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Top Support Attachment To Body

Discussion in 'Early Jeep Restoration and Research' started by Wirework, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. Dec 9, 2016
    Uncle Vin

    Uncle Vin Member 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Long Island, New...
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    Now, let me throw this out there. There is rumored to be a folding canvas top from the factory. There is information on this on the CJ3B Page (https://cj3b.info/SoftTopHistory2.html). Here is a photo:
    CJ5FoldingTop.JPG
    I was going to have this made before I found a, heretofore unobtainium, white vinyl Whitco top. I purchased M38A1 bows, door rods and folding door frames. I thought, and still think, that it would be the best of both worlds -- an old school look with a, sort of, modern convenience. It's essentially an exact duplicate of the M38A1 top with the addition of the removable rear curtain. I have been speaking with Mona from New Life Canvas about the reproduction of a CJ5 canvas top and she's interested, but hasn't found the time to develop one. Maybe we (you) can convince her to do so. It's hard to argue with the good looks of that top.
     
    Hellion likes this.
  2. Dec 9, 2016
    Wirework

    Wirework Navy_Jim

    Pittsburgh, PA
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    This is great stuff 'Uncle Vin"!
    I'm a light complexion Irish/German guy, but I owned a convertable... once ...and from that experience, I decided from now on I"d always have something between me and 'Ole Sol. I even stopped buying sun roofs and moon roofs. So, I'm most likely to keep at least the roof of the top on all the time. Having a top be convertable isn't a value add for me personally. BUT, I have to say, I certainly like the look of the top in the picture you posted.

    I'm sorry to dissapoint, but I want to make my top and bows, not buy them. This retirement thing has set me free to do any thing I want.

    So, I've teed myself up to make my own standard bows and top (with a TechShop membership -they have tube bending equipment, industrial sewing machines, large format printers, laser cutters, etc, etc). And I got the CJ2 standard bow patterns and military style top patterns from thecj2page forum. I hope to finish the standard bows, and print the pattern pieces to scale before Christmas. And I bought a COSTCO tarp to make a practice top. I intend to modify the cj2 paterns to fit my cj5, cut the COSTCO tarp per those mods, and then capture anything I learn from the practice run with the tarp before I buy canvas.

    I will certainly be happy to share that project here.
     
  3. Dec 10, 2016
    Oldriginal86

    Oldriginal86 Member

    Pasadena, Md.
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    Not sure if it was mentioned before but Sail Rite has a bunch of great videos on their site on patterning and sewing techniques.
     
  4. Dec 10, 2016
    Wirework

    Wirework Navy_Jim

    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Oh, that will be great! I've never sewed before but I'm looking forward to getting to it... but Jeep first, Pontiac second, canvas top third.
     
  5. Aug 6, 2018
    mickeykelley

    mickeykelley Well-Known Member

    Republic of Texas
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    Jim, did you ever get this built? Pics?
     
  6. Aug 12, 2018
    Wirework

    Wirework Navy_Jim

    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Not yet.

    I borrowed an industrial sewing machine from my brother who does car reupholstering (he had a spare needeng some service).

    And I have the canvas, and the electrical conduit... but so far, life has gotten the way.

    'Still in the plan however!
     
    ojgrsoi likes this.
  7. Aug 13, 2018
    Wirework

    Wirework Navy_Jim

    Pittsburgh, PA
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    'Sorry, I've been off line for a while. When Photobucket screwed things up a year or so ago and all the work I did here was gutted, I kind of felt "what's the use". Now from out of nowhere, my photos have reappeared.

    My brother Joe and I are in the middle of rebuilding his 1989 Jeep (painting it this week!!) and then jumping on his 1928 (?) Pontiac... but in between, I'll get on this.

    I'm setting up a sewing space in an unused loft here at home. I'll start sharing if Photobucket will let me.
     
  8. Aug 15, 2018
    Twin2

    Twin2 not him 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Virginia Beach, VA
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    glad to see your still around
     
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  9. Oct 24, 2021
    Wirework

    Wirework Navy_Jim

    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Hi. It's been a while and a lot of life has gotten in the way. But here we are looking forward!!

