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March 2005, last updated on July 28, 2010

This page will constantly be under construction, as will the Rod !!!  

E-mail me, especially if building a 30 coupe
Building a 1930 Ford Hotrod floor, access panels.

Since I have the master cyclinder and battery under the floor, I need access to them for maintenance etc. Originally I was going to make a simple hole in the floor with a flap to cover it over. While doing the rest of the floor with a swage line, to accent it a little from underneath and also add a little strength, I hit on this idea of making the doors, using the hammer forming idea I used on the gas filler and other areas.

It's a fairly simple way of making a formed part but requires a little time spent making a pattern in MDF or similar wood. The size of the opening is cut into the wood, using rounded corners for preference. I used a jigsaw. Its important to make the lines as straight as possible, for a nice end result in the metal. Then the piece of steel sheet has a hole sut into it, a little smaller than the hole in the wood. I usually make it about 3-4mm. (about 3/8") Its not critical except in the corners where the less metal there is to fold over, the better, or you will get a lot of distortion as in this area, the metal has to be stretched.

Its important also to clamp another piece of wood on top, as close to the edge to be formed as possible or a "ridge" will be formed near the fold.

Once the forming is done, the metal is removed from the wood form, then the edge is trued up with a hammer and dolly. The edge will not be even, so must be ground down to be even height all round. Same for the lid, when made later. I aim for about 3mm height of the finished lip.

Then, another form is made for the lid. I made mine about 5-6mm (1/4") bigger, and then cut a pice of steel sheet and hammer formed it also. Later, when the lid is hinged, a piece of rubber will seal the door.

The picture shows the lid being formed on the corner. It takes a number of light blows, working around the corner, to get the metal to flow and fold over nicely. Note the wood on top, placed near the edge to prevent distortion as mentioned above.

The access door for the master cylinder reservoir was made in the same way, but smaller of course.

Still to come, fitting of hinges and a catch. Maybe just a screw.

Normal, small steel hinges, will be welded onto the lid.