Removing the finish from the wood dash

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Removing the finish from the wood dash

Post  paulsminis on Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:35 am

My Hornet, has a bad case of Elf-envy. I placated him by locating an Elf dash, which cries out for refinishing. However, I can't find a varnish stripper solution that will budge the plastic-looking finish. Does anyone have a good solution to stripping the dash? Someone out there must have gone through this before and will know what to use for best results.

Thanks,

Paul
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Re: Removing the finish from the wood dash

Post  superworm on Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:13 pm

Hi Paul - I think its an impossible task - I took my dash to a very reputable french polisher who had a large tank full of whatever normally strips varnish - he gave it back untouched (it was a lttle cleaner!).

In the end I just removed the varnish with a hand sanding pad being very careful not to rub through the veneer - it took forever!!!

One of lads here used :

http://www.chapmanandcliff.co.uk/index.htm

and was very happy with the result! I believe they will happily accommodate our colonial cousin's requirements!
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Re: Removing the finish from the wood dash

Post  paulsminis on Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:43 am

I don't think I will ship it over to folks, although I am sure they would do a great job. I suspect it is some sort of plastic coating. I will resort to sanding, I guess, and I may try using my heat gun to see if it will soften and/or melt, working carefully to not warp anything nor damage the veneer. Thanks for the information. I will post again when I finally get the finish off. I am not sure just how I am going to refinish, but one of the options is to use Tru-oil gunstock finish. I did a steering wheel with that stuff and it has been extremely durable and gives a nice natural glow to the wood, without a bunch of flashy reflection.

Paul
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Re: Removing the finish from the wood dash

Post  TONYELF on Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:21 am

I had the misfortune to have a flashback when a spark ignited the seam sealant (it was still giving off vapours)
The Elf was full of smoke in a milliseconds. To cut the story short the dash was in a sad state.
The laquer was blistered and I found the best way to remove it was with a scraper blade that way you can see how much you are taking off. With sandpaper you may rub too much off before you realise you have damaged the veneer (unless of course you use a very very fine paper) The alternative if you can't find a replacement is to recover it with veneer)
As a last resort you could send it to the specialists who make the dashes for Rolls Royce and Bentley in Crewe.UK

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Re: Removing the finish from the wood dash

Post  paulsminis on Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:57 pm

Tony,

Blistering and then a scraper? I can imagine that it will take lots of elbow grease no matter what I do. Now, if I had a planer, I would be tempted to run it thru removing a thousandth at a time until I got close to the wood. I am not going to be able to do much on it until the weekend, so I will report next week on various methods I have tried. Thanks for all the advice!

Paul
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Re: Removing the finish from the wood dash

Post  TONYELF on Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:01 am

Yeh, the blisters have parted company with the veneer and I'm talking about a decent scraper where you hold it with both hands and press in centre with both thumbs. Takes a lot of patience! A planer would not work, the laquer would not be even and I doubt the plywood would be true either. Another option is to hope one comes up on Ebay (and there has been a few)

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Re: Removing the finish from the wood dash

Post  superworm on Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:31 am

If you upscrew the dash, you could always re-veneer it....there are folks in the US of A who sell veneers.....

http://www.formwood.com/formwood.html

It would be nice if you knew any Model Airplane fanatics who have Vacuum Bagging facilities (many models use polystyrene foam wings which are veneered with balsa, very thin ply, thin fibreglass sheet or obechi veneers). The glued up components are then sealed in a clear plastic bag and the air sucked out. Atmospheric pressure then ensures that the veneer is stuck where it should be. Elf side dash panels have a curved edge next to the central speedo dash panel which requires something to ensure that the veneer follows and fits that curve.

If you enter dashboard veneer or suchlike in your browser (google it!) you will probably find a localish dash restorer.

Good luck with your rubbing (iirc, I used wet and dry - used wet (with a spot of dishwsher soap) to get rid of most of the laquer - it does speed up the process a little but then it makes it difficult to see when you've got through the laquer - after a session leave the dash to dry so you can see where you're at)

Cheers
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Re: Removing the finish from the wood dash

Post  paulsminis on Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:58 am

You guys are very helpful. While reading on a Jaguar forum, I came across a mention of a stripper that I haven't tried yet and I am going to give it one more go before I resort to more drastic measures. I am planning to re-veneer the entire dash, even though the original Riley dash only has veneer on the center piece and the cubby doors. So, I had already scouted out many places to buy quality veneer. Now, I just have to get the old finish off, sand the panels absolutely smooth and flat, and make a choice of what I want it to look like. Pictures when it is done and installed.

Paul


Last edited by paulsminis on Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:59 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : comment on pictues)
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