So, this car needs a lot of wood.
Henry Ford bought ~300,000 acres of timber land in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and built a town, sawmill and hydro plant. The wood was used in Model T's and later Ford cars right up to the end of real Woodie production in 1951. Here's a history snippet:
After WWII station wagon building resumed at Iron Mountain and all of the Ford and Mercury staAfter ttion wagons and Sportsmen convertibles were built here. The station wagons were four-door and lasted until the new 1949 model which was only available as a two-door. With the introduction of the "New Generation" Ford, the amount of timber used in the station wagons was cut around 85 percent. No structural wood was required as the wagon bodies were steel structured with mahogany-skinned panel work and maple framing.
Mercury also used the same body for their wagon but the doors were cleverly restyled to flow into the wider front sheet metal of the Mercury. The new design was the work of E.T. "Bob" Gregorie and his team at Ford.
The steel body structures were built in Detroit and then shipped by rail to Iron Mountain. Here the wood panels were installed and the bodies were painted. The work required a lot of hand assembly to make the doors and side panels fit cleanly.
The panels for these New-Generation wagons were assembled using advanced fabrication methods with one of the first microwave curing processes. Some section framings were created out of six loose layers of ash with a two layer overlay of maple.
The door and side panels were then formed in a press using loose wood-plys topped with a thin layer of Honduran mahogany. This jig-formed panel was then put into a micro-wave bonding oven under pressure. At the time, this process was referred to as "radio frequency bonding." The new process cured the panel in five minutes rather than the 48 hours it normally took! Once the bodies were completed they were shipped out by rail to assembly plants around the country.
The final run of Ford's "wood" Station Wagons looked somewhat similar from 1949 to 1951; however, there were many small differences in the wagons. These were the years of the "single and twin-spinner" Fords and in 1950 there was an attempt to lower the production costs when Ford dropped the wood graining on the tailgate and replaced it with a painted tailgate. The rear quarter windows were eliminated, the interior trimming was changed, with wood-grained Masonite door panels and a painted dash board replacing the wood graining. Other running changes were made with some items re-introduced and then dropped again on the 1951 model. As so many minor changes were made to this series of station wagons, restorers have a hard time determining exactly what a correct year model should or should not have.
Around October 1950, the mahogany paneling on the station wagons was replaced with Di-Noc plastic vinyl sheeting bonded to steel panels. Chrysler had been using this trimming idea on their Town and Countrys since 1948. Chrysler dropped Di-Noc and converted over to body color panels and wood framing in mid-1949.
Ford continued building the Ford and Mercury station wagons at the Iron Mountain plant until December 1951, when the plant was closed and 3,500 workers were laid off. To take up the loss of production of Ford and Mercury station wagons, production was moved to Mitchell-Bentley in Ionia, Michigan.
While in the USA for work last year (we won't be back there for a while I suppose) we visited Rick Mack. He's probably the best supplier of this type of wood. As noted above, the frames were laminated in the original ford design. This because there is a lot of curve in the pieces as the come up over the upper parts of the door 'skin'. If they were bandsawed out from a timber blank then the grain would weaken the structure. Rick doesn't use a microwave bonding but laminates the wood strips into forms using a press.
Pic below is Rick's personal woodie.
End result of the visit was an order for a full wood set.