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:
Having 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.
And bought a half sheet of 1/4-inch marine plywood to glue the veneer to.
I numbered the squares on my foamboard model and cut them up.
Then transferred the pattern to my new wood.
A little time on the table saw left me with
Then some sanding of edges
. . . and I laid them down.
I 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.
Yesterday the cans came off. Not as bad as I feared.
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.
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.