Boat dash and side panels

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Project by DickB posted 05-06-2014 02:49 PM 2535 views 4 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built these accent panels for my Donzi Classic 18, a fiberglass performance boat.

I started by replacing the original dash panel, which was painted metal. The gauges particularly on the left could be a little hard to read, so I angled the mounts for them towards the driver as part of the dash design. This dash was my first CNC project.

The smaller panel to the right was added later, as part of an update to the switchgear on that side.

The side panels replaced upholstered stock ones. The speaker grills incorporate one of the early Donzi logos. The lion and dolphin on the left side panel is also a Donzi logo.

The steering wheel was purchased but I added the center cap logo.

All parts were from African mahogany. The dash was made from 1-1/2” stock. Finish is several coats of Helmsan Spar polyurethane.

-- Dick,

19 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


18752 posts in 1905 days

#1 posted 05-06-2014 02:54 PM

Beautiful work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View PaulDoug's profile


811 posts in 742 days

#2 posted 05-06-2014 03:34 PM

That is mighty pretty! Great design, clean and expensive looking.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View Dutchy's profile


1137 posts in 1207 days

#3 posted 05-06-2014 04:47 PM

Looks good. Can you also do my rabbit? :)

-- My englisch is bad but how is your dutch?

View crispy's profile


8 posts in 793 days

#4 posted 05-06-2014 05:57 PM

So cool! I think the propeller speaker accents are my favorite. Nice work!

View hotncold's profile


750 posts in 583 days

#5 posted 05-06-2014 06:27 PM

That’s beautiful stuff. Very nice indeed!

-- Dennie - Tennessee

View robscastle's profile


2532 posts in 1243 days

#6 posted 05-06-2014 09:42 PM

Certainly eye catching work.

Ever considered a part time coach worker job at Bentley or RR when you are not out in your lovely boat?

-- Regards Robert

View DoubleJ's profile


10 posts in 2252 days

#7 posted 05-07-2014 12:01 AM

Wow I’m drooling that’s really nice looking

-- JJ, Ohio

View Mean_Dean's profile


2867 posts in 2186 days

#8 posted 05-07-2014 12:39 AM

Man that’s some beautiful work! It’ll be fun on the river this upcoming Memorial Day weekend!

-- Dean

View sras's profile


4236 posts in 2168 days

#9 posted 05-07-2014 01:32 AM

Definitely an upgrade – nice work!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Rick's profile


8286 posts in 2071 days

#10 posted 05-07-2014 03:24 AM

Beautiful Work Dick!

-- Can You Hear The Toilet Flushing?

View Ken90712's profile


15847 posts in 2227 days

#11 posted 05-07-2014 08:07 AM

Great work, Love all the details…. Very sweet!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View dbhost's profile


5386 posts in 2271 days

#12 posted 05-07-2014 01:23 PM

Intriguing choice of wood for Marine application. Looks fantastic… Love those Donzi Classics… I bet the material itself for this project laid you back a pretty penny… But boy the results sure speak for themselves…

Any idea what this does to the value of the boat?

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View DickB's profile


65 posts in 1358 days

#13 posted 05-07-2014 02:44 PM

Mahogany of course was used by Chris-Craft and many other boat builders in the day, and I wanted to bring some of that traditional flavor to my boat. The Donzi Classic design originated in the 60s and is a very classic shape – it often draws comments.

The 1-1/2” stock for the dash was about $60 as I recall. I had a minor machine malfunction 75% into the project and ruined the first piece, so I had to buy and machine a second one! That hurt.

As far as value, for boats especially like this one it is largely in the eye of the beholder. Most owners customizing boats like this are more into anodized billet aluminum than mahogany. No matter; I’ve no plans to sell the boat any time soon.

-- Dick,

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5489 posts in 1331 days

#14 posted 05-07-2014 03:22 PM

Great finishing details—reminds me of the “good ole’ days” when this type of customized work was seen much more often than today’s chrome and flash.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View majuvla's profile


5438 posts in 1906 days

#15 posted 05-11-2014 05:22 PM

WOW!Looks great!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

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