Thursday, June 19, 2008

A different type of woodworking...

I've been tasked with reconstructing the wood dash panel from a vintage British automobile which is currently being restored. The dash was previously veneered and after about thirty five years, it succumbed to the elements and began to delaminate. Along with this, the original veneered surfaces were cracked and flaking off. This is a type of work I have not done before. The only effective way to remove the veneer completely and uniformly was with a sanding machine. After performing this on either side of the dash panel, I had clean wood underneath. The wood was high grade plywood with many plies. I judiciously re-laminated the laminations which were separating, which was no small feat. Once I was completely satisfied that the plywood dash had regained its strength and rigidity I began to plan the application of veneers both on the face and back of the dash panel.

The veneers were applied one at a time, beginning with the back of the dash panel. I cross banded or alternated two layers of the back cherry veneers to add rigidity and strength to the dash panel. I next cut out the multitude of holes from the back along with screw holes and rectangular cut-outs. I used reamers, sanding pads, and small half-round and round files to accomplish this.After I was satisfied with this, I applied veneer, bird's eye maple, to the face of the dash. Similar to the back, I re-created the holes, cut-outs, etc. from the front. Next, I veneered the glove compartment box door following the same procedure.

In the photo, I have just completed veneering and sanding the dash panel, glove compartment door, and have it fitted in its opening. Some more small detail work and I am almost ready to apply finish to the dash panel. There were some stressful moments in all this, veneer being so thin with very little margin for error, but it seems to have worked out. I thought I would share this experience.