New Dashboard Project

So I finally set about replicating the “original original” BCW custom dashboard, which I have never seen in person. Beginning with a review of all archival BCW-related materials  I turned up little except a single, grainy, long-distance photo of a car I think is Bridget contesting what looks like an early 1950s Gymkhana.* Not much, but maybe just enough to fill in what was meant by the phrase “polished wood dash in our trademarked cheque pattern” in one of the scraps of BCW promotional materials that survived:

partial BCW brochure 1
Here’s what I came up with:

dash drawing full scaleHaving already deduced that the BCW dash options were of three wood species, Oak, Maple and Mahogany, I opted for an African Mahogany and Maple crossing. I bought the eighth-inch blanks at my local Woodcraft.
African Mahogany
And bought a half sheet of 1/4-inch marine plywood to glue the veneer to.
marine ply packedI numbered the squares on my foamboard model and cut them up.
dashboard pieces1Then transferred the pattern to my new wood.
dash wood tracings1A little time on the table saw left me with
dashboard pieces3dashboard pieces4-ruff doneThen some sanding of edges
fine line 5. . . and I laid them down.
ready for glue1I think they look rough and crappy, actually. But at some point in the adjustment period I realized that the more I fretted over each piece, the bigger the gaps between them got. So I said screw it and just glued them down.

The fixative here is a two-part epoxy that furniture makers use. Word from fellow dash veneerers about the efficacy of contact cement is that it tends to loosen up in the sun. While my “veneer” is actually 1/8-inch chunks, I think it would still be subject to the same forces–unless I glue it down marine/aircraft tight.
glue setting
Yesterday the cans came off. Not as bad as I feared.

glue dry 2

I sanded it some more and then filled the gaps (for the first of many times, I’m sure) with the dust I made, mixed with carpenter’s glue.

putty 1

All of this is still fraught with peril. I’ve still got to trim the outside properly (and I already drilled the holes wrong so the dash would cut out uneven). Then I’ll have to cut out the glovebox door and make that little item. I foresee lots more mistakes. I hope none will be fatal to the project.

*UPDATE: Here is the shot.gramps-dash Actually looks more like a road shot than a gymkhana, but the dash pattern is almost sort of visible.

About stuntmidget

I'm a poor mechanic and general wisenheimer. I love old cars and the stories behind them, true or not.
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