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Old 03-07-2017, 09:25 PM   #1
Deuce Coupe
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Default How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

Hi everyone,

I just joined this forum to ask for information on how to build a 1930 Ford Front Fender from scratch. I was having trouble finding help with this, but I finally found a video on it so I thought I'd share what I found in case someone else might be interested.

Here's the video I found with the information I was desperately seeking:
The actual information starts at 4:10 on the video:

Video Instructions for Building the Fender

They actually have a part-2 that shows some of the actual metal working but the second video doesn't seem to have the sound on that part.

In any case, the information I desperately needed was on how to divide the fender up into workable sections. I knew I couldn't do it all in one piece. John Glover (the man in the video) actually shows how to build the fender in seven different sections and then welding them together. I was thinking along those same lines but it's nice to see how someone else did it. I'm sure there's more than one way to do this, but it's comforting to see someone else doing in it pieces like this.

I had previously found the Ron Covell videos for making a 1936 Ford Fender. He does that fender in only 3 pieces. But the 1930 front fender is quite a bit larger.

Here's the videos for the 1936 Ford Fender if anyone is interested in that.

Ron Covell 1936 Ford Fender
1936 Ford Fender Part-2
1936 Ford Fender Part-3

This is going to be my first attempt at actually making something like this. Of course I'll be making a lot of other parts as I learn as well. But I'm looking forward to trying to make my first Model A front fender. I'll be making the entire Model A car from scratch (actually a Model A Pick-up Truck). Assuming I finish it before my life is over.

I'm also planning on building wooden bucks like Ron Covell uses in his 1936 Fender Build. In fact, I'll be building wooden bucks for the whole car like he did for his roadster here:

Roadster Body Part-1

Of course I'll actually be building a 1930 Ford Model A pick-up truck.

I expect this will take a very long time to do, especially since it's just a hobby and I won't be working on it all the time. I also just bought some metal working tools: An English-wheel , a shrinker, a stretcher, and a bead roller. I already have welding equipment and hammers and dollies.

Unfortunately I don't have an actual 1930 Ford Model A pick-up truck to use as a template. So I'll need to make all my wooden bucks from scratch. I do have a copy of Google Skectchup and fortunately I was able to actually find a 1930 Ford Model A draw up in 3-D that I can disassemble and use for printing out my own patterns. So that's going to be a major project as well.

In the meantime I though I'd post my hopes and dreams here to help anyone else who might be taking on a similar project, and also to get any feedback from anyone who's done this sort of work.

If anyone knows of any videos, patterns, or plans for building a 1930 Ford Model A (any car or truck will do), I would very much appreciate it.

If I actually build all these wooden bucks and templates I'll most likely build more than one body as well. In fact, that's my ultimate plan is to build more than one of these. But only time will tell on that one.

Anyway thanks for reading. I hope you might have found something helpful here and all comments, suggestions, experience, and resources are more than welcome.
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

Welcome to the Barn. Very ambitous project. Wow.... Wish you the best! Jeff
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

Well, I tip my hat to you, sir. You are obviously a self-reliant man, willing to learn, and with a long-range plan. Welcome to the Barn, best wishes for your success and please keep us informed from time-to-time.
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Old 03-07-2017, 10:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

I agree this is a pretty ambitious project. Especially for me. I'm 67 years old, in poor health, and have a very small garage. So we'll see how far I get. It's going to be years in the making. That's why I wonder if I'll live long enough to complete it.

I'm not going to try to make an exact replica. In fact, I plan on using a chassis from something like a Ford Ranger truck with lots of modifications for the actual chassis. So this will be far from a replica Model A. But the idea is to build something along the same sort of styling lines.

I found a drawing of a 1932 Ford Pick-up on Sketchup. It's a pretty detailed 3-D drawing that I can work with instead of having to start from scratch.

I've uploaded some screen shots for those who might not know how Sketchup works. It's an extremely useful 3-D drawing program. In the Full-Truck picture you can see one view of the whole truck. But in Sketchup you can pan this to view it from any perspective including looking at the chassis underneath.

In the Exploded View I separated some of the parts to show how the thing is drawn in different modules. You can work with any part individually in full 3-D. And these can also be scaled to whatever size you want. So you can actually print out full-size, or scaled drawings. You can even add dimensions very easily.

