Automobile interior ideas needed...


Hi all, I'm fixing up a 1966 Mercury Comet and am having a hard time finding some interior parts that don't cost a fortune so just to be different I'm thinking of doing some of the parts in wood...specifically the dashpad, door panels and the rear window package tray. The car is garaged and there's no kids involved so weather damage and normal wear and tear should be minimum. The door panels and rear package tray I dont think present much of a problem as they're flat so it's only a matter of selecting the grain and stain.The interior is red so I figure a dark cherry stain on the selected grain veneer paneling should look OK and not dominate. The problem will be with the dashpad which has curves and angles I'm not sure how to deal with...so If anyone has any ideas on how I could tackle this I'd love to hear from you. The existing dashpad has a metal baseplate with mounting bolts attached and is easily removed from the dash itself...so using this baseplate ( after removing foam and vinyl) seems like the obvious way to attach the wood. Thanks for any and all input........
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Template everything. Some of those shapes you may not be able to simply cover in a veneer. In those cases, you might make a template of the current dash, then make one of the bare dash when you get to that point.
Then you get to make shaped laminates. Or buy a solid piece large enough and shape it on your own. You might end up using a combination of steaming and laminating.
it's just an idea though

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Hey! My only qualifications as far as car interiors; 1. I'm a Woodworker. 2. I was eyeballs deep into competing in car stereo shows in the early 90's.
Those of us competing would rip out everything in the car. A complete gutting was essential to eliminate rattles and bad vibes. Then the new interior panels were fabricated to hold all of the speakers and equipment. Door panels were the easy part just as you speculated. The rear decks for us were a little complicated. We had to match the deck to a box underneath to contain those big-a$$ boomers. Or we turned the subs(big-a$$ boomers) directly into the back of the seat. That made the rear decks much easier. BUT the dash was an entirely different story. Like you said, there are curves and strange mounting geometry. Do you want to know why I quit messing around with car srereos? A custom dash is a pretty serious deal. Most guys would use fiberglass to lay up a complicatd shape like that. Before you start cutting and hacking the foam and vinyl of of the steel mounting plate, consider how heavy the wood is going to be and how easy it will be to warp.There are defrosters, high humidity, direct sunlight, extreme temperature changes, etc. But if you do proceed with this bigger-than-it-looks project, cupholders are good, post some pictures the very day you finish so you will have documented proof that it looked pretty nice when it was new. Maybe the way to go would be to have an upholstery shop to fabricate some part of the dash, the curved parts, and then you can fit wooden panels on the top. You would have all of the effects of a wooden dash pad with much less weight. Then you could use a matching veneer to cover the flat parts around the gauges and the glove box. some of those old Fords had a console down the center with a flat panel all of the way down the center. I've also heard those flat panels screaming and begging to be covered with wood grain.
Tom in KY,Wishing you luck and hoping you post some pictures of how you do this and someday, the finished product!
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