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Upolstery of door panels for the 1950`s
#1
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nivek123
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Door panels of the 1950`s seemed to have had the fabric pressed in lines rather than the fabric being sowed .
The technique was using a steam system that heated a device that was bent into the patterns on the door panel and pressed to make the patterns on the door panel upholstery
I had a upholster that knew a man that could do that but I never got his name .
I am a sheet metal worker and thought of a method
Take 30 gauge sheet metal and cut a piece perhaps 6 inches and make it the length of the pattern .then bend it to the pattern which is easy enough .
Then with an oven heat it to lets say 300 degrees and with gloves pull it from the oven and press it on the fabric until it fuses to the muslin behind it .
Maybe I should spray a sticky substance on the back of the fabric or muslin to enhance the process .
Does anyone else have a source or any other crack pot ideas to do this process?
Help ! This question of this process is a scratch that needs to be itched !

Posted on: 1/2 10:13
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Re: Upolstery of door panels for the 1950`s
#2
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humanpotatohybrid
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This question gets brought up every once in a while. With some careful searching I think you could find some relevant posts.

Posted on: 1/2 10:27
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: Upolstery of door panels for the 1950`s
#3
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HH56
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One thing I have noticed is the padding behind the upholstery fabric seems to be a multilayered soft tissue paper like material -- each layer being almost like a stiff kleenex in feel and seveal layers make an overall pad of about 1/8" thick. Where the pattern is pressed in the fabric, the under layer padding seems to fuse together and becomes a solid stiff material bonding the fabric to the panel board. I suspect that padding is some kind of special material made just for the purpose and is the main item which holds the fabric in pattern as well as provide the raised panel effect between the lines.

I know there are a lot of heat fusible iron on materials for repairing clothes and holding layers of fabric together but don't recall ever seeing anything that thick. No idea how large the sheets of fusible material come in but if something thin could be found around 2 or 3 ft square perhaps a few layers of that stuff would do the job. At any rate, I think if you could locate something like that special padding then your idea of making a sheetmetal pattern press might work.

The only company I know of that does the heat pattern door panels at the moment is SMS Fabrics in Oregon and last I read, they have a large backlog.

Posted on: 1/2 10:44
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Re: Upolstery of door panels for the 1950`s
#4
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kevinpackard
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I've been thinking about ways to go about this for a while. I don't want to send my door panels into SMS and wait an unknown amount of time to get them back (2+ years?). I also don't want to sew the lines in either.

I came across a method on YouTube of mimicking the lines using a stiffer foam that is glued directly to the panel. It is shaped to follow the contours you are going for in the end. Then the vinyl is glued and pressed into the shaped foam, and the heat-pressed lines can be imitated. It looks okay. I'm going to experiment with it once I gather the materials.





The problem with trying to do your own heat treated lines is going to be maintaining correct temperature and pressure. I can see it being difficult to maintain consistency.

-Kevin

Posted on: 1/4 14:56
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Re: Upolstery of door panels for the 1950`s
#5
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Leeedy
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Quote:

kevinpackard wrote:
I've been thinking about ways to go about this for a while. I don't want to send my door panels into SMS and wait an unknown amount of time to get them back (2+ years?). I also don't want to sew the lines in either.

I came across a method on YouTube of mimicking the lines using a stiffer foam that is glued directly to the panel. It is shaped to follow the contours you are going for in the end. Then the vinyl is glued and pressed into the shaped foam, and the heat-pressed lines can be imitated. It looks okay. I'm going to experiment with it once I gather the materials.

The problem with trying to do your own heat treated lines is going to be maintaining correct temperature and pressure. I can see it being difficult to maintain consistency.

-Kevin


This fellow is a real virtuoso in many ways. Applause.

However, he is simply cutting forms– easy to do with straight lines. He is also using contact cement (or what the trimmers in my shop years ago called "gorilla snot"... decades before there was such a brand name).

This all looks good in a video and even in a car. When first done. But just try parking that car somewhere on a 100-degree F summer day. You may return to your vehicle to discover your vinyl-covered door panels have lost their glued-in lines and gone flat. Or are hanging in drooping balloons. Or worse.

Unless the vinyl (or any) covering is "taught" to memorize a certain shape or embossing, it will eventually revert to being the flat sheet it was when you started. And the only way to "teach" sheet vinyl and many other materials is with steam heat or electro heat combined with pressure.

I posted photos of Mitchell-Bentley's (they made interior components for postwar Packards) door panel embossing presses. This was in a previous thread like this one.

I have seen limited success with a heat gun and wooden forms. But then somebody's gotta make the wood forms. And... with a heat gun there is always the danger of scorches or burning. AND contact cement can be extremely flammable and provide a whole new meaning to "losing face."

Things to think about.

Posted on: 1/6 12:10
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Re: Upolstery of door panels for the 1950`s
#6
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kevinpackard
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Quote:

Leeedy wrote:
Quote:

kevinpackard wrote:
I've been thinking about ways to go about this for a while. I don't want to send my door panels into SMS and wait an unknown amount of time to get them back (2+ years?). I also don't want to sew the lines in either.

