Refurbishing the elm burr veneer on an RV8 glovebox lid
Peter Garton posted a message on the V8BB concerning the refurbishment of his glove box lid on the dashboard of his RV8. (Nov 07)

The lacquer protecting the elm burr dash board and door cappings has a tendency to chip and crack as a result of climate, sun and weathering in general. The net result is a general slow fading of the lacquer and visible hairline cracks. In fact the wood itself is joined via virtually invisible seams to ensure a perfectly proportional and symetrical presentation of the beautiful graining in the elm during manufacture. This seam finds itself mostly on the dashboard fascia and also on the door cappings, but in this particular case it was in the glove locker lid running vertically downwards through the lock. The seam itself had become optically jagged because the lacquer had widened and begun to crack.

A company called Chapman and Cliff set up in business in 1994 and have specialised in woodtrim restoration. In fact Rob Chapman and Phil Cliff worked for Rolls Royce Motor Cars in Crewe and became skilled at innovative interiors alongside Mulliner Park Ward during the 80s and 90s. Chapman & Cliff was established in 1994 and they have been located at Wybunbury since 1997. Thus they are very experienced in dealing with all sorts of woodtrim, veneer, lacquer and remanufacture from renowned makes such as Bentley, Rolls, Triumph, Jaguar, MG and Alvis - and of course MG.

The RV8 glove locker lid can be removed quite easily but it is only necessary to undo the 4 Philips screws on the righthand hinge (driver's side). The lid can then be carefully tilted downwards to the right and the lid plus retainer bracket and left hand hinge extracted. The reason for this is because the left hand screws are difficult to access and the heads can easily be burred over!

Rob Collier responded "Chapman & Cliff recently relaquered my door cappings. The dashboard veneer is likely to have faded from the original colour of the inside of the glovebox lid but it is also likely that the lacquer on the outside has turned cloudy.
Stripping off and relaquering my door cappings did not affect the colour greatly but there was a marked difference in definition of the wood grain. I am very pleased with the result".

A posting from Ray Ellis was brief and to the point "You will never get the best match unless you do the dash and door cappings as well. You pay the price and take the chance . . . best of luck".

Peter Garton replied "Many thanks for your comments. I'm aware that possibly the match could be a potential problem but am going ahead anyway. My dash is in excellent shape actually with no fading or dulling of the lacquer since the car is hardly exposed to the sun having imported it from Tokyo with only 2,000 km on the clock. We only use the RV8 in the summer months storing it away during the winter. Since Chapman & Cliff are the real experts, I am optimistic that they will provide me with a first class result. I will report back when the job has been completed".

Rob Collier added "It sounds like your car has been stored in a closed garage. My car had only done 6,000 km when I got it but the glovebox and passenger side door capping lacquer were cloudy as if the sun had been shining more on that side of the car. The extent of the cloudy eefect was not apparent until the door capping were relacquered. This really made the beauty of the burr stand out. I would not worry about the colour of the wood of your glovebox as it should not be affected, although the overall effect of the burrs and grain being more apparent may be a slight overall darkening".

Graham commented that "If you are worried about the final result, why not take a close up digital photograph of the dashboard and if it is a good colour match to

Vertical crack in the veneer. More detail (Photo: Peter Garton)

the original send it with the glovebox lid for the company to get the best match".

Rob Collier responded "The wood is not being stained, only lightly sanded and relacquered with clear lacquer. My wood did not change colour therefore . . . but the cloudy lacquer did!"

Peter Garton added "Thank you Rob. Your comments match up with my thoughts on this one since my car has never been really exposed to the elements. The lacquer has certainly not been affected at all and is really in prime condition except for the hairline crack. I have made a series of photos for my own records and refrained from submitting them, since the wood itself has not deteriorated in any way and in any case only the lacquer will be renewed as already mentioned".

Rob Collier
provided some useful feedback on his experience with the refurbisher "Please let us know when you get your glovebox back and what you feel about the the result. I would highly recommend Chapman & Cliff as they did a superb job for which they did not overcharge and they were quick too, I had my door cappings back in a week".

