Jaguar xk120

Pillars and Doors

These are the B-pillars. Here is what I have to work with, one side is in shambles, the other is about 90% complete. Both sides are almost identical from what I can tell, just mirror images of each other. I'll base my new pieces off of the mostly complete side, making them slightly oversized and fine tuning the fit by hand during install.

These are the B-pillars. Here is what I have to work with, one side is in shambles, the other is about 90% complete. Both sides are almost identical from what I can tell, just mirror images of each other. I'll base my new pieces off of the mostly complete side, making them slightly oversized and fine tuning the fit by hand during install.

The wood that I'm replacing on this Jaguar was last cut and shaped over 65 years ago and is therefore likely to have shrunk slightly from its original size. As a precaution, I'm cutting the new parts out slightly oversized. To accomplish this I'm using a 24" steel rule that is around 1/16" thick. By laying this against the original piece and tracing alongside I end up with an outline that is 1/8" larger in all dimensions. As an added bonus, using the steel rule as a guide eliminates the rough pencil line that would have resulted if I had traced right against the wood. A cleaner layout line makes it a lot easier to make a clean cut.

The wood that I'm replacing on this Jaguar was last cut and shaped over 65 years ago and is therefore likely to have shrunk slightly from its original size. As a precaution, I'm cutting the new parts out slightly oversized. To accomplish this I'm using a 24" steel rule that is around 1/16" thick. By laying this against the original piece and tracing alongside I end up with an outline that is 1/8" larger in all dimensions. As an added bonus, using the steel rule as a guide eliminates the rough pencil line that would have resulted if I had traced right against the wood. A cleaner layout line makes it a lot easier to make a clean cut.

Cutting the B-Pillars to size on the bandsaw

Cutting the B-Pillars to size on the bandsaw

Pretty darn close if you ask me!

Pretty darn close if you ask me!

 Now it's time to shape the curves of the B-Pillar supports. I have both sides stuck together with double sided veneer tape.

 Now it's time to shape the curves of the B-Pillar supports. I have both sides stuck together with double sided veneer tape.

Using my Stanley 151 spokes shave I am removing the marks left from the band saw, slowly working my way down to my pencil line. A razor sharp blade does a nice job on the Ash end grain.

Using my Stanley 151 spokes shave I am removing the marks left from the band saw, slowly working my way down to my pencil line. A razor sharp blade does a nice job on the Ash end grain.

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As I carefully work up to my line on the Jaguar XK120 B-Pillar supports, certain spots call for specialty tools.  This small section was giving me trouble when trying to use my spokeshave or block planes. A little work with my rasp, followed by fine tuning with a plane maker's float worked perfectly.

As I carefully work up to my line on the Jaguar XK120 B-Pillar supports, certain spots call for specialty tools. 
This small section was giving me trouble when trying to use my spokeshave or block planes. A little work
with my rasp, followed by fine tuning with a plane maker's float worked perfectly.

Now on to the interesting part of the B-Pillar replacements. The sides of both supports are angled to fit the curves of the body. The issue is that the angle isn't consistent, it varies along the entire length of the support. You can see how it changes in the photos. The angle at this point is fairly shallow.

Now on to the interesting part of the B-Pillar replacements. The sides of both supports are angled to fit the curves of
the body. The issue is that the angle isn't consistent, it varies along the entire length of the support. You can see
how it changes in the photos. The angle at this point is fairly shallow.

Just a few inches further along and you can see how the angle is much steeper.

Just a few inches further along and you can see how the angle is much steeper.

Finding common reference points along the perimeter of the old and new B-Pillar supports is the first step. I set my dividers to a 1" spacing and proceeded to walk them along the edge, starting at the same point on the old and new components. This gives me accurate and precise layout marks on all of the pieces, setting me up for the next step.

Finding common reference points along the perimeter of the old and new B-Pillar supports is the first step. I set my
dividers to a 1" spacing and proceeded to walk them along the edge, starting at the same point on the old and new
components. This gives me accurate and precise layout marks on all of the pieces, setting me up for the next step.

