A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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25 February 2023

Time's Up.

I no longer had any excuses for not getting on with the windscreen frame.

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I'd thought about it, looked at it, walked away from it and did something else, but if I didn't do something constructive, it wasn't going to happen. So, I started with the centre post...

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... balanced the frames on the post and the plywood template and marked up where to cut the ply to get the frames flush with where the skin would sit.

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So far so good. I planned to make the frame for the frames from 20mm square tube. To get that to go around the corners, I experimented with cutting slots in the tube to help the bend. Fail! It looked scruffy and the bend wasn't smooth. I know I'm going to have trouble with tightest bends which have a radius of about 2", so I'll just have to fabricate those from 1.5mm sheet.

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I added the dashboard to make sure nothing was going to clash and phoned a chum who has a bending machine with mandrels for square tube and which will easily handle the bigger radius bends. I'll be dealing with that next week.

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The print tables in Norfolk are now finished and ready to go. I eventually had no part in the rail straightening exercise, only supplying the screen registration stops that clamp to the rail.

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This week, I replaced some windows in an Airstream caravan. The dome-head rivets used on the vans are handy things to know about.

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The rivet shaft breaks off leaving a short stub that is taken off with a flap disc, leaving the dome ready to polish. Clever stuff.

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The results of our labours on the 1932 Hillman Minx were particularly pleasing. After tidying up the engine bay as best we could and rearranging some of the wiring (the coil fix is temporary) ...

... the engine started without any fuss and roared off up the hill in top - previously 2nd would have had to be engaged. I can't say that I enjoyed setting the tappet clearances. Like most side-valves of the period, the two hands and three spanners routine quickly turned the air blue. It took nearly three hours to get them right - and a week for my neck and shoulders to recover! I nearly called time on the whole thing.

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