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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Adding this thread to cover some dashboard work.
So the 68' I am restoring came with two dashboards. If anyone has priced getting these recovered its a lot of coin. The alternatives are to recover using stitching around the gauge pods or use a combination of paints including underbody coating to approximate the original finish. When I saw some of the hand stitched dashes I thought they looked nice and might be within my skills. I was sort of right there.

So here is what I started with. It has the typical crack at the heat ducts and other damage.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Metal / foam repair

I'm going with a hidden amp/input jack for sound so I wanted to fill in the radio cutout which was a terrible hack job. I cleaned up the edges with a saw then welded in a new plate. For the foam repair I used a two part expanding foam then filled the damage areas. After sanding it down I lay down a 1/8" layer of new white vinyl car top foam. I used 3M Weld Wood to hold it down. This stuff is nasty but it works. Spray on upholstery foam is not strong enough in my opinion. The additional foam layer helped smooth the surface and should isolate the layers beneath a bit to prevent the same type of crack from reforming - or so I hope. I blended it with the sander at the leading edge and trimmed it on the back side to make sure it didn't add to the overall dash dimensions.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
For the gauge pods I made a two part pattern for the left gauge. The smaller piece for the inside and the larger for the outer. I first sewed the two patterns into a loop using a french seam with both edges returning to their respective sides. I did this thinking it would lie flatter and make the gauge inserting easier. The seam joining the inner and outer loop pieces was also a french seam but all the lapp edges return to the outside of the gauge pod. To help with fitting I cut some PVC to hold the parts in place and I heated and stretched it around. So the bad news. I went through FIVE tries before I learned enough and got the pattern right. Each time I found I needed more or less material I adjusted my pattern and started over. This wasted a bit of vinyl but unless you are a pro you just need to learn. Once I got it I made the right side as a mirror of the left.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Gluing down the vinyl

Rather than stitch the gauge pod covers to the overall cover I cut into the foam and made a slot so I could tuck the vinyl down into it. TIP leave lots of extra vinyl for this, do it last, and be very careful when you cut. One time I cut to much and didn't have enough to tuck in...start over!! ughh

Again I made a lot of templates out of PVC to help hold things down like the extreme deformations around the cigarette lighter. Use heat - it makes the vinyl very pliable.

Again weld wood for the glue. Two coats on the fabric as it soaks it up a bit more (20 minutes dry time between each coat).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Complete

The glove box door was in good shape yet faded so I hit it with some black vinyl paint.
To finish it all I grabbed a set of veneers from CA, polished my chrome bits and indicators.
I was paranoid about drilling into the veneer so I first made a small pilot from the back and then widened the hole slowly with my dremmel and a grinder bit. This went slow but avoided big mistakes.
All said its a ton of work but I am happy that I did it myself and think the stitching is as nice as original - perhaps nicer.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
What I learned

Its hard to get the pattern right until you experiment with the actual vinyl. Things stretch a lot and in different places. I found I needed to locate seams in places that didn't look right until it was stretched into place. The process was try, learn, adjust, try again. I am a perfectionist so I wanted the inner seam at the bottom of the gauge and the outer seam perfectly aligned to the leading edge of the dash.

When tracing the patterns always add a 1cm for the seam. This must be accurate as if it is uneven sewing the parts together will be more difficult and the unevenness will show through the layers above.

Practice sewing. I used a high quality heavy duty poly thread. When sewing through two layers I had to find the correct tension and again for when sewing through three layers. If the tension is wrong the stitches will be uneven or worse you will get a birds nest on the back side that will pull out later or show through.

Assembly matters. I made the left side then the right then joined them together after tracing the seam in place. I glued the inner rings first then when that was dry I glued the outer side and stretched the vinyl over the pods using heat. I had a helper run the heat gun since I needed all my hands to get the vinyl down right.

Use Weld wood or quality contact cement for the glue.

Imperfections in the foam will show through so do a good repair job and consider what I did on the top of the dash (using another layer) to get a good surface.
 

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Very cool. I did mine a few years ago using pickup truck bed liner...it's still looking good. Yours is very nice, but far above my skill level.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Rough sketch of the sewing

Here is a sketch of the stitching locations and seam types. You can locate seams anywhere. For me I tried to avoid places where they all occur in the same place as the material can really bunch up.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Very cool. I did mine a few years ago using pickup truck bed liner...it's still looking good. Yours is very nice, but far above my skill level.
You might surprise yourself. The only skill you really need is patience. There were a few times I wanted to give up. Redoing the same steps several times is tedious but each time I got a little further. A good upholsterer should have experience and you can't gain that yourself without going through the iterations. I can soundly say I could do this again in less time and probably even better quality - though I am happy to move on to other areas. : )
 

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Hi BostonBertone, I'm really interested in this type of vinyl restoring process for the dash.
I have found a 3 parts paint used in furniture factory for simulating leather effect, but your results stimulate me to try this path even because I have some Alfa vinyl for do this on a old console.
I would know how do you use the 3M weld wood.
Have you glued only the edges of the dash or all surface?
Is the 5005?

Many thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi BostonBertone, I'm really interested in this type of vinyl restoring process for the dash.
I have found a 3 parts paint used in furniture factory for simulating leather effect, but your results stimulate me to try this path even because I have some Alfa vinyl for do this on a old console.
I would know how do you use the 3M weld wood.
Have you glued only the edges of the dash or all surface?
Is the 5005?

