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Wood dashboard for the roadster

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by t-rod, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. t-rod
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 423

    t-rod
    Member

    I've been dreaming of this car for years and mentally built it lots of ways but one detail that's stayed the same is the wood dash. I've been in woodworking for years and I need something to reflect that.

    The deuce style dash is good looking but so many T's use it that I want to do something different and put a T style dash in a T.

    Like so many projects, start with a cardboard template. Make sure the upper curve fits the inside shape of the cowl and the lower edge clears the steering column and your knees. Notice I drew only half the profile because I can flip it to complete it and make it symmitrical.

    Next, select the kind of wood you want. My favorite species has long been maple, so it was an easy choice. I found this board when I was getting material for a job. It's hard to see in the photo but it has lots of figuring in the grain that will "pop" when the finish is applied.

    If you're not a regular at the hardwood lumber supplier, the big box home improvement stores sell hardwood lumber already planed the thickness.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  2. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
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  3. t-rod
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 423

    t-rod
    Member

    Now transfer the pattern to the board. Notice it's a bit pointy at the bottom, but that's easy to reshape and ease at this stage.

    A bandsaw or jigsaw cuts out the shape, be sure to cut a little big so you can sand it to final shape.

    I've made a table jig to hold my belt sander at a right angle. It's just right to finalize the shape of the curve.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  4. BBobb
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,865

    BBobb
    Member

    Here's my model a with a Wabbitt dash

    [​IMG]
     

  5. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member Emeritus

    DUDE! Post the pics!:D You forgot the PICS!
     
  6. ya, you say, " as you can see " but we can't see ???
     
  7. t-rod
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 423

    t-rod
    Member

    Once you're happy with the fit to the cowl and the shape of the bottom edge, you can move on. I'm putting an inlay along the lower edge. I started by copying the bottom curve onto a piece of 1/4" mdf core melamine. Next, I set up my router with a 1/4" fluted cutter bit and a 1/2" collet.

    I want the bottom of the inlay 1/2" from the bottom, then 1/4" groove, then 1/8" from the edge of the cutter to the outside of the collet, for a total of 7/8" from the edge of the dash to the mdf pattern. Clamp it tight, I don't want it to move while I'm routing.

    Now I've got a 1/4 by 1/4 groove which follows the bottom curve.

    For my contrasting color, I've chosen Lyptus. It looks very similar to red mahogany. A 1/4" strip would not bend easily so I have two 1/8" strips which I ran through the overhead sander till they fit the groove. Most woodshops have one of these if you don't and it's much more accurate than thinning the strips with a belt sander.

    The fit is tight so the seam in the middle of the inlay will be nearly invisible. The dry fit is good so I'll glue it in.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  8. t-rod
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 423

    t-rod
    Member

    Hold on, I see the pics on my screen but obviously you can't. Let me fix it.
     
  9. t-rod
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 423

    t-rod
    Member

    Can everyone see the pics now?
     
  10. LongT
    Joined: May 11, 2005
    Posts: 966

    LongT
    Member

    Yes, thanks
     
  11. My dad had a wood dash on his '33 5Win the 50's. He said all the guys in his HS shop class that were hot rodders built wood dash boards for their cars.
     
  12. 59NASH
    Joined: Feb 11, 2003
    Posts: 73

    59NASH
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  13. Frankie47
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 1,878

    Frankie47
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    from omaha ne.

    How do you deal with the different expansion qualities between wood and metal? Cracking and checking. Looking good so far:)
     
  14. t-rod
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 423

    t-rod
    Member

    Ok, sorry for the mishap. I thought I had it figured before.

    Now's a good time to lay out the gauges. Mock up the dash in the car with the steering wheel to visualize everything. Paper cutout circles to represent the gauges are easy to tape in place and move around until you like the layout.

    The center two gauges will have a raised area also of Lyptus. It is 1/4" thick and will have a 1/4" radius around the edge. This poses a problem because the router bit bearing would have only air to run on. To solve this, I mounted the wood to 3/4" mdf and cut and sanded both materials at the same time. Now the bearing can run on the mdf.

    I drilled the centers of the gauges then ran the dash through the overhead sander to level the inlay to the surface of the dash. Not shown is the mock up of the dash in the car with the center detail. The center sectionended up too close to the dash rail on the body so I dropped all the gauges 5/8" to solve that. Test fit, mock up, and test again. When everyting is right, glue it in. The glue squeezing out means there's enough under there and if you catch it just before it's all dry, most of it will peel off leaving you with very little sanding.
     

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  15. t-rod
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 423

    t-rod
    Member

    This happens to be a 'glass car, please don't fry me, so it shouldn't be a problem. I've seen many steel cars with wood dashs and not seen any problems or damage in any of them.
     
  16. t-rod
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 423

    t-rod
    Member

    Now the dash is assembled, cut out the gauges with holesaws. Holesaw arbors don't hold the saw tight because they are difficult to remove if the saw gets locked up on the arbor. Because of this, the saw wiggles around and makes a hole a little bigger than the size stamped on the side. Use a saw just smaller than the gauge and use a drum sander or rounded rasp to finish the hole.

    Round over the bottom edge with a router so you don't scrape up your legs and finish sand the dash. Apply a stain if you choose (I didn't), then the finish you like. I sprayed a sanding sealer then two coats of furniture finish, sanding between coats. A spar varnish or urethane would be more water resistant but I don't care for the yellow color of those products and I'm hoping to not get very wet in this car. The finish will repel the occasional rainstorm.

    Mount the gauges, reinstall in the car and admire your work! When my Dad saw the dash, he said he had just the thing for it and gave me the Grant wood wheel he had laying around. I'm pleased with how it turned out. Now all I need to do is the rest!
     

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  17. Johnny Clash
    Joined: Dec 21, 2005
    Posts: 201

    Johnny Clash
    Member

    I dig it! Nice work!
     
  18. swimeasy
    Joined: Oct 17, 2006
    Posts: 1,067

    swimeasy
    Member

    It is nice to see something different. Man, you are good with wood, and as far as I am concerned, any kind of handbuilt stuff is always very cool. THANKS for posting all of that!
     
  19. t-rod
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 423

    t-rod
    Member

    By the way, the turn signal indicators will go on the dash unless the column drop ends up big enough to put them there. The switches will go on a seperate panel. I like the clean look of the dash and I don't want to clutter it up.
     
  20. gasserjohn
    Joined: Nov 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,219

    gasserjohn
    Member

    did this simple dash in 65.......still doing it's job...
    other 2 photos recent...
    try TONG OIL finish
     

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  21. t-rod
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 423

    t-rod
    Member

    Here's my matching shift knob. It's a teaser, because I don't have any in-progress pictures. I glued up the blank and drilled the top out with a forestner bit. The round plug was cut with a holesaw minus the pilot bit in a drill press. I don't have access to a lathe so I paid a guy to turn it.
     

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  22. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,605

    zman
    Member
    from Garner, NC

    all tech week to the top 18
     
  23. Dakota Kid
    Joined: Feb 20, 2007
    Posts: 542

    Dakota Kid
    Member

    Having a tree for a dash has never done anything for me.
     
  24. TomWar
    Joined: Jun 11, 2006
    Posts: 727

    TomWar
    Member

    Here are a couple of dashes that I have made. 58 P/U and 27 T (not finished)
     

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  25. t-rod
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 423

    t-rod
    Member

    I love seeing everyone's dashes. I think a wood dash adds a bit of elegance to a hot rod.
     
  26. freebird101
    Joined: Feb 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,203

    freebird101
    Member

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