Jaguar XK120

Rear support structure

 We are now addressing issues with the rear body support frame. The four main runners (for lack of a better term) are completely rotten at the rear, which is where they are exposed to moisture from the wheel wells. The runners are all bent laminated construction, using Ash like the rest of the wooden components. These four runners provide all of the strength in this structure. Because of this, they will be getting replaced. The connecting pieces in between can all be reused. The first step in all of this is to label each individual component. Some blue painter's tape and a permanent marker work well for me. After everything is labeled, the detailed work begins. Each joint must be thoroughly documented with measurements, photographs, and notes on each section. I don't have another XK120 handy for comparison, my notes and my photos are all I'll have. This is probably the most important step of this entire rebuild process. Once I'm happy with my documentation, I'll begin taking this apart, assessing the condition of each individual piece. Most will just need the old glue scraped off, a few might need some checks and cracks fixed

 We are now addressing issues with the rear body support frame. The four main runners (for lack of a better term) are completely rotten at the rear, which is where they are exposed to moisture from the wheel wells. The runners are all bent laminated construction, using Ash like the rest of the wooden components. These four runners provide all of the strength in this structure. Because of this, they will be getting replaced. The connecting pieces in between can all be reused. The first step in all of this is to label each individual component. Some blue painter's tape and a permanent marker work well for me. After everything is labeled, the detailed work begins. Each joint must be thoroughly documented with measurements, photographs, and notes on each section. I don't have another XK120 handy for comparison, my notes and my photos are all I'll have. This is probably the most important step of this entire rebuild process. Once I'm happy with my documentation, I'll begin taking this apart, assessing the condition of each individual piece. Most will just need the old glue scraped off, a few might need some checks and cracks fixed

 This particular joint was photographed from all angles, making sure any important detail was captured. When the time comes to put the entire structure back together, having this photographic breakdown will be very important.

 This particular joint was photographed from all angles, making sure any important detail was captured. When the time comes to put the entire structure back together, having this photographic breakdown will be very important.

Here it is, fully disassembled. This part actually took around 12 hours to complete. Not one screw was broken and every component that needed to be saved, was. All in all it was a very successful tear down, though a tad longer than I anticipated. My biggest concern up to this point was whether the four runners had identical curves or not. The two outer runners and the two inner runners looked identical. Once I had them separated I was able to lay one on top of the other and verify that the curves are the same. This means that I only need to make two bending forms as opposed to four separate ones. It appears that these were made in the same forms at Jaguar all those years ago. I kind of figured that would be the case, but until I was able to verify it, I couldn't be sure. I also took this opportunity to trace the shape of each lateral runner onto the 1/8" hardboard to create the template for my bending forms, which were made from multiple layers of MDF glued together.

Here it is, fully disassembled. This part actually took around 12 hours to complete. Not one screw was broken and every component that needed to be saved, was. All in all it was a very successful tear down, though a tad longer than I anticipated. My biggest concern up to this point was whether the four runners had identical curves or not. The two outer runners and the two inner runners looked identical. Once I had them separated I was able to lay one on top of the other and verify that the curves are the same. This means that I only need to make two bending forms as opposed to four separate ones. It appears that these were made in the same forms at Jaguar all those years ago. I kind of figured that would be the case, but until I was able to verify it, I couldn't be sure. I also took this opportunity to trace the shape of each lateral runner onto the 1/8" hardboard to create the template for my bending forms, which were made from multiple layers of MDF glued together.

Prepping the Ash for the bent lamination process. I will rip thin (3-4mm) strips off this piece on the bandsaw, using my handplane after each cut to square and flatten the edge. All of the strips will then be run through my thickness planer, guaranteeing each one is perfectly flat and of consistent thickness. 

Prepping the Ash for the bent lamination process. I will rip thin (3-4mm) strips off this piece on the bandsaw, using my handplane after each cut to square and flatten the edge. All of the strips will then be run through my thickness planer, guaranteeing each one is perfectly flat and of consistent thickness. 

I decided to go with Plastic Resin glue for the adhesive. It's easy to mix, easy to apply, has a fairly generous working time, and cures rock solid. The bent lamination forms for the Jaguar XK120 have been finished and the first dry run was successful. These 3mm thick Ash laminations bend really well. Now that I know the forms are tuned up, I'll cover the faces of each form with clear packing tape so that the plastic resin adhesive doesn't stick. After that, it'll be time for the first glue up. Shop temp is steady at 75 so we are ready to go!

