This article will teach you how to build trim for the hood openings of your vehicle. We will be using a 50s Ford Truck as an example for this tutorial. Assuming that you have one and you are interested in tweaking the looks of your truck, here is how it goes.
First of all, the hood on the truck that we have with us have been lowered three inches compared to the original one. Even then, the hood openings are made in such a way that they are exceptionally huge and out of proportion. Since most people will be thoroughly disgusted by this hideous scene, we prepared this article, which will be used to guide you to fabricate brand new custom made trims that are sleeker and have a nice chrome finish.
You may start with creating some mock-ups from several sheets of steel around 20 to 22-gauge. You may also use some steel wiring for the shape of the trims, but it's going to be a little hard to see from a distance. After building the mock-ups, wrap them up with some bright color tapes so that it will look really obvious and allow you to compare it with the original trims.
After that, remove the original trims on the hood opening to make way for the new ones. Take the mock-ups and fit it into the hole to measure the amount of excess space you will have after assembling the new trims. You will need to fill this space up or else the trims will not attach properly and will look even worse than before. Therefore, we recommend tracing the shape of the empty section and marking it down on a steel sheet. Before cutting out the shape, be sure to measure the length and width of the hole so that you have the correct dimensions. Lastly, weld on the steel and grind down any bumpy surfaces so that it will look natural.
Once you are satisfied with the mock-ups, it is time to move on to fabricating the real thing. For this, you will need a brass stock around half an inch thick because it is not only easier to work with but also allows copper, nickel and chrome to adhere to the surface, producing a natural match. After purchasing the brass plate, trace the mock-up templates accurately onto the surface. Then, use a skil saw with a strong metal blade to cut out the outer edges. The saw won't be able to cut out the center piece, but you can do it by using a router with a carbide bit. This will easily cut through the brass and reduce the amount of effort needed.
By now, you should have the rough shape of the trims. Use a band saw to trim it closer to the lines you traced on the surface. To make sure that both pieces are identical, file the center and outer edges of both pieces simultaneously. Start by connecting a porting cone onto a die grinder and rough out the edges at the opening. Next, switch to a belt sander of around 80 to 90 grit and work on different angles. Lastly, check the edges again to make sure that both pieces are as accurate as possible.
After grinding and sanding the trims, try to fit it into the hood opening to check for the size and angle. If there are no problems, take the router and place it upside down in a table. Then, take each piece and let the bit work on the edges. When you are done, sand it a little more and the edges should be smooth and well rounded.
Lastly, install several screw threads onto the back of the trims for a tight grip and coat the brass with some copper before grinding it with a 400 grit sander. The trim is now ready for a nickel and chrome finishing before being assembled onto the hood opening.
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