View Full Version : Light at the end of the (carpal) tunnel

05-02-2008, 08:57 AM
Hello group,

Just a short note to let you know of my progress on our '54 Commander Starliner (Grace).

The carpeting is now installed and I have the inner door panels on, too.


I've repaired the broken throttle stop on the carburetor and have all of that back on the engine, too.


Yesterday morning, I even picked up all the seat cushions from Drua-Fit Cover, Inc. of Harrisburg, PA. They installed the Phantom upholstery for me.


But then yesterday afternoon, after almost a year of numb fingers, I had carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand. Yeah, I'm a left-hander.


So it's going to be a while before I can get back to work on Grace. And the kicker is that after my left wrist is healed, I'll be having the same surgery on my right one.

We're only a headliner installation, seat belts, and a start-up away from completion of our 10-year project. We [u]WILL</u> have it done for Lancaster...and hopefully, Macungie, PA before that.

The bright side is that on Saturday mornings when my wife, Cathy, and I clean the house, all I can really do right now is push the vacuum cleaner. No toilet, sink, or tub scrubbing!

My wrist will be fine. The wrapping makes it look worse than it is. Mainly, it's to keep it immobilized for a while.

Kindest regards,

Alan Mende
Hummelstown, PA

05-02-2008, 09:25 AM
On the subject of carpets, I have a comment. I just had a call on a set of my carpets that left a gap on the top front when installed. The owner had installed the foil backed insulation under the carpet and I think that causes a fit issue. If you think about it, adding to the radius of the curve over the drive shaft hump will take more carpet to cover. If you order carpet from me or elsewhere, you might ask to have it cut a bit wider in the front if you are adding padding. If you pad the rear foot wells, don't expect a tight fit either since you've got less hole to fill.
The fit at the top front is hard to get right unless you get the high beam and pedal holes right too, I've screwed that up myself.


05-02-2008, 10:17 AM
Hi John,

My only real problem with the carpet isn't really the carpet itself -- at least I don't think so -- is that I haven't been able to get the passenger side sill plate -- NOS -- in toward the center of the car enough to not interfere with the door closing. I had no problem with the driver's side, but the lower front edge of the door panel hits the vertical surface of the sill panel before the door is completely closed. (The inner door panel is flat against the door, so I know it's not sticking out too far.) As far as I can tell, the sill plate is pushed in as far as it will go against the tab that's just above the rubber seal. Of course, I can't fiddle with it while I'm one-handed.

I spent two days getting the carpet in the right location on the driver's side to put the dimmer switch, brake pedal, and accelerator linkage holes in the right place, so I know what you mean.


05-02-2008, 10:25 AM
Not sure which model you are working on, but many C-K' have the carpet OVER the sill, not under. My carpets have a bound edge just for that application.


05-02-2008, 10:31 AM
I *think* that that was only Presidents, Speedsters and Golden Hawks.


55 Commander Starlight

Chucks Stude
05-02-2008, 11:21 AM
My dad was a CPA, and he had the carpel tunnell surgery. Was so much happier after it was done. Got any outside pics?
My JDP carpet had to have a little trim and tuck done to it, but it looks really good. I had put a urethane sound deadener under the carpet. This caused the foot wells in the back to be slightly wrinkly.
The old guy who altered the carpets to fit, came up with a neat trick for the master brake cover. He took the vinyl heal pad and cut it loose on three sides, and sewed it with velcro, so that you only have to pull back the heal pad to get to the m/c. Pretty slick.

05-02-2008, 12:05 PM
Alan, the car looks sharp! I really do believe that the '54s had one of the prettiest dashes ever. Hope you heal up quickly.


Clark in San Diego
'63 F2/Lark Standard

05-02-2008, 12:47 PM
I am sorry to hear about your hands.

I had severe carpal tunnel, and the Chiropractor was able to fix it in one 5 minute treatment. Its now 15 years later, and I use a computer all day long and more.

