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Rebuild Report No. 1 on a 1914 Humberette

3rd August 2018


I am an old vehicle enthusiast from Norfolk, England ('old' in both senses of the word!). I have recently joined the AACA forum and thought I would record the restoration of my new project for any interested parties to follow.

Last year I finished a 1000 hour plus total restoration/rebuild of a 1978 MGB Roadster, fitting an engine and gearbox from an MGRV8. At the start of the project the MG Car Club V8 Register of Great Britain asked if I would document the restoration to help other MGB owners, as I had spent most of my life running an accident repair and restoration workshop, from which I retired in 2004. Before I started the roadster rebuild I had already restored a 1974 MGBGTV8 that I had purchased from and old college friend. Unfortunately for me, I got persuaded to sell it back to him when it was finished, although I really liked the car and would have been happy to keep it. Hence, the rebuild of the MGB roadster for myself. The restoration 'blurb' for the V8 Register ended up with around 160 reports and an index. Not only has it helped others, it also helped me. It gave me time to look through the photographs I had taken and gave me time to think about the work I had completed. If you are interested in seeing the reports, they can be viewed at:


I am at an age when working in the mornings is enough for me, the afternoon can then be used for sitting at the computer writing up the reports and planning the next days work. Years of running a body repair and restoration shop for BMW 2002's and CS's has taken its toll on my lungs, mind you, smoking hasn't helped either!

This new project started with an advert I saw on eBay for a 1914 Humberette. There were only a couple of photos, so I messaged the seller to ask if he could send me a few more photos, which he kindly did.

A couple of days went by and I broached the subject of another old car project with my wife, Jane. We discussed it and came to the conclusion that I had enough to keep me occupied with the number of cars and motorcycles we already have. The seller messaged me again and asked if I was still interested in the Humberette. I wrote back and said that I felt that at my age I had enough projects to keep me busy and would not have to resort to getting involved with gardening and housework, which I loathe! I also told him that I thought the price he was asking, in my opinion, was very reasonable and he should stick out for his asking price. Next, I got a phone call from him informing me that he wanted the Humberette moved quickly as his father had passed away 8-weeks previously and his mother bust into tears every time she walked past the car, as she remembered him working on the car daily. He thought his Dad would have liked someone like me to have the car, I could have it at £2k less than his asking price. Sense and sensibility then went out of the window and the sale was agreed. When I said I would transfer the money and arrange for someone to collect it for me, he said he would hire a trailer and bring the car up to Norfolk, as he would like to see where the car was going. I saw the advert for the Humberette on a Saturday and the car was with me by the following Wednesday!

With the car came some history, unfortunately, not of the first owner, but of the second owner, a Londoner who had bought the car in 1922. He ran the car until 1926 when he stored the Humberette in his garage. It did not roll a wheel until 1947 when he moved from London to Devon and took the car with him and stored it in a barn. When the owners son got to 80 years of age he decided that he was never going to get round to restoring his Dad's car and sold it to a local farmer in 1995. It had been in storage for a total of 69 years. I believe the farmer started the repairs/restoration of the Humberette but subsequently died in 2017. The previous owner to me, purchased the car and continued with the restoration until he too died. I am hoping that it will be third time lucky and that I finish the restoration before I 'pop my clogs'!

Next report will be some history on the Humber company, Humberette's, preliminary notes, and preparations before I continue the restoration work.

Photos attached:

The 1914 Humberette when it was taken from the barn in 1995.

The 1914 Humberette as purchased by me in July 2018.

1914 Humberette as advertised.jpg

1914 Humberette as found in 1995.jpg

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That's a great car!  thanks for posting here so we can keep up with your progress.   I fondly remember our time in Scotland taking part in rallies and events with our 1935 Morris 8 (which we still have).  Among our USA stuff we are also MG enthusiasts - 1974 MGBGt and a 1972 MGBGt.  We have a 1948 MGTC and also a 1912 Triumph motorcycle sharing space with a Pontiac GTO and a Model T for.  Love the LBCs (Little British Cars) though.   Looks like you do have a set of top irons and wood top bows for patterns.  That should not be a difficult restoration piece as everyone with an earlier car has been through that part of it before.  Just post here if you have any difficulties on that part of your project and I'm sure you'll have plenty of help.   It'll be a sweet ride when you are finished.


