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Hi folks.

I don't know if any of you will find this partial tutorial useful or not, but in case you ever decide that you want to upgrade an interior on an old annual interior tub, this might help a little.

 

Inevitably, the door panels on most annual interiors were either very faint,  or nearly completely devoid of any detail whatsoever.

Likewise, the widow cranks and arm rests were very lacking in almost all circumstances.

 

In recent months, I have began addressing these short comings and have found it satisfactory in making the door panels look much better than the original.

In most cases, details like arm rests, trim, window cranks and door handles can either be replaced with parts pirated from other kits, scratch built, cast, or replaced with after market items.

But certain details are not easily replicated from scratch and must be retained and modified in order to retain the original stock look.

In most cases, these are such things as door badges and most notably, pleated upholstery.

 

This tutorial shows how I deal with those not so easily replaced details.

 

Very often, the first step will have to be the removal of the old window cranks, trim and arm rests.

This is a relatively simple operation of carefully cutting and scraping off the detail with various X-Acto blades.

But invariably, you will need to remove some of these items from pleated areas of the upholstery which will then require that you re-scribe that area of the upholstery at the very least.

I have found that all though it's quite tedious at times, it's best to re-scribe the entire pleated area to insure that the entire panel appears even throughout.

This is how I do it.

 

These are the tools that I have found that seem to give me the best results.

 

An Xacto knife with a #11 blade.

A sharp dental pick.

A panel scriber. (this particular scriber is a Bare Metal Foil product)

A triangular file.

A pointed round file.

Sand paper

image.jpeg.1bf4d74bd1d7d22850c2eaeeae8d3802.jpeg

 

 

The first step is to mask an area on either side to work on.

Especially with pleating as tight as this, masking an area of about six or eight pleats to work on at a time will make it much easier to keep track of where you are, and where you have already been.

 

I start with a few light passes down each crease with a # 11 blade.

This will help keep the next tool "in the groove" as they say. ;)

image.jpeg.b9a7e85df3708d735f34712a43d67e4e.jpeg

 

 

Next comes the dental pick.

This tool will begin to widen the X-Acto cuts slightly and will start to remove a small amount of material.

This just helps keep the groove as straight as possible.

2 or 3 passes down each groove should suffice.

image.jpeg.31e0ea0eeffc240ca3b2d3fc3efe8bbb.jpeg

 

 

 

Each of these steps is designed to help keep things as straight as you can as you progress.

Once you slip out of a groove and mar the top of the pleat, you have another issue to deal with so I designed this method to very slowly cut a deeper groove as you go.

 

 

Now that the groove has some sharper edges that can help guide the scriber straight, that is the tool that I use next.

This will begin to remove more material to add more depth and definition to the pleats.

As with the other tools so far, a few passes will do.

image.jpeg.ccce09831399c4cf5a72043b0f1094ef.jpeg

 

 

The scriber has now added depth to the pleat, but it will inevitably leave sharp edges on either side of the cut, and it can also "wander" slightly from side to side occasionally making the cuts not completely straight.

This is where the files come in.

The triangular file will make a perfect groove and will help a great deal in straightening any less than straight pleats.

I use the tip more so than the body of the file.

We don't want the grooves to get too wide.

Again, just a few passes.

image.jpeg.59d1b8a21ff8f76b2c98cb63a395338f.jpeg

 

 

 

The round file lightly passed a couple of times over the grooves will help remove any "burrs" on the edges of the cut and begin to help round the transition between the cut and the surface of the pleat.

image.jpeg.069c5396a8ef69532da7437d1ad173fb.jpeg

 

 

 

Finally, I "brush" over the surface lightly with some fairly fine sand paper.

This helps continue that "rounding" process and just generally finishes off any wayward crumbs.

 

 

In the case of this '64 Grand Prix door panel, there was also a "pressed" area and a Grand Prix badge in the upper center part of the panel.

This detail was scribed in the same fashion to give it definition.

image.jpeg.15a2bbbc885d043bb7a27b56872942b7.jpeg

 

 

Once this is done, trim, arm rests and window cranks can be added back to the panel to give it a much more detailed appearance than what was originally offered in the kit.

 

 

 

 

I hope some of you might find this technique useful.

I realize that it is quite involved and can be a little tedious, but if you're looking to really boost the appearance of your poorly detailed annual interiors, this might help you into the right direction.

