In the “fixed the roof” thread David Coco was wondering about what others have use for nail strips. I can show what I have found and done to date, but this isn’t done and therefore not a completed experiment. The first picture shows the nail strips available from Snyders Ford parts. Use only “top” in the key word with lots of hits to scroll through, otherwise you won’t get all these different parts (e.g. one uses the “molding” spelling and another uses “moulding” and you won’t get a hit on both using either spelling).
In the past when this has come up, I believe the #1 simple oval was mentioned as being original and was installed countersinking the nails and following with pounding in a leaded ball to seal. I didn’t think I could bend that cross-section to the curves and have a hope of controlling the tendency to twist with simple tooling and limited skills. This is one where the curvature of the oval will make the drill skate off the top without mounting in a drill press or making a drill jig of some sort. I always have problems getting things to seal, and didn’t have a lot of confidence in being able to do the crushed leaded ball sealing bit consistently.
#2 used on Briggs bodied Fords looked like a better bet in terms of sealing, the added trapezoid below the oval would improve sealing and provide a little give and guide to force the strip into the channel, and wouldn’t be quite as hard to control the twist when bending. I still have second thoughts of redoing mine using this cross-section as the #5 I chose won’t look as good, will stand prouder and be more visible.
When some discuss using a low melting point metal to fill the molding before bending to shape I assume they are talking about #4 or #5.
I’ve seen using the plywood as a pattern to bend the strips, from what I remember the person doing it stated that each curve was different, so started with the biggest radius, and cut same plywood board three times to make the other three pieces.
I have a top to install on a Packard, and frankly don’t have the time nor skills to bend the metal. I’m considering just installing a piece of hidem for now, then the owner can pursue metal if he desires.
I did a Pierce 840 not long ago, had the original metal strips, they were similar to #3 above, thin metal and very flimsy.
The strips come 5 ft lengths, 2 per side. The curves are not constant radius, but I did mine with two templates, front and rear halves. The curvature was marked on paper laid on the top and transferred to the plywood.
I believe some have managed to form them in the car’s top channel itself, using the car as the tool to bend it.
Just for history sake, the originals were two piece, a right and a left, and the joint was centerline of car front and back.
I’ve been told that sometimes the radius right and left may not match exactly, I could be wrong.
These cars were not perfectly symetrical, but the nail strips generally have enough give to work them on the car for final adjustments. Bending them on the plywood forms wasn’t a precision art. The leaded joints where the panels were welded together are a real mess.