Car Woodgrain can it be refinished?

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Forum topic by Ike posted 04-19-2009 07:14 AM 2168 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 3866 days

04-19-2009 07:14 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question veneering refurbishing

exactly as the title states. I have an older car I just bought and the woodgrain has some serious swirls and a marred look, but the real problem is the cracks. the piece is solid Japanese Walnut (I believe), burl of course, but it is a solid piece and not just veneered. I have included some pictures of the cracks.

could I sad down through the clear and that would save the wood, assuming all is well under the polyurethane or whatever or would I need a whole new piece?

on the latter, how hard would it be to do? I would think matching the wood would be one of the toughest parts as I can use the old wood as a template. How well would a piece of 1/4” mdf with a veneer hold up to car’s summer heat?

by the way, the car is a 1987 Acura Legend Coupe.

Woodgrain Cracks

I have a couple more pictures if you want…

thank you in advanced for any help

-- Ike, Houston,Tx

5 replies so far

View Ike's profile


10 posts in 3866 days

#1 posted 04-22-2009 06:28 AM

can I bump?

I want to know how to go about refinishing the piece. I’m having trouble finding links for either text w/ pictures or a video.

also, I want to ask again if a veneered piece of mdf could hold up to summer heat or would plywood w/ veneer be better or just a solid piece of wood if I can find one?

-- Ike, Houston,Tx

View Tim Pursell's profile

Tim Pursell

499 posts in 3807 days

#2 posted 04-22-2009 11:30 AM

A car interior is a horendous place for wood. It would be hard to tell you how to refinish. What is it you have, solid wood? venier? Too many auto makers used a photo laminating type of “wood”.
Profesional kits may still be available try typing in: 1987 Acura wood dash parts into google.


View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3586 days

#3 posted 04-22-2009 03:59 PM

I would be surprised if it is real wood. My guess is that it is a faux finish or photgraph on a wood like material.

The natural variations in real wood (especially burls) would (no pun intended) present major challenges to mass produced automobiles.

You might be able to find replacement pieces at a salvage yard in a geographical location that has less sun and heat than Texas.

If you make your own, I’d use solid wood for the reasons Tim mentioned.

-- Joe

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

794 posts in 3857 days

#4 posted 04-22-2009 05:54 PM

I did a little quick research, and while most of them are plastic there was an option for real woodgrain console inserts. I’d check the Acura forums for options as well:

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View Ike's profile


10 posts in 3866 days

#5 posted 04-24-2009 04:29 AM

so, mdf with veneer would be a poor option? Solid wood would hold up better?

I would like it to be close as possible to the original which according to the original manual that came with the car from the factory, this is solid Japanese Walnut Burl, not a photo laminate. I know its solid wood, but don’t know if its solid burl, if that makes sense. its painted on the sides so I can’t tell, but I did see a broken set at the junkyard and it looked the same all the way through.

and greg, yeah, I’m part of that community/forum, its a great community of people and very knowledgeable about that car :).

some things about the car. the reason I was going to make my own is the factory pieces are very hard to find and even harder in good condition. They were only offered in 1990 where as the car has been around since 1986, so there are lots of cars that don’t have it. I was going to make one for myself and refinish this one for a friend unless mine came out decent enough that I could make them for a couple of buddies on the forum. it would beat the hell out of the stick on picture ones that sell on ebay for $80-100 and just look cheap.

Its also a small enough project to get myself really acquainted with wood working and I don’t need to buy any expensive tools. Figured a lot of this can be done with a router, which I just got for christmas.

as for my car, I don’t really drive it much. it being a stick, the wife can’t drive it, and being a coupe, its tough to schleck kids around in. its really only used when I need to run a quick personal errand alone, the rest of the time it sits in the garage under a car cover. but if I do end up making a set for my buddy, his actually is a daily driver and sees lots of heat in Cali.

for the wood, I’ve searched google and people have said the closest relative to the japanese walnut is the american butternut, but I’m curious if they meant grain matching, color comparisons, or growth patterns. or should I just use plain old Walnut?

-- Ike, Houston,Tx

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