Replicating my 1" layout marks on the new B-pillar

Replicating my 1" layout marks on the new B-pillar

Now that I've got my layout determined, I use my Sterling Toolworks saddle tail to clearly define my reference points along the face and side. Having each section clearly defined is a good visual for me.

Now that I've got my layout determined, I use my Sterling Toolworks saddle tail to clearly define my reference
points along the face and side. Having each section clearly defined is a good visual for me.

Next I go along the perimeter, placing my Brown & Sharpe machinist's square at each layout line. I barely touch the square to the wood, then I use my smallest pair of Starrett dividers to measure the gap.

Next I go along the perimeter, placing my Brown & Sharpe machinist's square at each layout line. I barely touch the
square to the wood, then I use my smallest pair of Starrett dividers to measure the gap.

I transfer that measurement to the corresponding layout line on the replacement B-Pillar support. I work my way along, stopping at each mark to transfer the measurement. Once this is done it's time to revert to a childhood favorite, connect the dots.

I transfer that measurement
to the corresponding layout line on the replacement B-Pillar support. I work my way along, stopping at each mark
to transfer the measurement. Once this is done it's time to revert to a childhood favorite, connect the dots.

Now that the marks for the angled edges have been established, it's time to connect the dots and create my actual line that I will work to. The straight sections are easy enough for a guy like me. When it comes to the curved areas I need a little help. My Sterling Toolworks French Curves are the ideal tool for this job. It's easy to find sections of the French Curves that perfectly match the area I'm working on. This keeps my lines crisp and clean.

Now that the marks for the angled edges have been established, it's time to connect the dots and create my actual line
that I will work to. The straight sections are easy enough for a guy like me. When it comes to the curved areas I need a
little help. My Sterling Toolworks French Curves are the ideal tool for this job. It's easy to find sections of the French
Curves that perfectly match the area I'm working on. This keeps my lines crisp and clean.

I use my Stanley 151 spokeshave to establish the angle. I've used a pencil to color in the waste on the edge, up to my layout line on the face of the board. My goal now is to work towards my layout line on the face, and the opposite corner on the edge. I keep my eye on the reference marks on the edge and my line on the face. If I do this correctly, the final pass should remove the last of both lines simultaneously.

I use my Stanley 151 spokeshave to establish the angle. I've used a pencil to color in the waste on the edge, up to my
layout line on the face of the board. My goal now is to work towards my layout line on the face, and the opposite corner
on the edge. I keep my eye on the reference marks on the edge and my line on the face. If I do this correctly, the final
pass should remove the last of both lines simultaneously.

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I'm using my @lienielsentoolworks plane maker float to smooth out any bumpy or irregular spots that I find. When operated at a skew, this float is leaving a wonderfully smooth and flat surface. And it makes some really unique shavings. Almost like a mini spill plane, it's pretty cool!

I'm using my @lienielsentoolworks plane maker float to smooth out any bumpy or irregular spots that I find. When
operated at a skew, this float is leaving a wonderfully smooth and flat surface. And it makes some really unique
shavings. Almost like a mini spill plane, it's pretty cool!

Using the rounded face of a fine rasp is the best way I've found to tackle these inside curves. It leaves a fine finish that cleans up with a few passes of a scraper. It's important to use a light touch. Too much pressure can cause the rasp to flex, rounding over the edge. By making light passes, the edge remains dead flat.

Using the rounded face of a fine rasp is the best way I've found to tackle these inside curves. It leaves a fine finish that
cleans up with a few passes of a scraper. It's important to use a light touch. Too much pressure can cause the rasp to
flex, rounding over the edge. By making light passes, the edge remains dead flat.

Here I am using my Stanley 9 1/2 block plane. This thing is a beast. It's been a big help in shaping the taper on the sides of the A-Pillar supports for the XK120. I can set the blade for a fairly heavy cut, the mass of the plane makes it easy to hog off material quickly. Once I get close to the line, I'll switch over to a spokeshave or rasp.