 

Personally, I've become addicted to doing this on nearly every annual I build now. :rolleyes:

 

 

 

 

 

Steve

 

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24 minutes ago, StevenGuthmiller said:

Finally, I "brush" over the surface lightly with some fairly fine sand paper.

 

 

This helps continue that "rounding" process and just generally finishes off any wayward crumbs.

Steve

 

Nice write up Steve. This stuff does a nice job on contoured surfaces. It also comes in 3000 grit, which is what you would want.  What is the advantage of a panel scriber over the backside of a blade? Different contour?

6476D0C2-382E-4BC0-A8DF-534434C1D05F.jpeg

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NIce! I have a 64 Valiant that I have cut apart the interior bucket and am in the process... actually staring at it from time to time, converting 71 Duster side panels to match the Valiant upholstery. 

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1 hour ago, NOBLNG said:

Nice write up Steve. This stuff does a nice job on contoured surfaces. It also comes in 3000 grit, which is what you would want.  What is the advantage of a panel scriber over the backside of a blade? Different contour?

You could use the back of a blade if that's what you're comfortable with, but I have a hard time with control with that operation.

I have much better control with the scriber.

You might be able to bypass the scriber altogether and go straight into the files as well.

 

You can also use whatever you prefer for sand paper, but you're really not doing much for sanding anyway.

You don't want to grind down the definition that you just created by scribing.

 

This is really no more than a different technique for basic scribing and you could modify it in any way that you feel comfortable with it.

I use the same technique for body panels and re-scribing trim.

 

I just find that using these steps helps me slow down the process and helps keep me from trying to get too much done too quickly, which usually results in slips and mistakes for me.

Something you really want to avoid, especially with a rare old kit. ;)

 

 

 

Steve

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Excellent write up Steve.  The only thought I had was, you are following or scribing straight lines so why not locate the groove with blade or scribes then use a straight edge such as a thicker steel rule for more control.

Working around tool and die makers for years I’ve watched them do this very thing with carbide scribers.  They were putting the finishing touches on high dollar, aluminum and other alloy part applied layup mandrels scribing in ultra fine parting lines for final trim.  Even though many of these tool makers had the practiced ability to follow their scribe lines alone, I’d never see them do anything freehand.

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Thanks for posting this Steve! I've had to do this in the past and this tip will come in handy for newbies out there. Frankly I absolutely hate tub interiors and have gone through the trouble of cutting the door panels out. This saves the terrific frustration for me in painting those when the time comes as it's MUCH easier to do.

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Another alteration that can be done to "tub" interiors is to stand the side panels straight up.  As molded, they have a slight taper, that is to ease removal from the tool during production.  The simplified tooling is also why the detail on the side panels is on the sparse side.  Standing the side panels up straight will make the interior look deeper.  Material will need to be added to the floor at the outer edges, but it'll be worthwhile. 

Too, check the depth of the bucket.  Some kits have too-shallow buckets that leave a gap between the floor and the top of the chassis.  An extreme example would be the AMT late model Corvair...if you have one, stick the body/interior/chassis together, then look through the hole in the chassis under the rear seat...

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15 hours ago, Skip said:

Excellent write up Steve.  The only thought I had was, you are following or scribing straight lines so why not locate the groove with blade or scribes then use a straight edge such as a thicker steel rule for more control.

Working around tool and die makers for years I’ve watched them do this very thing with carbide scribers.  They were putting the finishing touches on high dollar, aluminum and other alloy part applied layup mandrels scribing in ultra fine parting lines for final trim.  Even though many of these tool makers had the practiced ability to follow their scribe lines alone, I’d never see them do anything freehand.

No reason at all that using a straight edge wouldn't work.

 

 

 

Steve

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15 hours ago, MrObsessive said:

This saves the terrific frustration for me in painting those when the time comes as it's MUCH easier to do.

That plus the much easier addition of some much needed door panel detail is the biggest reason that I have begun cutting interior tubs apart.

In most cases, the addition of detail and painting then become the easy part.

The harder part is reassembly. :P

 

 

 

Steve

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9 hours ago, Mark said:

Too, check the depth of the bucket.  Some kits have too-shallow buckets that leave a gap between the floor and the top of the chassis.  An extreme example would be the AMT late model Corvair...if you have one, stick the body/interior/chassis together, then look through the hole in the chassis under the rear seat...

Just about every Johan annual!  

