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Woodies?

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I want to get back to a '48 Ford Woody wagon I started a couple of years ago, but I have a question about the wood. Is the light colored frame work, with dark panels appropriate for the original time period or is that something that came with restorations? Seeing the current trend of finished wood in pickups vs the painted wood of the originals is what got me wondering if the Woodies we see restored today are really an accurate representation of how they looked new.

I'm building mine as a working vehicle. The two tone is very attractive but just want to make sure it would be correct, since there is no way the one I'm trying to replicate would have had any custom options.

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Posted · Report post

Aaron,

Ford in 1948 use mostly Maple, Ash and Basswood for the framing pieces. The darker panels are usually Birch or Mahogany ply, which was also used inside.

Most of the time the plywood panels are stained and varnished to provide a uniform look... but many pre-war Fords were produced with all natural color bodies. The choice was purely esthetic and not based on options chosen by the buyer. But beginning 1946 nearly all wagons produced by Ford, including the "Sportsman" were constructed with the darker stained paneling.

Ford's last real woody, although not purely structural, was in 1950 and all those were all constructed using the darker stained wood panels with lighter colored Maple framing. After that.... the dye was cast so to speak, as all woodies became "decal woodies" with Die-nok printed panels and fiberglass framing painted to look like wood.

By the way, all wood used in construction was grown on Ford owned land at "Iron Mountain" in Michigan. The material was cut, milled and kiln dried prior to assembly all under Ford's watchful eye.

Your suggestion about restorations being colored differently is spot on! Because if an owner didn't varnish the body every few years, moisture would seep in and cause rot and ruin. So when a car is restored it is generally stripped and bleached in order to clean up the surface. Then the joints are repaired, everything sanded and new varnish applied. It is up to the restorer as to what colors they return the wood to and different stains and varnishes vary in coloring, especially as they age. So it's not uncommon to see a wide variety of wood colors when the Woodies gather at shows.

1946cadwoodyr-vi.jpg

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Jairus has it right. Wood tones also depended largely on manufacturer and year (originally), but restorers have been known to use various tones in their restorations. Then, too, hot rod woodies (not strict factory original restorations) often display tones 'tweaked' to better compliment the body colors.

Earlier factory Fords, such as my '30 Woody model, were lighter hued.

DSCF0527-vi.jpg

MSFDModelA08-vi.jpg

After the war, extra 'fashion' was achieved by introducing darker panels, such as these '48s.

img03.jpg

HF09_r162_01.jpg

Edited by Danno

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Posted · Report post

This may help as well.

Original 48 Ford Ad.

48FordWoody-vi.jpg

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Thanks, I was planing on trying out some wood grain techniques but wanted to double check on what a basic factory finish would have been. Ever since I found out the attractive varnished wood in the back of pickups is just a restoration thing, I'm wary of wood finishes on old cars.

I'm actually going for something very much like the '48 at the bottom of Danno's post.

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Posted · Report post

Here's one I found that matches the 48 Ford ad. Even with Ford's control over the wood body manufacturing process your still going to have some color variations. It's the nature of wood and wood finishing and a big part of the beauty of real wood.

-Steve

post-413-024024800 1290477956_thumb.jpg

post-413-022462300 1290478438_thumb.jpg

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Posted · Report post

What is that black part on the front of the rear fender, a rubber pad?

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Yes, it's a rock guard.

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The wood did vary from car to car with some of the more unique wood being saved for special customers. I shot this one at a show last month, gorgeous wood on this example.

100310AllFordPicnic031-vi.jpg

100310AllFordPicnic032-vi.jpg

100310AllFordPicnic040-vi.jpg

100310AllFordPicnic115-vi.jpg

Try my woodie albums for more examples.

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Posted · Report post

Wow, that is beautiful Dave! Thanks for posting. :lol:

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There is a lot more variety in these than I would have expected, I guess ordering a higher quality of wood would not be much different than vinyl vs leather seats today.

I really like the 1948 Marmon Harrington 4x4 conversion you have in there, I may be making an adjustment to my project.

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Posted · Report post

There is a lot more variety in these than I would have expected, I guess ordering a higher quality of wood would not be much different than vinyl vs leather seats today.

I really like the 1948 Marmon Harrington 4x4 conversion you have in there, I may be making an adjustment to my project.

Yeah, that's one of my favorites too!

Dsc03110-vi.jpg

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Always a pleasure to see Marmon Harring Early Fords ! Ed Shaver

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And did you know that Henry never wasted anything and was always looking to make a buck. So what do you do with the left over wood chunks??? Make and sell charcoal, "KINGSFORD" charcoal!

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I remember hearing that Kingsford charcoal was related to Henry Ford.

I have a question about the MH conversion, I can see that the front was changed to a more conventional 2 spring set up, instead of the single transverse spring. I am assuming the same was done for the rear, but haven't been able to find any photos of the rear set up. Anyone happen to know? I'm planning to go that way, but thought I'd double check.

I also ran across a car auction site with that '48 MH Woodie (or at least an identical one), it was being estimated with a value of $200-250,000. I thought they would be worth some money, but that definately ensures I'll have to satisfy myself with a 1/25 version. :lol:

I'm liking the artist oils for the wood grain effect. I'll start a WIP for anyone interested once I can touch the body again (I understand it might take a few days for the oils to dry).

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