I decided to go with Plastic Resin glue for the adhesive. It's easy to mix, easy to apply, has a fairly generous working time, and cures rock solid. The bent lamination forms for the Jaguar XK120 have been finished and the first dry run was successful. These 3mm thick Ash laminations bend really well. Now that I know the forms are tuned up, I'll cover the faces of each form with clear packing tape so that the plastic resin adhesive doesn't stick. After that, it'll be time for the first glue up. Shop temp is steady at 75 so we are ready to go!

Did a test run with the other bent lamination form, this one is for the pair of inner runners on the Jaguar XK120 rear support structure. After clamping up all ten 3mm laminations, I check the overall shape against the original piece. Spot on. I'll do the glue up in the morning.

Did a test run with the other bent lamination form, this one is for the pair of inner runners on the Jaguar XK120 rear support structure. After clamping up all ten 3mm laminations, I check the overall shape against the original piece. Spot on. I'll do the glue up in the morning.

First piece has cured and is out of the clamps! If you can't tell by the look on my face, I'm mildly surprised. There was zero spring back when i pulled the piece from the form. I was expecting just a little!

First piece has cured and is out of the clamps! If you can't tell by the look on my face, I'm mildly surprised. There was zero spring back when i pulled the piece from the form. I was expecting just a little!

Plastic resin glue can be a pain to remove. It's really hard stuff that's tough on blades. I found that my Stanley No. 80 cabinet scraper to be the best tool for this job. 

Plastic resin glue can be a pain to remove. It's really hard stuff that's tough on blades. I found that my Stanley No. 80 cabinet scraper to be the best tool for this job. 

Knocked out the last two bent lamination glue ups today, thanks to the excellent assistance from Katerina. Tomorrow we will take these laminations out of the clamps. We will clean off the squeeze out with a scraper

Knocked out the last two bent lamination glue ups today, thanks to the excellent assistance from Katerina. Tomorrow we will take these laminations out of the clamps. We will clean off the squeeze out with a scraper

Just finished up a productive two days with Katerina working alongside me in the shop. She pretty much perfected the use of a cabinet scraper, using both the Stanley No. 80 and the No. 12 to successfully remove all of the excess glue from the bent laminations. Once you get through the rock hard plastic resin glue, the scraper planes take quite nice shavings.

Just finished up a productive two days with Katerina working alongside me in the shop. She pretty much perfected the use of a cabinet scraper, using both the Stanley No. 80 and the No. 12 to successfully remove all of the excess glue from the bent laminations. Once you get through the rock hard plastic resin glue, the scraper planes take quite nice shavings.

Here are the four bent lamination pieces, two of each shape. They have had all of the squeeze out removed and have been inspected, looks like all of the seams are nice and tight. I'm very happy with how each of these turned out. Now I'll let them sit in the shop for a few days before tackling the joinery and final shaping. This was a big step in this Jaguar XK120 project. Can't wait to start the final stages!

Here are the four bent lamination pieces, two of each shape. They have had all of the squeeze out removed and have been inspected, looks like all of the seams are nice and tight. I'm very happy with how each of these turned out. Now I'll let them sit in the shop for a few days before tackling the joinery and final shaping. This was a big step in this Jaguar XK120 project. Can't wait to start the final stages!

Light passes with a handplane help bring the runners down to final thickness. Just a little bit at a time until it's perfect.

Light passes with a handplane help bring the runners down to final thickness. Just a little bit at a time until it's perfect.

I am now starting the process of transferring layout points from the original pieces to their replacements. Here I have both inner runners and one of the originals stacked on top of each other, being very careful to match up the curves before securing them all down with holdfasts. Once they are held down, I can start transferring points.

I am now starting the process of transferring layout points from the original pieces to their replacements. Here I have both inner runners and one of the originals stacked on top of each other, being very careful to match up the curves before securing them all down with holdfasts. Once they are held down, I can start transferring points.

I use a flat square to transfer my layout lines directly off of the originals. No measurements or calculations needed, easy peasy.

I use a flat square to transfer my layout lines directly off of the originals. No measurements or calculations needed, easy peasy.

I'm cutting the front end of the inner runners to length using my Bad Axe 12" crosscut saw. Using the original runner as a guide, I'm able to cut the new runners to the exact length and angle of the originals. A line drawn on the new pieces helps make sure the saw is plumb as the cut is started. Once a kerf is established, the saw plate will continue to follow that line all the way down.

I'm cutting the front end of the inner runners to length using my Bad Axe 12" crosscut saw. Using the original runner as a guide, I'm able to cut the new runners to the exact length and angle of the originals. A line drawn on the new pieces helps make sure the saw is plumb as the cut is started. Once a kerf is established, the saw plate will continue to follow that line all the way down.

