Mike Macartney

REPORTS ON A 1914 HUMBERETTE RESTORATION

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I'm enjoying following this job and particularly appreciate the fact that you're actually fixing things rather than just replacing them. I was going to ask about that hole... it's a fairly unusual feature.

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I prefer to repair items, if possible, rather than replace them to keep the vehicle as close to original as possible. A number of UK cars, up to the 1930's, had gravity petrol tanks, normally behind the dashboard with the filler in the scuttle panel. I must admit that this is the first car I have come across with the petrol (gasoline) tank going through the dashboard and through the bulkhead with the fillers in the cockpit.

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The slots in the dashboard on the left and the right (you can't see the righthand slot in the above photo) are so that the two mounting brackets that bolt the other end of the tank to the bulkhead will pass through the dash. The original chassis number plate (VIN number) hides the left hand slot. Unfortunately the last owner put the plate away somewhere for safe keeping and his son, to date, has not been able to find it. I hope he will eventually find it and send it on to me!

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23 minutes ago, Mike Macartney said:

Hi Ray, I believe that the 1913 to 1915 Humberette's were made in Coventry.

 

O.K. My mistake.  I was confusing Stoke, Coventry with Stoke on Trent.

 

Humber did once have a motor works at Beeston, Nottingham (quite close to me in Derby - but in the opposite direction)...but I think that closed quite early on.

 

Ray.

 

https://www.historiccoventry.co.uk/nowandthen/content.php?pg=humber-wks

Edited by R.White (see edit history)

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I have just been looking through my reports and filing away the photos I have used in a separate file to try and avoid confusion by using some photos twice. I have found a few that are worth reporting on.

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This is the glue I haven using to glue the wooden plugs into the redundant holes and screw holes. In the holes I used a good coating of glue on a short length of welding rod to coat the sides of the hole. The plugs were also coated with the glue before carefully tapping in with a hammer.

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For mounting the side mounting brackets for the windscreen (windshield) support and acetylene front lamps, I used domed stainless pan headed slotted screws, turned down the heads to a suitable size. I then countersunk the brass support holes so that the domes were flush with the outside of the brass supports.

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This shows the original size before machining and the final head size. All these parts will finally be sprayed the blue colour of the car.

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I think they will look a bit better than the hex head bolts that the previous owner had fitted. They just didn't look right, although they may have been hex head bolts originally, I don't know.

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Although there is virtually no nickel plating left of these brass acetylene headlamps I think they were originally nickel plated. I think I am going to polish the brass above the areas where the masking tape is as it may look a bit strange with the support being blue above the masking tape, Your thoughts would be appreciated. I believe these supports were originally painted the colour of the body, but I am not 100% sure. Looking at photographs of other Humberette's they all seem to be different!

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You have probably seen enough of the wooden plugs by now, but just in case here is another photo!

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Now here is something rather different and maybe controversial?! I don't particularly like the cut outs either side of the petrol tank on the dashboard. Also I need to put a couple of switches onto the dash for the lighting and ignition. I am going to replace the burners inside the acetylene lamps with LED bulbs. To this end I thought I would make some brass plates to cover the cut outs and mount period brass and porcelain switches on the plates. The photo shows my drawing and the old bit of brass that I had.

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These are the switches I have. The photo shows them with the brass cover removed. I have marked the fixing hole positions on the brass plate.

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This shows the drawing and the switch before I have polished the switch.

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Holes drilled in the brass plate for the cables and the switch fixings.

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The first plate drilled and cut out with a 1mm cutting disc fitted into the 4.5" angle grinder. I surprised myself how well it cut out without any hard work with filing.

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Now to see how it polishes up. I screwed it to a bit of wood to make it easier to hold before I pushed the plate against the polishing mop.

Used up my 9.77MB so you will have to wait and see how I got on in the next post.

 

 

 

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Ray,

Thanks for the link showing the old Humber works. That maybe why the early veteran Humberette's stopped in, I think 1906, and Humber reused the name with their Humberette cyclecar in 1913. Mike 

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This method of holding the brass plate on a board seemed to work well.

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It's difficult at this stage to see if it looks OK and not too 'naff' until the fuel tank and dashboard are painted. I am still undecided whether or not to paint the tank the colour of the car (blue) or satin black. I can decide later.

