I love reading your articles in STREET RODDER, and I have a couple of your DVDs. I’m building a street rod out of a ’25 Tall T coupe. I’m in the process of replacing the wood structure with steel square and rectangular tubing to the shape of the original wood as best I can, and then covering the tubing with sheetmetal that resembles the shape of the wood pieces that were in the car. I’m also making the car 5 inches longer by cutting the doors vertically, and adding 5 inches in the middle of the door. I’m also going to make the doors fit flush, and get rid of the bead that goes around the edge of the doors by hammering them flat. I will also widen the body 4 inches to fit the dash I want to put in the car. I’ve attached a few pictures of the doorskin so you can see what I’m working with.

So here is my question: when I cut the door in half top to bottom, and add the 5 inches, I plan to make a piece that follows the contour of the top of the door, and then make another piece that goes from the bottom of the window opening down past the belt line about 2 inches. I will then make a totally new panel the whole width of the lengthened door, which will go all the way to the bottom.

Is this the correct way to do this? My thinking is that when I weld the door back together below the belt line, I would then have good access to work out the distortion from welding with a hammer and dolly. Would it be better to place my weld at the bottom of the belt line? I plan to TIG weld everything, and I’m still in the learning process—practice, practice, practice, right?

Joe Hotopp
Nashville, IN
Via the Internet


I think your approach is spot-on. Since the window glass in your door is flat and the doorskin has a slight curve from front to back, I’d suggest adding your 5-inch filler piece right in the center of the door top. This location will make it easier to align everything.

Making a completely new door bottom is a very good idea. I’d probably place the seam between 1/2 and 1 inch down from the body line. Having the joint 2 inches down would work, but the closer the weld is to the body line, the less distortion you’ll have. I don’t recommend putting the weld right at the base of the body line, since you need a little flat area to allow working with your hammer and dolly.

Your project looks very interesting, indeed. Give me a shout if you need any more help along the way; and yes, indeed, lots of practice is the best way to get better at anything!


A while ago you gave some advice about drilling through stainless steel in your column. You’re absolutely correct in your approach: use the sharpest hole saw or drill bit available to you, at the slowest speed possible on your equipment, and cut with heavy pressure to keep the heat down.

Here is another trick I’ve learned over the years; chill your stainless part in a refrigerator first, and it will cut like mild steel.

Mike Adams
Mike Adams Rod Shop
Via the Internet


Hey, Mike, good to hear from you! I’ve never heard that tip about chilling stainless before cutting, but it sounds great! Thanks for sharing that with our readers, and I encourage any reader to let me know if they have other ideas that can help us out. The more knowledge that circulates, the better it is for everyone.

You can email your questions to Professor Hammer at covell@cruzio.com, or mail to: Professor Hammer, c/o STREET RODDER, 1733 Alton Pkwy., Irvine, CA 92606; you’ll receive a personal reply. Ron Covell has made many DVDs on metalworking, and he offers an ongoing series of workshops across the nation. Check them out online at www.covell.biz, or call for a current schedule of workshops and a free catalog of DVDs. Phone 800-747-4631, or 831-768-0705. You can send a request by mail to: Covell Creative Metalworking, 106 Airport Blvd. Ste. 105, Freedom, CA 95019.