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Thank you for your kind comments. Terry your mention of your Morris 8 brings me back to my youth. When I was 17, I found a basket case Morris 8 2-seater tourer that we bought for Jane for £5, we both got stuck in and 'rebuilt' it for her to use. I say rebuilt in inverted comma's because, basically we got it through the MOT test, fitted a new hood and hand painted the car in Valspar Post Office red, that we bought from Woolworths. I remember that Jane adjusted the tappets on the car as I could not get get my hands in there to adjust the side valve clearances. She ran the Morris 8 for a number of years until we got married in 1969, when I found her a 1934 Singer 9 Le Mans with a broken half shaft for £37- 10 shillings. We changed the half shaft with a second hand one that came with the car. Jane still has the Singer and we have kept it running all these years without having a rebuild. (see attached photo). Over the years we have travelled in it to Switzerland with the Morris Register, holidayed in France with camping gear, and been to Singer events in Holland a couple of times. MGTC – I had forgotten how sophisticated these cars were compared to the Singer, MGPA/PB and MGTA models, until last week, when a friend from the next village came round with his that was giving him overheating problems. He too has had his TC for more years than he cares to remember. He was complaining of the engine coolant boiling in the engine after he had come to a stop. I went for a drive with him and of course it didn't happen when I was with him!

I have attached a photo of the tree we have found that we hope to get the wood from to make the top bows from. My drinking chum Robert got all excited when he saw the photo of the Humberette, noticing that it had rotted top bows. He said “Great – we can have a go at steam bending”. Robert is into his woodwork. I, on the other hand, only have to look at wood and it splits! I found an excellent video on You Tube by Engels Coach Works on 'Steam Bending'. If I knew how to do a link to this page I would include it here. I am busy planning out building the steamer while Robert tries to split out some wood from this massive sweet chestnut tree. I helped him the other day to clear out all the undergrowth around the fallen tree to get to the main trunk.


Sweet chesnut for the hood bows.jpg

3 Front RH.JPG

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Humber were an old established bicycle makers in Coventry, England, who started producing automobiles. By the early 1900's they had developed a range of voiturettes, (as they seemed to call small cars at that time), mainly using the French single cylinder De Dion engines and transmissions. In 1903, Humber produced what was possibly Britain’s first effective light car, namely a 5 hp Humberette with 613 cc De Dion engine and 2-speed gearbox, with shaft drive. These were produced in various forms until, I believe 1905, when they concentrated on larger cars.

From 1910 'cyclecars' were becoming popular, with a large number of companies starting to manufacture them. To compete, Humber started offering a new 'Humberette' with a 998 cc air cooled V-twin engine (some articles say 996 cc, but what's 2 cc between friends!) This engine was mounted in a conventional light car chassis, production continued until 1915 when the company moved onto production of aircraft engines and field kitchens for the First World War. The Humberette was not unduly expensive at around £120. The engines were air cooled. In 1914 they offered a water cooled V-twin engine for an extra £10 to £15 (I have seen both prices quoted). The 1914 Humberette I am restoring is one of the water cooled versions of the Humber V-twin engine.

The Humberette was described by the makers at the time as ‘The Perfect Car in Miniature’ and the advanced chassis was of non-welded steel tubular construction, with transverse front leaf and quarter elliptic rear springs. A 3-speed and reverse gearbox with cone clutch, bevel-gear rear axle, rack and pinion steering and transmission brake on the end of the gearbox as well as rear wheel brakes, working on the outside of the drum, all very advanced features for the period.

To date most of work to date on the Humber has been looking at what has been carried out to date by the previous restorers and what still needs doing. I have book that in which I note down the parts that need looking into and list work that I consider needs redoing. I also take a lot of photos that I can refer to later if the need arises.


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I have decided to have all the metal parts that need painting soda blasted. I had this done to all the panels and bodyshell of my MGB, it saved me a lot of hard work of stripping the paint off to get to the bare metal. Unfortunately, many do not realise that if you paint over any rust it will come back eventually. Some of the panels, bonnet and wings, have been painted in grey primer over bare metal and left without top coat by the previous owner. Primer is porous and the metal underneath will rust if left for some time in humid conditions. That is what has happened especially with the wings and bonnet. On the blue parts of the body rust is just starting underneath the paint. I used Soda Blast Ltd, in Wolverhampton last time. http://www.sodablastingltd.co.uk/ I was really pleased with the work they carried out for me previously so I have booked the parts in for end of this month. I am still debating, whether or not, to get them to spray on a coat of 2-pack etch primer to stop the bare metal rusting or do this myself as soon as I get the parts back.

