Material for curved dashboard

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
I need to replicate a curved dash insert for my Triumph. Is 1/8 Baltic Birch the best choice? Three layers and then veneer. Or would I be just as well served with hardboard? Would I get more stability if I added a layer of Foamica to the back side?

l have to make a mold, guess one side if vacuum can bend the 1/8 about 2 inches over 20 inches. Which is better, positive or negative? Or do I need to make a two piece and use my press? Do I expect any spring back? Can I do the veneer at the same time?

Thinking West epoxy. Car cabins being a very hostile environment. All advice is in dire need. I have never done anything like this before.
 

PeteM

Pete
Corporate Member
Unless this is something you really want to do it would be much easier to just buy a new one ready to go. You can pick one up for around $300 on ebay or check out triumph
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
I am moving a few things around, like centering the gauges and shifting them so I can see them. For some reason, a concept missed by Triumph. Original is delaminating and console is totally disintegrated.

Autowood does nice work. Full set for $800, which if I were to leave things alone would be an excellent buy.

Yes, I know of the TR club. Member of the US SOC and international SOC, and NCMGCC.

What good is it being a woodworker if I don't do woodwork? Besides, a couple friends have expressed interest in my doing some TVR Tuscan dashboards.
 

PeteM

Pete
Corporate Member
Should be a fun project.
You said "replicate a curved dash insert " so I thought you were staying stock.

. . . TVR Tuscan dashboard - That is one strange dash. Quite a challenge.
 

Roy G

Roy
Senior User
You might want to test the bending ability of the 1/8" plywood. I have seen articles on using bendable plywood which I think has all the plies running the same direction. Or you could make your own plywood out of veneers. If you use plywood, you will definitely have springback. Using layers of veneers and a form would avoid this. The only wood bending I have done involves thin strips of wood steam bent around a form so YMMV.

Roy G
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
Hard piece is OEM about 6 inches by 20 inches of what looks like Birch ply, but may have been veneer. I am changing the location of the instruments so I can't use the original piece which is delaminating. It is gently bowed at both ends.

I can see, even 1/8 inch will still have some internal stress wanting to flatten out. Sounds like I had better put my new bandsaw to work slicing up some veneer stock. The console and radio plate are flat, so they wil be easy.

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FG is an interesting thought. I guess wood veneer can adhere to it as well as anything. It could be much more stable.

( Original 60's Tuscan, Homeland version of the original Griffith. Not the late fancy one)
 

BSevier

Bryan
User
Some of the recent boxes I've made have domed lids. For that, I used 3 layers of 1/16" plywood bent over a form - then veneered. It came out incredibly strong and was easy to bend. If you use a rigid glue, it minimizes the spring back a lot more than just using pva.

The ply is not real easy to find - but I finally found a place out of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They make it primarily for model planes. It isn't cheap - but it is a lot cheaper than what Woodcraft had online.

 

Johnson

AD
Senior User
Some of the recent boxes I've made have domed lids. For that, I used 3 layers of 1/16" plywood bent over a form - then veneered. It came out incredibly strong and was easy to bend. If you use a rigid glue, it minimizes the spring back a lot more than just using pva.

The ply is not real easy to find - but I finally found a place out of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They make it primarily for model planes. It isn't cheap - but it is a lot cheaper than what Woodcraft had online.

Clicked on the link out of sheer curiosity..... they sell 3 ply down to 1/64" thickness. Can't explain it, but I just think that is awesome.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
Bingo. ME LIKE.
Found some good advice ( from a home built aircraft kit maker) on glues. I think I was on the right track with epoxy. I used a lot of West in my TVR, but they suggest a different source.

What looks very hard is cutting the bevel step holes for the gauges on a bent form. It might be that I have to make two layers, do all the milling and then glue them together. Starting to look very hard. Only way to learn is to jump in over your head.
 

Fishbucket

Joe
Senior User
Can you use the old dash as the mold? Make a stiff backer to keep shape then wrap in wax paper and clamp glued up veneer to it.
You could veneer in steps. Make as thick as you want.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
Nope. It would change the dimensions, but I can use it as a template. Easy band saw job as it is only curved in one plane. Got to finish a coffee table first, but then will start assembling all what I need. Buying the thin ply as above looks a lot quicker and probably cheaper than trying to cut it all myself. I was looking as how the recesses might be cut. Maybe a micro router circle base for my Fordham . Four of the gauges are on the slight curve. Getting zero tear out and a perfect edge for the recess has me concerned. I see a lot of testing in my future, a lot of language, and more than a few glasses of Highland Black Moca of course.
 

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