Here I am using my Stanley 9 1/2 block plane. This thing is a beast. It's been a big help in shaping the taper on the
sides of the A-Pillar supports for the XK120. I can set the blade for a fairly heavy cut, the mass of the plane makes
it easy to hog off material quickly. Once I get close to the line, I'll switch over to a spokeshave or rasp.

The last step on the A-pillars supports was creating the mounting spot for the hinge plates. The hole locations were transferred off of the old A-pillars. My Stanley router plane made quick work of creating a flat and smooth surface for the hinge plate to sit against.

The last step on the A-pillars supports was creating the mounting spot for the hinge plates. The hole locations were transferred off of the old A-pillars. My Stanley router plane made quick work of creating a flat and smooth surface for the hinge plate to sit against.

Like most of the other body components, the doors are comprised of a thin alloy skin over an Ash frame. The two doors in this XK are in pretty good condition overall. There are only two pieces that I will have to replace, and maybe a patch here and there. Now I'll need to label each piece so that disassembly can begin. All of the glued joints have come apart and most of the screws have loosened. I'll need to remove all traces of the old glue and work on repairing what pieces need it most. The screws will get a vinegar bath, those that look questionable will be replaced.

Like most of the other body components, the doors are comprised of a thin alloy skin over an Ash frame. The two doors in this XK are in pretty good condition overall. There are only two pieces that I will have to replace, and maybe a patch here and there. Now I'll need to label each piece so that disassembly can begin. All of the glued joints have come apart and most of the screws have loosened. I'll need to remove all traces of the old glue and work on repairing what pieces need it most. The screws will get a vinegar bath, those that look questionable will be replaced.

I'm working on disassembling the doors on the Jaguar XK120 build, I'm using the screwdriver to clean out the slots in the screw heads. This allows for more purchase when removing the sixty five year old screws. All of the screws are in good condition and can be reused. This small step, plus the use of parallel ground screwdrivers really reduce the chance of damaging a screw head. Just a few minutes of attention to each screw beforehand can really pay off down the road

I'm working on disassembling the doors on the Jaguar XK120 build, I'm using the screwdriver to clean out the slots in the screw heads. This allows for more purchase when removing the sixty five year old screws. All of the screws are in good condition and can be reused. This small step, plus the use of parallel ground screwdrivers really reduce the chance of damaging a screw head. Just a few minutes of attention to each screw beforehand can really pay off down the road

The lower support in each door was pretty rotten and couldn't be saved. The supports are rectangular in cross section, having a separate marking gauge set to each dimension was really handy.

The lower support in each door was pretty rotten and couldn't be saved. The supports are rectangular in cross section, having a separate marking gauge set to each dimension was really handy.

This is the front piece on the right door frame of the Jaguar XK120. The lower 2-3" are pretty rotten. The door hinges pass through this section, so stability and structural soundness are important. I'm going to remove the lower section completely and patch in a new piece. 80% of this door frame component is in great shape, no need for a full on replacement.

This is the front piece on the right door frame of the Jaguar XK120. The lower 2-3" are pretty rotten. The door hinges pass through this section, so stability and structural soundness are important. I'm going to remove the lower section completely and patch in a new piece. 80% of this door frame component is in great shape, no need for a full on replacement.

All it took was a sharp saw and a steady hand. Now it's time to cut the half lap joinery that will connect the new piece to the old.

All it took was a sharp saw and a steady hand. Now it's time to cut the half lap joinery that will connect the new piece to the old.

I'm going to use a half lap joint to graft the new piece to the old. To add a little more strength and longevity to the joint, I'm undercutting each end at a 1:5 angle. I made an angled guide out of some scrap that I clamp to the workpiece and run my saw against, using the guide as a fence. I'll use the same guide when cutting the mating end, creating a super tight joint that will hold up well over the years.

I'm going to use a half lap joint to graft the new piece to the old. To add a little more strength and longevity to the joint, I'm undercutting each end at a 1:5 angle. I made an angled guide out of some scrap that I clamp to the workpiece and run my saw against, using the guide as a fence. I'll use the same guide when cutting the mating end, creating a super tight joint that will hold up well over the years.

