AuthorTopic: chopping top advice  (Read 4924 times)

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Offline just old

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chopping top advice
« on: April 19, 2014, 04:20:26 AM »
thinking about chopping the top on my 34 ford pickup about 2 to 3 inches . it seems like it would be pretty simple as the back corners are straight and the front window post are straight also . I am making new doors , the one I have are be on repair so just used skin off of old doors . you any advice would be helpful .

Art

Offline lowboy

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2014, 07:56:37 AM »
check your measurements! then check them again  ;D think theres a build thread on here somewhere about a chop think graybeard did it. I did mine but a VW is not square.
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Offline hotwheels

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2014, 07:46:48 AM »
Before you chop the top, be sure to buy some rebar. Use the rebar and weld it all around the inside of the cab, between the doors, from the dash to the back of the cab, etc.....you want that sucker tight so when you remove the top, the body stays together, if you don't use the rebar and cut the top, it the body will spring open....
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Offline Dogfather

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2014, 08:23:51 AM »
Before you chop the top, be sure to buy some rebar. Use the rebar and weld it all around the inside of the cab, between the doors, from the dash to the back of the cab, etc.....you want that sucker tight so when you remove the top, the body stays together, if you don't use the rebar and cut the top, it the body will spring open....

From what I have heard and read that right there is the best suggestion of them all other than if you think you measured it right measure again and don't hesitate to get a second opinion... and this from someone who has not chopped a top.
Edward

Offline hotwheels

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2014, 07:38:27 AM »
here is a link from the site on where i set up and chopped the top on the 31 ford: http://www.ratrodnation.com/forum/rat-rod-builds/1932-ford-coupe-rat-rod/75/
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Offline Dogfather

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2014, 08:00:52 AM »
sorry to thread jack but if you decided to go convertible what type of bracing would you have to do to the cab so when you cut the top off it would not spring open?
Edward

Offline just old

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2014, 03:46:02 PM »
Doug before you welded it back togather did you put metal on the in side of the curve to help with the welding . right now I am trying to figure out if there is enough metal there to weld to ? that is what I was thinking of doing form a piece around on the in side drill some holes through the old metal tack every think in and then weld . do you have any pic of it after you were done with grinding it down

art

Offline hotwheels

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2014, 04:19:49 PM »
I bought these spacers from harbor frieght, which gives you a small gap between the upper and lower parts of the cab. Then tack weld about an inch, stop, move to the other end, tack weld about an inch, stop and move back to the other side, and tack weld, etc........
http://www.ratrodnation.com/forum/rat-rod-builds/1932-ford-coupe-rat-rod/?action=dlattach;attach=23433;image
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Offline hotwheels

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2014, 04:35:18 PM »
Should have given you the name of the spacers, butt welding clamps: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/280965539789?lpid=82
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Offline just old

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2014, 06:12:41 AM »
I have seen them before but never used them . if I cut the top they look like they would help a lot . still not sure if I will cut it . if I do I will post pic of how it is going and take my time

art

Offline hotwheels

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2014, 04:05:55 PM »
That is the biggest thing, taking your time. With those clamps, they have a flat plate on them that goes ontop of the metal, then a square tube on the inside and you use the wing nut to tighted the clamp against the square tube and it give you the perfect gap to tack weld into.
When welding, i take a can of water and a shop towel, get the towel damp. Tack weld, not a solid weld about 7 tacks, stop and use the towel to cool the metal on the top and bottom, but not directly on the weld. This stops warping. Then move a ways away from that weld and do another tack weld, cool it. Keep going back and forth around the cab and cooling. You'll do a great job. I know it's easier for me to sit here and describe it, but it isn't that bad if you take your time. I should have done a how to video on the cutting and then the welding. Maybe i'll do that down the road to help others do a nice job with chopping tops.
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Offline dcacjc

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2014, 06:47:36 PM »
Damn Doug you make it sound so easy but I know I don't have the cojones to try it
David

Offline just old

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2014, 03:56:11 AM »
I have used the wet rag after you had told me about it , it works very good . the clamps I will pick up . did you cut it with a grinder or a sawzall .

Offline hotwheels

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2014, 03:10:35 PM »
I cut with a 4 1/2" grinder with the thin cut off wheels..........I tried the zawzall once and it is to hard to control, you end up with really wavy cuts....
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miraclepieco

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2014, 08:24:52 PM »
I've chopped tops with both a Sawzall and a grinder. Like Doug said, the grinder is more steady, but the Sawzall has a long enough blade to go through door pillars, internal ribs, etc.

Offline just old

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2014, 04:57:32 AM »
cutting with a 4 1/2 grinder would be my first choice also . sawzall would jump around to much . my biggest concern is the welding it back togather
this cab sat in the woods 30 years or so . the metal in the back has become real thin and there are some small holes rusted through . so getting a good weld concerns me . that is why I was looking at a piece of 18 ga metal on the inside as a backup panel ?

art 

miraclepieco

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2014, 08:43:51 AM »
that is why I was looking at a piece of 18 ga metal on the inside as a backup panel ? 

I've seen some guys do that. It reinforces the chop and backs up the weld. I wish I'd done it on my chops.


Offline 55 irrational harvester

Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2014, 08:48:28 AM »
use the piece you cut out of the rear cab and tweak it for use as a backer. use it to overlap the INSIDE of the existing cab corners by clamping and welding it inside with half of the cut piece sticking up as a Guide and Backer to drop the roof back on. you can use needle nose pliers to shrink the top edge over to get things started easily. Many roofs have a double skin so nothing is parallel after a cut and drop. make it as clean as possible by slitting and expanding some pieces if needed and v notching and re welding to shrink a corner to size.

Offline just old

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chopping roof
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2016, 04:40:09 AM »
well it took 2 yrs but I have finally chop the top , had it laid  out for 2 days and braced up but making that first cut . But when you commit and start it is to late to go back . So it is cut and set back in place . front post are tack back in place and rear is clamped

Online Blackwater

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2016, 09:01:51 AM »
A trick that nobody mentioned, and one that I've used successfully, is to drill your body panels and any backing materials and either screw them together or use Cleco fasteners to hold everything in place.  When you're through and have everything like you want it, you simply remove the screws or fasteners and weld up the holes.  This allows you to move things around and adjust in places where you can't easily clamp the two surfaces together.

I put this up knowing that you've already got it back together, but figuring if someone else decided to use this thread as a guide.  The Cleco pins work GREAT on thin, fragile metal.
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Offline just old

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Re: chopping top advice
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2016, 05:00:08 PM »
I do use screws two hold somethings to gather , but just grind the heads off and leave the threads in the hole and weld over them . some times I use pop rivets and counter sink the heads and just weld over them . so far it seems to be working out , the inside will be covered so you won't see any fasteners . cover will just be sheet metal .

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