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Thread: How to finish dashboard?

  1. #1
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    How to finish dashboard?

    Many years ago (maybe 15-18) I bought a Moss mahogany veneer matte finish dashboard and it's been in the basement collecting dust. Finally I've gotten down to restoring the car and I'm wondering how to finish the dashboard out. Shellac, polyurethane (oil or water) or Varnish seem to be the choices.
    Opinions or experience anyone?
    Al Shoop

  2. #2

    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    I used marine grade polyurethane. I gave it many coats with steel wool polish in between.
    Also, don't rush it. I let the coats of polyurethane dry for many days before polishing and I made sure all traces of steel wool were cleaned off before re-coating.
    Elliot
    Central PA
    1976 TR6 White/Biscuit interior SOLD
    1973 TR6 Damson Plum / Biscuit interior, HVDA 5-speed, Good Parts Hubs

  3. #3

    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    For my MGTD, I used several coats of polyurethane varnish with sanding between coats, progressively finer sandpaper after each coat. Anything like that will give you a really nice finish.

    http://www.nonlintec.com/mgtd/interior/#dash

    dash_complete_4831.jpg

    For my TR4A, I plan to use a thick clear epoxy coating, similar to what they originally had.
    Steve Maas
    1966 Triumph TR4A, undergoing restoration: http://www.nonlintec.com/tr4a
    1952 MG TD, restoration completed 2014, sold 2016: http://www.nonlintec.com/mgtd
    1960 Austin-Healey "Bugeye" Sprite, sold 2010: http://www.nonlintec.com/sprite
    1967 Porsche 912: http://www.nonlintec.com/porsche

  4. #4
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    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    On my TR4 I used polyurethane with the satin (not clear) finish. Love the result.
    Charley

  5. #5

    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    One thing I forgot to mention....
    After the last coat of polyurethane I used Rottenstone (a very fine polishing compound)
    and the final finish came out like "glass".
    Elliot
    Central PA
    1976 TR6 White/Biscuit interior SOLD
    1973 TR6 Damson Plum / Biscuit interior, HVDA 5-speed, Good Parts Hubs

  6. #6
    Jedi Warrior Rhodyspit75's Avatar
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    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    You mentioned matte finish. Unless you intend on taking all the original finish off , which I would recommend, make sure whatever you put on is compatible.
    "Age considers; youth ventures." Rabindranth Tagore
    1975 Spitfire

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    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    Yes. I haven't looked at it lately with the refinish in mind as it is currently sitting at the body shop where I thought it would be better to take advantage of their spray booth. As I remember, it didn't appear that there was any finish on it at all, but that was the reason I asked on this thread if anyone had experience with the Moss product. By the way this was discontinued many years ago.

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    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    Just as an alternate view, my TR6 had an aftermarket wood dash tho I'm not certain what type of wood it was. It was not finished. I used regular lemon oil on it regularly and it looked fantastic. I never worried about the finish cracking or coming off because there was no finish no crack or come off.
    59 TR3A "Butter"

  9. #9

    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    That's interesting. I've never seen anyone use an oiled finish on a wood dash. From my experience with oiled furniture, I'd expect you'd have to re-oil it every six months or so for a few years, then maybe every year. But I'm sure it looks nice.
    Steve Maas
    1966 Triumph TR4A, undergoing restoration: http://www.nonlintec.com/tr4a
    1952 MG TD, restoration completed 2014, sold 2016: http://www.nonlintec.com/mgtd
    1960 Austin-Healey "Bugeye" Sprite, sold 2010: http://www.nonlintec.com/sprite
    1967 Porsche 912: http://www.nonlintec.com/porsche

  10. #10

    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    I have a Moss dashboard, it cam prefinished. Mine was ordered only 5 or 6 ears ago, so it may be different than yours. It is also high gloss.
    1964 Triumph TR4- New Paint, Mostly new Chrome, Lots of new bits and pieces... Basically, it is DONE!

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    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    Thanks for your reply. Apparently Moss sold the version that I have which is mahogany and did not have a high gloss finish. If it had any finish on it at all is what I am trying to ascertain which I have a call into Moss Tech Ken Martin tomorrow to see if he can provide this information. They discontinued this item in 2006 and now sell a walnut high gloss finished dashboard which is what I think you have. I will post the results of my research in the next few days if any one is interested.
    Update: No help from Moss.I am going to proceed with alternate sanding and high gloss marine polyurethane. I like what I am reading about the rottenstone stuff so I will probably finish it off with that.
    OK I guess we have beaten this to death so that's all folks
    Al Shoop
    Last edited by shoopal; 06-12-2017 at 12:54 PM.

  12. #12

    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    I completely stripped my old delaminating dash and bought a piece of Walnut veneer to re-cover it.
    It came out beautiful.
    Elliot
    Central PA
    1976 TR6 White/Biscuit interior SOLD
    1973 TR6 Damson Plum / Biscuit interior, HVDA 5-speed, Good Parts Hubs

  13. #13
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    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    Make sure the finish is uv resistant. Marine varnish is good for this reason.
    Mike
    66 TR4A

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    Jedi Trainee Merlin63Tr4's Avatar
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    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    TexasK,
    I also finished my solid wood aftermarket dash with wood oil.
    I used the same pure Tung oil I use on all gunstocks.
    Got it from these guys. https://www.realmilkpaint.com/shop/o...ung-chinawood/

    Not the best picture, it was kind of dark in the garage.....