    I'm looking for a cheap photo hosting site so I can repopulate my MD JUAN body build. I'll also use it to begin hosting photos for this soft top fabrication. If I remember correctly, a member here was considering setting up photo hosting, so we'll see!

    So, I finally finished rebuilding my industrial sewing machine and located it in my basement beside my pool table, which against my wife's preference has become my pattern-lay-out table.

    [​IMG]

    Then I got some sewing practice making an outdoor a/c condenser cover and then some outdoor furniture covers all out of heavy sail cloth.

    I also fabricated bows from EMT conduit. Only a real purist would distinguish them from OE... well except for the use of "Maker Pipe" "Structural Connectors" for EMT conduit. The early CJ5 "standard" solid metal 3/8" (?) rod door frames and horizontal runs which reach between the vertical bows, all seemed too flimsy for prime time. So, mine are all EMT tube tied together by MAKER EMT connectors. I must say it looks really professional. I am about to modify my first creation just a bit. Since my frame is all EMT conduit, it is strong enough to support a third bow arching right and left in the gap between the windshield and the roll bar. My current Bimini top flaps like crazy or puffs up like a parachute and I cannot add a support rod down the roof centerline because the rollbar interferes at the bow. This third bow will tie into the horizontal tubes above the driver and passenger doors, once again using MAKER conduit connectors.

    I've downloaded the CJ2Page original military soft top pattern but haven't printed it because of the cost to print it !! (Hundreds of $$ !!I) I can however get measurements from the pattern... I think...

    I used cardboard to make a top and tried to create a pattern from that, but that didn't pan out very well.

    [​IMG]

    I've taken advantage of Harbor Freight tarp sales :) I'm going to have a few mistakes so my first soft tops will be made from HF tarps... stop laughing!!

    I'll post more as I get rolling and find a photo hosting site.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2021
    Twin2 and Fireball like this.
  10. Oct 24, 2021
    homersdog

    homersdog Tulsa, Ok 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Tulsa, OK
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    Focker created Beamingpix.com, that may be who you are remembering. I am looking forward to seeing pictures of your top frame.

    Image Hosting
     
    Focker likes this.
  11. Oct 24, 2021
    Keys5a

    Keys5a Sponsor

    Florida Keys
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    Have you considered SunBrella as a material to make the tops from? Though not original, and not a heavy as the original canvas, I haven't found the lifespan of this stuff. I have a Jetski cover thats close to 25 years in the sun and its still strong and not faded. You just have to use the right thread so thats not what rots out.
    SunBrella can be bought in any color you desire, even on eBay.
    -Donny
     
  12. Oct 24, 2021
    Wirework

    Wirework Navy_Jim

    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Hi, Donny, it's been a while!!
    My brother does auto/boat upholstery and he got the outdoor fabric for me. I bet it was "SunBrella". Back at the start of this thread (too many years ago) I bought a bolt of olive green canvas to make the military version of the old school top. I do appreciate it will very likely shrink and fade but still, but will look the part. My brother also got me UV tolerant thread as used on his boat work. But thanks for the suggestion!
     
  13. Oct 24, 2021
    Wirework

    Wirework Navy_Jim

    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Hey, homerdog.

    Oh, yes, Focker, this is sounding very familiar. If I have to pay someone for this, why not a member! Now to get off my butt and do what I said I'd do!!! :)
     
    Focker likes this.
  14. Oct 24, 2021
    Wirework

    Wirework Navy_Jim

    Pittsburgh, PA
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    'Just signed up; waiting for acceptance/approval. :)
     
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  15. Oct 24, 2021
    Wirework

    Wirework Navy_Jim

    Pittsburgh, PA
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    I should probably create an appropriate title for sewing my own canvas soft top... "Top Support Attachment To Body" kind of misses the point...
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
  16. Oct 25, 2021
    mickeykelley

    mickeykelley Well-Known Member

    Republic of Texas
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    Looking forward to pics, etc.
     
  17. Nov 2, 2021
    Wirework

    Wirework Navy_Jim

    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Update:
    11/2/2012
    About a year ago... two maybe... (I guess... COVID has really messed with my concept of time)... I followed the above bow examples & recommendations, and I fabricated my own bows using a borrowed EMT (electrical conduit) tubing bender. I watched a few YouTube training videos on how to accurately bend electrical conduit, and it worked the first time (!).

