Dash Restoration

Keeping it sharp - paint, wax, detailing, etc.

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Dash Restoration

Postby Jim DeShon on Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:47 pm

Just finished installing a new top on my long idle 77' Spider. I started looking at the interior. Has anyone found readymade wood inserts for the dash ? How expensive were they ? It would be easier than making new ones. I could make my own using the old ones for a pattern. Maybe using mahogany of walnut. Any one have any ideas ? I want to keep the old look but upgrade it a bit with nicer material. :?: ...J.D.
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2001 Mitsubishi 3.0 Spyder
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Re: Dash Restoration

Postby mbouse on Fri Sep 19, 2008 2:55 pm

there have been a few folks posting in the for sale section concerning dash board replacements. ya aughta do a search there. ready made replacement boards? no, i have not seen anyone doing so in the USA.

might not be a bad idea to look into someone that is parting out a car, and see what kind of quality replacement used boards you can lay your hands on.
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Re: Dash Restoration

Postby Jazgeek on Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:51 pm

I'm very close to having the cnc programming done to make new solid wood/mdf/plastic or even aluminum dash panels.

Once I have a material bill of material I'll be able to come up with a price. Nice thing is that you'll be able to stain/varathane them whatever flavor you like.
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Re: Dash Restoration

Postby Jim DeShon on Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:22 pm

I am just testing the water to see what is available. I can make these in my shop the old fashion way but, if the cost is low enough, I'd rather spend my time doing something else. I just don't think the factory ones look that good. I had not though of CNC. :| ...J.D.
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1995 Triumph 900 Sprint 3 cyl.
2001 Mitsubishi 3.0 Spyder
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Re: Dash Restoration

Postby GOPAPA on Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:12 pm

Jim DeShon wrote:I am just testing the water to see what is available. I can make these in my shop the old fashion way but, if the cost is low enough, I'd rather spend my time doing something else. I just don't think the factory ones look that good. I had not though of CNC. :| ...J.D.


I am new Jim to the forum and the Fiat dashes ,,but I was wondering about just regular kithchen counter top Laminate.

Back in the 70ies I put down some laminate that looked like leather ,,so there must ,be some wood grains still out there and it would be a thin guage just like is on them now.. Just saying ,,papa
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Re: Dash Restoration

Postby Jim DeShon on Sat Sep 20, 2008 1:17 am

What is original in there looks kind of "cheesy" already. I think I want real wood. If nobody makes the pieces already, I am completely equipped to make new ones. I was out in the shop earlier tonight doing some measuring. I would have to get some 5 1/2" wide stock and resaw it to the proper thickness. It is just as much work to make out of hardwood as it would be out of laminate. It takes just a little more time to get a good finish on the hardwood. I am trying to keep the look it had when new... only better. :) ...J.D.
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Re: Dash Restoration

Postby blanchardkeith on Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:27 am

I just tried to cut out my own from several types of wood. Severely difficult. I finally ended up getting some wood laminte. Real wood about 1/16" thick. Used some spray adhesive on both then clamped. Used an exacto knife to cut the edges. Sanded, stained, sanded, urethaned and voila!!!! Add some home made visors, door pads and your 1/2 way done with the int. restoration.
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Re: Dash Restoration

Postby pope on Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:08 am

Keith,
Your really should cut the extra portion of the screw off. Or use those bookbinding screw the are hidden on both sides

If you straighten then out, they could be sandwich trays :roll: Car looks in great shape. Congratulations
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Re: Dash Restoration

Postby oaxacagold on Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:56 am

Well, unfortunately I know quite a bit more about woodworking than engine mechanics. I discourage anyone from using solid wood for their dash parts, primarily due to the fact that unless you're using a very stable wood such as koa or mahogany, you are almost guaranteed to face warping, especially if you don't have a garage with some control over the climate, or plant on parking the car in direct sunlight and/or high humidity, or are using woods such as pine or maple. There's a reason why the high quality handmade furniture manufacturers useshigh quality birch plywood, mostly due to it's environmental stability.

Unless you are making many copies of the same pieces using plastic template from the old pieces using plexiglass and a dremel tool or cnc programming, simply applying a high quality wood veneer will be cheaper, easier, faster, and well within the capabilities of even the most inexperienced woodworker.

Simply buy any one of a huge assortment of figured, nonfigured, exotic or domestic wood veneers available, you can even get them of a soft enough grain and thin enough that they can be cut with a pair of scissors or exacto knife while attached using cam clamps with cork matting to prevent scratching or even double sided tape (be careful when removing) to the original pieces to be veneered, be sure to still get a venner thick enough to allow for prep sanding. If the veneer isn't perfectly flat, or if you are doing curved pieces such as the part where the verticle dash meets the center console in an 83-85 pininfarina, use a veneer softener either in the form of one that is commercially available, or a homemade mix of 4 parts water, 2 parts glycerin, 1 part alcohol, and 2 parts plastic resin glue. Then simply glue and clamp, and you can perfect the edges so the match perfectly after the glue has dried. Then, before applying the finish, sand to 220 grit for a lacquer or eurethane finish, or 400 grit (or 220 if using a random orbital palm sander) if you are using an oil finish. Don't underestimate how nice a rub on finish can look. Tung oil takes some time, up to a week to do enough coats, but looks really nice. Rub on finishes are also more easily maintained. I've even seen people use red shoe polish as a wood finish, with wonderful results. After the finish is applied, then wax and buff.

I plan on doing a spalted maple veneer, with a faint natural red/brown stain to darken (I feel unstained maple is too light for my tan dash) underneath a tung oil finish. I really don't plan on it being very difficult, and is perhaps the easiest way to make your spider stand out.
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Re: Dash Restoration

Postby TulsaSpider on Sun Oct 05, 2008 12:13 pm

Now this man really has given us some good info! Thanks a lot!!
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Re: Dash Restoration

Postby mdrburchette on Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:08 pm

I use mahogany to make many of the wood dashes for our cars, and I also found black walnut to be pretty easy to work with. Both are a hardwood and don't split or splinter when sawed or drilled. I also prefer clearing the pieces with a poly instead of lacquer for more duability.
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Re: Dash Restoration

Postby htchevyii on Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:36 pm

I'm in the process of installing the sweet mahogany dash that Denise made. A couple more coats of clear & I'll be ready to put it back togeather!
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Re: Dash Restoration

Postby Jim DeShon on Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:10 pm

Thanks for some really good information and photos. My strong suit is the mechanical side [last 45yrs.]. I only do some woodworking as a hobby. I agree that the material is critical for good results. I was planning to use mahogany. I also agree that some kind of a poly coating would be best. I am not too comfortable working with veneers. I probably can't match the results of some of these guys. I always felt the dash was one of the more attractive parts of these cars. ...J.D.
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2001 Mitsubishi 3.0 Spyder
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Re: Dash Restoration

Postby racydave on Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:34 pm

Thoes are some fine examples of some beautiful woods! Clearcoat is my favorite, but your car tells you what it needs.
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Re: Dash Restoration

Postby pope on Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:42 pm

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This is just 20 coats of clear poly on the lacewood veneer. I just have the glove box to finish, oh and I have to finish the car also.
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