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Forum topic by newwoodbutcher posted 03-06-2013 01:49 AM 1263 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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740 posts in 2849 days

03-06-2013 01:49 AM

I’m restoring the interior walnut burl wood trim in my 1988 560 SL. Actually I’m replacing it. I purchased a kit from Ecklers, and it’s beautiful, walnut burl, finished to a high gloss and mounted on a thin aluminum substrate. Most the pieces (Console, ash tray, and instrument cluster) go in with no modifications required. But the replacement dash strips (eight) are made to be modified for my specific model car. The strips are all correctly edge formed to fit specific areas of the dash, they are finished to a high gloss, but must be cut to length with tight tolerances. They really are beautifully done. The required modifications are limited to 4-5 end cuts (90° and other specific angles) off the end of a strip about one inch wide and less than 2/16ths thick including burl veneer and aluminum substrate. Ecklers wouldn’t let me talk to their tech support guy but did check with him/her and reported that I should put painters tape over the area to be cut, draw a line on the tape and use a cutoff wheel to make the cuts. Whew! Sorry to be so long winded. I’m concerned about chipping the finish on a visible edge when I make the cuts and can probably make only a very few test cuts before I make the material too short. My question is: What tool/jig should I use to make the cut? Should I use a fine blade on my table saw? A cut off wheel on my Rotozip? A Japanese pull saw with a bench hook? Dremmel tool? Fein multi master tool? all of which I have, or some really cool new tool?
This stuff is expensive and I can only do limited testing. Any of you all ever do this? Any advice?

-- Ken

12 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1730 posts in 2808 days

#1 posted 03-06-2013 01:58 AM

were it me, with that alum. substrate I would start maybe with a 14 pt or so hacksaw. good luck with it. Are you needing to cut on a radius or all straight cuts ?

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2635 days

#2 posted 03-06-2013 02:07 AM

I have cut aluminum with a high tooth count blade on my miter saw. As long as you go slow, a miter saw or table saw should work.

View newwoodbutcher's profile


740 posts in 2849 days

#3 posted 03-06-2013 02:47 AM

Hey cabmaker, hacksaw. Thats something to thinkabout, perhaps in a crosscut jig? They will all be straight cuts.
rockindavin, I’m thinking the same thing. Anyone ever do this before?

-- Ken

View MattinCincy's profile


128 posts in 3152 days

#4 posted 03-06-2013 02:54 AM

I would consider lightly clamping a straightedge on the line to guide your japanese saw in order to just cut through the veneer. Slightly widen the kerf with a bevel cut using a chisel and finish up with a hacksaw to cut through the aluminum substrate. I would avoid cutting the aluminum with a power saw because of the heat generated – it might loosen the adhesive holding the veneer to the aluminum, or worse yet, mess up the finish on the veneer.

-- Wag more, bark less.

View HumidorMinister's profile


412 posts in 3382 days

#5 posted 03-06-2013 06:10 AM

I would do a test cut farther down thee piece using what ever method you choose. I like the idea of the multimaster, fine tooth count and controllable.

-- What you listen to is your business...what you hear is ours.

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2797 days

#6 posted 03-06-2013 03:53 PM

You might consider cutting a bit long and approaching the line by sanding.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2970 days

#7 posted 03-06-2013 04:30 PM

The small Marples pull saw.
Think it has 21 tpi, is about 9” long.
It will cut the aluminum as well as the wood.

A hacksaw will not be so great for aluminum as the teeth tend to get gummed up and it will wonder about.

But in any case, test first and then cut slightly long and sand to the line as Shipwright suggested.

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3576 days

#8 posted 03-06-2013 04:41 PM

It’s hard to say not actually seeing a photo of what your doing,if this veneer already adhered to a sub-straight then sanding might be an option or if it’s flat enough a router with flush cut router bit might work. A test piece is really the way to experiment.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View TerryDowning's profile


1077 posts in 2116 days

#9 posted 03-06-2013 05:05 PM

+1 on Shipwright’s suggestion.

I would use my fine tooth nobex miter box for the cutting. I’ve cut thin aluminum with that before.

-- - Terry

View newwoodbutcher's profile


740 posts in 2849 days

#10 posted 03-07-2013 06:27 AM

Good input thank you all. I only have enough material to do 3-4 test cuts. Power saw of any type feels spooky. Seems like sanding up to the line has merit. I’ll get some pictures up tomorrow.

-- Ken

View MNgary's profile


298 posts in 2416 days

#11 posted 03-07-2013 04:20 PM

Hmm, I wonder if you could use a knife to cut through the finish and wood veneer (to exact length needed!) and then use a hacksaw to cut through the aluminim (a tiny tiny tidge longer than the finished length). Finally file or sand the aluminum backer to edge of the veneer. Maybe even sand leaving a slight back bevel so the finish won’t be disturbed.

Just thinking out loud.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2996 days

#12 posted 03-07-2013 04:35 PM

A very fine tooth blade, narrow kerf and CUT slow. Do not burn your way through it, let the blade cut. I would use this blade in table saw, blade set higher and teeth pulling close to 90degrees DOWNward. Similar to cutting Formica panels.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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