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Discussion Starter · #284 ·
The floor patch continues...

Cut to size and clamped in place:


Lots of tack welds...


Lots of grinding of tack welds


A support channel under the floor was also cut by the previous owner


My Harbor Freight brake could not handle the geometry of the channel, so I had to improvise:


Channel shape finished:


Failed channel attempts! It was an iterative process to find a way to form the channel with the correct dimensions. I just used small scrap pieces until I found a good process (and good dimensions) to form the channel.


I also made a couple of overlapping reinforcement channels. I haven't decided if I will use them or not:


Channel test fit:


Channel welded into place on one side. The rear axle pumpkin was causing clearance issues, so I'll finish welding when I pull the axle to do other work.
 

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This is a wonderful job of metal shaping and fabricating, and a wealth of info on tips and tricks. I have spent a lot of time learning it but not as much time actually doing it although I have done a pretty decent amount. I love to make stuff with my hands and pounding metal into a shape by hand is very satisfying. You really do nice work. I really wish I had a mill and a lathe at home. The sky is the limit with those.

Keep it up, man. You are an inspiration.
 
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Discussion Starter · #286 · (Edited)
This is a wonderful job of metal shaping and fabricating...
Thanks! You are too kind!


Transfer Case Shifter Boot
It's been very hot here in Texas, so indoor projects are nice during the heat of the day.

Background
A couple of years ago, I bought a leather sewing machine. The idea at the time was to make door panels, etc, for my project Jeepster interior. Unfortunately, I've done nothing on the Jeepster interior since that time.

However, I have done many furniture projects to learn how to sew and work with leather. I'm still not great at upholstery, but I've learned a great deal about layout, stitching, types of foam, etc.

Here's a chair project that I did.
Chair before:


Chair after:


I also did a leather console cover for my 95 YJ. There are a few more details here:
Yet another Ammo Can Project (finished!)


I thought I would make a prototype shifter boot for the transfer case. This will not be the final shifter boot - it's just a tool, so I can figure out the dimensions, etc. It'll be a nice indoor project during the hot afternoons.

Shifter Boot Prototype
Vinyl shifter boots for a YJ are available on eBay for about $100, and I used it for some inspiration:




Paper mock up:


Paper mock up shown with inner transfer case shifter boot


The paper template was transferred to poster board, seam allowances added, etc


I'm just using some cheap vinyl.


Vinyl cut out:


First French seam:


3rd panel added:


View of the inside after sewing is complete:


View of the outside after sewing is complete:


Test fit...first glaring issue - the hole for the shifter arm is much too large. It also may be a little tall.


It works okay in the up position (4 Low):



When I shifted to 2 High, I started to see a few issues.


The location of the transfer case shifter is mismatched to the cutout in the floor plate by about 1.5". This is totally because of how the shifter is mounted to the transmission. I had noticed this before and thought I could work around it. But now, I realize that I really need to fix the issue.




There are several ways to go - I could modify the existing plate and lengthen the cutout and weld in a patch. This plate is very thin - probably 22 gauge, so not easy to weld.

I could buy a new blank plate - they are readily available from several places.

Or I could just make a new plate from scratch. I have the steel, so I'll just make one from scratch - another item added to the task list!

The prototype shifter boot was mostly a success. I'll make a second prototype boot after I get the new cover plate made.

Grab Handle Cover
Another future project is a leather grab handle cover. Some models of CJ7 had a leather wrap over the dash grab bar, and I'm going to try my hand at making one of those:

 

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1995 YJ Wrangler SE
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That is awesome.

Seems effortless.

I can't even begin to comprehend how to stitch something like that. Either my brain just doesn't work that way, or it doesn't care enough about these situations to dedicate attention to it.

Either way... fantastic work Stan. Just caught up on everything.

Absolute tops!
 

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Two things on your boot.

1. The higher the boot, the further it has to travel. You'll never have enough extended like that to reach for forward and full back positions. It has to be (much) lower

2. You will need to fold the boot over and back down inside itself (so doubled over, sqaushed down if the make sense?). It will give you the extra material you need for movement, but also keep it low so that the need movemnt isn't nearly as much.

I think what you have is actually really close if you double it back over itself and slide the top down close to the base

Hoss
 
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can't even begin to comprehend how to stitch something like that. Either my brain just doesn't work that way, or it doesn't care enough about these situations to dedicate attention
I want a heavy-duty commercial machine so bad and have for years. Boat canvas, jeep seats, marine trim panels, tents…
I just can’t bring myself to spend the cash until after I manage to close on some property. I’d hate to be short $1k and have a mostly unused new purchase sitting there just mocking me.
couple of years ago, I bought a leather sewing machine.
What device did you buy? Is it specific to leather or more like the upholstery machines that sailrite and others sell?