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9 hours ago, Mark said:

Another alteration that can be done to "tub" interiors is to stand the side panels straight up.  As molded, they have a slight taper, that is to ease removal from the tool during production.  The simplified tooling is also why the detail on the side panels is on the sparse side.  Standing the side panels up straight will make the interior look deeper.  Material will need to be added to the floor at the outer edges, but it'll be worthwhile. 

Too, check the depth of the bucket.  Some kits have too-shallow buckets that leave a gap between the floor and the top of the chassis.  An extreme example would be the AMT late model Corvair...if you have one, stick the body/interior/chassis together, then look through the hole in the chassis under the rear seat...

These are good points, but I do have to say that for someone who is not entirely familiar with these sorts of modifications, you need to be very vigilant about checking the fit between the body, interior and chassis, especially if you are doing a chassis swap.

If you are adding height or width to the interior panels, you can wind up with a chassis or interior that will not fit properly in the final stages.

Fit, re-fit and then fit again!

And don't forget to add glass position and thickness into the equation.

There are a lot of little things that you can very easily miss and can end up with parts that don't fit when it's too late to repair without tearing everything apart again. 

 

 

 

Steve

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This is really interesting and useful stuff, Steve.  Though I am a died in the wool hot rodder and cut things up with reckless abandon, I read every detail of every car you build because they are just so beautiful the way you do them.

A few years ago at the Toledo Toy Fair I managed to snag an AMT  64 Chevelle wagon, mint in box. It wasn't cheap but I had one as a young teenager and customised it to death.  Some years ago I extensively reworked the sorry remains into a half decent Bonneville racer.  I want the new kit to become a tow car for the racer and before I start it, maybe later this year, I am going to binge read pretty much everything you have done over the last few years to get my head in the right space. i'm thinking along the lines of your Day 2 Plymouth  you finished recently.  I want to really do this car justice and if it comes out anything like your work I will be over the moon.

Thanks for years of inspiration and outstanding instructional tips.

Cheers

Alan

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40 minutes ago, alan barton said:

This is really interesting and useful stuff, Steve.  Though I am a died in the wool hot rodder and cut things up with reckless abandon, I read every detail of every car you build because they are just so beautiful the way you do them.

A few years ago at the Toledo Toy Fair I managed to snag an AMT  64 Chevelle wagon, mint in box. It wasn't cheap but I had one as a young teenager and customised it to death.  Some years ago I extensively reworked the sorry remains into a half decent Bonneville racer.  I want the new kit to become a tow car for the racer and before I start it, maybe later this year, I am going to binge read pretty much everything you have done over the last few years to get my head in the right space. i'm thinking along the lines of your Day 2 Plymouth  you finished recently.  I want to really do this car justice and if it comes out anything like your work I will be over the moon.

Thanks for years of inspiration and outstanding instructional tips.

Cheers

Alan

Thank you Alan!

I am humbled!

 

 

Since you mention the '65 Plymouth, I suppose that it might be useful to post a few photos of some door panels that I have used these techniques on recently.

 

 

'67 Ford Galaxie.

image.jpeg.089c19e08d22659e13dbacd9c1c3b97f.jpeg

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'65 Plymouth Fury.

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image.jpeg.db1902ffbe347df37e2de4d63d2c81a9.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1968 Olds 442.

image.jpeg.69833a921c9dd780db07984395a5ceb7.jpeg

image.jpeg.cab0d4e548d1913968cc803125aa4739.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve

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7 hours ago, Curt said:

Thanks for the very helpful tutorial, Steve.  Do you have any tips for the tub dissection?  That's the part that intimidates me. 

There is really no way that I can give you a definitive set of rules for dissecting a tub.

They are all different to some degree, and to date I have been lucky that I have only cut apart interiors with separate front seat assemblies.

I imagine it would be a bit more involved trying to re-work a tub with a molded in from seat, although that scenario would probably net the most rewarding results in the end.

 

The main objective of course is to remove the side panels from the tub.

That can be achieved in a number of different ways, including razor saws and X-acto blades, which is my method of choice.

The remainder of any interior modifications after that are completely dictated by the configuration of particular interior that you are working with.

 

 

 

Steve   

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No worries, Steve.  I wasn't asking for a definitive set of rules, just any tips or experience you might have to avoid pitfalls.  Based on your answer I think I just need to dig in.  Thanks!

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