A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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06 August 2013

It Would Have Been Amusing...

... to say that the hood's been a lot of Pfaffing about but that wouldn't have been true in either sense.

I had a pattern for each of the corners but I was suspicious of them because the old hood fitted at the back like a pair of hand-me-downs so to practise the art of pattern making, I marked out and made up new ones.

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The vertical seam was done first and then with the aid of some Bulldog clips I marked up where the seam sat naturally on the bend of the hoop.

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There was a bit of surplus to get rid of as the fabric came round the corner and a couple of cuts were let in to stop the puckering. Then it was just a case of sewing up the seam and hoping it was right.

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The seam is a bit forward of the hoop but when it's all nailed down it'll be right on top of it. The second corner went even more smoothly (I'd grasped the method by then) and then it was time to play around with the position of the window.

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I made up a kit of parts consisting 2 aluminium frames and a piece of perspex which was left over from when I put secondary glazing on some of the windows in my house.

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The tricky job was punching the screw holes in the fabric without losing tension in the part to be glazed and, in this I was aided by a tool that I was given some years ago and has proved to be one of the most useful and frequently used tools in my box.

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The punch has a selection of different sized cutting heads and just falls through paper, leather, rubber, gasket material and now, hood fabric. There was a bit of a muddle when, having punched the holes I realised that the frame I'd used was the wrong way round (downside up and rearwards front-ways) but the holes were close enough.

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All that's really left is to tidy up the corners and have another trial fit before nailing the lot down. For this last operation I'll need to get some of that disappearing seam stuff where the piped edges close over the tack heads - that'll go on the front and I'll whip up some piping to make everything neat and tidy at the back. Once the hood's on I can put along the sides a couple of Velcro tabs to keep the wind from taking it all off again and find some stuff to reinforce the corners; maybe a bit of iron-on patch material (that'll also hide the not-so-perfect stitching where the horizontal meets the vertical).

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I can't quite imagine how the old hood ended up as it did - especially the rear window - because someone was obviously interested enough to sew it all up on a machine and then they seem to have lost the plot, slapped a square of some sort of acetate in the back and nailed it to an old piece of wood which, in turn, they then screwed to the ash frame of the body.

As soon as the hood's out of the way, I can get back on with the Special. There are 3 jobs which need immediate attention; the shortening of the wheel studs, the insertion of the axle wedges and the painting and securing of the propshaft - those tasks should take no more than a couple of evenings - provided there's not too much faffing about.

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