top insert stretching

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    In a couple days I will be installing the top insert and wondering about some aspects. I assume it is best to leave excess material past the nailstrip channel then trim it back with a knife (Xacto), before or after the nailstrip goes down? After the nailstrip goes down might be the most accurate – using the edge of the nailstrip as guide but am certain I will end up cutting the paint at the edge in the process. Some tape around the edge might provide a little protection, but probably not with my ham handed ways. Perhaps cutting it after tacking down but before the nail strip goes down with scissors or knife?

    I have found some cheap plastic alligator tarp clips that can grab the edge of the material very effectively with only abut a 1/16″ clamped at the edge. David’s advice to tack the top down under the hot sun to stretch isn’t going to be feasible in the northern Nevada winter, so the plan is to blow space heaters across the top before and during the process.

    I actually did this once 35 years ago but no longer have any recollection of it.



    You need to leave a good “tail” of material past the tack strip area, so that you have something to pull with to stretch material.

    Mark centerlines on top material (chalk is fine), mark centerline on top of car (I use the blue painter tape then mark on the tape, this tape will pull up from painted surface with no problem).

    Tack center of material at the front, in two or three places within 8-10 inches of center.  Go to back of car, line up centerline, pull snug and repeat at back of car.  Do the center of the sides the same way.  then, working a foot or two at a time, tack down the front, the rear, then move to each side, and repeat, pulling taut as you go.

    The best way to cut the excess material without harming paint is to:

    -with scissors, cut a slit in excess material up to the tack line

    -take a single edged razor blade, and pressing it down next to slit and in line with tack line (where you want the edge of material to end up), pull up on the excess material against the blade, cutting it.

    -Move blade and repeat.  It takes a few minutes to do it this way but you won’t harm paint.


    David Coco Winchester Va.


    David, this is a big help and answers the question, thanks!


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