By By Ron Harmsen
If you have a mid
70’s Ford Truck chances are that the original pressed fiber
glove box is falling apart or maybe even missing. Why pay almost
twenty bucks for a new pressed fiberboard glove box when you can make
an everlasting mild steel glove box to the exact standards that the
Ford manufactured glove box arrived in? I have assembled plans that
require only a couple specialized tools and the total cost involved
with making your own steel glove box could be under five dollars. The
tools needed are tin snips (straight snips will work, but it would be
best if you could use right, left and straight snips.), a pop rivet
gun, a drill, a 3/8” drill bit, scissors, a ruler, pliers, a
bench vice, high speed rotary tool with cutoff wheels, and a hammer.
The supplies you will need are some large blank tracing paper
(newspaper would work also), a permanent marker, steel 1/8” pop
rivets, a 2 foot by 1.5 foot piece of scrap sheet metal (the same
gauge as auto body panels, I use 24 guage), and a short scrap of 2x4
wood. If you don’t have the specialized tools in your
collection it should not be difficult to borrow or rent them for a
few hours. Don’t waste your money buying the sheet metal at
your local home improvement store when you could get free scraps from
your local sheet metal shops. They have dumpsters full of good scrap
metal of all different gauges and if you ask them nicely they might
give you some nice clean stock at no charge!
one is to carefully remove your tattered original fiberboard glove
box and very carefully remove the staples and lay the box flat on
your tracing paper. Make sure that the outside of the box is facing
Flattened original glove box assembly.
Close up view of disassembled original glove box.
Don’t worry if some pieces break off during disassembly, just as long as
you can keep the majority of the box in one piece you should be able
to trace the outline onto the paper. At this point make a note on
your traced paper outline marking whether the box is facing outwards
or inwards on your paper tracing.
you will have the outline of your glove box assembly on paper. The
next step is to find all the bend joints and mark them on your paper
tracing. It will be helpful, later on, to mark the ‘top
outside’, ‘rear outside’, and ‘bottom
outside’ panels at this stage. It will ease the final assembly
later on. To help me distinguish which lines to cut and which lines
are for joint bends, I put a single hash mark in the middle of every
joint bend. The lines to be cut are left alone. Now cut out the paper
tracing with your scissors.
Paper outline of original glove box assembly.
next step is to place your paper trace on the sheet metal scrap. I
found it helpful to line the longest paper edge up with the flat edge
of the sheet metal. Putting some masking tape along that point was
helpful in keeping the paper trace steady as I traced the paper
outline onto the sheet metal. Take your time transferring your paper
trace lines to the sheet metal. It will payoff when you try to
assemble the box later. The ruler comes in useful here. The more
accurate you are with your paper trace and sheet metal transfer the
better. Now you should have a complete outline of the glove box on
the sheet metal with the joint bends marked separately.
Paper outline transferred to sheet metal.
Close up view of paper outline transferred to sheet metal.
about halfway done now. Pull out your tin snips and start by cutting
off all the excess metal on the outside of the trace lines. Don’t
worry about cutting the joint flaps yet. There are some corners that
require the use of right and left tin snips but it can be done with
just straight snips, if that is all you have available. When you are
done trimming the outside of the outline, make note of the joint
bends and make the cuts between the assembly flaps. Now you should
have a complete flat sheet metal copy of the glove box tracing. Use
the hammer to flatten out any rough or wavy edges.
View of the sheet metal with excess trimmed off.
Here is the same piece from a different viewing angle.
Here is a close up
view of after trimming the excess metal. Note the hash marks on the
the real fun begins. Pull out your pliers, vice and a scrap of 2x4
wood. The pliers will aid in bending the small assembly flaps. The
vice will hold the 2x4 wood vertically, which will come in handy for
bending the box joints. Make note of which way your metal copy is
facing and begin bending the small assembly flaps inward. Note:
All bends will be towards the inside of the glove box, unless
otherwise noted. (This is where the outside labels you made
earlier come in handy.) Bend the assembly flaps about 90-95 degree
bends. Then bend the longest joint bend between the ‘top
outside’ and ‘rear outside’. This will be about a
75-degree bend. Next bend the right and left box flaps inward to
about 90 degrees. The next bend is the ‘bottom outside’,
which will be about 40-45 degrees. At this point you will have a
portion of the rear outside sticking out. You will need to bend it
outwards a little bit in order to bend the assembly flaps inward.
Then pull the middle bend outwards even more to about 110 degrees on
the outside. Then bend the inner bend joint back in until the piece
fits flush with the rear of the box assembly.
is how the 2x4 scrap and vise come in to play.
Slow precise bends are
key to lining up the edges.
are some views of the glove box before being riveted together.
the hash marks on the joint bends. And the two holes on top are
missing. You can cut the holes out with a rotary power tool and some
Here is the assembly
with the holes cut out just like the original, for the glove box
you will have an assembly sitting before you that roughly resembles
the worn fiberboard glove box that you disassembled earlier. At this
point you have two options for final assembly. Option One, drill 1/8”
holes in the assembly flaps and use 1/8” deep steel pop rivets.
Option two; tack weld the assembly flaps. The pop rivet method takes
more time and effort, but works just fine. The tack weld method would
be faster and probably would look better, but not all of us have
access to a welder. When you have secured the assembly flaps you can
then leave the metal bare or prime and paint it for custom colors. I
opted for adding some sound dampening material on the outside top,
bottom, and rear panels. And voila’, you have a new steel glove
box that will last forever, for less than the cost of a new pressed
fiber glove box.
is the final product assembled with pop rivets. Notice how they stick
out a little.
sure that you install the rivets from the inside out for a flush and
would suggest that you start the bottom pop rivets in the left corner
first. I did these two last and had to reach them from the outside,
so the rivet body sticks up inside the box. It won’t be easy,
but it is possible to start with these two rivets going from the
inside out, first.
is the left side view.
*Sheet metal edges can be very sharp; use of leather gloves and long
sleeves is recommended.
*Make sure you wear
appropriate safety eyewear.
*Make sure that all
loose wires under the dash are secured and no bare wires will be
touching the metal glove box assembly.
*Author of this
article will not be responsible for any injuries incurred while
attempting to produce this project.
*No reproductions or
use of the pictures or article may be used without the written or
expressed consent of the author.