On other restorations I have carried out on cars and motorbikes I try and restore the parts as I take them off the vehicle, then pack them away ready for the rebuild. Because I want to get on with the bodywork so it is ready for painting by the end of the year. I have dismantled a lot of the parts and not restored them yet. The coach trimmer wants the car for 3-months while he makes the interior and hood (you call it the top in the USA). I should have plenty of time then to clean up all the other parts.239175031_002Strippedreadytoremovethebody.thumb.jpg.7ce43cd5133ab8a840a17f41d83cf2b9.jpg

The Humberette body with all the chassis to body coach bolts undone ready to lift the body off


The 'naked chassis and V-twin water cooled engine.


The ash framed body looks in remarkably good condition for its age.


One of my next jobs is to strip the old cracked Dunlop tyres of the wheel rims. I hope they come off easier than the tyres on a 1922 Model T Ford I restored a number of years ago. they were a real struggle!


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This Humberette is fitted with spare wheel that is called a 'Stepney' (see photos below)005.thumb.jpg.fa9be4c5892500b6b0314b35b1f2c1f3.jpg


The Stepney Spare Wheel was invented by Thomas Morris Davies in Llanelli, Wales, in 1904. At that time, early motor cars were made without spare wheels. Roads were mainly unmade, horse show nails and the steel studs, that were popular on boots of the time, caused no end of punctures. Thomas's idea was to make a rim with an inflated tyre to clamp to the punctured wheel, enabling the driver to get home without resorting to mending the punctured inner tube. With his brother, Walter, they started the company Stepney Spare Motor Wheel Ltd. In 1906. Their 1909 catalogue proudly claimed that Stepney Spare Wheels were fitted to all London taxis. They both became very wealthy men as their business grew and they set up agencies across the world. Apparently, so I am told, the word 'stepney' is used in some countries still for a 'spare wheel'. The beginning of the 1920's saw the majority of car manufacturers supplying a spare wheel, or wheels, with their cars so that punctured tyres could be easily changed with a complete wheel and tyre. Not like these wheels on the Humberette on which you have to remove the hub nut and and cone which then releases 26 ball bearings, 13 at the back of the wheel and 13 at the front of the wheel. I have learnt my lesson in the past with ball bearings going all over the place and loosing some, so I laid a rag underneath to catch them. Luckily, they were well greased and didn't roll away.


I am a little puzzled by the photo that was taken when the car was found in 1995, It shows the wheels painted orange. As it was put in storage in 1926 they must have been painted orange before then? I would not have thought that they would have been that colour as standard? Perhaps the wheels were painted orange when the adapters for the Stepney wheels were fitted to the original wheel rims? If so why did they not paint the Stepney wheel orange as well? We will never know!


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After cleaning all the dust and muck off the body I found that the joint at the rear of the body where the 2-sides of the ash framing was loose. I managed to loosen one screw, but the second one was stuck fast. Not being an expert with wood, as I have mentioned before, I decided to make a 1/8” thick metal plate to add to the underside of the joint, screwing it in place with 5-screws. Before I did this I clamped a straight edge to the outside of the top of the body to hold it in the correct place.


DOOR TWIST PROBLEM - I have noticed that the door did not close tightly against the door aperture. When the door was on the car and on it's hinges the lower corner under the door lock stuck out about ¼ to ½ inch. It would push in but spring back out again. How to get this twist out?

I tried using some blocks of wood under two corners and clamping down the other two corners and leaving it for a while. No joy, it sprung back again! I tried fitting a diagonal piece of wood and hammered in a wedge which got rid of some of the twist. The problem being that I can't leave the diagonal in this area as I believe there should be a map pocket here.



Next I decided to undo all the screws I could see on the door that were holding alloy strips to the sides and bottom of the door, perhaps there would be some screws holding the wooden door frame together? Nothing – I couldn't find any screw heads in the door. They could be under the alloy beading on the outside holding the outer metal skin to the wooden frame? I don't want to get into trying to move these.


My thoughts are that if I make up some corner brackets in metal. Twist, or over twist, the door to the correct place and leave the tension on and then screw in the brackets, it may solve the problem. Does anybody have any thoughts on that?

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I'm not an expert on early bodies, but it is quite likely that the door is OK, and the tub itself has sagged outward. The one I'm working on at the moment (1923) has a couple of bad gaps, until I fit the packing pieces between the body and chassis.


It is more likely the 'B' post at fault than the 'A' post at the cowl, so I would look first at the steel angle bracket holding the 'B' post. This is assuming that I have understood correctly that the gap is across the body. If it is along the body it will most likely be a packing adjustment issue between the body and chassis. The body is off the chassis, so is free to sag and move out of line. My apologies if I misunderstood your problem.


