Diamond T dash panels

Posted: November 11, 2010 in Antique trucks, Hot Rod, Rat Rod, Real Hot Rods

I’ve always like engine turning, and try to have some in all my projects.  It’s fun to do, looks good, and people seem to like it.  I’d made a gauge panel for it last winter, but due to a layout error, it didn’t fit the dash properly.   Not thinking, I rolled the bead on the perimeter mark, which made the panel 3/4″ to wide, and the bottom hung of the edge of the dash.  Duh.

So, inspired by my buddies Roadster’s Auburn dash insert, and some photos I took of Auburns and Dusie’s at the Gilmore Museum this past summer, I designed and made some new inserts today.  Like the Diamond T Deluxe cab dash, I made side panels to match the center panel, and did a machine finish on them all.  The bead rolling went much easier than I’d thought, I was able to make a raised bead on the polished stainless, and have nice crisp corners.  I like ’em!

I decided to make the pattern a little bigger than the original one, and used a bigger mandrel to make the swirls.  Hard to get in the corners, but the mounting screws will take up the blank space, and it’s under the deep “eyebrow” of the Auburn-like dash anyway, in the shadow.

The gauge layout will be the same as this, with the speedo and tach on the outside, the four smaller gauges in the center, and the blank area in the middle will have the light switch, wiper control, dummy choke and throttle knobs, and ignition switches.  The new panel is much crisper looking than this one, and I laid the pattern out better.

  1. Joe Foerster says:

    Would love to see the tools needed and how the process is done.

    • flynbrian48 says:

      Joe, it’s just a bead roller to make the raised bead around the perimeter, and piece of 320 gr. DA paper pasted to a mandrel made from a washer brazed to a bolt chucked up in the drill press to make the “swirl” marks. Pretty simple, just takes some patience.

      • Carol says:

        As Joe said “please post a photo” of the tools and please give us a demonstration. This is beautiful stuff. Didn’t know it was something that could be done in a home workshop.

        Keep up the good work Brian,

      • Lon says:


        I was ready to ask your method of mandrel for the engine turning but my question was answered. I use an intake valve from a small block Chevy with sticky backed DA paper. I found the drill press must be absolutely level to get good results.

        Your dash looks great. Look forward to seeing more progress on the truck.

  2. 1950spartan says:

    I sure do enjoy reading and seeing your pictures. I really admire your craftsmanship. It is also hilarious to me that you can describe this as a “simple” process… man, it’s just magic to me.

    Also re: “people seem to like it” – yeah, cuz it looks totally cool:)

  3. Joe Chasse says:

    Brian, your truck is going to be stunning! I always wondered what the process was to get these results. Sounds pretty simple if one has the tools and patience for it. A bead roller must be somewhat similar to a can opener in operation?
    I am wondering about the hot rod in the side picture where you say “This can’t be good”. It dosen’t click/enlarge, but looks like a beauty that I saw one year recently here at our ROD RUN TO THE END OF THE WORLD in Ocean Park, Wa. It was the coolest, best engineered unfinished 46 or so Ford pickup rod I ever saw (and I have seen a few!). Is this that Ford?

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