What was even more interesting is that I went in for something completely different, and he was performing some wierd muscle testing that appeared to be completely unrelated to my hands, then casually mentioned that I had carpal tunnel. I laughed and said "yes", and he said "don't worry about it. it can be fixed". He did some minor manipulations with both hands, and the pain was GONE. I was never so happy to be proven wrong, because I am an accountant and use my keyboard continuously and I don't like surgery.

Nice car!

05-02-2008, 01:29 PM

Grace looks beautiful already! She's really coming along nicely, and I'm sure you're chomping at the bit to get back to her and finish up.

Funny carpal tunnel surgery story for you: My Grandma had BOTH hands done AT THE SAME TIME about 12-13 years ago. This was, of course, against her doctor's wishes, but she wanted it over and done with ASAP. After about a week of my now-late Grandpa "taking care of her," she called my Mom and said, "Tell me again why I did this all at once ... I can't handle this much longer!" Mom, without even a complaint, quickly took over from Grandpa for the duration ... and to this day, when anyone mentions "the surgery," Grandma rolls her eyes! Grandpa, God rest his soul, was never a good patient ... or a good caregiver, for that matter ...

Jacob Newkirk - Owensboro, KY


05-02-2008, 02:31 PM
I don't think I've seen a better job of installing my carpets, especially with the extra padding to deal with.


05-02-2008, 04:45 PM
Well, thank you, John. I was thinking about having the upholstery shop put the carpet in, too, but I talked to Ken of Phantom Auto Works at the York swap meet, and he basically told me that I couldn't do it wrong, so if he had that much confidence in me, I might as well try. I still have to fasten it to the floor in a few places with some sheet metal screws and put in the small pieces that cover the rear seat riser, but I was going to wait until I got the rear seat cushions back.

Jacob: I thought briefly about having both wrists done at the same time, but then I would have had trouble wiping my butt. And even though my wife is a nurse and would do anything for her patients, for me, I'm on my own. Truth be told, Cathy has been a nurse pratitioner doing asthma and allergy research for many years now and doesn't miss doesn't miss the bedpans and all that other stuff.

Every one else: Thanks for the compliments on Grace and wishes for a speedy recovery.


05-02-2008, 09:53 PM
:) Grace looks very good, Alan. Sorry to hear about the carpal tunnel; sick bay is getting crowded! A gorgeous Starliner, to be sure. :DBP

05-03-2008, 12:04 PM
Hello everyone,

I took a few overall, hood-down pictures of Grace this morning -- about all I can do with one hand still wrapped.




Notice that the center of the hood seems to be sitting up too high. Any ideas how to fix this?

Alan Mende
Hummelstown, PA

05-03-2008, 01:49 PM
Looking Good. Vary nice.
Is it latched?

55 Speedster

05-03-2008, 02:53 PM
This car is looking excellent :)

Makes we want to get some WWW tires on mine instead of the sorta WW I have. What size rims (see they are not the originals) and tires do you have?

As for the hood thing, I assume you mean at the front where the latch is? It seems that most don't fit the best there, including mine. The grills seem like they should be higher in the center along with the sheetmetal behind them. However, at least on my car, there was no way to adjust this and it even wants to pull down lower than it is. I had to add a stack of washers with a longer bolt to the vertical brace that runs from the bottom of the filler panel above the bumper to the air dam under there as if I tried to install it without extra length, it was pulling the center down even more. I sort of chalked it up to the panels being a little off as I had to straighten various used parts from several cars when I was doing the restoration. HAving seen more cars in the last few years, it does not seem to be a uncommon problem. I have seen a couple of cars that fit MUCH better, but I don't know what they did differently. Even some factory pix you can tell the gap is fairly big.

Jeff in ND
'53 Champion Hardtop

05-03-2008, 03:19 PM
quote:Originally posted by alanmende

Hello everyone,

I took a few overall, hood-down pictures of Grace this morning -- about all I can do with one hand still wrapped.


In this picture it appears as if the center of the hood is too high and the tops of the side grilles are laid back too far, creating and even larger gap. :( Not having owned a '53/'54, I am afraid I can't give anything more than my amateur analysis.


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