Another winter project I'm looking into is replacing the wooden dash and windshield riser on my 1910 T. I understand the early T's (1909/10) used mahogany and not cherry for the firewall/dash. All the vendors sell them, but does anyone have a recommendation for one in particular? I'd like the most authentic, but am not about to build my own since a full sheet of mahogany plywood would be quite costly.
Was the mahogany a finish veneer like cherry on the later dashes ?
Probably a non issue for most restorations, but modern plywoods do not hold up over the long haul the way the originals, laminated vertically of a very hard core wood (maple) did. 20 years and 20,000 miles on my Lizzie and the steering column flange nuts were sunk deep into the wood - the dash being a bit "rubbery".
If you want authentic, talk to John Regan of Fun Projects.
Does John make them? This I wasn't aware of.
John did, on occasion, make serious show quality ones. I don't know that he is doing them now as there have been many changes to his business over the past year. Anything he makes will be exact to blue prints, so be sure everything else ( think steering column, coilbox, etc). Is absolutely correct.
I'd still like to know if the earlier mahogany dashes were solid wood or veneered like the later cherry.
John no longer makes new firewalls. I tried in vain earlier this year to get one from him, and he said NO!
Any other vendors selling a good, quality firewall that someone can recommend? I also checked with John and can confirm that he isn't taking orders for them at the moment and doesn't know when he will be able to.
I have read on here before that Jon Anderson was possibly going to make up firewalls with solid cores. I made firewalls for years using the best veneered plywood I could find, but the quality of the cores decreased over the years. Making a firewall with a solid wood core which gets laminated on both sides is expensive, and not easy. I made some up one time by having some baltic birch cores laminated with cherry veneer, and they turned out quite well. They were very dense and strong and would not warp or bow. Unfortunately, when you have to start laying up veneer like cherry or mahogany, the costs mount up fast.
I wonder if Baltic birch ply is still available ? As I recall, it came in odd-sized sheets and I don't recall how the thickness measured up. It was always multiple plies about 1/16" thick. For a time, we used it making flask beds for foundry patterns. I never encountered a void, it would make an ideal stout core for a Model T dash !
The baltic birch is available in 5'x5' sheets, and in some places 4'x8's. The thickness varies but is/was around .70 in., which is good if you want to glue thin veneer on both sides and finish at about .75 in. The outer plys on baltic birch are thick enough to surface sand a few thousandths off if needed.