I have an old Montgomery Ward circa 1970 or earlier in excellent condition but it probably shouldn’t be used for heavy materials. I did make a nylon boat shade (bimini-like) top with it and a few minor projects.

I could buy a new blank plate - they are readily available from several places. Or I could just make a new plate from scratch. I have the steel, so I'll just make one from scratch - another item added to the task list!
I bought a piece of 20ga galvanized for this- the oem is so thin that the boot screws don’t hold well. I have a cordless jigsaw and some scroll sheetmetal blades. I’ll have ~20-25 minuets in it by the time I install it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #290 · (Edited)
I want a heavy-duty commercial machine so bad and have for years. Boat canvas, jeep seats, marine trim panels, tents…
I just can’t bring myself to spend the cash until after I manage to close on some property. I’d hate to be short $1k and have a mostly unused new purchase sitting there just mocking me.

What device did you buy? Is it specific to leather or more like the upholstery machines that sailrite and others sell?
Not specifically for leather, but a walking foot machine - Consew 206RB-5. I bought it used off of Craigslist. It's got a servo drive, which is nice. Even when slowed way down, the machine has way too much speed for my limited skill. Sailrite does some great videos, but I don't know much about their machines. I regularly see used walking foot machines for sale in my area - check Craigslist and Facebook marketplace when you are ready to buy.

Sewing machine Household appliance accessory Creative arts Sewing machine feet Machine tool


Office equipment Gas Machine Bumper Automotive exterior


I bought a large, old drafting table off of Craigslist to use as a layout/cutting table. That has worked out great.

I figure that as long as I buy a tool used, then I can sell it for the same or better price than I paid. (I take care of my tools, of course)

Here's a sampling of projects that I've done, as I was trying to learn how to use it.

I made a lot of little zippered bags. This one was a gift using some old leather
Sleeve Rectangle Musical instrument accessory Luggage and bags Bag


Hood Plant Grille Yellow Rectangle


I also made lots of tote bags/purses in various sizes:



Blue Luggage and bags Shoulder bag Bag Beige


Brown Luggage and bags Material property Bag Shoulder bag
Brown White Light Product Textile

Shoulder bag Wood Street fashion Rectangle Material property


I did several large furniture projects in leather:
Before:
Comfort Ottoman Wood Beige Rectangle


After, in white leather. This one was a real time-consuming pain in the a**. I haven't done a furniture project since! 🍻
Table Ottoman Comfort Rectangle Beige
 

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Discussion Starter · #291 · (Edited)
Back to the real topic! Now that the hole in the floor is substantially done, I'm continuing the metalwork on the rest of the tub:

Rear Wheel Wells, Part 1
The previous owner installed Jeep TJ rear fender flares, and they were still on the YJ when I purchased it.


TJ rear flares are actually a good, common modification for YJs, as they are cost-effective and add a lot of tire clearance. One downside is that you have to cut sheet metal to install them.

I even had them on my 95 YJ for about 6 months back in 2014 before I went to tube fenders.

To get closer to a CJ7 look, I want to go with the round CJ7 rear flares.



TJ Flare removed:


CJ Flare clamped in place...and the missing sheet metal is clearly noticeable.


I made a cardboard template to help me think things through. Ultimately, I'm not sure that it was very helpful. But I might find it more useful later in the process.


The wheel well lip was also cut off, and that gives a lot of strength to the sheet metal around the flare. I decided to go ahead and recreate the lip too, which is some amount of work.

I am limited by the size of my steel and my tools, so I am working with shorter pieces. I'll have to fit in 6 separate pieces to re-create the correct wheel well with lip. You can see the general plan in the picture below.

This is not ideal, but I can work with it. It will just lead to more welding and more fitting.


I did a similar repair to my Jeepster fender a few years ago - the previous owner had cut some sheet metal for tire clearance. So this process is not new to me.


I started by cutting up 1.5" wide strips.


Ready to be bent in the sheet metal brake - 1/2" is showing - that will be the new wheel well lip


After bending:


The "Stretcher" tool is the main one needed - it will put the curve into the part.
Unfortunately, it only has a 1" throat depth, so that limits my stock size. (A "deep throat stretcher" is available, but too expensive -$400)


Starting the stretch to make the curve. I put black Sharpie marks every 1" as reference marks.


