1928 Plymouth 1937 Plymouth Plymouth: The First Decade

Disclaimer: While an effort has been made to assure a reasonable repair procedure, no guarantees are made. We are not responsible for any damage or injuries that may occur as a result of following these instructions. The only vehicle these procedures has been tried on is a 1933 Plymouth PD. Applicability to any other vehicle is for you to decide.

This article introduces new way for the home hobbyiest to apply a wood grained finish to metal car parts. For the method used by this web site’s author, see Woodgraining Using Printer’s Ink.

walnut burl applied to 1933 Plymouth DeLuxe windshield trim

Faux Wood Burl Walnut

by Tom Poulter (UK)

Reasons for doing it this way

This method has been developed by a restorer enthusiast working on a tight budget that wanted the end result to look correct, and last a reasonable length of time without having to lay out a chunk of money on special equipment that may only be used once. Having looked into costs of having the work done professionally and the fact that the vehicle had a fixed dash panel so there would be the added cost of transporting back and forth. The other option was to purchase a kit which in itself required special skills to get the right result, and perhaps still finish up having to put the out to a professional.

walnut burl applied to 1933 Plymouth Deluxe glove box door

Faux wood without breaking the Bank

You will need:


walnut burl applied to 1933 Plymouth DeLuxe dash


walnut burl photo walnut burl photo mirror imaged rosewood photo rosewood photo mirror imaged

Many images are available through various sources, sometime you may have to search hard for a particular style, even fish scales and snake skin, choice is unlimited and not restricted to motor vehicles.

fish scale photo fish scale photo mirror imaged snakeskin photo snakeskin photo mirror imaged

How to apply

window garnish garnish corner Where the part is curved it may be necessary to make the image hour glass shape but as before keep the pieces as big as possible. It should be remembered that this is a time consuming process that costs very little and should you need to repair a section in the future you will have the experience.

It is suggested that once the part is completed it should be stored for a couple of days to dry out before moving on to the next stage.

Now it’s time to move up a level. Varnish, it should be considered that your choice will affect the final appearance, during the trials light oak gave a very light tint, where dark oak was very dark. The demister panel photo at the top was coated with 4 layers of clear and 6 of light oak. It’s almost impossible to reproduce the shades correctly, all the parts shown here are from the same car. Ten layers of varnish was found sufficient to hide the overlap sections but make sure each layer is dry before applying another.

Final prep. Take the 1200 wet and dry, you should use it wet, carefully rub the overlap sections first keeping a watchful on what’s happening, the purpose is to remove the imperfection in the surface, you may not get the surface perfectly flat. When you are happy with the joins, rub over the rest of the part, immerse the wet and dry regularly. Remove the white film deposit which will be left from rubbing down.

Lacquer. With plenty of fresh air the parts should be sprayed with 2 coats of clear lacquer which will give a pleasing professional finish.

Typical parts Covered by this Method

Typical parts Covered by this Method