Just thought I'd share some photos of the 12 firewall I am finishing up. I am mostly finished drillling holes in the firewall and am halfway thru veneering the spacer board. Just waiting on the veneer saw to complete that part. I am picking up on a project I started years ago and never completed.
The spacer board was not veneered on original 2 piece dash. Only the main dash was veneered. The spacer board was a solid piece of cherry. It will function just fine if plywood but just thought you might want the original info.
Gosh Richard, I hope you aren't going to use those fender washers!
Can you tell us about the 1912 dashes with the cut out for steering column, I know some were slotted and this I believe was correct,
John, I am veneering the spacer board because it is solid cherry and my dash is apple ply with a maple veneer. I want both pieces to be maple so they will take the stain the same. Larry, I had to go with the large fender washers because I originally drilled the holes for the coil box according to the standard spacing. Now that I decided to use a repro box, the spacing is different. I doweled the original holes but the dowels show on the engine side and I will use the fender washers to cover them. Not correct but saves me from either having to veneer the firewall or start over. Life is full of compromises. I have reluctantly learned to accept some degree of impefection. Model Ts have taught me that if nothing else.
BTW this is my first attempt at veneering. I am using raw veneer and carpenter's glue and a hot iron. There is more to it than I realized and if I were to do it over, I'd just leave the cherry spacer board as it is.
Richard, the coilbox mounting brackets aren't correct for the box. They look like Splitdorf brackets. That will certainly affect the studs' spacing.
RV, the mounting brackets came off a Splitdorf coil box for a one cylinder car. The new hole spacing was not due to using these brackets, but because the repro wood boxes are smaller than the original Kingston boxes. They are made only large enough to accomodate the newer style Ford coils. There is no way to keep original hole spacing no matter what brackets you use. My mistake was drilling the holes in the firewall assuming the repro boxes were made to accomodate original hole spacing. Wrong.
The hole spacing for the Splitdorf brackets is closer to the ones I first drilled thus allowing me to hide the old holes (filled with dowels) with fender washers. Saved me from junking a perfectly good firewall.
I am not the expert, but I have some documentation on the dashes, and the slot from the steering column hole appears to have been specified on 12-14-1911.
If you look up the change that Ward mentions you will find that they added the slot for the "square" 1912 dash and also to the 2 piece "typical 1911" dash at the same time period. The 2 piece dash was carried into 1912 and appears to have been used with bodies that had a fixed height to them like Delivery Cars since you can't just lower the front bow to compensate for a different windshield/dash height as you can with a roadster or touring car.
I have built a fair number of dashes and veneered every one of them. I know what you are stuggling with and have felt the pain. It can be a real challenge. With the cherry that I use there is always at least 1 seam and typically 2 seams since wide veneer is hard to find. I hate to tell you this now but aside from the carpenters glue drying way too fast to be able to press the veneer down without bubbles in it, the veneer will later "creep" somewhat when the veneer expands and contracts. The veneer moves almost exactly like a caterpillar moves along a leaf but a lot slower. It is a shame that we can't buy exactly 3/4" thick apple ply (baltic birtch) plywood. That would make an excellent "driver" dash. The funky dimension on modern plywood makes the dash brass trim molding look really bad if you have a nice original you want to use.
Rather than deal with ultra thin veneer can you get 3/8" plywood in your choice of wood and glue them together?
Craig -- Good idea, but it won't work out right. Modern plywoods, as John alluded to, are not the dimension they claim to be. Most are about 1/32" less than their stated thickness, so gluing two 3/8" pieces together would net you 11/16", not 3/4".
Hi, Just wondering why those of you who are going through all this trouble of making the dashes are not buying the ones available from Snyders or Langs. they have holes predrilled,though the holes seem smaller than they should be and the slot is not there.
I just bought one, is there something lacking in them that I should know of? would like to know before I give it to someone to put the stain on.thanks.