Curve taking shape:


Curve done:


The curved ends took some time:


2nd piece about halfway done:


3 of 4 pieces done:


Passenger side - all 4 pieces done:


Driver's side - 1 of 4 done:

This will take a while - there will probably be 4 separate posts just on these wheel wells.
 

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The curved ends took some time
Just curious of your thoughts on cutting a ‘flat’ piece, making a buck, and hammering the lip over a buck; versus the sectioned pieces and shrunken/stretcher method you used? Obviously much less material is used with your method but I’ve seen on YouTube the english wheel guy from Massachusetts and the master from Rhode Island, “metalshaper,” hammerform similar parts. It hadn’t occurred to me to stretch a piece- seems very effective.
Also wondering if could you weld the sections before stretching them? You’d have grind and anneal the welds to unharden I suppose? I too am length-limited by my press brake, and I got rid of the sheetmetal brake I had because it couldn’t really handle 18ga and I haven’t built or bought another.
 

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Discussion Starter · #296 ·
Just curious of your thoughts on cutting a ‘flat’ piece, making a buck, and hammering the lip over
Hammer forming would be a great way to do it. Probably much better than welding so many pieces together. I am mostly just using the steel, tools and skills that I have available (see note below). I know that my technique will work, but I also know that it isn't the ideal process.

A deep jaw stretcher and a larger piece of steel would have been perfect. Doing a hammer form would have also been great. I don't have a lot of experience hammer forming, and shrinking that lip with a hammer would take some acquired skill. (in my experience, stretching is easy...shrinking is hard!)

As a side note...a couple of weeks ago when I checked, my two local steel suppliers both wanted me to buy a 4'x10' piece of 18 gauge steel. That was the smallest size that I could buy - they wouldn't sell less than a full sheet. And it was going to be about $175 for the sheet. That was a big factor into how I decided to fix the wheel well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #297 ·
I did a little more on the wheel well lips and did a test weld of two of the pieces.
Automotive tire Wood Bumper Tire Tool


The welded piece just wasn't flat enough for me, and this was just two pieces. I have a bunch more pieces to add!
There is some stress put into the metal when I shear it (because of my shear tool)
More stress when I bend it.
Then more stress when I stretched it.
Then getting it welded flat and perfect was challenging.
Most of it will be covered by the CJ rear flare, so most of this isn't critical. I could probably flatten it with a lot of hammer and dolly work. I also have a planishing hammer that would be helpful, but I think it would still be a big challenge.

So, I am going to take fishadventure's great suggestion and try hammer forming. I got several 2'x4' sheets of 18 gauge steel and MDF. We'll see how this goes!
Hood Architecture Automotive exterior Wood Line


More to come!
 

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There is some stress put into the metal when I shear it (because of my shear tool)
More stress when I bend it.
Then more stress when I stretched it.
Then getting it welded flat and perfect was challenging
Weld it. Grind flat-ish. Heat with torch and cool slow?
don't have a lot of experience hammer forming, and shrinking that lip with a hammer would take some acquired skill
Do it slow and a little at a time. I think it won’t be too bad. Just do it in a few stages, clamp it down with panhead screws to keep creep and boing out of it.

Hammer and dolly on the welded pieces I’d annealed first might work out. Dunno.
 

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Discussion Starter · #299 ·
Hammer Forming!

Laying out the MDF using the flare as a template:


Offsetting the line to account for the thickness of the flare and lip:


Layout complete:


Cutting both pieces:


Cutting both pieces at the same time ensures that they will perfectly match. You can see the 8 screws used to hold the panels together:


Detail view of cut:


Offsetting the form to create the lip cut line:


Lip cut line:


Hammering!


More Hammering:


Hammering complete. The two end corners need work, but the lip is nicely formed and the panel is still flat. I'll continue to refine the lip and corners.


Some minor flaws will be corrected with a hammer and dolly, and will also be hidden by the flare:


Horrible picture, but the flare fits good onto the panel:


Back view of the flare test fit


The flare fits very good - better than it looks in this detailed picture
(and no one will ever see the backside of this panel!)



Next step...trim the piece to fit the wheel well and weld it into place
 

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flare fits very good
Holy crap you took answering my query up to an extreme level. I liked your stretching method but since you’ve experimented here I think it’s safe to assume two things:
1- hammer forming longer sections is more accurate and simple
2- now that you have the MDF/HDF buck you can do this coupon fab repeatedly

Another ‘bonus’ is - as you pointed out- the lip provides a lot of strength to the panel, and you have a more robust lip than oem imho. Plus the 18ga is gathered not thinned.
 
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