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George, a fellow Humberette owner in the UK, who I found via the Humber Register, kindly has sent me a template of the curve on his top bows. (we call them hood sticks). As we are going to attempt to steam bend the top bows I made a former to bend them around with some 3/4" plywood. As they need to be roughly 1" x 1-1/2" I made 3 plywood curves and screwed them to together to make the former.

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This block will eventually be screwed to a board on which we will form the top bows.

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When screwed onto the board the other way round it will form the bend on the right hand side of the car. I have now given the 'block' to Robert to clean up the curve on his linisher.

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Looking ahead to when the top (hood) is made the fixings will need to be on the beading that is screwed onto the top edge of the sheet metal. 'Sod's Law' being what it is. It is likely if I don't mark where the existing screws are, I will be attempting to screw the hood fixings into the existing screw heads! I thought it wise to take some photos of the sides and back and mark the positions of the existing screws in my Humberette note book for future reference when the body is painted and the screw holes are not visible anymore. I shall also past this photo into the book as well as the photo of the back and the other side.256.thumb.jpg.cc404375174861ec368e3c18607c6ca8.jpg

On the door at the top is a half inch wide moulding. Around the rest of the car is a 3/4" wide moulding. I decided to remove this 1/2" mounding and replace it with 3/4" to match the rest of the car.

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I cleaned the rust off that was under the moulding with a mule skinner.

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I carefully curved the inside top of the vertical mouldings to accept the new 3/4" moulding.

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And the moulding was drilled on the pillar drill and screwed into position and painted with etching primer.

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On the bottom corners of the door, one of the previous owners has added an aluminium moulding. I think his measuring techniques left a little to be desired!

The message here is measure twice cut once. I will see if the gap can be filled by TIG welding. It may need some thin aluminium behind to help the welding process. If all else fails I can Araldite a small section of aluminium into the gap. That is one of the good things about writing these reports, it makes you look at the photos and think of different ways of carrying out some jobs. To be honest, I hadn't thought about Araldite'ing some metal into the gap until just now!320.thumb.jpg.ca88609afe3612501d0fe095c1008423.jpg

This morning has been all about sanding the epoxy primer and filling the grain in the wood that was not completely filled by the epoxy primer.

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This photo is to help people who maybe using filler for the first time. You don't need a lot of hardener. If you put in too much hardener the filler goes off to quickly and you end up wasting a lot of filler. Mix the two components together until the coloured streaks have all disappeared. Use a wide as possible filler spreader if you are filling a large area, as I am having to do. I just use the black plastic spreader in the photo to mix the filler and then to put it onto the area I am going to fill.

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I use a stainless steel spreader to scrape the filler across the imperfections. Once the filler starts to 'pudding', stop trying to spread the filler it as it will only pick up filler from the area you have just filled. I know it's just happened to me! Before the  filler has gone off, scrape most of the filler off the spreaders by scraping one against the other.

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When the majority of filler has been scraped off the spreaders. I clean them in a container of thinners that I keep for cleaning brushes and things like these spreaders. It is an old Tupperware pot with a lid that seals the thinners in the pot and stops it evaporating. After wiping dry with a cloth the spreaders are all ready to start the filing process all over again.

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After a morning of filling, I was starting to get rather bored, and looked around for another job that might keep me amused for a bit.

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I noticed that under the side of the body there was a section of wood that still had screw holes in it. I sharpened up some matches to fit into the holes.328.thumb.jpg.cf09f071d6efd7d96d6e3a7e9f966ab0.jpg

Removed the matches one by one, coated them in wood glue and tapped then into place. I will let glue harden overnight and then cut the ends off.

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I found that with the matchsticks you needed to hold then straight with one hand and tap them in with a hammer in the other hand. If you don't they tend to break as you can see in the above photo. I was trying to take a photo of tapping the matchsticks in with my left hand while tapping with my right hand. It didn't work!330.thumb.jpg.e012d95dc759a38ceca136e0a8781f5e.jpg

There was still a bit more time left before I decided to pack up for the day, so I did a bit more polishing on the switches and brass plates.

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It was getting to a point with the filling that it was difficult to see the areas that needed a bit more filling. I decided to spray a very thin coat of satin black using an aerosol. Hopefully, tomorrow when I sand down the filler it will show me the low areas that need some more filler. Once I am happy with the finish of the filled wooden parts of the body I will give the wooden parts another coat of the epoxy primer. I'll now pack up for the day and leave the filler to go hard and have another sand down and fill tomorrow.

