Home Automobiles Auto Repair How to make a wood dashboard fascia - part 3 (Finishing the Fascia)

How to make a wood dashboard fascia - part 3 (Finishing the Fascia)

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Written by Scott Loehning   

I first dragged the 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.’


That’s what I wrote in part one and two – ‘Making the Template’ and ‘Doing the Wood’ of this series.  Now that the wood has been cut, drilled, screwed and glued, it’s time to bring it to a fine finish.



This is the third and final article on making your own wood dash fascia.



Materials needed:



                             Electric drill

                             Dremel tool with router attachment

                             Gouge bit for the Dremel


                             Fine Files

                             Oil Stain

                             Gloss Polyurethane

                             Foam Applicators

                             Sand Paper – 250, 400, 600 and 1000 grit



Scrape and clean away all excess glue squeeze-out that may occur around the gauge holes.


Align the glove box door to the dash wood.  Measure and mark the recesses for the hinges.  With a fine file, carefully file away about 1/16” of an inch of the dash and glove box door.


On the reverse side of the dash, route out recesses 1/16” deep to accommodate the hinges keeping the mounting flush.


I chose to use what is called a ‘Magic Latch’ (which is essentially a spring loaded magnet) for the glove box door, so no hole for the door lock is needed.


If there are any minor blemishes, they can be filled with a wood filler matching the color of the desired stain.  In this case Red Mahogany filler was used.  If an exact match is not found, choose to go to a darker filler – it will be less noticeable once the piece if finished.


Sand the entire piece with a 250 – 300 grit paper to a smooth finish.  Pay close attention to the edges of the dash wood.  Smooth the edges slightly while maintaining a sharp appearance.


I chose a stain to match a wood steering wheel and shift knob that I intended to use.  The best shade I found was a Red Oak stain from Olympic.  Remember that stain from one manufacturer is slightly different than stain from another.  Apply the stain according to manufacturer’s instructions until the desired shade is acquired.   Apply several coats of Clear Gloss Urethane, sanding in between coats with 400 grit sand paper until smooth.


To add depth to the finish, apply several coats of thinned Urethane with the foam applicators.  If the color is not as dark as desired, a small amount of darker stain can be added to the urethane as a tint.  Sand smooth with 600 grit in between coats.


When completely dry, wet sand the surface the surface with 800 – 1000 grit wet/dry paper till a glossy finish is achieved.  Coat the surface with a good paste wax.


Finally, mount the hinged glove box door.  Mount the hinges to the door section first.  Using a drop of hot glue to hold the hinge in place will keep it squarely in position while driving the tiny screws.  Working from the back side, center the door so that the gap is even all the way around, hold it in place with tape and drive the screws holding the door to the new dash fascia.  Hold the door in place with pieces of masking tape to keep it from twisting loose while mounting to the dash.


Creating your own wood fascia is a time consuming project, but if you have more time than cash, and take a bit of pride is saying, “I did myself…”, then it is well worth the effort.





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