I need to replace the original dash in my 1914 T and was thinking about using the 3/4" cherry that all the vendors offer. Anyone have any experience with these - good or bad?
I cannot speak about a 14 firewall or the firewalls that are currently on the market. But here are some observations I've had in the past re my 1912.
The vendor firewalls were not sturdy. Formerly, they were made out of appleply, a plywood used by cabinet makers for its strength. It is made from many thin layers of plywood. Those available from the vendors compressed around the holes when the bolts/screws were tightened down. The other more troubling thing to me is that the holes for the firewall brackets and steering column didn't line up. I finally made one myself. It was a lot of work but everything fit.
The problem with the firewalls that the vendors carry is that they are PLYWOOD inside with a thin cherry veneer. This makes them soft and subject to compression damage when bolts are tightened.
You should contact the source guy who makes them in Ohio. He made one for me out of very hard European plywood. The difference is that the Baltic Birch plywood that he used has ELEVEN layers of plywood instead of five like the usual ones using ordinary plywood. This makes them very hard and resistant to compression damage. He will also make one for you out of solid cherry wood if you prefer. The price is a little more than the vendors charge, but not that much.
I am going to look up they guys contact information, and I will post it for you. He is cabinet maker. I think his last name is Syverson.
I bought one several yrs ago and it was great. The place where the steering shaft went thru wasn't cut out like some people cut to install the steering easier. I liked that. It takes more work to remove the frame bracket, but it looks better when finished
Doesn't someone on here (John Reagan?) make them to factory drawings?
Jon - I like the idea of going straight to the guy who makes them. When you find his contact info, let me know.
Ok, Bill, I have some contact information for you.
2301 N. Rand Rd.
Palatine, IL 60074
There is also another post on this (including a comment by Ray himself):
Hope this helps,
John Regan does indeed make firewalls, they are to Ford's specs, and they are nice.
His website is at http://www.funprojects.com/.
I make dashes to factory drawings which was a hard solid wood core (5/8" thick) with 1/16" thick cheery veneers on both sides for a final thickness of 3/4". With any of the plywoods including Baltic Birtch you are going to get a dash that is slightly thin since they are made to metric dimensions (Baltic birtch) or 1/32" thinner if USA made. This mainly causes issues with the brass trim around the edge of the dash. The steering column slot was factory item starting during 1912 year and continuing through 1914. I only make 3 or 4 dashes a year and only during the winter months since they are very time consuming. I do make them exactly as per the model that would have been on the car with the motor number supplied to me by the customer. Like other parts there were lots of running changes so I make every dash custom for the car it would go on at the date of manufacture of that car.
John, it sounds like you know what you're doing and I would love to get an estimate, but I have the engine compartment apart now. I think it would be easier to do the dash while everything is already easy access, so I really don't want to wait until the winter.
Take a look at RV's 1914 he just posted about. I'd ask where he got his. It's beautiful.
Thanks, Dan. It's a Regan firewall. It had to have some repair (not John's fault) that required removing and replacing the veneer, so, hence, stripping the finish. The stain that's on there now is a custom mix that I made myself using a couple commercial stain colors and quite a lot of Bulletin Red colorant. I originally mixed it for a Heinze coilbox that I built for Russ Furstnow's '11. The clear is Minwax UV resistant marine spar urethane, 4 brushed coats. Each coat needs to be leveled by hand sanding before applying the next, but a stripped dash is completely flat so it's not hard or tedious. You do have to be careful of the clear running down the many drilled holes and pooling on the reverse side.