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Mike,   I am enjoying your restoration reports.  I have used that match stick method to fill small holes but sometimes the match stick is not a good fit. Tooth picks are a good  alternative, one for small holes or a few where the  match stick is loose.

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David, Pleased to hear that you are enjoying the restoration reports. I must admit I have never come across wooden tooth picks, but it sounds like they would do the job. I have been sharpening the match stick ends, if the hole to fill is smaller than the match end, that seemed to work OK. I sawed off  the 'sticky out' bits of the match sticks this morning and it looks as if they have done the job and filled the holes OK. Thinking about it, I suppose wooden cocktail sticks may do the same job as tooth picks?

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Since my last post, the restoration has gone forwards, then backwards, possibly due to a senior moment on my part!  On the Friday, I ran out of fine body filler. I had some on order, but wanted to get some more filler on to the rubbed down epoxy primer, over the weekend. On the Saturday I took a trip to the local Halfords to buy some filler. All they had was normal Isopon P38 bodyfiller, so I bought that. All went well and I filled most of the low spots. On the Sunday morning I started to rub down the filler and found that the production paper was 'clogging up' in small lumps. I did a thumb nail test on the filler and found a lot of the filler had not gone off! Was it old stock, or was it operator failure? I mixed another lump of the filler and left that for the next day to see if it went off. Monday came and - YES the lump of filler had gone hard, but the filler on the body was still soft! Either, I had forgotten to add the hardener on one of my filler mixes, or I had not put in enough hardener in when I mixed the filler. The next two days were spent using a scraper to remove the soft filler, then washing the panel with neat thinners, finally sanding with 120 grit to get back to square one. In the process I managed to remove most of the expensive epoxy 2K primer that I had previously sprayed on. On Tuesday, the fine filler arrived in the post and I could start all over again!

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The side of the trunk, after scrapping off the body filler that had not gone off and before washing with thinners and rubbing down.

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Most of the epoxy primer rubbed off.

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I decided that it maybe an idea to check the bulb horn position to see if the holes were in the correct place and the correct size. They weren't as the holes had been opened out to a larger size than was required. I decided to plug with wood, as I have done before with the other holes.

Some of you may have seen the post I did regarding  "What material to use between a wood and metal joint".

I have had no end of replies. I now need to have a think as what option I decide to eventually go for. One of the first replies I got made me think that the part at the back and the windshield support may be able to be removed and I looked for possible fixings.346.thumb.jpg.08874f2938ecea367a1f3885f96de3c0.jpg 

I tore off the masking paper covering the seat back area and found 5 screws. These undid easily. On the outside of the body, hidden by filler I found 4 screws.

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With these unscrewed the wooden panel that goes between the body and the trunk lid came off with just a bit of a wriggle. This should make sealing this joint much easier.

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At the front I found that the vertical wooden support for the windscreen was just screwed in with a number of screws. Strange, they were Pozidrive! This panel has been off before. I had my suspicions that the outer bodywork had been replaced. The owner who had bought the car after its 68 years storage and owned it until early 2017 must have replaced all the outer sheet metal work, apart from the metal skin in the door panel. That's the problem when you buy a car where all the owners have died before the car is sold on. There is nobody to ask about what work had been carried out previously. That is one reason I like to wite these reports and take lots of photos, as you never know what's going to happen in the future.350.thumb.jpg.7779ccd08b714e0bb01b1a91f91fbf09.jpg

The car had been sitting with just primer on the sheet metal for some time, you can see the rust spiders starting under the screen support. This area did not get blasted before because this screen support was covering this area.352.thumb.jpg.80c4dd2047cae1f04e9b42c5aa05e8e4.jpg

 I used the mule skinner to get rid of the paint and rust.

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Then used etching primer to protect it from the elements for the time being. From the photo it looks as if a 'tidy up' is the next job!

 

 

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I like those switches. I know I've seen similar before but didn't realize they were used on cars. I also approve of electric lights... having been caught out on the road after dark due to a minor breakdown with nothing to get home on but the kerosene side lights. Fortunately, it wasn't far and I was able to inveigh one of the local policemen to drive directly behind me with his flashing lights on... it got us home but otherwise I'd have had to wait by the side of the road all night. One of the things I most admire about British (and European) old car enthusiasts is their willingness to actually drive them rather than carry them around on a trailer like a full-size model car.

