Tag Archives: shave
Time and money seem to always be the deciding factor in how long a project takes to complete. After preparing Pile House for a chop my time ran thin and it took longer for me to get to cutting the roof than I'd like; but I'm sure everyone can relate when life gets in the way of a project!
For removing the roof I used a reciprocating saw and an Angle Grinder with a cutting wheel, but there are a number of different tools you could use. It all really depends on the vehicle you're chopping. I've seen others use a Body Saw, Electric or Pneumatic Metal Shears, portable bandsaws, hacksaws, Plasma Cutters, and even an oxy-acytelene torch! No matter what your method, you need to make sure you make controlled, precise cuts. I use the reciprocating saw to cut areas like the tops of the doors, the A-pillars, and the door jams where the metal is boxed. The long cuts through the sheet metal were done with the angle grinder.
With the roof cut off, we set it on the ground and cut 3" out of the rear of the cab and enough out of the front pillars to get the roof sitting at an angle I liked. From there I began slowly welding the back of the roof on. The backside needs to stay in the same position as stock (unlike a car where most of the modifications occur towards the back of the roof). I'm choosing to use the Eastwood TIG 200 on low amperage to make the welds. When the welder settings are dialed in correctly and using small .030 filler wire, I can keep the heat-effected zone low, and hammer the welds flat with the Hammer and Dolly Set. In some places there will be no grinding (nearly impossible with a MIG!) necessary. This project requires me to be crawling around the bed and cab making short stitch welds on the roof. There isn't a good spot to position the TIG 200 foot pedal during this process, so I switched the controls to the finger switch on the torch. This makes out-of-position welding much easier. The more comfortable you are when welding, the better your welds will be.
Now with the roof back in place, it's pretty obvious that I'll need to split the roof in half to move the front portion to match the A-pillars and add a filler panel to the gap. On classic trucks I like the factory rake of the pillars, where-as on coupes and sedans of the same era angled pillars can really help make the car look like it's going fast when sitting still. Once I get more spare time and an extra set of hands, I'll start cutting the roof again and get everything sitting where I want it to, then more welding and hammering can occur. Stay tuned, I'm just getting started!
One of the next big projects planned for Project Pile House is performing a mild chop and smooth job on the cab and roof. We started the process in a previous post where we showed you How to Shave and Smooth Unneeded Holes in the bed and cab. Today we decided to really dig into this next part of the project.
Since the roof will need to be worked and modified in a number of spots, I decided to use our 7 Inch Cleaning and Stripping Disc Kit on an Electric Angle Grinder to quickly strip the top half of the cab and doors down to bare metal. This will allow us to easily mark, cut, and weld the roof as we get it situated in it's new, lower position.
Next I decided to remove the drip rails. This modification isn't a new one in the Hot Rod, Street Rod and custom world, but it's definitely one that's always debated. The original drip rails were in pretty sad shape, and I prefer smooth customs; so I decided to remove them with the angle grinder. I'll come back with a Flap Disc and bring the rough-cut edge flush with the roof. The drip rail is composed of 2 pieces of metal pinched and folded over, so I will have to weld the two pieces together and blend them before the truck is "done", but we'll wait until the chopped roof is back in place to finish that portion of the job.
While we were on a roll, Mark R. (of Eastwood R&D Corner fame) helped me measure out the lines for where the chop would take place. After a little head scratching, and test fitting me (the driver) in the truck, we decided on a 3" chop that would take place below the rear windows and bring the lower "reveal" or contour of the rear window openings down to match the height of the lower door window sill. This would also bring the roof seam down to match with the top of the door, and make the size of the side door glass close to the that of the rear and cab-corner windows (I really like symmetry in custom cars!). With the lines laid out with painters tape, I'll be gearing up to make the cuts in the next week or two. Stay tuned, we'll be filming and posting a DIY video showing how we chop the roof. We're excited to see how Pile House looks with a fresh chop and shave!