The last picture is the is just one fender exploded as far as I could separate it. Apparently whoever drew this fender did it in three pieces. A front fender brace, the rubber running board pad, and then the fender is actually one entire wire mesh object. I'll have to cut that up into smaller sections. Fortunately Sketchup is pretty versatile in allowing you to modify things. Still I'll probably have some learning curve just to modify this fender.

What I plan on doing is cutting this fender into three pieces. Front fender, running board, and rear fender. Then I can work on cutting those pieces up into more manageable sections. Sections that I can actually make out of metal. Then I can use those as templates to draw up the wooden buck forms.

It's probably going to take me the rest of my life just to modify this Sketchup drawing!

In any case, I'll try to remember to post any progress as I move forward.

By the way if anyone else is interested in doing something like this, or is familiar with Sketchup let me know and I'll be glad to share the Sketchup files as I go.

I downloaded the original 32 Ford Pick-up from the Sketchup warehouse which is free where people share their drawings. So I imagine the original drawing is in the public domain. By the time I'm done modifying it it's going to be a totally different drawing anyway. I'll be changing dimensions in critical places to fit a Ford Ranger Chassis.

In fact, the front end is going to need to be scaled up in size to accommodate the Ford Ranger chassis. But I think this is doable. Like I say, this won't be a replica, but it might be a very cool look-alike.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Full Truck.JPG (52.3 KB, 36 views)
File Type: jpg Exploded View.jpg (33.9 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg Fender Exploded.JPG (11.0 KB, 28 views)
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Old 03-08-2017, 12:25 AM   #5
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

Take a look at this thread;
https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1401094
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Old 03-08-2017, 12:35 AM   #6
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

More progress already!

Isn't the Internet wonderful! I was able to find some YouTube videos on how to cut up wire mesh in Sketchup. It turned out to be really simple. So I was able to cut this single-piece fender into three sections: Rear Fender, Running Board, and Front Fender.

Now that I have the front fender isolated I can start cutting it up into the sections that I'll actually make. This way I'll have drawings for each section. I can also draw up the wooden bucks using this Sketchup fender as a guide.

I can make my wooden bucks customized to the seven individual panels that I'll be making for the full fender. This is going to be GREAT!

If all I ever do is successfully make a front fender I'll consider that to be a major accomplishment.

Anyway, here's some more pictures of how I cut the fender up in Sketchup and showing how you can then view the fender from any perspective you like. It's all drawn in actual 3-D. And you can scale it however you like.
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File Type: jpg Fender Split Up.JPG (12.2 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg Front Fender Views.jpg (26.0 KB, 26 views)
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Old 03-08-2017, 12:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Newland View Post
That's GREAT! I'm really glad to see someone else doing this. I did a search for Front Fender on this forum and that thread didn't come up in that search for some reason.

Well, at least I'm not alone in my madness.
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Old 03-08-2017, 03:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

I chopped the fender all up. I actually cut it into 11 sections, but in reality I can probably do some of these sections as a single piece. Still it was easier to divide it up this way in Sketchup. It was nice and symmetrical. I can still build the buck to accommodate these sections, and when it comes time to actually build it if I can do two or more sections as a single piece of metal that won't be a problem. Better to have it prepared as too many sections than not enough.

Anyway here's the screen shots of the sectioned front fender. I was troubled on how to do this, but now it looks like it's going to be pretty easy. I see these front fenders as being the most difficult metal shaping job on the whole vehicle. So if I can build these I think the rest will be a piece of cake.

Now that I'm happy with these sections I can start drawing up the forms for the wooden buck specifically to mate up with these sections. Building the wooden buck is going to be more time consuming than actually making the metal fender I think. This is why I'll probably build several of these trucks if I go through all the work of making wooden bucks for the whole vehicle. It's a good thing I have a full woodshop.
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File Type: jpg Sectioned Fender.jpg (21.1 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg Sectioned Fender Exploded.jpg (32.3 KB, 16 views)
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Old 03-08-2017, 07:59 AM   #9
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

Welcome to this great forum Deuce Coupe. Might I suggest you check out another great website and forum. http://www.metalmeet.com/ You will find like minded people on there that will be more than happy to help you. Very talented people on there.
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Old 03-08-2017, 10:42 AM   #10
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vin-tin View Post
Welcome to this great forum Deuce Coupe. Might I suggest you check out another great website and forum. http://www.metalmeet.com/ You will find like minded people on there that will be more than happy to help you. Very talented people on there.
Thanks Vin-Tin, I checked out the metalmeet forum, it looks fantastic thanks for the tip. I'm sure those guys are going to be able to answer any metalworking questions I might have. They even have a forum specifically dedicated to scratch building car bodies.

