As your vehicle progresses through its restoration phases it will eventually get to the upholstery stage. Don’t leave it till the last minute to order your hood bows. Although it may not take long to bend them (about 2 to 3 minutes) there are a lot of variables prior to this point such as ensuring I have the appropriate timber, clearing orders before yours and making sure that I have enough time in the day. Please allow me time to do a good job.
I am still using a machine from the early 1900’s to make new bows for cars and wagons. These are not reproduction bows, they are new ones.
Most bows I make out of American White Ash. It is readily available (although imported) and with its long fibre is quite resilient to the vibration the it will be subjected to. Most imported early bows for American cars were made from hickory which is now difficult to get. Australian woods used included Blackwood although much depended on what was available. Coachwood, silver ash and alpine ash were all used to varying degrees.
My bows are steam bent, not laminated. If you use laminated bows make sure that all laminates are of solid wood with the grain running the length of the bow. Don’t use ply in any form when laminating bows. It will just bring tears!
With steam bending, the inside of the radius corners are more dense than the outside timber. Because of this it is important to leave the battens on until you are ready to fit the bows. If you take the batten off too early the inside will start to absorb moisture which will then swell the inside radius thus causing the leg of the bow to start to return to its original position (straight). The drier your bow is the stronger will be the set but they will always be ready to work and fit as soon as you get them – JUST LEAVE THE BATTEN ON! (:
My machine has moulds with radii of 5″, 6″,7″, 8″, 9″, and 12″
Latest bows made were for a 1927 Morris Cowley.
Next bows are for a 1924 Morris Cowley Roadster