Two of the corner supports are much larger and are slightly inset into the runners instead of being nailed. I use my crosscut saw to cut a kerf at the end of the joint then pare away with a chisel until I've reached my line. The short handle and extra mass of my Stanley Everlast 1.5" chisel come in really handy for this operation.

Two of the corner supports are much larger and are slightly inset into the runners instead of being nailed. I use my crosscut saw to cut a kerf at the end of the joint then pare away with a chisel until I've reached my line. The short handle and extra mass of my Stanley Everlast 1.5" chisel come in really handy for this operation.

Every intersection between a runner and lateral support is strengthened with support blocks on all four sides. The blocks are nailed and glued in place. The old ones fell apart when removing them so I made some more this morning out of Ash. I can clamp up three at a time in my leg vise, allowing me to drill four pilot holes in each block for the nails. This little no-name hand drill is a workhorse in my shop, drilling all of my pilot holes on all of my projects without skipping a beat.

Every intersection between a runner and lateral support is strengthened with support blocks on all four sides. The blocks are nailed and glued in place. The old ones fell apart when removing them so I made some more this morning out of Ash. I can clamp up three at a time in my leg vise, allowing me to drill four pilot holes in each block for the nails. This little no-name hand drill is a workhorse in my shop, drilling all of my pilot holes on all of my projects without skipping a beat.

The inner portion of the Jaguar XK120 rear support structure is together. To make it easier to work on such a large piece, I turned my bench so that its perpendicular to the wall. Now I can walk around it and move it around with ease. And it really takes advantage of the natural light from the window.

The inner portion of the Jaguar XK120 rear support structure is together. To make it easier to work on such a large piece, I turned my bench so that its perpendicular to the wall. Now I can walk around it and move it around with ease. And it really takes advantage of the natural light from the window.

I've been using my Sterling Toolworks depth gauge today, transferring points from the original runners to the replacement pieces.

I've been using my Sterling Toolworks depth gauge today, transferring points from the original runners to the replacement pieces.

 I'm focusing on the two outer runners of the rear body support structure now. These outer runners actually bolt to the frame and have recessed mounting points on the bottom that correspond with lugs on the frame. These recesses are flat bottomed with sloping sides. I used a forstner bit in the drill press to create the flat bottomed sections. Using my Florip Toolworks dovetail saw, I cut the sloped cheeks for the rest of the recess. This saw is ideal in this application. I'll hog out the rest of the waste with a chisel.

 I'm focusing on the two outer runners of the rear body support structure now. These outer runners actually bolt to the frame and have recessed mounting points on the bottom that correspond with lugs on the frame. These recesses are flat bottomed with sloping sides. I used a forstner bit in the drill press to create the flat bottomed sections. Using my Florip Toolworks dovetail saw, I cut the sloped cheeks for the rest of the recess. This saw is ideal in this application. I'll hog out the rest of the waste with a chisel.

Chopping out the waste with a 3/4" Stanley Everlasting chisel. I'll remove 90% of the bulk with the first few strikes of the mallet. The rest will be pared gently away by hand.

Chopping out the waste with a 3/4" Stanley Everlasting chisel. I'll remove 90% of the bulk with the first few strikes of the mallet. The rest will be pared gently away by hand.

I feel like I'm working on Fred Flinstone's leftovers.

I feel like I'm working on Fred Flinstone's leftovers.

The outer runners have heavily chamfered edges that mimic the curves of the XK120 body. I use my Crown Plane block plane set to a very heavy cut to remove most of the waste, followed by a Stanley 151 spokeshave set to a fine cut. Takes only a few minutes to remove a lot of material

The outer runners have heavily chamfered edges that mimic the curves of the XK120 body. I use my Crown Plane block plane set to a very heavy cut to remove most of the waste, followed by a Stanley 151 spokeshave set to a fine cut. Takes only a few minutes to remove a lot of material

 My spokeshaves have never been this sharp! Holy smokes, this honing guide is something else.

 My spokeshaves have never been this sharp! Holy smokes, this honing guide is something else.

The final step in creating the curved chamfer along the outer runners is to smooth with a Mill Bastard file. It quickly and efficiently removes any high spots or irregular surfaces left behind from the block plane and spokeshave. Katerina was able to leave behind a very smooth, continuous curve with just a little practice. Files are excellent for woodworking, not really caring about grain direction or complexity. This is an old Nicholson from my grandfather. Back when they were still Made in the USA. 

