A Special Builder's Notes


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04 May 2016

Not So Easy.

I'd wired successfully by hand the edge of the cockpit on the Hillman so I didn't think it would be that much more difficult to whizz round the edges of the new wings and slap them on ready for the next breakfast run. I don't know why I kid myself about these things but, as usual, a job I thought would be fairly straightforward needed a lot more thought and the help of some generous friends before it could be completed.

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I measured carefully the recommended 2.5 times the diameter of the wire and set up the Jenny to score a line to begin the turning of the edge. I'd forgotten the lessons I'd learnt when I first used the Jenny on bits of the Hillman - if you over-work the metal, it'll split - but after a couple of false starts I managed to get something approaching what I was looking for.

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It was a bit short one end so I had a go at 3 times the diameter and it still wasn't right. My over-enthusiasm with the hammer was also making a mess of the edge so I wandered off to the computer to see if I could pick up a few hints and tips from YouTube. I did. Either make up some new wheels for the Jenny or borrow a better swaging machine.

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I first took the Jenny apart thinking that I'd pop and see Chumley in the week and get him to knock up a couple of new wheels - handy things to have for the future - then remembered that Very Learned Counsel had a swaging machine with a bunch of bead rollers and a quick phone call would probably save me a lot of time. It would be a 2-man job and Counsel (equally Learned but about different stuff) happily volunteered his services.

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I knew that the whole malarky would be thrown out of kilter by the swaging and I'd be going back to the wheeling machine after I'd put the wire in. It was great fun but definitely not something that I would want to try without assistance. I scribed a line 13mm in, all around the edge of the wing and with 3 passes through the bead roller, had an acceptable result. It was then just a case of working the bead round to as near a right angle as we could in readiness for the final fold, without splitting the metal.

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It would have been nice to have finished off with a special set of wheels to close off the wire but we didn't have those so I'll anneal and tap over the last bit by hand. That'll be quite a slow job as there's one or two tricky bits to try to shrink especially round the tighter curves. I haven't quite worked out where the brackets are going to go but I thought it might be simpler to make the wings and get them to fit rather than try to fit them to set points at this stage of my wheeling experience.

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With summer on the way, maybe things will get easier.




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