A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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20 September 2013


I was so engrossed in making the framework for the tail that I completely forgot about lunch.

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I made first a template from plywood and got the radius - in plan view - to flow smoothly from the front. Luckily, as both of the cockpit sides are about the same, I could use the template to cut the boards for both rear top rails. Similarly, I made up a ply template for the central spine before cutting any wood - it's always worth taking the trouble to make a template or build a jig. I didn't have any ash quite long enough (it was all 2"short) so a dowelled halving joint was incorporated in the spine and a 10:1 dowelled splice in each of the side members.

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The pictures aren't very accurate because the distortion in the camera's lense makes the top and bottom rails look parallel and they're not. It's quite a tricky business getting the look of something which tapers in 2 planes, just right. And you're not helped by the structure being open which throws all sorts of optical tricks at you; here's one...

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I woke up this morning determined to get the rear frame sorted out and I'm pleased that I've broken the back (so to speak) of that job. There are the uprights to do, the turtle deck frames to support the skin and the floor boards. I'm thinking about whether or not to hinge one of the top halves of the skin which would give easier access to the stowage area or stick with the folding seats. As Counsel remarked, how often am I going to be putting bags behind the seats? Well, not that often because I travel light; knife, fork, spoon, razor, comb and tooth-brush I can stick in my top pocket and I think I last owned a comb when I was at school. It's Miss X who'll be ferreting about in the baggage department, not me.

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Whose accommodations bring me neatly to the door. The thick beam in front of the dash is for the windscreen pillar and the rest is just doodling to get an idea of where and how big the door is going to be. The Hillman is quite high but I've got the original running board brackets and one of those will support a step up to the door. The bottom of the door is a further 6" above the floor of the car making the step about 18" in total. If Miss X is driving than I will of course assist her ascent (the driver will always have to get in first) but if I'm driving, she'll have to take her chances with passers-by - avoiding fellows in unbrushed hats, naturally.

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So, all in all, I'm very pleased with the day's work. The construction of the tail - it's all over bar the shouting - has been niggling away at me for a while and I'm glad to have put the fundamentals to bed. I'm also looking forward to the next sunny weekend when I can push the car out of the workshop and get a better look at the shape because it's at this stage that any alterations need to be done - however irksome they may be. In the meantime, I'm booked in to give Learned Counsel a lift to Nottingham and lunch is on him.

I won't forget that.

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