The old dash has been ripped out and made a thing of the past. With that completed (check out the tear out in Paradise by the Dashboard Light: Pt 1) we can move onto the bus dashboard construction portion of our project. I saw someone on social media refer to some of us building with large amounts of wood as “wood mechanics.” I think that is a pretty accurate description. When it comes to a bus conversion, it’s never about fine symmetrical lines, it’s about making sure that it all fits together without a MASSIVE amount of headache and waste.
Since the bus has curved lines both on top and on all the corners, we wanted to mimic that in the design of our gauge panels (as well as other cabinetry) by adding a radius to the corners. Thus arose the need to use a technique called kerfing. Basically, this involves making numerous relief cuts in the backside of a piece of wood to allow it to be bent easier. If you want to learn more about the technique of kerfing, click here for an in-depth look.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned during the bus dashboard construction processes, it’s that layout and planning goes a long way to not screwing things up. Now that you’re boxes are built, you can figure out all of your gauge layouts. Get all of your bits and baubles, your toggles and switches, your gauges and gadgets and get them all measured. Now you can figure out exactly how you want to lay everything out. We are going fairly organized, but if your OCD isn’t as bad as mine is, go crazy with your layout.
With our boxes constructed and sanded, we can move onto the next step in the bus dashboard construction, encasing everything else in wood. Once again, you’ll run into the demon of planning and the gremlin of layout. I have a hard time telling you specifics here because every bus and owner’s requirements are different. Just lay everything out in as few pieces as possible, strictly for ease of construction.
Check your angles, dry fit everything. Once you’re satisfied, put together the pieces as much as you can on the bench because doing it in place can be difficult. With the tight space and the wiring everywhere, something is bound to get messed up.
Check out the video below of the Wanderlust Bus dashboard construction in Paradise by the Dashboard Light: Part 2. Make sure you subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss the next installment and thanks for watching!