Finally Peter Garton reported "The glovebox lid duly arrived back to Germany within 14-16 days or so and the jagged crack in the veneer had completely disappeared. One can see the seam, which is a faint vertical line where the elm burr is butted edge to edge, making an optical "mirror finish". The refurbished lid matches the rest of my woodwork perfectly as does the lacquer so one cannot see any difference to the rest of the dashboard at all. The cost was € 70 all in and including postage and packing which is about £ 42-44. Rob Chapman was most helpful on the telephone and has enormous experience in this field, so I felt I was in expert and competent hands".

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Further comments on the V8BB

Peter Garton
added: "As I mentioned previously, I sent in my glove locker lid to Chapman & Cliff at Wybunbury in Cheshire for refurbishing because of a visible hair line crack going vertically through the lock from top to bottom. After chatting with Ron Chapman, he informed me that all the RV8 dashboards have a hairline visible seam where the veneer is joined. This seam happens to be in the middle of my glove locker lid and not in the centre of the dashboard. Apparently some door trims/cappings also have a seam somewhere. After time or weathering, the seam widens and becomes visible because the lacquer has cracked and slightly fractures here and there. Anyway the job is perfect and there is absolutely no difference in tone intensity or colour with the rest of my "woodwork."

Now a note on getting the glovebox lid off. Only unscrew the right hand hinge (hinge nearest to the driver's side) because the Philip screws are difficult to access on the lhs. One then removes the lid carefully at an angle".

Rob Collier commented "I am glad that the glovebox matches the dash. In my opinion it is preferable to have the original door cappings and dash refurbished rather than replaced. My door cappings have a 'mirror cut' or vertical join in the centre and each side of this join is a mirror image of the other. The door cappings are also numbered on the reverse and are actually part of a set of matched wood for the car. For example the door cappings are matched and are eactly the same veneer on both sides of the car. The dash is also matched and numbered to the door cappings . The standard of woodwork on these cars was not thrown together but matched sets and is real British craftmanship".

Roger Aldridge noted: "Peter, this is useful to hear. I recently had my door cappings re-lacquered at Classical Dash. It took 6 weeks, cost £180 and the end result, whilst a good finish, is several shades darker than the original. So not impressed. I may

send them to Chapman and Cliff now to try and get a closer match as they sound a better service".

Rob Collier
added: "If the cracks in the laquer are extensive or the veneer is lifting Chapman & Cliff told me it is only slightly dearer to re veneer the door cappings. Reveneering is often carried out for lifting veneers or because the cracks in the lacquer can appear as dark lines when relaquered. I don't know if this is the reason for the mismatch with your door cappings but reveneering is often the reason for the colour mismatch between the door cappings and the dashboard".

Martin Colclough
mentioned his experiences: "I had my door capping done by Chapman & Cliff and mine are slightly darker than the dash, though I was not surprised, I thought they must have changed colour slightly with all that sun over the years (the car ex Japan). The finish is excellent and does not look out of place with the dash. If you look at the inside of the glovebox that gives an indication of the original colour. Also, when I stripped mine down to send it off I noticed the wood slightly darker where the rubber window strips were. I think its inevitable that the colours will vary".

Stuart Middlemiss
added a further thought on the V8BB "With the recent postings on veneer relacquering, I am reminded that any refurbishment of the door cappings should definitely include several sealing coats of an oil-based, exterior-grade varnish or lacquer to the backs of the cappings, with all fittings removed. The backs seem to have originally received only a cursory coat of black paint which has not been durable enough to prevent the MDF carcase from absorbing moisture; the MDF then swells slightly but the thick lacquer on the facings cannot expand and therefore cracks. Bear in mind that the door cappings are more in proximity to moisture than the dash. In some cases, these cracks look bad enough to lead one to think that the veneer itself has cracked; however, in the cases I have seen, it has only been the lacquer which has cracked and split". (22.11.07)