Now that the angled shoulder has been cut on the half lap joint, its time to rip the cheek. My 16" Bad Axe tenon saw is ideal for this task. It walks through this ash like it's not even there. Leaves behind a silky smooth surface as well.

Now that the angled shoulder has been cut on the half lap joint, its time to rip the cheek. My 16" Bad Axe tenon saw is ideal for this task. It walks through this ash like it's not even there. Leaves behind a silky smooth surface as well.

With the angled half lap joint now glued and assembled, it's time to shape the new piece to match the contours of the existing piece. The grain on this Ash is very predictable, so I just use a bench chisel and some body weight to carefully hog off most of the material, coming to within 1/8" of my line. The rest will be cleaned up with a spokeshave.

Here's the final fit. I'm really happy with how it all went together. The joint is gap free and strong and I was able to save a majority of the original wood. That's a win in my book. Now I'll focus on some of the existing joints in the door frame, cleaning dried glue out of them before reassembly.

Here's the final fit. I'm really happy with how it all went together. The joint is gap free and strong and I was able to save a majority of the original wood. That's a win in my book. Now I'll focus on some of the existing joints in the door frame, cleaning dried glue out of them before reassembly.

Some of the supports for the Jaguar XK120 door frames had chunks broken off of the corners. The rest of this piece was structurally sound, so a patch on the broken area was all that was needed. I try to keep the growth rings aligned between the patch and the original piece. Not that it really matters though, I think that so long as the glued joint is long grain to long grain, there won't ever be any expansion/contraction issues. I mostly wanted the growth rings to align because it makes me happy.

Some of the supports for the Jaguar XK120 door frames had chunks broken off of the corners. The rest of this piece was structurally sound, so a patch on the broken area was all that was needed. I try to keep the growth rings aligned between the patch and the original piece. Not that it really matters though, I think that so long as the glued joint is long grain to long grain, there won't ever be any expansion/contraction issues. I mostly wanted the growth rings to align because it makes me happy.

The next step in the Jaguar XK120 door frame restoration is the prepping of all factory joints for reassembly. All of the joints are covered in dried glue and dirt, a few swipes with a sharp planemaker's float takes care of the detritus quickly and efficiently.

The next step in the Jaguar XK120 door frame restoration is the prepping of all factory joints for reassembly. All of the joints are covered in dried glue and dirt, a few swipes with a sharp planemaker's float takes care of the detritus quickly and efficiently.

Less than 60 seconds of work was all that was needed to remove all signs of glue, making this joint glue-ready once again.

Less than 60 seconds of work was all that was needed to remove all signs of glue, making this joint glue-ready once again.

Here's a closeup of the tapered half lap repair and the replacement lower support coming together. Both glued and screwed, just like Jaguar did back in the day. Should suffice for another 65+ years of enthusiastic driving!

Here's a closeup of the tapered half lap repair and the replacement lower support coming together. Both glued and screwed, just like Jaguar did back in the day. Should suffice for another 65+ years of enthusiastic driving!

The right door on the Jaguar XK120 is finished, I'll start on the left one right away. This thing is solid as a rock. The repairs on the front and rear pieces came out nicely, as did the replacement lower support.

The right door on the Jaguar XK120 is finished, I'll start on the left one right away. This thing is solid as a rock. The repairs on the front and rear pieces came out nicely, as did the replacement lower support.

Here are the A-Pillar, B-Pillar, and sill plate components sitting next to the originals after I delivered them to Classic Jaguar. 

Here are the A-Pillar, B-Pillar, and sill plate components sitting next to the originals after I delivered them to Classic Jaguar. 

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Here's a shot of the A-Pillar and sill plate components that I made for the Jaguar XK120. Seeing them installed might help make a bit more sense of some of the shapes and curves that I was dealing with when I made them. The entire left front fender is being made from scratch. Quite an interesting process to witness firsthand. The body guy at this shop is one of the best I've ever seen, and I went to school at Wyotech. I've seen my fair share of seriously talented metal fabricators. He's meticulous as well, all the screw heads are clocked on this car. I know some of you are staring hard, trying to see if the slots line up!!