Sweet little car, too.

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14 minutes ago, Bush Mechanic said:

I'm not an expert on early bodies, but it is quite likely that the door is OK, and the tub itself has sagged outward. The one I'm working on at the moment (1923) has a couple of bad gaps, until I fit the packing pieces between the body and chassis.


It is more likely the 'B' post at fault than the 'A' post at the cowl, so I would look first at the steel angle bracket holding the 'B' post. This is assuming that I have understood correctly that the gap is across the body. If it is along the body it will most likely be a packing adjustment issue between the body and chassis. The body is off the chassis, so is free to sag and move out of line. My apologies if I misunderstood your problem.


Sweet little car, too.

I agree with the body sagging outward.

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I remember a Mike Macarthy had a regular article in one of the UK classic car magazines many years ago, writing about a 2002 (maybe a 1600-2?) BMW, I'm assuming this was you? I used to buy that magazine and read it, as I also had an early 2002 at the time as my daily driver and I could relate to the constant maintenance articles you wrote.

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Hi  Craig,

I used to write the Jaymic Jottings in the BMW Drivers Club magazine many years ago. I have also written for some of the classic car mags in the past. Brooklands Books also published a couple of my books on BMW 1502 to 2002 turbo cars '02 Restoration Guide' and another book on the history of the 02 models (I can't remember the title). I have now been retired for 14-years, come October. My Company Jaymic Ltd. was split into three 'Jaymic's' and sold to the guys who worked for me. My daughter took over the Classic BMW Parts business https://www.jaymic.com/about Mark and James took over restoration side and are still at Cromer and call themselves 'The Jaymic Workshop Ltd'. They seem to keep busy with restoring BMW's to their former glory with work coming in from all over the world. Lastly, Steve and Martyn, Jaymic Systems Ltd, took over the LPG gas conversion, dealer training and supply of gas conversion work, they diversified out of necessity, into general mechanical repairs and MOT testing for motorcycles and cars, as when the UK Government put tax on Liquid Petroleum Gas, it killed the sales.



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Well guys, that has given me something to think about! In the meantime I have been getting rid of the rust that was primer painted over on the door skin panel – 'Wot a lot of rust there was!'012.thumb.jpg.cd4f2878ae3f8fd94613329a1dcc329e.jpg

Fortuitously, the door just fitted inside my blast cabinet so I was able to get the paint, filler and rust off. The photo above shows just how rusty the panel was. I did blast the rest of the outside skin after I took the photo!013.thumb.jpg.cd7c9748eff5e6d91adf03da68296e60.jpg

Next, I blew the worse of the dust off with an airline and cleaned the whole door up with panel wipe, before coating the outer door panel with Kurust. If I never get the door to fit the Humberette I could enter it as a painting in the Tate Modern exhibition as 'Norfolk on a Wet December Night'!

After the Kurust had done it's trick I gave the panel a coat of etching primer.014.thumb.jpg.99aaead84420de4050f01d70f7a1ceaa.jpg

I'll now have to change the name of the painting to 'The Sandstorm on a Dark Night'. Enough of this jollity, now to the problem in hand – The door fit.

I have checked the 'B-Post' support out and it is super strong.015.thumb.jpg.ffae090839a8286b3c361b311da8de4f.jpg

As you can see it is a substantial forged steel bar which as well as holding the B-Post also supports the hood frame pivot (sorry, TOP not hood in the USA – I'll get terminology right eventually).016.thumb.jpg.4c6dfd24b6f5d8c53f860c8a7efcb7eb.jpg

The next job is to twist the frame as above, but more scientifically, with the door sitting on two blocks and the bench before making some brackets to fit into the corners to hole the door frame in the correct place. I considered the ideas suggested with wire and turnbuckle. But I do want to have the centre area clear for the original map pocket that is in within the door frame.

I am not sure if I go further with this report it will all fit so I will do this report in two posts.

To be continued.


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Kevin Brooks in Australia, you have been trying to communicate with Mike Macartney and filed a report to the mod team in an attempt to do that.


Please email me at greg@slotblog.net and let me help with that goal.

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Mike, Thank you for the information about the "Stepney" wheels! I have known of them for a long time, and a few years ago we had a discussion about them on a Model T Ford forum that I spend way too much time on. Unfortunately, nobody really knew much about them other than they existed, and a couple of photos had been found showing them in use.  Now I know more than I did.