The final step in creating the curved chamfer along the outer runners is to smooth with a Mill Bastard file. It quickly and efficiently removes any high spots or irregular surfaces left behind from the block plane and spokeshave. Katerina was able to leave behind a very smooth, continuous curve with just a little practice. Files are excellent for woodworking, not really caring about grain direction or complexity. This is an old Nicholson from my grandfather. Back when they were still Made in the USA. 

ach of the junction points on the framework is capped by a 3mm thick piece of Ash, glued and nailed. The cap is actually recessed into the frame, resulting in a flush fit. You can see the recessed spots in the background. Each junction is slightly different than the next, so each cap must be fit to its particular location. They were all cut just a tad oversized andplaned to fit using a shooting board/bench hook and Stanley No. 6. There are a total of sixteen 3mm thick caps. 

ach of the junction points on the framework is capped by a 3mm thick piece of Ash, glued and nailed. The cap is actually recessed into the frame, resulting in a flush fit. You can see the recessed spots in the background. Each junction is slightly different than the next, so each cap must be fit to its particular location. They were all cut just a tad oversized andplaned to fit using a shooting board/bench hook and Stanley No. 6. There are a total of sixteen 3mm thick caps. 

IMG_7789.jpg
IMG_7834.jpg
Capping the junctions with the 3mm thick Ash pieces that I shaped yesterday. Using epoxy and nails, just like Jaguar did originally. The epoxy fills any and all voids, cracks, and crevices that may exist in the joinery. This helps keep moisture from entering the joint for decades to come. I'm using a Japanese style nail set to set all of the nails just below the surface.

Capping the junctions with the 3mm thick Ash pieces that I shaped yesterday. Using epoxy and nails, just like Jaguar did originally. The epoxy fills any and all voids, cracks, and crevices that may exist in the joinery. This helps keep moisture from entering the joint for decades to come. I'm using a Japanese style nail set to set all of the nails just below the surface.

Most of the time, we dictate how our workpiece will be held. Simple enough when dealing with flat stock. On something large and complex like this Jaguar XK120 rear body support structure, the workpiece dictates how it will be held. There is a curved section along the inside of the outer rail, the bent laminated components I made need to be shaped to fit this curve. The easiest solution I found was to cut several kerfs along this curve, with plans to knock out most of the waste with a chisel afterwards. While this is most definitely not ideal posture for using a handsaw, it works well for a few reasons. First and foremost, my handsaw is in optimum condition. This is my brand new Bad Axe Bayonet crosscut saw. A thin saw plate and sharp teeth are essential for an awkward cut like this. Secondly, I'm keeping my eye directly in line with the saw back as I use light pressure in the cut. Keeping my eye lined up with the saw back helps me track straight and true through the cut. It took about three minutes to cut 20+ kerfs this way. The end is in sight now, this challenging and amazing project is nearing completion. 

Most of the time, we dictate how our workpiece will be held. Simple enough when dealing with flat stock. On something large and complex like this Jaguar XK120 rear body support structure, the workpiece dictates how it will be held. There is a curved section along the inside of the outer rail, the bent laminated components I made need to be shaped to fit this curve. The easiest solution I found was to cut several kerfs along this curve, with plans to knock out most of the waste with a chisel afterwards. While this is most definitely not ideal posture for using a handsaw, it works well for a few reasons. First and foremost, my handsaw is in optimum condition. This is my brand new Bad Axe Bayonet crosscut saw. A thin saw plate and sharp teeth are essential for an awkward cut like this. Secondly, I'm keeping my eye directly in line with the saw back as I use light pressure in the cut. Keeping my eye lined up with the saw back helps me track straight and true through the cut. It took about three minutes to cut 20+ kerfs this way. The end is in sight now, this challenging and amazing project is nearing completion. 

After cutting the kerfs along the inside curve, all that's needed are a few light taps of the mallet. The chisel removes large amounts of waste with very little effort. I'll clean up the rest with spokeshaves and a rasp

After cutting the kerfs along the inside curve, all that's needed are a few light taps of the mallet. The chisel removes large amounts of waste with very little effort. I'll clean up the rest with spokeshaves and a rasp

When I told the kittens that I was finishing up work on an old Jaguar, they insisted on checking it out. Pretty sure it wasn't what they were expecting! 

When I told the kittens that I was finishing up work on an old Jaguar, they insisted on checking it out. Pretty sure it wasn't what they were expecting! 

All that's left is some minor patchwork and cleanup. These tapered spacers fit between each set of runners. The one on the left took on some fire damage when somebody got a bit close with the hot wrench. I'm going to remove the damaged area and glue on a piece of quartersawn Ash for a patch. Once the repair is planed flush and the whole assembly is painted, you'll never know the repair was made.