    But since I'm cutting and sewing my own canvas soft top, I took a bit of liberty with the horizontal support rods. The authentic solid metal rods (3/8" ??) struck me as just too flimsy. And relying on little slip-in holes to tie the horizontal and vertical pieces together.... hmmm... no thanks.

    I felt much better about the EMT conduit strength and just continued fabricating with that.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    MAKER has several varieties of connectors, I used the most common types. They seem really firm and are super easy to work with. And they simply make the top support structure look really professional, I think.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2021
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  18. Nov 2, 2021
    Wirework

    Wirework Navy_Jim

    Pittsburgh, PA
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    I tied the horizontal upper door jambs into the windshield by drilling a hole through the upper corner and installing a threaded ring there.

    [​IMG]

    The ring diameter was forced inside a partially flattened EMT tube end and a bolt was inserted through a drilled hole in the flattened part which captured the ring inside.

    [​IMG]
    (No, this is NOT Harrison Ford... yet.)

    If you look closely you can see the threaded end of the threaded ring with a nut retaining it in the windshield upper corner.

    You can see how much more substantial the support members are.

    This week I want to fabricate an additional bow running left/right and located above the two front seats. My Bimini top flaps like a parachute in the wind, so something needs to be done.

    Normally there is a wooden beam running down the roof centerline to support the soft top above the seats. My Jeep came with an aftermarket roll bar which interfered with the normal placement of that center support. Well, the door jamb horizontal members are stiff enough and strong enough to support a left/right bow above the front seats.

    [​IMG]

    So, it's time to pull out the tubing bender, snag two more Maker connectors, and fabricate a third bow. While I'm at it I'll need to figure out how to complete the vertical door jambs and latching. I never did get my doors to fit, so that task needs to be completed first. ...Job security.

    [​IMG]

    My brother, Joe, likes to visit Hershey PA fall vintage car event in October. This year he left a bit late and found that someone had abandoned an old beat up and rusty set of Jeep doors. so, he scooped them up for me :)

    [​IMG]

    The frame is completely salvageable (with a wire brush and some elbow grease), and there is enough material there to create a pattern for a canvas cover. I'll document that effort with a few photos.

    I still haven't acquired the appropriate upper door hinge, but might need to fabricate something anyway to complement my fabricated top support, etc. Someone did give me some nice photos of the upper door hinge, ...I think, so I'll have to dig that up.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2021
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  19. Nov 5, 2021
    mickeykelley

    mickeykelley Well-Known Member

    Republic of Texas
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    The thing that I have found with the Bestop Super top, is that at 6’1” their rail that goes across the door is a pain in the butt for me getting in and out. With no top or the bikini top, there is a little bit more head clearance so I don’t have to actively remember to tuck the head. Yet the bikini to is not enough for rain and cold weather. And yes mine flaps in the wind too. So "if", and that’s a big if, I were making from scratch, I’d try to put a bend up to accommodate that. But that is just my thoughts. But looking good.
     
  20. Nov 6, 2021
    Wirework

    Wirework Navy_Jim

    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Oh, that's a good idea. I'd have to figure out how to increase the door height to compensate for the additional entry head room. ...Hmm... I'm thinking "Gull Wing" doors!! Move over DMC!

    No kidding though that would have been a good thing to do. My height has actually shrunk :( I'm no longer 6'-0"; closer to 5'10-1/2". So the current entry height has been working for me, but I will want the head room to be maximized above the seat. I will use the tubing bender to arch the new EMT bow just a tad higher than the windshield height. I can point the MAKER connectors in any radial direction perpendicular to the upper door jamb to make a smooth intersection with the bow. And the connector has a real low clamp profile.

    Bottom line for this build is to work with the standard doors and the existing upper door jamb height, but thanks for thinking with us !!!

    I just noticed that my picture above with the Halloween skeleton shows my top support height vs the height of my Bimini top. As I see it in the picture I'm surprised I don't hit my head on it every time. I remember hitting my head a lot in the beginning... I seem to have learned to duck!! :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
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