Lotus Elan

Sprint Dashboard restoration Reveneer...Help!

PostPost by: bloodknock » Tue May 07, 2019 8:32 am

For a number of reasons, I dont like my replacement dashboard purchased some considerable time ago from PM. Having fitted it and then found I had to remove it to fix an electrical fault, It is a convenient juncture to review the position.
I still have my original dashboard, which has all the usual veneer delamination issues. I had originally offered it to a chap on this forum who has failed to contact me or collect it in over a year....fortunately....since ive decided to get it reveneered and to use it on the original car.
Now, my question is, where can I get the best job of reveneering and labelling done? I would like to be sure that the finish is such that delamination is, as far as possible, precluded and the lettering is as original.
Ive read previous postings on this subject, but feel I must make one last plea for the definative answer.
I also need a Hazard switch as per the original fitment. It is a DPDT item and was original fitment.Does anyone know of a source for this? I could not locate one for the restoration so I used a SPST coupled to a DP relay.
Id rather use the original fitment since its kind of crowded at the back of the dash.
Any help would be gratefully received
Cheers Bob
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PostPost by: baileyman » Tue May 07, 2019 11:50 am

Personally I would do the veneer myself, but if I were looking for someone else, it would be a specialist wooden boat builder. I would say furniture builder, but they may be less familiar with waterproof glues.

Have no advice on labeling.

John
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PostPost by: PaulH » Tue May 07, 2019 12:01 pm

I can recommend Nick Martin who's website is titled The Fine Woodworking Group
http://www.nicholas-martin.co.uk/
Email: [email protected]" target="_blank
Telephone: UK 07977 741889

Nick Martin
Spalding
Lincs.
PE11 2LD

He has restored an original dashboard for my Elan and also made me a new dashboard to match the original as far a possible, both are top quality, so I can recommend him. He appears to have made lots of Elan & Elan +2 dashboards and knows the details of them intimately. He appears to be very busy and the lead time was long for the new dash (but I wasn't in a hurry).

Paul
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PostPost by: JonB » Tue May 07, 2019 2:26 pm

Another vote for Nick here.

He supplied a new +2 dashboard for my car and the lacquering was truly amazing, like glass. Well worth the wait. I did try to post some pictures here: viewtopic.php?t=43729&p=310364

..but it is difficult to catch the shine with a phone camera.

And by the way, the dash was damaged in transit, but Nick took it back and has sorted it without quibbles. Another good reason why you should consider him (after sales service).
Late 1972 Elan Plus 2S 130/5 - UK - Unit 50/1115L
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Tue May 07, 2019 6:23 pm

Bob,

My replacement dash also came from Nick (city polishers) via Sue Miller. Whilst I would agree about the quality of finish I was not pleased with the cut outs for switches and instruments. All these holes were larger than the apertures in original dash. I spent ages making the instruments and switches fit as well as they had done previously. I chose a replacement as it was cheaper than re-veneer, after considering the time I spent, I wish I had taken the re-veneer option.

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PostPost by: The Veg » Thu May 09, 2019 6:47 pm

Veneer is quite easy to DIY as long as you use one that has been pressed onto a backing and is therefore already flat and smooth. Just spread a thin coat of glue, lay the veneer on, use a small roller to get it stuck evenly everywhere, then put some weight on it for a few days. When I did mine I put a glass table-top on a carpeted floor, then a sheet of plastic, then the glued assembly face-down on the plastic (as the backside of the dashboard isn't flat due to all the thin doublers that the switches screw into), then used dumbbells and stacks of books to apply weight. After three days I used an X-Acto #11 to trim it all up and cut out the holes.

Never did veneer before in my life and it came out beautifully.

At this point you could hire a furnisher guy to apply a nice finish if you don't want to go down that rabbit-hole. See other threads for labeling; I wonder if any dry transfer sets might still be available.
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Fri May 10, 2019 8:25 am

Sorry Jon, curiosity has got the better of me ... did you buy 2 ?


JonB wrote:
My dash came from Nick Martin:
It came wrapped in cotton wool (no, really) over a layer of bubble wrap, sandwiched between two sheets of plywood, with a thicker sheet to prevent it bending for good measure. Then the whole thing was wrapped in industrial cling film (the sort of stuff pallets of boxed goods are wrapped in), so it arrived in one piece with zero damage.


JonB wrote:Another vote for Nick here.

And by the way, the dash was damaged in transit, but Nick took it back and has sorted it without quibbles. Another good reason why you should consider him (after sales service).
Roger
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PostPost by: JonB » Fri May 10, 2019 9:23 am

No, but well observed!

What happened was I unpacked the dashboard and it looked OK although I hadn't really examined it closely. That's when I made my post about it being undamaged. But there were cracks in the varnish at the weakest spot (about 11 o'clock on the left hand large instrument hole) that I didn't spot at the time. Looking at the picture I originally posted, it is visible, but cannot be seen in the picture that Martin sent prior to dispatch. I concluded it had been mishandled by the courier.

I sent it back to Martin and he determined that the wood was OK (it looked like the ply had been damaged too, but that was again varnish only) so he has re-veneered it and it should be on its way back to me right now.
Late 1972 Elan Plus 2S 130/5 - UK - Unit 50/1115L
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Fri May 10, 2019 10:23 am

Thanks for the explanation.
As you say .. excellent customer service !
Roger
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Fri May 10, 2019 12:55 pm

+1 for Nick Martin. He restored the dash on my S2 and he did a beautiful job.
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PostPost by: jono » Fri May 10, 2019 1:51 pm

Bob,

It's not too tricky to do your own ....and it's very satisfying.

I did my Plus 2 dash and still looks good after some 9 years

Jon
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before.jpg and
after.jpg and
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PostPost by: bloodknock » Fri May 10, 2019 5:20 pm

As always, I'm very grateful for everyones input to this post.
An aspect I would like some answers on is -
Why are so many veneered dashboards delaminating (furniture veneer seems to last significantly longer!) Are there better techniques, adhesives, varnishes that could be used? Is the dashboard under stress when installed and cracking the varnish... is there a better varnish material thats more flexible? Is there a more suitable adhesive?
Comments?
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PostPost by: mbell » Fri May 10, 2019 8:05 pm

bloodknock wrote: Why are so many veneered dashboards delaminating (furniture veneer seems to last significantly longer!)


I suspect a a lot of it is the environment. Furniture is generally kept inside in temperature controlled house with relative low swings in temperatures, fairly constant humidity and mostly out of strong sunlight (UV).

A dash is in a car outside and therefor exposed to much wider temperature swings, changes in humidity and a lot more direct sunlight. All of which are likely to not great for the veneer and finish on it. A dash is also full of holes creating more edges with metal item inserted through them that will expand and contract at different rate to the wood, increasing and decreasing pressure on the veneer/finish promoting damage to it.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: bloodknock » Sat May 11, 2019 6:47 pm

Sunlight???in UK? The only sunlight we know is a soap!! Thanks for your comment, it all sounds plausible, but I would have thought that there would be better more flexible varnish coatings available today.
Cheers
Bob
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PostPost by: The Veg » Tue May 14, 2019 1:59 am

I used an inexpensive rattle can polyurethane after the fancy boat-varnish ($$$$) failed to impress me in tests on scraps of the veneer.

For glue, I used Titebond III. It *HAS* to be better than whatever the factory used 50 years ago, which by the time I got to it had deteriorated into something resembling powdered chalk.
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