Making valances.

March 11th, 2012

This weekend I went and collected my wire wheels that had been blasted and painted. Since I wasn’t sure what colour I want I had them do what I thought would be a neutral silver/grey. Unfortunately they came out rather sparkly. I am sure my 3 year old niece has some glitter paint exactly like that they used on the wheels. Also a spoke was still broken.

IMG_1739_1 Sparkly!

IMG_1744_1 IMG_1746_1 Broken spoke.

I should probably take them back and get them to fix the spoke but that’s a bit of a hassle. So will fix that myself and will repaint the wheels the more traditional black. I have tested some black enamel over the silver and it hasn’t reacted so I should be fine.

I also got in touch with Joss on Saturday and we went to visit Woody to borrow his metal folder to fold the edges and do the joggle on the valances. First we trimmed the edges where the folds would be so the back fold wouldn’t interfere with the joggle. The corners are all filed to have a small radius.

IMG_1735_1 Cutouts.

The folds were easy. You fold over to just past 90 degrees, then use the folder to squash them down the later finish them with a hammer. The joggle is done by first bending up about 30 degrees then flipping the panel over and bending it back 30 a few mm from the first fold. You keep tweaking the folds until you have the joggle you want. Is very hard to describe and I didn’t get any pictures since Joss did the first then I made the second.

But this is that we ended up with.

IMG_1741_1 IMG_1742_1 Joggle.

So the joggled edge is where the bonnet will rest against.

On Sunday I looked at marking up the valances ready for bending in the lower curve. I was a bit vague about the process. I knew I needed to line up the valance with the back of the firewall so that the valance top lip is square to the firewall back edge. This is so the bonnet is square. I was able to do this easily. I used sticks to make sure both sides were at the same height.

IMG_1751_1 Getting valances straight.

Then I got stuck. So, on the phone to Joss who popped up. What we did is work out where the rear bottom corner of the valance should be at the point it starts curving under the body.  Just mark what looks about right (just above the front body mount in our case). It is from this point the bottom line of the body flows back. Then mark where the front of the valance starts curving under the radiator surround. At the rear the valance needs to curve to match the 3/4 inch tube I am using. So you make another mark to account for the steel wrapping 1/4 of the way around the tube. At the front you work out where the end of the curve is under the radiator surround and mark that. You then join the lines up. You end up with a triangular shape defining the edges of the curves you’re making.

I didn’t thing to get pictures of the marked up steel which would make it easier to visualise but imagine a flat piece of steel curving under the body where the radius at the rear is small and the radius at the front is bigger. The curve is actually a section of a cone.

Bending it was also a mystery to me. But Joss had a simple method. We went to my big garage and he planed a radius off the corner off my solid work bench (I am planning to route that out to insert a steel edge anyway so that didn’t matter). We then made a folder from some angle iron and some metal spacers. We clamped the iron to the bench with the spacers beneath. The valance goes between the two but isn’t firmly held.

IMG_1757_1 IMG_1758_1 Lashed up bender.

The valance can slide under the steel angle. Basically you slide it under there then use a piece of wood and your hands to bend the valance down against the curved edge of the bench. Joss did the first in about 10 minutes. You just keep slowly tweaking the steel.  Is very hard to describe but you just bend it. You don’t want to crease it so you do a bit at a time. If the middle looks less bent than the sides you just push on it more there.

IMG_1760_1 A rare picture of me!

You can use anything to bend the steel. Hammer ii against a pipe. Push on it against the ground. Bend it against your body with brute strength. Anything to make it bend really. You just want to avoid folding it. The techniques are easy enough. Nothing tricky there. But having the feel for the material and what it can do I think is the trick and that takes years of practice.

With the curves bent into the valances we tried them on the car. We trimmed them so they would fit around chassis rails and front spring and so on and put them against the car.

IMG_1762_1 Valances bent and on the car.

In the picture above you can see how the firewall tapers more than the valances so there is a gap between the two so they don’t rattle together. They need more tweaking still. I removed the radiator and hand tweaked them to fit the curve of the cow horns. Then I put the front spring back and trimmed the valances roughly to fit.

IMG_1764_1 IMG_1766_1 Valances in place.

They need more trimming still but they look good! Next I need to drill the holes to attach them to the cow horns and then make three more holes at the rear end to bolt the valance to the firewall. Later I will trim them further to make room for the exhaust on the nearside and the steering drag link on the offside.  The front needs to be trimmed to fit the radiator surround which is then bolted to the valances.

IMG_1768_1 IMG_1769_1

You can already see how big the front of this car is. The bonnet will be long and tall. Not Ulsterish at all! In the pictures above the bonnet will cover everything from the rear of the firewall to the radiator surround.

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