Sunday, 4 December 2011

I am back in the saddle!

I spent the majority of the afternoon fabricating a patch for the offside wheelarch but, fraustratingly, I forgot to photo it. It was quite a nice insert with a number of angles. Then I used some metallised filler, which I am trying out for the first time. I am not a huge fan of filler because it smacks of bodging, but I am determined to make a quality job of it, and quite honestly my welding wasn't brilliant. Welding virgin steel is easy, but welding 60 year old rusty crap is challenging. Anyway, it needs more sanding and some refilling, but it is going to be sound.

Lastly I drilled holes in the top of the quarterlight so that I can spot weld from the outside before welding a line on the inside. But that is one for later.

So, that is satisfying progress for this weekend. I am definitely back into the swing of the project and need to concentrate all energy on getting the cab scuttle sorted first. I was pleased to note how much of the scuttle is metalwork done by me. It is amazing how little there was of it when I started out and how close it is, now, to being complete.

Today I have finished fabricating the top of the quarterlight, though the proof will be in the welding of the rather thin, corroded steel.

Now, before I weld, I am fabricating a patch for the wheel-arch. I'll then weld both repairs together.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Quarterlight repair

Several years ago, I made a repair here, which as you can see, just would not take. The steel was very thin and I couldn't get the temperature right...and just kept blowing holes in it. So today I decided to try to put it right. This is at the top of the off-side quarterlight.

I started by cutting out the offending part.

Then inserted cardboard to mark the radius.

The replacement part needed two bends, one of them an offset, for which I used the edge of a spanner.
Putting a radius in the part requires shrinking and stretching, which will make the part brittle along the edges, so I made the stretched edge quite wide (far as possible from the bend), but this leads to distortion of the bend, which needed regular re-hammering.

You can buy the stretcher and the shrinker jaws and insert them separately in this lever tool, but as I knew this would be a faff, especially as many jobs need both stretching and shrinking alternately, I bought two of the lever bodies. It was well worth the investment of a couple of hundred pounds.

To be continued tomorrow.

Let's get this show on the road!

June 2010 was the last time I did anything on the van....that is, wait for it..... 17 months! And before that I think it had been another two years! Flying has taken over my life...that and my career....and thoughts had turned to selling the project and letting someone more enthusiastic finish it.

But a couple of nights ago John phoned and, when I said I had lost the drive, he managed to convince me that it would be a terrible shame, after everything I have done over all these years, to let someone else steal my thunder, when really I have turned it from a scrap-heap into a viable Meccano set, which just needs assembling.

So I am going to start the tank re-lining today. Then I need to do a proper critical path analysis...planning exactly what needs to happen, when, in order to get the whole thing bolted together.

Thursday, 18 August 2011


Ok, syncronicity is a load of twaddle, but sometimes things just work out very tidily. I have just put an order in with Frost Restorations for some metallised filler and for a tank lining kit. Total bill £84. I had decided I was going to pay for that lot anyway, but only yesterday I was bemoaning the necessity of that outlay.

Today a nice chap called Roger, who had won one of my auctions and bought a trolley jack for a painfully low amount, came to collect it. The fact that he is a fellow enthusiast and is adding it to an extensive collection, and that he bought another jack yesterday for less than he is paying me for mine, made me feel a lot happier about it. It is good to know it will be appreciated where it is going.

But here's the syncronicity bit. I took him down to my workshop to see if there was any other automobilia, of which there is loads taking up shelf space, which he might fancy. And he left with a box full of old lights etc, which he gave me £90 for. He will doubtless make a few quid on them at Beaulieu (I asked him not to tell me how much!) and I gained some valuable space...

....and readies enough to cover today's purchases. Thanks Roger.

Now, what can I sell to cover the cost of the tyres?

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

tyres and tank - ouch

It is just as well I haven't kept accounts! No way would I have set out on this project if I had realised the real costs involved!

On Roly's advice I have been talking to Longstone Tyres (who supply classic tyres) - to Dougal, to be precise. Dougal really knows his stuff and appreciated right away my issue about wheel size and J type scale, when he looked at Morris JBs and Austin 101s on Google images. He says that there was a tendency towards the end of the 1950s to fit 15" wheels rather than 16"s, which is why some late model vans and cars have wheels which look odd in their over-sized wheel arches.

He understood when I said I wanted as high a walled tyre as possible.He said that my best bet is Avon Super Safety 640-15 cross-plys, which come in at £129 + VAT each. With tubes etc I am looking at a bill of £870!


Also, it took my mechanic contact well over a year to get round to doing the metalwork on my fuel tank, and when it came back he said it still needs to be lined. I feel a bit mis-led on that because I thought that would be included, but quite honestly, I just got sick of waiting for it, so I cut my losses and got it back.

He had farmed it out to someone else who owed him and it has had a substantial lump of lead used to patch it up - I hope to goodness it doesn't fall out, first bump. So, I need to order a tank lining kit from Frost, who are still waiting for the Metal Ready to come in, as they are short of stock. That's another £60 to find, but it will be satisfying if I can have tyres on wheels and tank lined before the end of the school holiday.

I figure it shouldn't be long, then, before I have the wheels on the chassis and should be in a position to lift the restored engine in and start the Meccano exercise....bolting panels on etc.