A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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29 January 2019

The Other Wright Brother.....

... happened to pop in for tea and told me that he had a hot-wire foam cutter, bought nearly 20 years ago and never used! That was going to save me a lot of grief.

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With the 2 profiles attached either side of the foam block, I cautiously applied the hot-wire to the underside. It was a slow process and any attempt to rush the job resulted in an uneven cut. It transpired that the cutter was manufactured before high density modelling foam (blue foam - although mine's grey) was commonly used, so the fixed current at 19.8v AC, was a bit low.

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However, we had no option but to persevere with the tools available.

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I'd glued the blocks together with ordinary white wood glue. This caused a bit of a problem as it tended to stick to the wire and halt its progress. I needed to go over the back of the car a second time to smooth things out.

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Still, it's got the right stance and that was the easy bit. A couple of weeks ago, I picked up from the bargain bin in Lidl, an electric carving knife - my weapon of choice for the rest of the work.

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The Humber clutch is now back together again and working very well. I was able to pull the spring back into shape without applying heat (I guess there was sufficient 'memory' in the steel for it to go back relatively easily) and, now we knew what had happened to cause the problem, a careful reassembly ensured that the clutch return spring located correctly in the flywheel's recess and, this time, stayed there.

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Delighted at the success of our operations, The Great Collector very generously presented me with this handsome 'Comtoise' clock which now happily tick-tocks away in my sitting room. I'd always hankered after a Grandfather clock but lacked the ceiling height; this very friendly timepiece more than exceeds my dream.

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While I was fiddling with another of the cars in The Great Collector's emporium, I was reminded of a number of wheels that, many years ago, he had rescued from a skip. The interesting thing is that none of the tyres show any sign of having any tread. They look like 'Palmer Cord' tyres, but lack any inscription. The spokes have some modest painted decoration and some seem to be over-painted in a kind of drab olive, suggesting a possible military connection. If anyone has any ideas, please comment.

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With everything going so well, something was bound to trip me up to spoil the fun. Sure enough, a pool, small but significant, had appeared under the Hillman's engine. The source was traced to this core plug, just aft of the dip-stick. The new core plugs installed at the time of the rebuild had to be made from over-size, but turned down plugs. The 'right' size plugs were too small. I'm not sure what's happened here, but initial inspection suggests that there's already a hole in this one which doesn't say much for the quality of the steel.

Certainly not the right stuff.

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