Saturday, 20 October 2007

Half Term


I am off to Bristol tomorrow with John to collect a trailer which my Dad's girlfriend is giving me, very generously, to give herself room in the garage (I must find her a suitable pot plant). We are coming back Monday, trailer in tow - on new tyres, very kindly provided by dad. John's going to help me rig up a tow-bar on my car. I have already taken the front wall down to accommodate the trailer, but am buggered if I am going to be pushed by circumstances into getting a drop kerb. My neighbours naively suppose that it gives them parking rights on the road, but it just doesn't.

Life will be a lot easier with a trailer, no question about it. Eventually I hope to build a de-mountable teardrop caravan like this one on what is now just a trailer frame.

Leaf springs

This half term I am going to go in to John's school to use the hearth to heat up some clamps I am making for my leaf springs so that they can be formed without stressing the metal. Last night I was looking at the three springs that are ready and I am really pleased with the results. Separating them and dealing with the layers of rust which had built up between them has meant that they clamp back up nicely. Removing the rust has dealt with the apparent splaying. (the fourth spring is in parts, the bushes removed and now the leaves need cleaning and rivets need removing. This will take a day's effort, no more.)

Other priorities

I also need to arrange with Paul, my neighbour, to tidy up what will be my side of his garage, then tidy the bottom of Greta's garden and have a bloody great bonfire to burn up the stock of scrap wood and cuttings....ready for handing the garden back to her. If there is time, I'll also sink a gate post between Greta's and Paul's.

The sketch dates from the operation to get the van into Greta's; the reversal will apply at the start of November, though I anticipate doing it unassembled, especially if my brake springs don't turn up soon.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Wheels look great!

Well, what do you think?
Look great, don't they!

Not bad for £20 each: shot blasted twice, 2 coats of primer and two coats of 900 two-pack.

To be fair, there was only so much that would have been achieved anyway with wheels as badly rusted and pitted as these were, so I am really pretty pleased with the result from:

P&P Blasting Services, Ipswich

These were done by professionals and in the right conditions, so its pretty impressive that I couldn't have done them more cheaply if I'd done them myself; and I would definitely not have got the result. That's impressive!. I'll be using Paul's and Phil's services again. Paul says they need seven days of curing time (from Tuesday, but I'll make it at least from today - and they are staying indoors for it!).

Cheers guys!

I can't stop bringing up my blog so that I can have a look at those wheels!
Just imagine them with new tyres and shiny new hubcaps!

Really dead chuffed.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Magpie's Progress (..........and mine)

Have recently had regular contact with Magpie, who signs himself " Mr magpie, workaday vehicles. ( no water based paints here)" or " magpie, who is not making a museum standard vehicle. That's for the next owner !!!!" or " Mr magpie, brush and roller rule! "....


and he usually says something like, only had a half hour on ROD today so didn't get much done...and then lists a load of work it would have taken me a week to do!

Damn, I wish I could get more done on mine. I have enough time, but I am going through another crisis of confidence and, to be quite candid, cleaning rust off leafsprings, leaf by leaf, is just plain boring. Bit of a lonely old business, restoring. Wish it was over. But there is still such a heck of a lot to do.

Incidentally, after doing what was possible bashing the rims of the wheels (very resistent to hammers, though not to pavements), I delivered the wheels to Phil for blasting, priming and painting on Monday. Collect them sometime end of next week.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

A tricky problem solved - leafspring mount

It had been impossible to remove the hanger bolt from the mount when removing the springs from the chassis, so I had been forced to grind off the rivets and remove the casting with the spring attached. It was soon pretty clear that I was going to need to use the hydraulic press to force the bolt out, but this was not an easy business because the casting had to be packed with pieces of scrap steel to stop it shattering under pressure if there was no movement from the bolt.

Fortunately the bolt eventually came out. What my picture of the press does not show, however, was a large board of 10mm ply which I stood behind when operating the press....because extension pieces flew out of it with a terrifying rifle report.

Above, some of the nuts, bolts and ratchet sockets used to force the axis bolt out....with evidence of having burst sideways to escape the 12 ton force. Just as well I hid behind a shield when operating the press!

Because I hadn't been able to shift the tube in the eye of the spring, I'd assumed it was an interference fit, but searching through a parts manual, it now seems that the tube was a metal sheath on the bush. The line inside the eye (Note) makes it clear that the tube is not in the eye. Part 3 is a sandwich with rubber in the middle. I shall now have to find out where replacements can be bought, though I believe that these days nylon is used more commonly.

B & M Car Body Centre

I just had Brian from B& M Car Body Centre round to have a look at the project and to advise me on painting the cab, and he has left me feeling a lot more confident about doing it myself, funnily enough; and this is due to his generosity in recommending products and processes which will most likely do him out of my business.

He is being practical here. His problem is that if I go to him wanting two-pack he will have to get a licence to handle the stuff because of the new regulations requiring the use of water based paints, except for historical vehicles. The cost of licencing would be a significant factor in the pricing of the job - prohibitively so, he suggests, because jobs like mine at his workshop will be rare.

Brian told me that when he was an apprentice he routinely painted horse boxes with a roller, meaning that paint could be applied in a single coat, unthinned, and a satisfactory result could be achieved. Granted it wouldn't give anything like the result of spraying, but what he appreciates and what I have come to grasp is just how basic a commerial vehicle's paint-job of the era could be. Magpie's painting philosophy and the vans I saw at shows this year come to mind.

The trick to getting a really decent finish is in the priming stage; in spending the time getting the surface "flatted" so that the pits and grooves are brought up level with the rest of the material and a surface levelled off above this. I am looking forward to the feeling of satisfaction that I know I should get from this process. Brian says that Finnegans 1, a Hammerite product, will be good for this. He believes it has a red oxide content. I will check this and whether it will go on over POR-15. The POR people say anything will go on over their stuff, but I think I should ask Hammerite.

I will also test the products together. I showed Brian the radiator stand I made earlier this summer because it has virgin steel and welds on it, and of course welded metal is particularly susceptible to rusting. I am going to treat it with POR-15, in part to test it later with the Finnegans primer, but also because Brian (who says POR looks a lot like a Hammerite product he knows) suggested that I might POR-15 the whole scuttle, as he thinks it would (if tests prove it works) provide good protection on wider expanses of steel. I did think of this and had asked POR who didn't think it was normally the done thing, but then they hadn't seen anything like my van! As I have only used the product in small, localised areas, I want to see how it fares when spread over a wider surface (and how it works on virgin rather than rusted metal).

In the next few days I shall start the POR-15 process on the radiator stand and then I'll see if I can get a small pot of Finnegans and try it out.

Brian is a very useful chap to know. His outfit is based at Unit 3, Seven Acres, Waldringfield, Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, IP12 4PS. He can be phoned on 01473 811877 or his mobile 07773977349.

Thanks Brian!