    M.
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    Merlin the '63 Tr4.... it grows younger !

    "A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." -- Douglas Noel Adams (1952-2001)

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    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    I have that tung oil from realmilkpaint which I use on my mahogany decking cut 50/50 with mineral spirits. I don't get that glossy finish like you have, Whats the trick? multiple applications with sanding increasingly fine grits?

  16. #16
    Jedi Trainee Merlin63Tr4's Avatar
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    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    Shoopal,

    Actually the dash is more of a semigloss, guess the light caught it just right.

    The whole point of an oil finish on wood is not to build up a surface coat, but to allow the oil to penetrate the wood grains. The gloss or lack thereof comes from the rub down of the wood between the oil applications/cure cycles.

    The trick is the 50/50 initial applications (so the Tung oil penetrates deeper), with wipe downs after 1 hour or so, (so you don’t build up a surface layer, a big no-no), followed with 24 hour or so cure in between applications.
    In between applications the wood is rubbed down to remove the wood “whiskers” using either increasingly finer grits of abrasive paper or my preferred method 0000 steel wool or equivalent.
    The final applications are with 100% Tung oil with a 0000 steel wool rub down and a final rag wipe.

    Here’s an abbreviated version of the process I use on wood gunstocks.


    The raw Tung oil may be applied as-is or you may want to thin the first two coats using 50% oil and 50% Mineral spirits or Turpentine.
    Thinning the first two coats of oil helps the oil penetrate deeper into the wood.
    Saturate a small piece of lint free cloth with the oil and apply liberally to the wood. Completely saturate the wood with the oil. Be sure to oil the entire dash, including the interior surfaces. Hang the dash from a wire to allow excess oil to drip from it.
    Let the oil saturated dash sit for 1 hour. After an hour use a rag to wipe down the entire dash. Any oil left on the surface should be wiped away. Any areas of the wood that are glossy should be wiped down again. Any glossy areas that develop in the next 24 hours should be wiped down. The dash should never feel tacky or sticky.
    Allow the dash to sit for 24 hours. After 24 hours rub down the dash using 0000 steel wool. This step helps assure a smooth finish and removes any raised grain that might have occurred.
    Apply 2 additional coats of the oil over the next two days. Each time wiping off the dash after an hour and rubbing with 0000 steel wool after 24 hours.
    Switch to 100% oil now If you had been using a thinned oil in the previous coats. If you’ve been using 100% oil continue to do so.
    Apply the oil to the dash in the same manner as before. After 1 hour use a rag to wipe off any excess oil. Allow the dash to sit for 24 hours.
    Give the dash a rag wipe followed by a 0000 steel wool rub and finish with a clean lint free cloth polish.

    The dash should not feel tacky or sticky after the last application and cure.

    Be sure to use ONLY pure Tung oil and NOT Tung oil finish which is more like a rubbing varnish.


    M.
    Merlin the '63 Tr4.... it grows younger !

    "A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." -- Douglas Noel Adams (1952-2001)

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    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    Disaster.When I picked up the dashboard from the body shop, it was broken across the right air duct hole. It takes a bit of force to get the broken pieces to line up so it seems like it shrank up and twisted. Solid mahogany by the way not veneer. I'm going to gorilla glue and clamp it to try to get it together, but I'm really heart broken.
    If I have success hiding the split, then I guess I'll finish it otherwise I'll just finish it off (should be good firewood)
    20170613_175054[1].jpg
    Last edited by shoopal; 06-13-2017 at 05:54 PM. Reason: added picture

  18. #18
    Jedi Trainee Merlin63Tr4's Avatar
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    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    Shoopal,
    That's too bad.
    If things don't work out you might want to give this guy a try. http://www.prestigeautowood.com/dash_info.htm
    I got my solid wood dash (the one in the picture above) from him some 30 years years ago and as you can see it is still in great shape.
    He is a local (to me) craftsman that has been doing this for some 47 years.
    I just called him about 10 minutes ago and he is still in business making dashboards, solid, veneer, fancy wood, etc.

    M.
    Merlin the '63 Tr4.... it grows younger !

    "A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." -- Douglas Noel Adams (1952-2001)

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    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    I just came back from a cabinet/furniture restorer who will try to glue it back together. They gave me a rundown on finishing options and basically it ran like this:
    If you have a dashboard which is a veneer on top of some good plywood backing, then the polyurethane is best for you. My dash is solid mahogany for which the oil treatment is best. The reason is that it will shrink and expand with temperature and humidity and a hard finish will develop cracks.
    They advised a 100% tung oil, let it dry, and then a light coat of oil rubbed in with 600 grit. However, I like Merlin's method better.
    When I pick it up,I'll go over the routine with him and it varies from what I just said, I will revise the post.

  20. #20
    Jedi Trainee Merlin63Tr4's Avatar
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    Re: How to finish dashboard?

    Shoopal,

    100% Tung oil is also what Prestige Auto Wood recommended when I purchased my solid black walnut dash from them.
    They also advise to lightly reapply the Tung oil, to the exterior surfaces, periodically (once a year or more often as the wood requires).

    M.
    Merlin the '63 Tr4.... it grows younger !

    "A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." -- Douglas Noel Adams (1952-2001)

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