A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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31 March 2012

Inching Forward.

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Tra la!

I remember spending hours in the shed cutting out parts for my Currie Wot with an Abrafile and, a bit later on, for a Pietenpol Aircamper (sold on before completion). I just couldn't contemplate it nowadays. Laser cut parts - provided the drawings are right - are fantastic and frankly, I couldn't do it by hand for the price. I grant you that the sense of achievement is diminished but I'm prepared to trade a bit of glory for the time saved.

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Here's the offside plate in place (with annotations). This weekend I'm going to tack the tubes to the plates and offer them up to the chassis for drilling the pilot holes. Like the original engine mounts, a block of wood will act as a washer in the chassis rail.

I forgot to mention that I took the leaf springs down to London last Monday to have them re-set. I thought they were beyond redemption but the chaps at the forge said that they're so well made that they're probably rescueable. That'll be a saving then. I drove from the forge up through Camden Lock and on to Hampstead for lunch with a chum; London in the sunshine is always vibrant and endlessly fascinating. A walk to the top of Parliament Hill to see the panorama of the city spread out before us was a great treat.

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I shall collect the springs in a couple of week's time and then address the shackle pins.

The rear engine mount - strictly speaking, the gearbox mount - I imagined was going to be the simplest of the 3 mounting points. I haven't hit upon a neat and tidy solution as yet. I'm thinking of some sort of rubber doughnut affair, split and held in a lightweight clamp - a bit like an exhaust clamp - which is supported by tubes to the chassis.  It's quite a long way from the end of the gearbox to the chassis rail and I may have to triangulate the support somehow. I'll most likely see what Learned Counsel has to say.

I'm eager to get these engine mounts out of the way. Similarly, the radiator mount. Once these are complete I can whip the chassis down to our local blacksmith and have the riveting done (the front spring hanger and the radiator mount) and then it's off to the sand-blast and powder-coating shop. There are various schools of thought on powder-coating but in my experience, if it's properly prepared, it can't be beat. You can throw hammers at my Austin chassis with impunity. That's going to see me out.

The next step will be to work up the necessary to have the spoked wheels built. I've got the centres but they need new rims, spokes (60 per wheel), tapes, tubes and tyres. That'll work out at around £500 a corner plus a spare.


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