Does anyone have a source for what type of wood was used for the firewall and windshield support in 1909-10? I have been told it was Mahogany but looking for source. Thanks
You may know the repro's are mahiogany.
Richard, thanks, yes that is what I am being told, but I am trying to find a source as to the type wood that was used. I know this must have been researched by someone out there.
ash, maple or walnut vertical tongue and groove boards with cherry horizontal veneer. pratt and lambert cherry bark stain is closest match I've seen
I recall seeing some pretty extensive material on the original dashboard construction on this forum during the past year.
George's outline is correct, as I recall the article, which even showed pictures of dashboard cores being laminated.
"Mahogany" in the reproduction items is probably luan, in any case either Honduras mahogany or luan are comparatively soft, notably softer than ash, maple or walnut.
Plywoods are a mixed blessing, offering strength in both directions, but often inner plies have voids, and the stresses from steering will ultimately have the steering column bolts sinking into the wood. A solid core made from any of the woods George mentioned would likely hold up better in service, but horizontal veneers may not be as resistant to stresses or a shock that could cause vertical laminations to split.
Problem with most plywood firewalls is the type of plywood used. Home Depo type plywood is soft and the nuts and bolts compress it when they are installed. The best bet IMHO is what is know as appleply. It is a plywood used in cabinet making that has many very thin plys and is extremely solid and durable. Not soft, wont compress, won't warp. Not that hard to find since we are all now computer savvy.
My 1911 came from Ward Sherwood. Search his name as he researched the color and had an original to work from.
The firewalls were cabinet grade Lumber Core wood. This is a special plywood that has, quite often, only three plies: a center, thick section of hardwood, edge glued. The outside plies are of a thinner section, also of hardwood, likely maple. This was then cherry stained.
Modern "hardwood" plywood is often softwood center veneers with a thin outer veneer of whatever hardwood is being marketed (maple, oak, "mahogany" (which often is only Philippine mahogany, not a true hardwood and not really mahogany.).
Search out marine grade mahogany plywood. It is very tough material but you'll probably have to buy a whole sheet. If you are near a boat shop that does building and repair check with them. Here in Maine, EBS Building Supply stores can get it.
FWIW, "Philippine mahogany" is luan.