I came across a method on YouTube of mimicking the lines using a stiffer foam that is glued directly to the panel. It is shaped to follow the contours you are going for in the end. Then the vinyl is glued and pressed into the shaped foam, and the heat-pressed lines can be imitated. It looks okay. I'm going to experiment with it once I gather the materials.

The problem with trying to do your own heat treated lines is going to be maintaining correct temperature and pressure. I can see it being difficult to maintain consistency.

-Kevin


This fellow is a real virtuoso in many ways. Applause.

However, he is simply cutting forms– easy to do with straight lines. He is also using contact cement (or what the trimmers in my shop years ago called "gorilla snot"... decades before there was such a brand name).

This all looks good in a video and even in a car. When first done. But just try parking that car somewhere on a 100-degree F summer day. You may return to your vehicle to discover your vinyl-covered door panels have lost their glued-in lines and gone flat. Or are hanging in drooping balloons. Or worse.

Unless the vinyl (or any) covering is "taught" to memorize a certain shape or embossing, it will eventually revert to being the flat sheet it was when you started. And the only way to "teach" sheet vinyl and many other materials is with steam heat or electro heat combined with pressure.

I posted photos of Mitchell-Bentley's (they made interior components for postwar Packards) door panel embossing presses. This was in a previous thread like this one.

I have seen limited success with a heat gun and wooden forms. But then somebody's gotta make the wood forms. And... with a heat gun there is always the danger of scorches or burning. AND contact cement can be extremely flammable and provide a whole new meaning to "losing face."

Things to think about.


I believe the adhesive he's using is Weldwood's Landau Top and Trim adhesive, which is apparently the one that upholsters recommend. I don't have a lot of experience with it, except for my headliner, so I can't say how it would do on the doors.

In our situation we really have 3 options:
1.) Send the panels to SMS and potentially never see them again
2.) Sew the panel lines into the vinyl to mimic the heat embossing
3.) Cut foam forms to mimic the heat embossing

I'd really like to try what the video shows. Even if it doesn't work, it would be a good experiment. If it does work, then great. Perhaps with the right adhesive it'll do okay?

-Kevin

Posted on: 1/6 12:39
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Re: Upolstery of door panels for the 1950`s
#7
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Leeedy
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Quote:
believe the adhesive he's using is Weldwood's Landau Top and Trim adhesive, which is apparently the one that upholsters recommend. I don't have a lot of experience with it, except for my headliner, so I can't say how it would do on the doors.

In our situation we really have 3 options:
1.) Send the panels to SMS and potentially never see them again
2.) Sew the panel lines into the vinyl to mimic the heat embossing
3.) Cut foam forms to mimic the heat embossing

I'd really like to try what the video shows. Even if it doesn't work, it would be a good experiment. If it does work, then great. Perhaps with the right adhesive it'll do okay?

-Kevin


Whatever the brand name... whatever anyone recommends... anyone with automotive trim shop experience will instantly recognize... it is common contact cement. Every trim shop uses one brand or the other. What my trimmers used to call "gorilla snot" (just slang– not a brand reference since there was no such brand when we were in business). Basically the same stuff– whatever the brand given. Coca-Cola or Pepsi or RC cola.

And like I said... go through all these changes... then park the car a time or two out in 100-degree heat on a summer day. Then watch what happens to all your work... give it a week.

My mission here is to simply share knowledge and experience. I don't post these things just to make up opinions or to debate. I'm just telling you what I have actually seen and experienced having once been involved in ownership of an automotive trim shop. Over several years. And working at the OEM level in the automotive biz.

What the guy does in the video is cute for a video. And even very skillful. But it won't last.

Posted on: 1/6 13:47
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Re: Upolstery of door panels for the 1950`s
#8
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kevinpackard
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Quote:


Whatever the brand name... whatever anyone recommends... anyone with automotive trim shop experience will instantly recognize... it is common contact cement. Every trim shop uses one brand or the other. What my trimmers used to call "gorilla snot" (just slang– not a brand reference since there was no such brand when we were in business). Basically the same stuff– whatever the brand given. Coca-Cola or Pepsi or RC cola.

And like I said... go through all these changes... then park the car a time or two out in 100-degree heat on a summer day. Then watch what happens to all your work... give it a week.

My mission here is to simply share knowledge and experience. I don't post these things just to make up opinions or to debate. I'm just telling you what I have actually seen and experienced having once been involved in ownership of an automotive trim shop. Over several years. And working at the OEM level in the automotive biz.

What the guy does in the video is cute for a video. And even very skillful. But it won't last.


Not debating Leeedy, and I do appreciate your insight. Given your experience, how would you tackle these door panels? Assuming heat embossing is out the window, would you create the patterns by sewing the vinyl to backing foam, then glue that to the panel?

My experience with upholstery is limited to what I've seen on videos, and my own headliner installation (which doesn't translate well to the doors). From what I've seen, sewing the patterns seems to be the only other option. I'm not opposed to doing that if it's the best option. I just wasn't sure if it would look right or not.

-Kevin

Posted on: 1/6 13:57
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