16 November 2011

how to - bear claws!!

After the hinges were figured out,
I thought a bit about door latches.

partially eaten bear claw

Well before I could think too much about them,
a buddy of mine sent me these super bitchin bear claw latches.

bear claw latches

These are some really bitchin mechanisms.
If you are in the market,
here's the link.

USA Made High Quality Bear Claw Door Latches - THE H.A.M.B.

They're not an easy bolt-in,
lotsa modifications needed.
Of course there are no instructions,
and very little info with an internet search.

since this is the first time I've done this,
let's do a...
"how to install bear claw latches"

The first thing I did was make the mounting plates.

rough 1940 ford door

Instead of imagining what to do,
the plates tell you where to cut.

roughed in

After the plates were tacked in (each side)
the posts landed in the worst possible position.

original striker base

The stock 40 striker has a box that the threaded nuts live in.
This all has to be cut out,
but the remaining sheetmetal is holey and flimsy.

flimsy base

It did allow the mechanisms to be test fit.
Now the doors could actually close and click shut!
it was time to finish the installation.

First the doors...

Add caption

The mechanisms were installed and removed at least 4 times each.
The bases needed to be tacked, cut, moved, twisted
than retacked to get the proper alignment.
I didn't want to ruin the moving parts with cutting disc or welding spray.

The filler strip boxed in the plate,
so the door assembly was now very rigid.
Not too pretty though.

bear claw latch installed

Now that the door part was permanent,
the latch post could be positioned to the perfect spot.
This meant filing the hole a little further inward making an oval,
until the door and body was flush...


Today I had to pull out one of my favorite repeaters to finish the last part.
With maybe an hour to work,
I wanted to get this last section finished,
and this song definitely helped. 10 times!

Jimi Hendrix - Hey Baby - (new rising sun)


Since the latch post is continually hit by the door,
a reinforcement base was cut out of some 1/8" plate,
and a 7/16 hole was marked using the ovalized hole as a guide.

base plate

The post was a little short cause I inset the latch a little too far,
even though it was flush with the outside of the door.
The plate helped space it out properly.

positioned correctly

With the post tightened in the right position,
the plate was welded on.
Since I was pressed for time,
I jumped around the plate welding <1" beads,
but didn't let it really cool at all,
just finished it.

migged up
crude but effective

Well you wouldn't think it would warp,
but those posts need to be centered in the mechanism,
and somehow it warped in the right direction.
both sides actually fit better after they were welded and tightened.

working passenger door!

To say I am relieved that everything worked out is an understatement.
This project was spread out over 9 days,
working about an hour every other day.

The latches were test fit the first couple days,
and the alignment was a little off.
The doors sagged a bit,
and they also stuck out so they weren't flush with the body.

working driver's door!

When there's too much time inbetween work sessions,
my mind goes a little crazy,
basically making a molehill into a mountain.
Maybe that helps being prepared.
If I had done this in one long day,
I probably would have gotten a little burnt with a half-ass finish.

side view
1940 ford chopped coupe
wow it looks rough in this pic!

If you look closely there's a custom pull string.
This works so well it may be there a long time.

Now I can move on to that huge gap under the door!
With the doors held tight with the new latches,
the patch panel can be positioned correctly,
much easier.

Talk at ya later...


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