Many thanks
I used Dap 00272 Weldwood. It is a contact cement that you apply to both surfaces - wait 20-30 minutes then bring together. Once together it sticks pretty well but you have some working time. I glued all the surfaces as I suspect this is how it was done in the factory and on parts of the dash there are reverse curves that the material would bridge. The trick is to glue as little as you can at a time. For the pods I glued the inner ring and then the next day applied the glue to the rest of the covers and pods then stretched the covers back over using heat until I had it in the right position. Be very happy with the fit before you glue as undoing it can be difficult once it fully cures (24 hours)

Also this stuff requires a lot of ventilation. There is a low VOC version (Dap 25336 Weldwood) but I have not used it and can't vouche for the performance.
 

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Always had a thing for a leather/vinyl wrapped dashboard, I bet lots of work and profanity gonna be involved in a diy project like that. The result looks fantastic and that's the part of the car driver sees the most, I'm very tempted to give it a try, unless I find someone to do it...hmmm.
Have couple questions:
- Is there a stitching on the back of the gauge pods where they meet with the flat part of the dash and if there is, does that mean that all the parts are stitched together first and then glued to the dash?
-What is the 2 part foam and vinyl top foam that you used?
Thanks for the info and pics
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Always had a thing for a leather/vinyl wrapped dashboard, I bet lots of work and profanity gonna be involved in a diy project like that. The result looks fantastic and that's the part of the car driver sees the most, I'm very tempted to give it a try, unless I find someone to do it...hmmm.
Have couple questions:
- Is there a stitching on the back of the gauge pods where they meet with the flat part of the dash and if there is, does that mean that all the parts are stitched together first and then glued to the dash?
-What is the 2 part foam and vinyl top foam that you used?
Thanks for the info and pics
Thanks for the complements. There were many moments when I realized I needed to start over and that was ..well depressing but I persevered. The foam is 2 part liquid urethane of a n 8lb density but its not a good match for the original foam as it has no give. I'd do some more research here but it worked OK for me as I added an additional layer on top of it (1/8" Closed Cell White 2A Volara Landau Foam Roof Padding off ebay) This is the white foam and it has some give and flexibility that I think will be a good underlayment/isolator for the vinyl.

At the back of the gauge pods I cut a slot for the vinyl to tuck into (both for the gauges and the top). One could stitch it here as well but I think it would be very hard to get it to look right as I needed to stretch the vinyl a lot to cover the curves of the pods and its hard to predict where you will end up. The tuck method is very clean - just cut a smooth slot in the foam trim the edges so there is a little extra and push it into the slot with a putty knife. I attached a photo that shows this better but it is the same method as what you can see beneath the gauges.

Note using this method I owe to another as I saw the pictures of their job and copied the approach.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Indicator question

One question for any viewers. Can someone tell me the correct color and location for the indicators (euro 68' 1750)? In my box of parts I had the two signal ones, a red, green and blue. Looking at images on-line I've seen almost every combination. Looking at the blanks in my dash it looks like I should have one on each side of the gauges as I did - green on the left and blue on the right. Is there a red one as well? As I acquired this car disassembled I don't have a good reference to start nor do I think all the parts I have came from this car (e.g. the red light)

I'll check my car disk but I think it would be handy to hear more from some experts here.
 

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Thanks for the complements. There were many moments when I realized I needed to start over and that was ..well depressing but I persevered. The foam is 2 part liquid urethane of a n 8lb density but its not a good match for the original foam as it has no give. I'd do some more research here but it worked OK for me as I added an additional layer on top of it (1/8" Closed Cell White 2A Volara Landau Foam Roof Padding off ebay) This is the white foam and it has some give and flexibility that I think will be a good underlayment/isolator for the vinyl.

At the back of the gauge pods I cut a slot for the vinyl to tuck into (both for the gauges and the top). One could stitch it here as well but I think it would be very hard to get it to look right as I needed to stretch the vinyl a lot to cover the curves of the pods and its hard to predict where you will end up. The tuck method is very clean - just cut a smooth slot in the foam trim the edges so there is a little extra and push it into the slot with a putty knife. I attached a photo that shows this better but it is the same method as what you can see beneath the gauges.

Note using this method I owe to another as I saw the pictures of their job and copied the approach.
I got it, thanks for the explanation. I think they look as perfect as it gets, better without the stitch. For now, project like that is beyond
my skills and would take me forever. :frown2:
Maybe some day....for now I need to put back intake manifold with soft mounts and stock air box. Seeing projects like this helps me keep moving forward :thumbup:
 

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Your information is correct according to the documentation I have - green goes on the left of the instrument cluster, blue on the right, and the turn signal indicators in between. I don't think the '68s used a red one.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Your information is correct according to the documentation I have - green goes on the left of the instrument cluster, blue on the right, and the turn signal indicators in between. I don't think the '68s used a red one.
Perfect. I guessed right! The dash metal gave me some clues on the location at least.
 

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I am going to try my hand on a 67 GTV dashboard. It appears to be made out of some sort of particle/card board.
Do you know anything about this material? what it is? how to patch? etc?
Thanks
Tom
 
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