunately. Picture is of the panels that were stashed in my trunk when I got the car. They are now stored away in the attack so they would stop taking up space. They are not in good condition.

-Kevin


The panel shown here appears to have been made by Mitchell-Bentley. They did a lot of Packard's interiors in the 1950s.

This panel was made using a combination of heat-embossing, steam, and attached metal components with a pressed, un-tempered masonite or similar fiberboard backing. Very complicated door panel. The difficult part here was not the fabrics... it was the embossing (and related dies), the attachments, and frankly, the labor and machinery involved. Very tough to replicate.

Posted on: 2021/9/2 21:06
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Re: Those needing door panels.
#6
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PackardDon
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I have a long standing deposit for a full interior for my 1956 Clipper which was a rain check to take advantage of a sale so when I got this message, I inquired. The replied right away and fortunately they consider it an order so whenever I send in mine, they will start on it without the "temporary" delay. It applies only to door panels for some reason.

Posted on: 2021/9/2 22:16
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Re: Those needing door panels.
#7
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kevinpackard
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Quote:

Leeedy wrote:

The panel shown here appears to have been made by Mitchell-Bentley. They did a lot of Packard's interiors in the 1950s.

This panel was made using a combination of heat-embossing, steam, and attached metal components with a pressed, un-tempered masonite or similar fiberboard backing. Very complicated door panel. The difficult part here was not the fabrics... it was the embossing (and related dies), the attachments, and frankly, the labor and machinery involved. Very tough to replicate.


Thank you Leeedy, that is information that is new to me. I haven't found much on the internet about embossed door panels, but what I did find looked like it involved very specialized machinery and dies.

So if not SMS, what are the options for someone like me who needs this type of embossing? Any way to DIY it without it looking terrible?

-Kevin

Posted on: 2021/9/2 23:53
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Re: Those needing door panels.
#8
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humanpotatohybrid
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By "embossing" do you just mean the decorative grooves on some of the vinyls? I would honestly consider leaving them off, but you might be able to contract a machine shop with press brakes to make a pair of groove-forming dies out of some thicker gauge sheet metal. You'll need to search or figure out the optimal temperature for the vinyl reforming; if it's less than the boiling point of water then you could control their temperature easily by soaking them in water of that temperature before using them and carefully pre-heating the vinyl with a hair dryer or heat gun.

Another idea is getting a thin piece of steel rod, and wrapping the vinyl around it while the rod is heated, basically the same idea as above but cheaper.

Hopefully there is a more obvious solution that I am missing but those are my thoughts

Posted on: 2021/9/3 17:59
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: Those needing door panels.
#9
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HH56
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I doubt SMS would have a single die that would do the entire panel at once such as Packard suppliers probably had because of the expense and large number of dies needed for the different models and mfgs.

A lot of vinyls are done with heat generated by ultrasonic waves but for this purpose there is a machine with interchangeable heated rollers which is a refined version of the industrial welders used in piecing large sheets of PVC coated materials such as used in tents or sails together. I saw one used on one of the how they do it TV shows where they were seaming sheets of vinyl together to make air mattresses and waterbeds.

Something like that is probably what is used along with a modern version of the old time special glue layered paper padding. When the heated rollers are pinched together it compresses and melts the glue in the layers of padding and at the same time glues the padding to the fabric or vinyl for the line of embossing but leaves the padding at full thickness everywhere else. I believe the chrome ribbon stuff is applied in a similar manner with a heat activated glue fastening it to the fabric.

Expect you could change the roller to get the correct width or diameter for the pattern. I am sure operating something like that and consistently getting a straight line would take skill and training so maybe what SMS means when it says it will also use the downtime to hire and train more operators.

Posted on: 2021/9/3 18:36
Howard
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Re: Those needing door panels.
#10
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Leeedy
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Quote:

kevinpackard wrote:
Quote:

Leeedy wrote:

The panel shown here appears to have been made by Mitchell-Bentley. They did a lot of Packard's interiors in the 1950s.

This panel was made using a combination of heat-embossing, steam, and attached metal components with a pressed, un-tempered masonite or similar fiberboard backing. Very complicated door panel. The difficult part here was not the fabrics... it was the embossing (and related dies), the attachments, and frankly, the labor and machinery involved. Very tough to replicate.


Thank you Leeedy, that is information that is new to me. I haven't found much on the internet about embossed door panels, but what I did find looked like it involved very specialized machinery and dies.

So if not SMS, what are the options for someone like me who needs this type of embossing? Any way to DIY it without it looking terrible?

-Kevin


Okay, I'm always reluctant to get into details on such stuff because of the nature of the internet and so many opinions.

What I'm telling you is not opinion. It is only what I know after having spent a lifetime in the automotive industry.

What I said about Mitchell-Bentley's process is simply fact. I saw them making panels such as these with my own eyes. They made millions in their plants.

While an aftermarket trim company today could likely duplicate the embossing, it could only be done at great expense unless economies of scale are involved, such as doing Chevy repops at a few thousand per run. Otherwise the cost of making dies, fixtures and patterns would be absolutely crushing on a onesy-twosy basis.

I am attaching an original photo of some embossed door panels being made at M-B. Even with HUGE machinery, dies, lots of steam and lots of workers, these things were not cheap.

As for skipping the embossing...if it's not worth doing right, then it's not worth doing at all. There used to be a difference between "restoration" and "customizing" even if these two concepts have sadly been morphed together by folks today.

Take your time and SAVE any savable embossed sections on your door panels. Clean them properly. Preserve them... and insert into any reconstituted panel whenever possible. There are undoubtedly still some talented auto trim shops and trimmers left around today. But never imagine that some company today can do an affordable reproduction– even if such miracles can occur. Keeping a trimmer or trim shop on tab while the meter is running can really put a hitch in your get-a-long.

With unlimited time, talent and energy certainly you can build or own dies or make male and female molds, locate suitable fabrics and shrink-mold your way into embossing.

Of course, if you have a Bill Gates or Elon Musk-sized wallet, then anything is possible.

My sincere advice is to take very, very good care of what you have already.

Attach file:



jpg  M-BheatEmbossedDoorPanelsWM.jpg (3,157.71 KB)
1249_6133ea4129f07.jpg 4630X5669 px

Posted on: 2021/9/4 16:51
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