A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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26 May 2014

There's An Electric Carving Knife.....

.... in every charity shop, until you want one. I'd caught sight of a clip on YouTube showing a chap carving some foam with an electric carving knife and, because the throat on my band-saw wasn't big enough to accommodate the seat sponge in all directions, the electric knife seemed just the thing. Well, I thought everyone had one and I was beginning to give up hope when the lady who works at the Big House, came to the rescue.

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The tricky thing is when the bit you're carving is wider than the length of the blade; I haven't taken a picture of that... But it was important to spend some time on getting the comfort side of things absolutely right and after a lot of testing a really comfortable seat has been achieved.

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Lumbar support is the secret. The back of the seat may look a bit exaggerated but I think after a couple of hundred miles I'll be glad of the extra depth of foam in the small of the back. The original seat back was finished off around the edge with a very clever pin beading made up of folds of calico and a length of very thin steel to which pins had been spot welded. I'm going to attempt to replicate that by covering some aluminium pin beading with the leather cloth but, if that isn't successful, I'll have a go with the 'Hidem' stuff.

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Then, out of the blue (so to speak), John Gaertner in The States, a long time friend and builder of Avro 504k's and Curtiss Jenny's (see link to Blue Swallow Aircraft), sent me an email saying that he'd read about the difficulties I was having with the wings and if I sent him the necessary information, he could turn them round in short order as a thank you for the help I'd given him over the past years. I thought I was dreaming and that all my Christmas's had come at once. I set to work on the profiles straightaway.

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The distinguishing feature of the car is the flow of the wings. I have to admit that the inspiration for the style came from a picture which appeared in The Automobile showing a Ballot with sporting coachwork by an unknown Parisian coachbuilder. It was probably the most gorgeous car I've ever seen; everything about it couldn't have been more right. So, on the sketch of my car, I plotted the lines at 2" intervals and fed the results into Excel to create a graph which I could then manipulate until the flow was right.

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Then, to check the figures, a full-size drawing was made on wallpaper and then transferred to cardboard to be cut-out and taped to the car. The roll of wallpaper will go to John at Blue Swallow Aircraft along with some notes about flanges and profiles. For shipping. the wings will be separated at 50" intervals (the complete wings are a handy 150" long) and joined on the job. Some doublers at the joins and at the support stations will complete the exercise.

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The distance from the ground to the bottom of the wings is rather more than you might expect and I can see that I'm going to have to reinforce the rear door pillar because that's what people are going to heave on to pull themselves up into the cockpit. Over time that might become a bit of a weak spot but I'm just going to have to live with that.

I must do something about lifting the exhaust - it's looking a bit wrong.

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next post Lagging Behind.


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