A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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07 May 2013

Stand Easy....

... crisis averted. My foraging trip to the spares department has yielded results. Not only did I find 2 rear hubs of the correct type (up to about 1929 they appear to have been a different design) but I'd forgotten there was another complete rear axle in there. I have to say that this one really does look as though it has been in the village pond for the last 80 years but, the pinion moves a little bit so that's a good sign. Back at the workshop and after a cursory clean up, the hub on the right fitted very well and a bit of lapping on the taper should complete the job.

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The hub on the left would have fitted even better but the wheel studs were atrocious - bent, broken and stripped of thread - I can't imagine what went on but hopefully everyone survived the accident.... and I would have stressed the stud flanges even more by heating them up to get the studs out.  In the picture below, my original hub is on the right and it's interesting to note how different the insides appear. The hub on the left has virtually no land at all around the taper and it's difficult to tell if this is how it was from the start. It's actually only the portion from the grease nipple to the outer end of the hub that's doing the work, the visible part here is just the lead in, but it's interesting to see how a process, obviously done in effect by hand, can vary so much. The other thing I've learnt is that tapers must be assembled perfectly dry - not a drop of grease, oil or copper slip in sight. If the taper's greasy, it can't do it's job.

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Excellent; I'm looking forward to ticking the box and moving on to finishing the front brakes. I've dithered because I'm not up to speed on hydraulic fittings and hoses and I keep playing with bits I've found that have different threads. I think most of the bits I've got are UNF but there are a couple of fittings that aren't. I just need to stop and think about it for a while, lay it all out and make a list.

To fill the time while I was waiting for the sewing machine to be delivered, I took one of the seats apart to see how it was constructed. After removing 3 tons of tacks from the back cushion, the wood frame members, not shown here, were revealed and they were attached to the back with steel bifurcated rivets - very difficult to get out of beech (very dense) - but I've managed to salvage what I can for patterns.

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And the panel is quite rusty on the back - retention of moisture by the filling over the years. Perfectly recoverable - so to speak - and I'll pop it down to be blasted and powder-coated when I get the chance. And while I was in upholstery mode, I whipped the hood off the Hillman and laid it out on the floor to see what's what.

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There's not a lot too it - famous last words - and the advantage of having 72" material is that I don't have to do the job in 3 pieces. On the other hand, the three-piece construction might be instrumental in establishing and keeping the shape - the weft on the sides having less influence on the centre panel. It's all a tricky business and no doubt I'll get in a complete muddle.

I'll just make haste slowly.

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