Re-veneering over 'blown' plywood

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FalconFlyer

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Hi all,

Newbie/amateur needing help please!
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I'm restoring a Classic shape Range Rover and was thinking I would try to re-veneer the centre console area myself. However, having now removed said piece of trim, it appears that the plywood underneath has blown/expanded causing the top surface to split. I would appreciate some advice here....can I try to re-glue and flatten the top layer of ply, or maybe even try to remove the damaged layer(s) and then veneer on top?
 

Yojevol

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I would say it could be done. It looks as though its fairly sound under the top 2 plys. You would need a vacuum bag press for laying on new veneers.
What is PlanB if it goes pear shaped?
Any volunteers in the Crowthorne area?
Brian
 

Droogs

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You don't have the kit to really repair this to a stable condition. To do this properly will involve a vacuum/hydraulic press system, along with extensive use of resin that you will need to de-gass and create a mould for the press. That is just to stabilize the piece you have. Then you need to start corrective surgery to get rid of all the cracks and splits. It would also be advisable to then give the whole thing a coat of "Bondo" ie body filler to give you a stable substrate to then actually be able to re-veneer with new leaves of your chosen wood and of course you then have to give that a coat of a fully waterproof finish (yet more resin work) and the polishing etc afterwards. Been there, done that and I will always tell someone to use the knackered piece as a template and create a new substrate and work on that far cheaper, quicker and easier.

Cover this in clingfilm and use it to create a new form mould and then build up the thickness using 3mm marine ply. Then once you have the thickness and shape you want after preparing the edge angle etc, veneer that fresh. What you have there is around 10 days labour for a professional shop to do.
 

Fergie 307

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If you are going to 're veneer this then you need to remove the original veneer. You can't just stick new on top. Apart from anything else you need to retain the original thickness, otherwise you may have problems with it not fitting correctly. Easiest option would be to just find a replacement on e bay or whatever. I have done a lot of these on mercedes, they have a different construction with a thin aluminium sheet between the substrate and the veneer. This is designed to prevent the veneer splintering in the event of an accident. As droogs says unless the panel is completely flat then you will need to make moulds or use a vacuum bag to apply pressure whilst the glue sets, awful lot of work and expense. And you also have the difficulty of finding a matching veneer. The other option, heresy on this forum I know, would be to use a wood effect film. Some are surprisingly good nowadays, and you can apply it to any other parts so everything matches. Depends what view you take of that method. I wouldn't do it myself but have seen it done and it can look very effective if you use a good photographic reproduction film.
 

FalconFlyer

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Thanks for all your replies! So not as easy as I first thought.
Regarding ebay, only a handful of these cars were built with this interior and therefore if they come up, they are usually in a similar stage of decay, and very expensive. I have found a Range Rover specialist in the US that will supply/exchange "as new" but at a few thousand dollars!
I definitely don't want a wood effect film, but thank you for your suggestion. More thought on this matter is needed.
 

Droogs

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I am currently stuck in the house recovering from surgery. But once I am able to get back in the wksp I would be happy to have a look about making a new one for you if you can wait a month or so. Veneer inlay, maquetry (think Louis 14 versailles furniture) is what i do
 

FalconFlyer

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Wow, thank you Droogs, a very kind offer. Time isn't an issue for me, this will be a long project. I'm visiting near to you in the next month, so could drop it off to you. I will send you a direct message. Thanks! James.
 

Jameshow

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If droogs offer wasn't available I'd inject warm epoxy resin into the delaminated plywood and then get two pieces of used laminate worktop drill one with 6mm holes where the holes are in the dash and clamp together with 100x6mm wood screws as many as possible.

You would need to do it in two stages one for each flat surface.
 

Fergie 307

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If you look at back episodes of car SOS, I think they did a Range Rover, including having the dash etc 're veneered. If you get stuck might be worth getting a quote from whoever did theirs. Important thing to remember as well is that you can't necessarily use the same glues and finishes as in furniture making. A car interior has to cope with enormous variations in temperature, humidity etc, which you need to bear in mind. I would certainly take droogs up on his very kind offer though.
 

FalconFlyer

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If droogs offer wasn't available I'd inject warm epoxy resin into the delaminated plywood and then get two pieces of used laminate worktop drill one with 6mm holes where the holes are in the dash and clamp together with 100x6mm wood screws as many as possible.

You would need to do it in two stages one for each flat surface.
That's basically what I had in mind. I was thinking araldite injected into the gaps via a syringe, then clamp the piece between two lumps of thick flat wood with some G clamps. I would then random orbital sand the varnish/veneer layer down/off and start again. My major concern was the bend in the veneer......I was thinking I could steam the veneer, but Droogs is quite right, I really don't have the expertise or equipment to make it look anything better than a sow's ear.

Regarding the Car SOS programme, I did watch it, but they had an older Range Rover, with two flat pieces of veneered wood, rather than the later cars with the bent "skateboard" trim. Had mine been flat panels, I would have had more confidence to "have a go".

I'm in touch with Droogs and hopefully we can get together and move my little project along. Thank you all for your comments, particularly Droogs' very charitable offer of assistance!
 
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