I'm sure they will have lots to say about how I sectioned up my front fender too.

I know the way I sectioned it is far from efficient. It was just easy to do it this way in Sketchup. And I'm really just messing around right now to see what's possible. I'm going to draw up the Ranger truck chassis I actually have and then redesign a new fender to fit that anyway. So this initial work was just to get my feet wet using Sketchup.

Thanks for the tip. I joined the Metalmeet forum and I'll definitely be posting there quite a bit as I continue with this project.
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Old 03-08-2017, 10:48 PM   #11
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

All so check out All Metalshaping.com another good metal fabricators site.

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Old 03-09-2017, 04:05 PM   #12
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

Visit Ernie Adams web site, builder of DWARF cars. He totally fabricates the entire bodies for his cars he builds, only they are about a 3/5 scale and are road worthy.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:23 AM   #13
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

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Visit Ernie Adams web site, builder of DWARF cars. He totally fabricates the entire bodies for his cars he builds, only they are about a 3/5 scale and are road worthy.
Yes, I'm familiar with Ernie's work. He does unbelievable work! I can't imagine getting into that much detail. I stand in awe at his craftsmanship!

But yeah, seeing what people like Ernie have done is part of what has inspired me to try giving this a shot. I've also been watching Lazze Metal Shaping videos on YouTube. These guys make it look so easy!

I just bought an English wheel and it came a couple days ago. I never used one before but I was able to put a nice crown in a piece of scrap metal already without even really understanding how it works! So I'm excited. But still a very long way from actually creating a whole fender that looks good.
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Old 03-10-2017, 07:46 AM   #14
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I just bought an English wheel and it came a couple days ago. I never used one before but I was able to put a nice crown in a piece of scrap metal already without even really understanding how it works! So I'm excited. But still a very long way from actually creating a whole fender that looks good.
What brand of English wheel did you get? I'd love to have one but they're kind of pricey.
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:52 AM   #15
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

Looks like an ambitious undertaking and I wish you well. 15 years ago in my youthful mid-fifties, I bought a rolling chassis with the idea of building a '32. Three years later and I realized that given the time and skill set I possessed, if I every wanted to drive the car, I'd better look for something further along the line to completion. I am still working on the car, but I've enjoyed driving it over the last decade.

Please keep us posted.
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:56 PM   #16
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

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What brand of English wheel did you get? I'd love to have one but they're kind of pricey.
Well, to begin with you need to know two things. First off I am in the poverty class. So everything I do is on a shoestring budget. So I bought the absolute cheapest English Wheel I could find. It's $134 US from Grizzly. Many metalshapers would probably consider it a toy and not even give it any respect at all. But I have learned over the years that I can often get by using the most rudimentary of tools. I also actually prefer making things in small sections and welding the sections together after they are formed. So for me, not being able to work with larger pieces is not a major limitation.

The main thing I was concerned with is whether this English Wheel would work at all, and it does! I was surprise at how quickly I was able to dome a piece of flat scrap metal. And I don't even know what I'm doing with the English Wheel yet. I just tried a proceedure I saw Lazze do on one of his YouTube video and it worked. So this Wheel will actually raise a panel fairly quickly too.

I got it from Grizzly.



Here's their website link: Benchtop English Wheel

I think this is well worth it to learn on. I'll keep a look out during my summertime travels for possibly obtaining a larger used English Wheel at some future point in time. But I think this little benchtop will serve as a learning tool. In fact, I could probably make the whole truck with it working in pieces, which I have no problem doing. There is no limit to the length of a piece I can work with, but this wheel only has a 15" throat so that limits me to a 30" wide panel. But actually that's pretty wide. So we'll see how well it works. For $134 I think it was well worth it. It's lightweight and portable which also makes it nice for my small shop space. Plus I'll end up building a dedicated stand for it. But right now I just used it in a bench vice and I was very pleased with how stable it is in that situation.

