Need photos of inside and outside of 1914 firewall and bolt head sizes. Also was the cherry finish glossey or semi gloss?
Glossey; and it was a deep red - almost like paint. I used Laurel Mountain Forge cherry red stain on my 1914 firewall and it turned out fantastic!
It looks great thanks for the help
Check this out. My dashboard got wet at some point and the veneer was starting to separate and curl. It was showing it's age and I planned on getting a new dashboard and hang this one up in the shop with some pictures tacked on it. When I looked it up, I found that the patent for plywood was applied for in (get this) 1797 by a British Naval engineer named Samuel Bentham and it came to this country in 1865. So I just assumed the firewall of the Model T was plywood. But I got to picking at it around the edges like a scab and I discovered it wasn't plywood at all. The core is a patchwork quilt of what appears to be miscellaneous 5/8" poplar pieces (still green after all these years). So now, the plan is to buy some cherry veneer and refurbish this one.
Good for you Jesse! This is interesting to see. It looks like the only piece of wood that goes completely side to side is the top one, and all the others are pieces butted together, Also interesting that it seems to be poplar, since I always heard it was maple. It looks like it's hanging together pretty good, and all you need is to find some thick cherry veneer so it turns out the right thickness. I would think that you will want to have the glued up thickness a little oversized so that you can take it somewhere and have it surface sanded down to the exact correct thickness. I have a 1913 original firewall still in pretty good shape. It will be fun to see how you make out with this.
This is later production, but here they are clamping up the boards:
That is an interesting photo! I thought the core wood went from top to bottom. I have a very original '14 firewall too, but loaned it to Jon Anderson to use as a guide for making my new '13 firewall. It is so good, that with a little veneer work, it could be re-used.
Hanging in My shop is a NOS 13/14 Firewall. I took it out of a Ford dealer in TN that closed in 1928. It needs the veneer put back on it also. Dan
>>>It will be fun to see how you make out with this.<<<
Hi Ray - Now that you mention it, there could be some maple pieces in there. You can see daylight between some of the joints. I'll have to make up 1/8". I found some 1/16" plywood at a craft store but at $22 for a 12" x 24" sheet, it seems unreasonably high. I'm leaning toward using some 3" wide 1/16" basswood boards from the hobby shop for a couple bucks each. If I glue them on both sides in a vertical pattern and veneer over that, it should make the firewall stiff enough to easily support the windshield, coil box and steering column.
(Message edited by jesselashcraft on November 09, 2017)
You are correct. As has been discussed before, all '13/'14 firewalls have the tongue & groove core wood going from top to bottom with two carburetor adjustment holes drilled in each one. The carburetor adjustment holes show as a smooth ellipse and were drilled at the factory so the firewall could be used on either left or right hand drive cars. This top to bottom core wood orientation with the horizontal finish veneer began some time '11/'12 to try and control warping.
Ken in Texas
Larry mentioned another interesting point concerning Jesse's firewall, that the core boards are laminated horizontally instead of vertically. The original firewall I have has a vertically glued core. Its over a hundred years old but still as flat and straight as can be, and not much delamination at all. Also, I thought all the 13-14 firewalls had carb adjustment holes on both sides. Jesse, it would be a shame to have to build up the thickness with thin basswood, so I hope you look harder for the 1/16 cherry.
Bill Elliot ditto.
There are '13 firewalls, and there are '14 firewalls. The overall dimensions are the same except for the bolt pattern for the steering column. The '13s have the lower right hand bolt mounted lower than the '14s to support the slot. As pictured above, the '14s are even all the way around.
Dan, if there's any possibility of your posting some detail photos of your original '13 dash (aka firewall) I'd be much obliged. I would like to be able to see the kind of joint used in the vertical laminations.
It's been a generation since i was doing a fair amount of wood-working, and materials and items available in the late '80s may or may not be available today. Back then, "solid core furniture ply" was available in 4'x8' sheets, made up of solid scrap wood pieces laminated to form the core, with a crossing thin ply approximately 3/32" each side, and finished off with a furniture-grade veneer of hardwood. The finish veneer was available in several species. The interior core was not especially carefully done, being pieced at lengths, and often there were voides where shorter pieces abutted. The piece Jesse showed us makes me wonder if that dash was made of such material. ?
Syverson's products have been the gold standard in Model T restoration for over twice as long as Model Ts were in production, and it's more than understandable their replacement dashes for '13s and '14s would be constructed of plywood. I doubt if we could afford them if they were made the way they were originally constructed.