All that's left is some minor patchwork and cleanup. These tapered spacers fit between each set of runners. The one on the left took on some fire damage when somebody got a bit close with the hot wrench. I'm going to remove the damaged area and glue on a piece of quartersawn Ash for a patch. Once the repair is planed flush and the whole assembly is painted, you'll never know the repair was made.

Marking the cut line using my Stanley Rule & Level Co. Folding rule as a straightedge. I try to go about 1/8" past the burned spots on the wood. I don't want any charred wood along my glueline. It wouldn't have the structural integrity needed.

Marking the cut line using my Stanley Rule & Level Co. Folding rule as a straightedge. I try to go about 1/8" past the burned spots on the wood. I don't want any charred wood along my glueline. It wouldn't have the structural integrity needed.

With the waste marked, I clamp the piece down to my benchtop with a holdfast, making sure that the cut line overhangs the benchtop. I use my Bad Axe Bayonet crosscut saw to remove the burnt section. 

With the waste marked, I clamp the piece down to my benchtop with a holdfast, making sure that the cut line overhangs the benchtop. I use my Bad Axe Bayonet crosscut saw to remove the burnt section. 

Before glueing up the pieces on the Jaguar build, I make a few passes over each surface with my Stanley No.3 smoother. It removes any old adhesive and debris while truing up each surface.

Before glueing up the pieces on the Jaguar build, I make a few passes over each surface with my Stanley No.3 smoother. It removes any old adhesive and debris while truing up each surface.

 I'm using my Stanley 1.5" chisel to square up a damaged section of the Jaguar XK120 frame. I'll glue in a patch after and plane it flush when done. The wide blade on this chisel makes it ideal for this task, as well as many others in my style of work. 

 I'm using my Stanley 1.5" chisel to square up a damaged section of the Jaguar XK120 frame. I'll glue in a patch after and plane it flush when done. The wide blade on this chisel makes it ideal for this task, as well as many others in my style of work. 

That's a nice and clean repair

That's a nice and clean repair

I'm smoothing transitions between wooden pieces using my Caleb James wooden spokeshave. I used this tool all over this project, putting the finishing touches on so many different areas.

I'm smoothing transitions between wooden pieces using my Caleb James wooden spokeshave. I used this tool all over this project, putting the finishing touches on so many different areas.

Now it's time to address the boot (trunk) lid. It's fairly sound except for the lower end, closest to you in the picture. There is a bit of rot and some laminations that need to be repaired and replaced. One of the corner support blocks is broken into three pieces, but all are clean breaks and can be glued back together. 90% or more of this boot assembly can be used as is or gently restored. Only a few parts will need to be replaced. 

Now it's time to address the boot (trunk) lid. It's fairly sound except for the lower end, closest to you in the picture. There is a bit of rot and some laminations that need to be repaired and replaced. One of the corner support blocks is broken into three pieces, but all are clean breaks and can be glued back together. 90% or more of this boot assembly can be used as is or gently restored. Only a few parts will need to be replaced. 

Planing a patched area flush with a Stanley No.3. This was one of the rotted corners of the Jaguar XK120 boot lid. I cut out the bad areas and glued in a piece of Ash. This will add a lot of much needed strength and integrity in these corners. Once planed flush and painted over, it'll be nearly invisible.

Planing a patched area flush with a Stanley No.3. This was one of the rotted corners of the Jaguar XK120 boot lid. I cut out the bad areas and glued in a piece of Ash. This will add a lot of much needed strength and integrity in these corners. Once planed flush and painted over, it'll be nearly invisible.

Just put the finishing touches on the Jaguar XK120 restoration this afternoon. It's been loaded into the truck and will be hand delivered to Classic Jaguar in Austin tomorrow. This has been such a great experience. It was the most complex project I've done to date. Part rebuild, part replacement, part refurbish. Not a straight line or square corner on the whole thing. I was able to apply a lot of new techniques that I've been interested in, learning a ton in the process. I can't wait to see the metal and wood brought back together!

Just put the finishing touches on the Jaguar XK120 restoration this afternoon. It's been loaded into the truck and will be hand delivered to Classic Jaguar in Austin tomorrow. This has been such a great experience. It was the most complex project I've done to date. Part rebuild, part replacement, part refurbish. Not a straight line or square corner on the whole thing. I was able to apply a lot of new techniques that I've been interested in, learning a ton in the process. I can't wait to see the metal and wood brought back together!