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14 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

One of the things I most admire about British (and European) old car enthusiasts is their willingness to actually drive them rather than carry them around on a trailer like a full-size model car.

 

Sadly, the number of historic vehicles seen on British roads is declining and has been for some time.  I don't possess a trailer so I will happily drive on the roads hereabouts.  I do have some nice country lanes to choose from - and some attractive watering holes to head for - but I steer clear of motorways.  I fear if we don't use our old cars as they were intended we will give the powers that be the impression that we don't either need or want the right to do so.

 

Ray. 

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I'd stay off the motorways as well... in fact, I tend to avoid them even in a modern car. I've been stuck in some horrendous traffic jams around Oxford. That said, I'm most familiar with the Midlands. The secondary roads, the A and B routes, are very much like the roads here in New England (perhaps that isn't surprising considering it is "New" England) where many of the smaller roads date back to the 18th, and even the 17th century. I live on a road that was built in the mid-17th century in a house that was built in 1703. It isn't terribly old by British standards but is pretty early here. I have seen early cars on the road in the UK... one of the strangest coincidences I can remember was discussing vintage Bentleys with a friend (who isn't a car guy at all). When I came out of his lane an hour later a 3 Liter Bentley passed by on the Cirencester Road.

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I do have a trailer for my 1903 Crestmobile, but I do use this car locally, mainly to take others for a drive, or to let them drive a veteran car. When we did the London to Brighton Veteran Car run in the car in 2012, it was horrendously wet weather and it took us 6 hours and 20 minutes to finish the run on Brighton seafront. Because of the expense, and challenge of doing the event in this sort of weather we have not entered the event since then. As a comparison, I can complete the Sunbeam Veteran Motorcycle L to B run in 1 hour 30 minutes on my single gear 500cc 1910 Favourite.

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We are the car in the middle of the picture. By the way, the car on the right of the picture is an early Humberette.

Driving old cars on the British roads is getting harder than it used to be in the 60's and 70's when we used 'old' cars as everyday transport because we could not afford newer cars at that time. There are so many larger cars and 4 x 4's nowadays. Even the small cars are large by late 20th Century standards. The UK drivers seem to be so isolated in there modern cars, also they do not appreciate that 'old cars' do not have the stopping power that the new cars have. We live in a small village near the coast in Norfolk, it is a holiday area, most of the country lanes have just enough room for one and a half cars new cars width. Last month I went for a drive in the Crestmobile and nearly got wiped out by a holidaymaker travelling too fast down one of the lanes in a new Range Rover. I only just avoided an accident by steering the car up the bank.

As Ray and Joe say, the B roads are often empty of vehicles and are a good way to travel in the UK.

An American house built in 1703, is very old. I thought the 1756 barn we converted to a house was old!

 

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If you Google 34 The Street, Shalford, Guildford. you should find the Tudor cottage we used to own.  The house was built in 1530 and is unbelievably original.

 

The downside with many of these ancient places, however,  is that they were built at the edge of what would have been just a dirt  track but now have a lot of road traffic to contend with.  When we sold up (for work ) we had over 100 viewings but in the end it was a nice American couple who fell in love with the old place.  It's original name was "Brambledens" and began as an open "hall house" which would have been thatched.  There would have been an open fire in the middle of the room and the smoke would have dissipated through the roof. Soot deposits are still visible on the rafters in the attic.   In the early 17th century a first floor was added and a magnificent 'Inglenook' fire place with bread oven and smoking loft installed.  I miss the old place with its massive beams and oak panelling etc. ...but not the noisy road!

 

Ray.

 

 

 

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We stayed with friends in Suffolk in a house like that. Extra rooms had been added on over the years, but the house was still small and the door and ceiling heights were made when people were, on average, a bit shorter than we are now. I remember it had Willow in its name, meaning it was in a wet place. It was a very low lying area. Beside the house was a pond. This had been there since the house was built: it was the source of clay for the adobe. Again, the road was close, but at least that one was still pretty minor. All the old hedgerows and ancient boundaries etc. had gone, with the surrounding land having been given over to power farming.

