How to Build a T-Bucket Topby Don Kress
T-bucket tops can generally be installed in little more than a weekend, and can be accomplished using typical electrical conduit. Because conduit is galvanized, it will remain rust-free for many years. In order to install a T-bucket top, you'll first have to build the two primary rails of the canvas top support, which requires a tubing bender. Scratch building a top for a T-bucket isn't an easy process, and you may find that much trial and error is necessary before the top will fit correctly. However, doing this will allow you to say that you did it yourself.
Cut one length of galvanized tube to a length of ten feet and a second length of conduit to six feet with a hacksaw. When you build the top, the supports that stretch horizontally over the top of the vehicle need to be the same width as your windshield.
Produce two 90-degree bends in the cut galvanized tube to create a pair of C-shaped tubes with the center portion of the "C" the same width as your windshield.
Slide a conduit T-connector over the ends of the 10-foot conduit and secure it in place with a socket wrench so that it's approximately eight inches from the curve on either side of the pipe.
Insert the ends of the smaller of the two C-shaped conduits into the third opening of the T-connector and secure it in place with a socket wrench.
Attach the pair of T-bucket top mounting brackets to the sides of the T-bucket. These brackets mount just behind the doors of the T-bucket on the right and the left side with bolts and nuts.
Bolt the large, C-shaped tube of the T-bucket top to the two mounting brackets. Each of the two open ends of the C-shaped tube slide into the rotating bar of the mounting bracket, and then are secured in place with a bolt.
Stand on the driver's side of the car. The larger of the C-shaped tubes should be positioned at two o'clock. The smaller of the C-shaped tubes should be positioned at 10 o'clock. Tighten all of the connecting bolts of the two C-shaped tubes with a 3/8-inch drive socket set.
Assemble the mounting bar that will connect the canvas top to the windshield. This consists of two lengths of hardwood lumber measuring one inch by two inches secured together with bolts to create a single piece two inches square. They should be the same length as the width of your windshield. The canvas of the top clamps between these two pieces of lumber.
Install the canvas top on the T-bucket by laying it over the windshield frame and C-shaped supports. Attach the base of the canvas top to the upper portion of the T-bucket's body. Some tops use snaps for this, while others may be clamped to the body.
Secure the front section of the canvas top to the window frame of the T-bucket, making certain that the canvas is pulled tight. When you do this, roll the mounting bar over itself toward the front of the car so that you can't see the hardwood from outside the car. The windshield and the canvas should meet to provide a smooth appearance. Double check all of your connections to make certain that the top is tight before attempting to drive the car.
Items you will need
- Galvanized metal conduit
- Conduit bender
- Conduit T-junctions
- Ford Model T roof mounting flange
- 3/8-inch drive socket set
- T-bucket canvas roof material
- Spiritcars.com: T-bucket Instruction Manual
- "How To Build a Cheap Hot Rod"; Dennis Parks; 2007
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