Home Automobiles Auto Repair How to make a wood dashboard fascia - part 1 (Making a template)

How to make a wood dashboard fascia - part 1 (Making a template)

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Written by Scott Loehning   

When I first dragged the 1972 TR6 home, the wood dash fascia appeared to be worn but solid.  I figured a little re-gluing of the veneer, sanding and refinishing would bring the piece back to life.  But, to my dismay, when I removed the panel, it literally fell apart in my hands.  Years of moisture and neglect softened the plywood glue and separated the layers of wood.  What to do, what to do!?


New wood fascias are available through dealers and ebay, prices start at $300 plus.  Well, that’s a budget buster.  Besides, they all come in Dark Walnut or Mahogany, and I thought a different look was in order.  After close inspection, I figured I could make one myself and save about $250 plus. 


Now, new commercial fascias are cut with highly complex (not to mention expensive) CNC machines and it is doubtful that anyone reading this has access to such luxuries.  So I came up with a plan to do the job with simple hand tools that can be found in most home wood/work shops.


Materials needed:


                              Large sheet of paper  40” x  12”

                              Spray adhesive

                              Soft charcoal or dark chalk

                              Access to a copier




                              French curve

                              Scotch tape

                              Assorted pens or pencils

                              1 Can of clear acrylic spray paint (fixative)



After removing the dash fascia, remove all of the gauges and hardware, lay it on a flat surface and carefully clean the surfaces front and back.  If there are breaks in the fascia as mine had, glue the pieces back together as accurately as possible.


Spray the wood panel and one side of the paper with a light coat of adhesive and press the paper tightly over the wood.  Take the colored chalk or soft charcoal and with your fingers, make a rubbing of the dash wood.  Accurately mark where the mounting screw holes are located.  These holes will act as alignment guides later in the project.


After completing the rub, remove the paper from the wood and spray the rubbing surface with a clear fixative to keep the charcoal from smearing.


With simple drawing tools, enhance all of the dash features.  Check that all of the gauge holes radii are the same size as the originals, and mark the center and radius points of all the curves and holes.


This paper template will suffer damage in the cutting process, so making copies is recommended.  The template is over 36” long and very few have access to a large format copier, so I did it at home.  Every 8” or so, draw a line across the rubbing…these are called ‘match lines’.  As the rubbing is scanned, make sure that the images will overlap.  Cut the copies along the match lines and tape together.  Use these taped copies in the cutting process and save the original as a back up.


The glove box door will be cut out from the back side of the wood with a Dremel tool and router attachment, so a mirrored template needs to be made of the glove box door area.  Using a copy of the fascia template, draw the out line of the glove box opening and alignment holes on the reverse side.  If there is access to a ‘light table’, this is ideal.  However, the same can be accomplished by taping the template back side out to a well lit window and tracing the image.


To complete the glove box template, project the line a distance equal to the distance measured from the edge of the Dremel tool router attachment to the center of the cutting bit.  In this case, it was 2 ½ “.  Again, enhance with drawing tools and make copies.


That finishes the first part – making the template.  On to the second part – doing the wood work.





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