Wednesday’s Wood

We normally don’t think about Woodies in the winter season as Woodies, surf and the beach go hand and hand. It is sometimes a good time to bring your woody up to par by repairing some of the wood or adding a few coasts of varnish to protect the wood from the summer sun. I have never applied the varnish to anything other than my father’s boat but it takes some skill to make it look uniform over the entire body. It seems my friends end up spraying the varnish rather than brushing it on. You can achieve good results either way. It is a messy job and you will require a clean area to keep the bugs out of the varnish while it dries. Take your time and you will be happy with the results.

Replacing the wood is another job that requires taking the old wood out, which can be difficult if not done properly, and replacing with a new piece. These pieces can be duplicated by some of the specialty shops around the country that reproduce woodie parts. You normally have to remove several pieces to remove the piece you need to replace. Take photos so you know how it goes back together. Matching the color of stain takes some practice and should be done on the wood you are replacing while off the car. Having the correct varnish and glue is important and your local wood shop can help you with the purchase. I always used Spar Varnish, but I know any marine boat place can also recommend the right varnish and glue. Make sure to clamp the glued pieces overnight to let them set up tight. The old bodies move around and can come loose if not don properly.

If you have just completed your chassis and cowl but need all new wood this is the time to head to your Woodie store for some good advice. Kits are available as is installation and varnish but be prepared for some serious outlay of cash if you want them to complete the car. The car should be painted,  completely running and wired prior to doing the wood. Expect several months for a complete installation and a waiting time to have your turn in the shop.

For many of us the love of these Woodie Wagons is a passion that we have acquired over the years and it just won’t go away. As I have stated previously, the events, people, and excitement associated with owning a Woodie is an experience you will never forget.

Could there be a Woodie in your future?

Stay Tooned!



click on photo for a larger image

This 40 standard requires a lot of work but you can do it all while having fun driving to the beach.

Fitting the new wood is not hard but takes some skill and lots of patience to make everything line up with good gaps.

Ready for the Woodman who will take the seats out and do his thing.

Believe it or not there are several projects like this for sale in our area. You will be farther ahead money wise to buy a done one but miss the fun of building your own Woodie. Don Thelan used to have several of us these in his inventory. He started the Hot Rod Woody trend in the 80’s.

The forty is my favorite and carcasses like this are hard to come by. Here the wood has started to be reinstalled. I’m not sure what the sequence is but this looks correct.

Don’t worry about the sheet metal, just the cowl. Ryan can make all the rest as he did for Jim’s beautiful Woody Wagon. Reed’s Design has the skills required to accomplish this task.

This is original wood that has been stripped. The inner panels need replaced but the outer can be saved.

The rear window is also original and can be used.

I would not recommend saving this damage wood but some people like the look.

Replacing the rear upright requires some work and careful disassembly.

The front top tack strip is an available item from a reproduction house.

All of the structural wood is in good shape with only the inner panels needing replaced.The wheel wells will require some patches but are savable.

The rear fenders on a forty are unique to the Woodie. Note the flange where they bolt to the inner housing. A sedan delivery is not the same and has no provision for a gas tank filler. I purchased a set for my delivery and they don’t fit. I guess I need a 40 Woody now.

Another example of a stripped door frame that is usable.


Finding a rolling carcass is difficult but there are some around. Not cheap!

Starting with clean metal is a priority along with proper bracing.

SO-CAL built a jig to hold the body while replacing the floor.

The floors can be nasty if the roof leaks or heavy salt usage in the winter areas.

New floors and running boars are available.

Back from the wood shop and read y for final assembly our Woodie is looking good.


Ryan and Jim have the vision. And will build the ultimate Forty Woodie Wagon!

A sneak peek of this beautiful woodie wagon.

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