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A Special Builder's Notes

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The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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17 February 2024

Take A Seat...

.. like the one I've borrowed to copy.

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It's a prewar Riley example and is just the right shape and size. I'll replicate it in steel but haven't decided whether to articulate the back rest alone or the whole thing - which might be less complicated.

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The steel is about 1.2mm thick, hence the riveted doublers which are nearer 2mm. I'll have to practice wired edging, something I've always had problems with, but I've found a new formula for the wrap around: wire thickness x π - thickness of material = allowance. 2½ or 3 x wire diameter has never worked for me.

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The Buick starter motor saga continues. Reading up on suitable adhesives, I came across Loctite 480. It had rave reviews and sticks rubber to metal like the proverbial. It's an eye-watering £30 for a tiny bottle, but I had no other option. After sand blasting and cleaning the pulley with acetone, I applied the glue and clamped the belt down with jubilee clips. Interestingly, I got the cut length absolutely spot-on, so there's hope for me yet.

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The Other Wright Brother's RAM Cobra is a bit of a beast to haul around the curves, so he's looking at fitting the same electric steering assist fandango that I've installed on the Special.

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I've made up a dummy from a piece of firewood and some ply, so he can offer it up and hopefully find a space in its very full engine compartment.

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As the build of the Precedent Bi-fly progresses, the age and quality of the wood is proving irksome. There's a world of difference between a modern laser-cut kit and the die knife process of old, but The Other Wright Brother is undeterred.

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Extra laminations to achieve squareness have been added....

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... and it took some time to work out how to best assemble the rear of the fuselage - the instructions proving vague on this point.

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In anticipation of the Humber gathering at Elveden Hall in early Spring, Counsel and I have been working through The Great Collector's fleet of the marque - six in all, but we're fielding only the three Edwardians. Someone had replaced the original fuel tap in the 12hp model with a type having no filter attached. I've soldered ½" of copper pipe to the tank side of the tap in a bid to avoid this sort of restriction.

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At the same time, I'm working through the ignition wiring on the Special to try and get to the bottom of the lack of spark. A minor problem spotted by Learned Counsel, was that I'd connected the isolator switch the wrong way around - the case was also acting as path to earth. The only thing I'd altered since the successful bench test, was to add a special filter in the coil wiring, so that a usable signal went to the old-style rev counter. Removing the filter made no difference.

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I decided to make the bulb holder for the radiator badge - something I had a chance of getting right. It also meant I could have a go at welding 1.2mm aluminium. I managed to blow away some of the metal, but anticipating this event, I'd increased the depth of the skirt so it could be cut down to the final dimension afterwards, thus keeping my confidence intact.

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That should sit nicely.

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