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Discussion Starter #1
What are some things that I should be concerned about with using wood on the interiors of cars. I've read UV light can affect a finish over time. Are there certain finishes I should be using?

My plan is to make wood grain interior pieces, using my interior as a prototype and for r&d. Things I'll be making would consist of door inserts, dash inserts, center console, rear speaker deck, wood floor trunk, and speaker box (using real wood, not mdf).

Any and all help appreciated. Thanks guys.
 

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it's certainly not an original idea since...

Earlier cars bodies and interiors were made of wood.
My concerns, and I intend to do some interior panels myself, would be the extreme temperature changes. Jaguar has used fine and exotic woods for years but I don't know about the longevity of the use: http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=ytff1-tyc7&va=jaguar+wood+dash

A clear coat using a catalyst would be my choice for a finish.
Our member, Bill Wyko does a lot of custom interiors. I would hope he sees this . If not send him a message with your contact info.
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/members/bill-wyko-18976/
 

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The heat is the killer. I used to have a sports car when I was a kid, that had a walnut dash and door panels. They definitely hated the heat in Vegas. I refinished them twice before I gave up, and made some machined aluminum panels to replace the wood.

There are now specialty panels made for high end interiors such as personal jets that have a real wood veneer as the surface of a phenolic sheet. Some of which are shape molded for specific contours.

Flat panel remnants sometimes show up on eBay. I run across them when I'm searching for off cuts to use in jigs & fixtures.

Sent from my iPhone using Wood Forum
 

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I had a 1952 MG-TD that I had "restored" in Okinawa in 1961. Part of that restoration was a completely new dash that if memory serves me correctly was made of mahogany.

In 1962 I took the MG to Lubbock Texas, where it had no problems.

George
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Are there certain woods that would be more resilient to the heat and UV rays?

Would I need to use outdoor only stains and finishes to protect the wood as well?
 

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I'm in Texas and I don't have much experience with wood in a vehicle. I built a console for my work van in 2008 out of solid walnut and used helmsman spar varnish on it because I already had some in my shop. Except for it being a slightly yellow now the wood and finish are holding up very well. I think if I ever refinish it I might try an automotive urethane for the finish.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks for the input. I definitely didn't want any yellowing over time. I'll have to look into the polyester lacquer. Why is it hard to work with?

And where could I find it?
 

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Thanks for the input. I definitely didn't want any yellowing over time. I'll have to look into the polyester lacquer. Why is it hard to work with?

And where could I find it?
The biggest pain of polyester lacquer is the cost. It is about three times the cost of a urethane clear coat. Polyester lacquer is difficult to work with because you use a wet on wet technique of applying it. This means you spray a coat on and let it set just long enough that it doesn't run and then spray another coat on. However many coats you use you have to put them all on at once. If you jump the gun you can have a very thick heavy run and if you wait too long you have a layer that doesn't adhere. This finish is often used on piano's however I'm not sure it would be good in a hot car. My instincts say the finish would be too hard to withstand the temperature changes and would crack. If you still want some you can get it at Vandi King's (800) 791-7144. If you want a lacquer, Mohawk Finishing Products makes a butyrate lacquer would be a lot less expensive and would be non-yellowing.
 
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