I think this is a good tool for someone who wants to just try out an English Wheel without making a huge initial investment. It looks like it's going to do the job.
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Old 03-10-2017, 03:11 PM   #17
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Looks like an ambitious undertaking and I wish you well. 15 years ago in my youthful mid-fifties, I bought a rolling chassis with the idea of building a '32. Three years later and I realized that given the time and skill set I possessed, if I every wanted to drive the car, I'd better look for something further along the line to completion. I am still working on the car, but I've enjoyed driving it over the last decade.

Please keep us posted.
I'm expecting the project to take at least 3 or 4 years to complete. That's just a wild guess, I haven't really tried to figure out how long it might actually take. It's difficult to know ahead of time how long it will take to make these parts.

The other thing is that it's just a hobby. So it's not like I can work on it full-time. There are going to be times when I won't be able to work on it at all, and other times when I might be able to work on it quite intensely in bursts. Also, I don't be able to do much during the winters here because I don't have a well-heated shop. So this is going to be mostly a summertime project too.

On the bright side I actually enjoy working on it, so I'll enjoy the whole process whether it ever gets completed or not. If I ever actually end up driving this finished truck that will be like the impossible dream come true.

So we'll see how things go. I'll enjoy the learning experience of how to shape sheet metal. So in a sense you could look at this as just a journey into metal shaping with the finished truck being the graduation gift.

I'm looking at the whole thing as more of an "Art Project".
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Old 03-10-2017, 03:37 PM   #18
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

It has been a while since I was researching metalwork, but I believe guys were adding structure to the wheel frame to stiffen it up.

For what you are planning on doing you may want to look that up. From what I recall it really needed that to make it more consistent.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:19 PM   #19
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It has been a while since I was researching metalwork, but I believe guys were adding structure to the wheel frame to stiffen it up.

For what you are planning on doing you may want to look that up. From what I recall it really needed that to make it more consistent.
Yes, I've researched this quite a bit before taking the plunge. Even $134 is quite an investment for me so I was a bit leery about making this purchase. Spending $134 on absolute junk is no savings at all! That's very true.

I watched some YouTube videos of fellows who purchased this wheel and did indeed stiffen it up with extra support welding either angle iron or square tubing to the frame. I was actually prepared to do that if required.

One guy also complained that the square tubing that holds the bottom wheel was too small and caused the bottom wheel to flop around too much. He solved that problem buy adding shims to tight up the fit. I was surprised to receive one that fits pretty snug right out of the box. So far the bottom wheel seems to be pretty solid on mine. But I was prepared to address that issue too if need be.

Maybe I got a good one?

All I know is that it seemed to work really well on the scrap piece of metal I tried it out on. If it needs to be beefed up later I might do that. But thus far it seems to be solid enough for what I want to use it for.

One thing that comes to mind also is that these other gentlemen may be trying to push this wheel beyond its intended limits. That's certainly doable by beefing it up. But for what I plan on using it for it looks like it's going to work right out of the box. Only time will tell.

I actually bought it expecting to beef it up. But I'm pleasantly surprised at how well it works as-is right out of the box. It's certainly a great tool to learn on as-is.

I'm not trying to endorse this product by any means. It is an extremely CHEAP tool. Let's face it. You get what you pay for. And I might have been lucky to just happen to get a good one. So I can't guarantee that if someone else buys one they will be as lucky as me.

All I can do is share my experience. And thus far I'm happy with it. But then again I haven't done a lot of work on it yet either. So my impression could change over time. All I can say at this point is that I'm pleased with the initial experience. It seems pretty nice to me so far. I was really pleased with how quickly I was able to make a bowl shape in a piece of scrap metal. So at least I can say that it does what it's supposed to do.

I most certainly hope that it's not nearly as good as more expensive models, because if that were true then a lot of people would be spending too much money.

It's really way too early to say how well this wheel will work. I don't really have time right now to do more wheeling. Other projects in life are already demanding my attention. But I'm looking forward to coming back to it and seeing if I can actually make a specific intentional shape.
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:00 PM   #20
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Default Re: How to Build a 1930 Model A Front Fender

I have never worked a wheel personally. I almost bought one at one time, but I really did not need it so I held off. Not doing metal work much at this time.

When I looked at the one in the store I found the lower arm seemed to move some. I think for the metal you will be working you will be using the tool pretty heavy. My guess is if you use yours as is for a while then try a real one you will be doing a lot of changes to stiffen it up. I can see how it would not be efficient at forming the metal with the flex in the frame.

Either way, it is a reasonable tool that will allow you to do reasonable work.
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