Problem with plywoods is that regardless of the finish top plies, or veneers, interiors are generally Douglas fir, and have defects and voids. What this has meant for the reproduction dash in my '13 roadster, the stresses of 20,000 miles of driving (in rain and damp climates) resulted in the steering column mounting being pretty "rubbery" owing to the compression of the mounting bolts in softer plywood. This would have been far less a problem with the solid-core of maple as originally used, although the original method may have had other failure modes ?
The prospect of making up a dash from solid maple laminations in the original method would be a daunting and time-consuming project, but I am tempted to try it. That's why I'd like to see detail of the "tongue in groove" joinery that was used in laminating the original cores.
I put a "band-aid" on my steering column mount, a 3/32" plate of copper that spans the three nuts which were sinking into the plywood, and that has definitely helped.
This is on eBay, listed as a 1913-14 dash. It looks wrong to me.
Steve, looks like a typical re-pop. And yep, it's wrong.
I have black era T's and do enjoy reading the threads about the Brass T's.
For what its worth the Ebay listed dash appears to be a repo dash for a 1910-11 Torpedo Roadster that appears in Langs catalog page 214. Seems to be that's its listed wrong on Ebay. The 14 dash that's in Langs catalog looks pretty close to the one in the above thread and are made of cherry. At least its not plywood like the earlier dash repos were made from. I have a 21 Touring and made my own wood dash after I got the repo from a supplier.
The Ebay listed dash isn't even close looking like a 14 dash. Guess the lister just thought it was.
>>>That's why I'd like to see detail of the "tongue in groove" joinery that was used in laminating the original cores.<<<
My '14 was built in September 1913 (assuming the engine wasn't replaced at some point). I broke off both "legs" of the dashboard (the pieces that straddle the transmission) while removing the veneer. Neither were tongue and grooved, just a glued butt joint. Between the time I removed the veneer from one side then the other, it warped a bit but came back to flat after I removed the veneer from both sides and re-glued the legs back on. (You can see my new glue joints three boards up from the bottom of each leg).
>>>...so I hope you look harder for the 1/16 cherry.<<<
I was thinking that because I'm covering it all up with cherry veneer, it wouldn't matter what the spacer was but I take your point.
(Message edited by jesselashcraft on November 10, 2017)
Thanks for that, Jesse. Do you have a source you can share for cherry veneer ?
Here ya go, Rich:
Thank you much !!
Jon Anderson, R.V.'s brother is gearing up to make these. He has had my order now for almost a year, and told me it should be done by Christmas. He is going to make them exactly like Ford did, with a solid core and 1/8" veneer. I can hardly wait!
This discussion has helped on my 1907 REO. It has a 3-ply dash. The center core runs vertical. It appears on it that they are all the same thickness of plys (1/4"). Thanks to Mr. Ashcraft for the info on the place to purchase various thickness of lumber. I would guess my REO is poplar. It was painted originally.
Rich, I'll try to get a pic of my original 13 firewall construction for you this weekend. First week end I have had off in 5 or 6 months? So alot to do!
Mine has the toungue and groove to it.
Although I don't think my laminate veneer is 1/8" thick as Larry says. It seems 1/16". But I haven't looked at it in a while. It needs to be re veneered also.
Benjamin, I'd be much obliged for a look at the joinery used in laminating the firewall cores. Thank you much !
Here is how my joints look, on the firewall anyway. !913, joints on the top of the arch.
Ray, that's what I wanted to see, thank you !! Can you tell what species the core laminations are ?
I also, would like to get a correct Firewall for my 13 Touring. How do I contact Jon Anderson, R.V.'s brother?
Les Von Nordheim
I used to have glue joint cutters for my shaper that gave the same appearance as the original firewall that Ray posted.
I wonder what the core thickness was AFTER the glue dried? I'm assuming 3/4"?
I picked up this firewall at Bakersfield this year and it has the offset lower right steering column bolt hole, making it a 1913? Is that bolt hole supposed to overlap the cutout as shown or was the cutout widened at some point? I see this firewall has a few extra holes and I think that it was why it became available for sale.
My apologizes to Jon, the original poster, as he was looking for a 1914 firewall, but I always like learning new things about T's.
I'm not sure if any of the original firewalls had the veneer run vertically.But maybe. I have seen it a couple of times on old looking 13-14 firewalls. That slot for the steering column is wider than they were, and normally would not cut though that hole. It looks like the carb adjustment hole is plugged or something. The mounting holes for the firewall brackets should be a little closer together from side to side on the top holes than the bottom ones. Thanks for posting .