1929 Ford Tonneau Cover - The Cover-Up
A single layer might tear...
A single layer might tear at the edges, so Paul doubled-up around the perimeter with more topping material. He began by chalking a line 1 3/4 inches inboard the tonneau perimeter.
Using the template as a guide,...
Using the template as a guide, Paul transferred the vinyl's shape to vinyl. Even though the tonneau will split down the middle, he used a single sheet wide enough to cover the cockpit. At this point he disregarded the snap positions.
Paul made a 2-inch wide doubler...
Paul made a 2-inch wide doubler out of remnants and sewed it at the chalk line, letting the doubler tail out a bit.
Then he trimmed the doubler...
Then he trimmed the doubler flush with the top tonneau panel and bound the edges with vinyl binding tape.
The tonneau splits down the...
The tonneau splits down the middle, but before Paul cuts the vinyl in half he sews the zipper in from the backside. "Otherwise it's almost impossible to line up the two sides while sewing in the zipper."
Once Paul sews in the zipper,...
Once Paul sews in the zipper, he opens it and cuts the two panels apart. The overlapping tonneau panels conceal the zipper. He binds the cut edges with the same material he used on the perimeter. This photo illustrates the cutting, but he'd already bound the edges by the time we shot this photo.
Paul used the template to...
Paul used the template to establish the location of the snaps on either side of the zipper but only at the rear side of the tonneau.
Since he does this every day...
Since he does this every day he has the luxury of a Pres-N-Snap tool, but the conventional snap-setting punch and die work just fine.
Since the vinyl template doesn't...
Since the vinyl template doesn't stretch the same as the final material, Paul couldn't rely exclusively on the snap locations marked on it. Instead, he stretched the material to his liking before skewering it on the snap pins. The snap pins include covers that prevent the pins from unintentionally skewering other things like elbows and bellies-a nice touch if you think about it.
But not even the snap pins...
But not even the snap pins are 100 percent reliable. The tonneau eventually gets tight enough to not readily stretch over the pins. In those cases Paul pulls the material directly over the bare snaps and chalks the centerlines.
With the tonneau adequately...
With the tonneau adequately sized and stretched, it should lay wrinkle-free and sag less than an inch across the cockpit. Now all this one needs is a good drizzle to test its effectiveness.
Plain snaps are fairly effective...
Plain snaps are fairly effective in shear but, for the best hold in highly-stressed areas like sharp corners, Paul used Lift-the-Dot fasteners. They consist of a post that attaches to the body and a socket that attaches to the fabric. They cling like aging trophy wives until you lift the post's head or "dot".
Cedardale Auto Upholstery
Sailrite Enterprises, Inc.
4506 S. State Rd. 9