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1 hour ago, Spinneyhill said:

We stayed with friends in Suffolk in a house like that. Extra rooms had been added on over the years, but the house was still small and the door and ceiling heights were made when people were, on average, a bit shorter than we are now. I remember it had Willow in its name, meaning it was in a wet place. It was a very low lying area. Beside the house was a pond. This had been there since the house was built: it was the source of clay for the adobe. Again, the road was close, but at least that one was still pretty minor. All the old hedgerows and ancient boundaries etc. had gone, with the surrounding land having been given over to power farming.

 

Those of us who to hope to take something positive from Brexit are pushing for the reinstatement of hedgerows and sustainable farming methods. Many hedgerows have been grubbed out by farmers;  heavily subsidised through E.U. "land improvement" schemes.  Our Government, for all it's faults, has signalled that in future, subsidies will only be paid for environmental enhancement.  I for one welcome that .

 

 

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4 hours ago, R.White said:

The downside with many of these ancient places, however,  is that they were built at the edge of what would have been just a dirt  track but now have a lot of road traffic to contend with. 

 

 

 

1

 

Isn't that true. Even though the road I live on is not particularly developed - it was replaced by a "new" turnpike that runs parallel to it in 1803 - it is paved and it has a lot more traffic than it did 200 years ago. The house itself is only about 18 feet from the edge of the road so I hear all the cars and the loud conversations of anyone walking by. The flip side is that it would be hard to rob. My parents home, which is quite secluded, has suffered two or three break-ins. Thus far, I've been spared that experience.

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So true about a house being built on the side of the road.

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Our 100ft barn, built in the 18th century, is right on the side of the road. I believe that the road was only tarmacked in the 1950's. We kept the two barn doors on the road side. When we applied for planning permission to convert the barn into a house, the council were amazed when we wanted to keep the barn 'looking like a barn' from the road. They said "Don't you want to put full height glass windows at the front?". My wife's idea was to have these false doors opening and paint horses and cattle looking out onto the road! Unfortunately, to date, we have never got around to that, but there is still hope that we may do that someday. All three of the doors in the photo are false with a double skinned cavity brick and block wall behind. The other side is a bit different:

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It is south facing and looks over the fields. This photo was taken on one of the UK's many dull days!

Fingers crossed, in the last 18 years, since we rebuilt the barn we have not had a burglary. It maybe something to do with these two!

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German shepherd and an Alsatian bull mastiff cross, called Darcy!

I do get annoyed with 'modern cyclists' coming past in groups. They talk very loudly to each other, as they go past, and when I am in the garden or garage, I think that somebody is calling to me, I turn around to look and they flash past. Many of them, not all, just through away their food wrappers and drinks cans for others to clear up.

Posted by a grumpy old man!

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I thought you maybe interested in how we were getting on with the tree that we are going to use for making the top hoops for the Humberette.

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On Friday, Robert and Roger cut 4 planks out of the section of the trunk that we split out of the fallen tree. These can be seen in the foreground of the above photo. They are 9 foot long. There should be enough material to make three top hoops, one inch x one and half inches!384.thumb.jpg.1720c029125726eeb9bb3c0413d5b918.jpg

In the middle of the photo is Roger's plank making guide. Unfortunately, I arrived after they had cut the planks, Rogers 30" chain saw fixes into the jig and slices the planks off the section of wood that is on the right of the photo.  I was late arriving as I had offered to pick an old boy up from the railway station, at the same time as R & R were going to get to the woodland. To the left of the photo you can see Robert's attempt to try and cut straight along the side of the trunk with the cutting angle of the teeth at the standard angle (I think that is 25 to 30 degrees?). The cut kept following the grain of the wood, hence the steps. The vertical cut was done with Rogers chain saw with the angle on the teeth at 10 degrees.

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Here is a photo of the two R's enjoying themselves cutting segments out of the other end of the tree for firewood.389.thumb.jpg.72b38fb1f7813a02ca698d1a45239420.jpg

Yesterday I collected the planks and this morning stacked them next to the Humberette chassis to dry out.

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I had been told to weigh them down  to stop distortion. I put an aluminium ladder across the planks to spread the load and found heavy things, around the workshop, to put on the ladder. It's now a waiting game until, the moisture content is around 25%. As I have said before, this woodworking job is all new to me. I'm just doing as I'm told!

 

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