The typical available dashes are made of plywood and thus are thin so original trim brass will not fit so hot. The veneers are super thin so you have to be careful with them. The main problem I have witnessed is that the core material is very soft. I think they are using Luan Mahogany since it is cheap. There sometimes are hidden voids in the core as well but when bolting things to the dash the bolts tend to crush the core and in short time the bolts are loose. The biggest part of this occurs at the base of the steering column. Tightening the bolts doesn't help since it just pulls the nuts into the plywood deeper and the whole process repeats. One guy suggested using tubing in the holes but that just makes the bolts tight on the tubing but loose in the plywood. T think I see that Richard is making his dash out of "apple ply" or what is sometimes called "Baltic Birtch" which is very solid but I don't think the repro dashes are made of that. I have made dashes for show cars as original with 5/8" solid hard wood core (9/16 on dashes starting in mid 1915) and 1/16 cherry veneer on both sides (Maple on 1915 and later). It is a lot of work but they do not crush and remain very solid. If you have ever driven a T with a good original dash you can immediately notice how solid the steering is. I had the pleasure of driving the first of the T-100 cars that Ford built some years back. My company made the dashes for all 6 of them and the car was really solid to drive but everything was new and tight from the steering wheel to the kingpins. A whole different feel to it. I wish I could get the correct thickness dash all made up with veneer and ready to cut/drill since that is what takes all the time.
I got a low firewall (not a very early one, as is being discussed here) from Lang's recently, and it's made from Baltic Birch. I didn't measure the thickness, but it's really not an issue like it is with the ones which use the brass edging. It seems to be a nice one, and of course plenty solid.
That is a definite improvement. How thick is it actually? Starting during 1915 the thickness went from 3/4 to 11/16 and stayed that thickness. I was not aware that one could get even 11/16 nominal thickness (21/32 actual) plywood in BB. That would make an excellent "driver" dash. All they have here is 5/8 but last time I checked I couldn't get much or a selection of thicknesses in BB.
Beware, some of the "baltic" plywood is now made in Communist China. Austin Hardwood offered me the choice recently. I did not fall into the cheap is ok trap, and paid extra for non-Communist plywood. Of course, the cheap crap will soon chase out the good stuff, as we see everywhere.
Thanks John, you no doubt just saved me a big headache.
Just to clear up a possible/potential misunderstanding: Richard stated that "THE (emphasis mine) reproduction coilboxes are smaller than the originals." I don't know who made Richard's, but I make reproduction original style coilboxes, and they are exactly the same size and style as the originals, and take the original type coils.
This is NOT ANY kind of criticism, just a point of information.
Richard, is your box made to take the original type coils or the later Ford/KW ones?
Mine is made to take the later style coils, not the original style. I spoke with you some time back and asked if you made that style Kingston box that would accept the more modern coils and you explained that those you made accepted only the Kingston coils. There were a couple out there at the time. Once had spacers in the box, but the porcelains did not line up with the holes on a standard firewall. The one I finally settled on does fit the holes well but the coils don't line up well with the tangs inside the box. Such is life.
I'm thinking out loud right now concerning the Baltic Birch dashes. I know about John Regan's work and I am sure the dashes he makes are made right and the best around. I have taken several dashes off of later cars and trucks and have seen how they were originally made as John describes.
But if someone already had one of thes Baltic Birch dashes and was "stuck " with it, there might be a way around the compression of the wood issue.
If the dash were already stained and varnished, so as to not affect the finish absorbing quality of the veneer, I wonder if it would work to use some Kwik-Poly around the fastener holes to make the wood hard enought to where the compression wouldn't be an issue?
This would not help the too thin issue, which might be something you might just have to put up with.
It might work Herb, if the KP wouldn't crumble under the compression. Just a point of clarification, the Baltic Birch or Appleply firewalls don't compress, as least not the ones I've used. What does compress is the regular plywood. In fact I got the idea to make the 12 firewall from an old repro firewall I purchased for an 18 touring car many years ago. It was made of appleply and held up very well. The stuff available a couple years ago was the soft stuff, but now Mike says Langs offers a Baltic Birch firewall.
I heard a few years ago that the guy who originally made the appleply firewalls died and someone else took over the business and cut costs by using a poorer grade plywood. Maybe the worm has turned and the good stuff is on the market. I hope so.