The interior of my F-1 is the last "big" project left to do.....
After taking my seat to the upholstery shop and getting a quote for the seat and headliner etc,......well, I just can't justify the expense.
Soooo, I thought, how hard can it be? Not rocket science, but very time intensive....no wonder he charges so much! Yes, repro cardboard headliners and maybe ABS ones are available, but I wanted something different. Plus the shipping on those is horrible.
My plan was to build a headliner and surrounding panels from basic materials the cover them myself with material. The seat will be black vinyl because it matches everything. This truck will be used, and I don't want to worry about it getting dirty...
Now, I have never done this before, and I don't have any special tools or anything. So basically anyone could do this.
First, you need to know how it will all fit together.....mine will be a single roof piece supported on the edges by the vertical pieces....more to come on that.
second, you HAVE to make a pattern.... that is where I will start....
To make patterns you need some stiff paper or poster board in as big of sheets as you can find. You may have to glue or tape several sheets together.
I made the top, or horizontal piece first...this took several tries to get it right. It has to be just the right size...big enough to be supported at the edges, but small enough to physically fit up in there without bending it.
The front edge gets tucked up above the windshield header, and the center is supported by the screw in the middle of the roof...
Once you get it stuck up there, mark and trim till it fits where you want it. It took me several tries, but finally....success. Note, make your pattern slightly bigger than needed (1/4 inch or so) I'll explain in a bit.
For the roof material, I used 1/8" thick masonite....this is NOT plywood. It is a pressed paper product, like pegboard. I got it at Lowes for $16.?? a 4x8 sheet.
Lay out your pattern and trace it out.....I used a utility knife to cut it.
Make sure to trim the edges smooth or you can get a nasty paper cut the finished panel....don't forget the center hole!
It's important to make the roof panel first, then make the rest of your patterns...
Installing the roof panel is kind of a bear, because it is much stiffer than the pattern....be gentle and don't force it. You will find it doesn't fit as well as the pattern too, and the center screw is too short.
Get yourself a longer screw and line the panel up where you want it to be. I use a large washer so it doesn't pull through.
Do NOT try to tighten the screw all the way down. The pressure will dent the roof.
Now we need to shape the panel with steam. I supported the edges over the doors with some foam blocks, and at the back with some props.Take out anything in the truck you don't want to get wet....
I used a vaporiser to make the steam.
Wow, it's been a long time since I steamed up the windows on anything
I let the steamer run for about 8 hours, checking progress every couple hrs to adjust props and wipe some of the water off the dash. Now it is time to tighten the center screw, crank it down each time you check it....this is what makes the dome shape. This is also why we made the panel a little bigger.
For my 56 panel I used the head liner from a ford club van and a chevy truck and built myself a custom headliner. It took some slicing and dicing and some fiberglass but now I have a solid one piece headliner that houses a couple speakers in the back obove the rear hatch door, it's just waiting to be upholstered. This should provide some extra insulation as the headliner is 1/2" ridgid foam.
OK, so I let the cab dry out for a couple of days, keeping the braces in place.....looks like it has retained it's shape.
Now it's time to make the rest of the patterns...these corner pieces will be made from ABS plastic as they have a pretty sharp bend. After I got the first one made, I just flipped it over and used it for a template for the other side.
Use a compass or similar for tracing around the edges....the piece for over the rear window...
All of the rear patterns installed....now we are getting somewhere!
Same deal for the pieces over the doors, just reverse from side to side
Is the sequence you used important [beyond the roof piece]???
Not really, it just worked better for me to let the edges run wild so I could mate the top to the curve. Clear as mud, right? There is probably an easier way to do this, but.....no turning back now.
Also, I ran out of pattern material, but I plan on doing the areas beside the tank too.
56panelford, I looked high and low at junkyards for a H/L I could modify....a 90's reg cab Ford is really close, but hard to find in usable condition...plus every one is gray it seems. I figured it was just as easy to start from scratch. Now on a panel I would look at other options.
I'm leaning towards covering 1/8" PVC which runs about $ 30.00 per 4 x 8 sheet. I built my inner firewall liner from same material, used heat gun to form it. I've got the templates that were supplied a while back via members, so will cut material slightly large and heat it up while installing. Hope to get at this this summer.