Saturday, April 30, 2016

Useful Classic Car Carpeting Tools

Useful Classic Car Carpeting Tools
-Alan Arnell

Installing automotive carpeting and padding is a job that is easy and hard at the same time.  To get started is easy, because two of the most helpful tools that we usually have will help you to better install a new carpet in that 1957 Chevy Bel Air. What is hard is being a idiot and cutting the carpet to the wrong size and to take out all the wrinkles in the carpet.

New carpet is one of the best ways to spruce up your interior.  This plush carpet is is a two piece set made for use with bench seats and has a small gap under the front seat as original.  Danchuk # 10563 will work on any 1955 classic Chevy 2-door hardtop with bench seats. -Danchuk

Where most do-it-yourself auto restorers get in trouble is not cutting the carpet to size. All car floor carpet will arrive at your door over sized.   This is good, because you can always cut it down to size.  Whereas, you can never make a smaller-than-needed floor carpet grow to fill an open gap of floor panel.

Acoustic/Heat Barrier installed in my ‘57 Chevy before I put in the carpet.

When cutting a carpeting set, mark where you would like for the cuts to be made with chalk.  Once you have pre laid the carpet set ready to be cut, sneak into your wife’s kitchen to borrow her electric carving knife.  Yes, the same electric carving knife that you used to carve the turkey on Thanksgiving.  Using the knife follow the chalk marks. Don’t be like me. I seem to always measure once and cut twice!  The knife is a fast and smooth cutting device, much better than an exacto knife that I have founds cuts a ragged line.

This is a Special Order Item. By adding this item to your cart you acknowledge this is a "Special Order Item". As such, you understand it is not returnable or exchangeable. We will only accept returns or exchanges on Special Order Items if the items are damaged or suffer from a manufacturers defect. -Danchuk

If you are a totally stock kind of guy, you would first install appropriate padding before the carpet.  Most of us are modifiers and use acoustic/heat barrier with an adhesive back.  These acoustical & heat control mats are ideal for keeping excess heat and noise from your vehicle's interior. In addition to the polyethylene film, these mats have a foil surface that provides direct protection from radiant heat. These mats are great for use on firewalls, floorboards, and doors. The suppressor mats feature a high temperature adhesive backing and are easy to trim for an excellent fit.

Once your carpet and acoustic/heat barrier is cut, it is time to cut out the holes in the carpet to be able to later access the seats brackets, seat belt anchors, etc.  Locate the places that you will have to cut the holes by using a sharp-pointed scribe and mark them with chalk.

Acoustic/Heat Barrier

The old school next step is to, if you have access to one, is a big-old soldering iron.  Push the heated soldering iron though the carpet at the marked locations.  The old boys back in the day braved the smoke and smell for perfect holes right where you want them and no mess to clean up.  Well, I did not have one when I installed my carpet in my Chevrolet 1957-150 2-door sedan. I used the dreaded and hated exacto knife.  Since, I put my carpet in my car I started going to estate sales.  At those sales I found several old timey soldering irons for sale.

100 watt Early General Electric Soldering Iron Type 1-12 110 Volts, 2.5 Amps
This early electric soldering iron was manufactured by GE. The patent dates listed on the handle are Nov.7, 05 - June 18, 06 - May 10, 1910 - Dec. 5, 1911. Length from tip to end of the handle is 15 inches not including the cord strain relief. The tip is 6" long by 1.5" in diameter.

Friends of mine have recommended to me to use an electric drill for the hole making process.  I only used the drill for one hole in my carpet install.  I found that the drill pulled off great big wads of carpet thread that got tightly wrapped around the drill bit.  A more experienced friend recommended the electric knife.  He stated, that the knife worked great for cutting insulation as well and did not leave really bad frayed cut edges.

All and all, for the best installation practices to make that new carpet look like it came from the factory is to make properly-well placed cuts for proper sizing of the carpet.

Newly, installed do-it yourself Auto Carpet.

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