The work seems to be progressing nicely on the Humberette! I think the car was very fortunate to get a great caretaker for its restoration.

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I too had heard of Stepney wheels in the past. Before I got the Humberette I had never actually seen one to see how it worked. Some information I dug up said that you did not need a jack to fit the 'Stepney' but I can't see how you could possibly fit the Stepney wheel without a jack.


At least the Humberette seems quite a simple machine to restore after my last two restorations, the MGB and a BMW 325i touring, it's more like working on a vintage motorbike. At least it keeps me out of mischief and out of the pub!



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15 hours ago, Roger Zimmermann said:

Are you not afraid that, when the tension is released that the frame will not spring back? What with wetting the wood?



I hope that the steel corner brackets that I am fitting to the corner joins of the door frame will hold the door in the correct place. I made and fitted one bracket yesterday and it got me halfway there. I'll make the other bracket today and see if that does the trick. I am not too keen on wetting the wood as it is a steel panel on an ash frame and may lead to more rust in the future between the steel panel and the wood frame. Thanks for the suggestions.


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Just a thought to consider. For whatever it is worth. Many years ago, my brother took a college course in Library Sciences involving preservation and restoration of books and documents.  We talked about some of what they taught. He told me that when "wetting" a paper in order to unfold it without breaking the paper, use alcohol (basically rubbing alcohol).  Water damages the paper fibers, results in stains or deterioration that causes the paper to break down. The alcohol  does not damage or stain the paper, softens it and allows the paper to be bent and blocked without breaking. Then it evaporates cleanly.  I have used it to soften and flatten paper and cardboard myself on several occasions.

I do not know if it should be used on wood for that purpose or not? Wood glues may be adversely affected, so not soaking near any joints may be wise. It MAY help to spring wood framework without future rusting issues.

Since I have not tried this myself? I would like for others with superior knowledge or experience to comment.

Just an idea to consider.

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Thanks for sharing the information on the use of alcohol to preserve books and documents. It is possible it may work with wood, its an interesting thought. Like most of restorers of 'old stuff' I am always willing to learn new tricks.


My jacking of the door to the correct shape and fitting 4-corner brackets seemed to have worked. I tried just two corners brackets at first. These reduced the twist by half the amount needed. An extra 2-corner brackets did the trick. I can't believe the time I have spent getting the door to move, it's taken nearly a week to move only a 1/4"!018.thumb.jpg.4d2f8bcec0049515e0e007b65c6b1158.jpg

After all the brackets were welded and blasted clean. I fitted them in place with the door still jacked up with the bar across and the cord holding up the corners. Then removed each one at a time to paint the backs and underside of the brackets with etching primer before fitting them back in place. When all four were screwed back in place I let the hydraulic jack down.019.thumb.jpg.bef43755cbe7d053511fe3f0c6bfb210.jpg

Now to see if it fits?020.thumb.jpg.64dedce69626668d2373f78869479568.jpg

Not absolutely perfect but a hell of a lot better than it was. And I still have room in the middle for the original map pocket.

A good clear up of the bench was now needed before I get on with the next problem to overcome.

The main tub of the body is an ash frame with steel panels fitted. At the rear is a small trunk (we call it a boot in the UK). This trunk is all made of wood. It appears that at some time in the cars life there has been something heavy in the trunk and when braking hard it has gone forward and split the wood that is behind the seat. A lot of work would be needed to replace this split wood as lot of the rear would need to come apart to get to it. Once the upholstery is in place and the trunk lid fitted any repair can't be seen. I had a spare bit of plywood that I could cut to size and fit it on the inside of the trunk. I tried measuring the size of panel required from inside the trunk area, it was impossible. Instead I made a pattern out of cardboard and used this to lay on my plywood to mark it out for cutting. Yesterday I asked my woodwork friend Robert how can you cut plywood with jig saw without the top cut splintering. I told you I know nothing about wood. He said to use a fine blade and run the jig saw at the highest speed. It worked after all these years I seem to have cut a piece of plywood without getting a jagged edge! Your never too old to learn.021.thumb.jpg.d3175818a0635dd47b073f0126c572d3.jpg

The panel between the trunk area and the seat back, showing the split wood (it's not very thick wood). I have marked out 4-holed were I plane to drill and screw the plywood strengthening panel onto the other side.022.thumb.jpg.3d8f30a12fd492c599e49bf47b866a5f.jpg

The carboard template and my section of plywood to strengthen the panel behind the seat back.

I think I will just screw this panel in place rather than glue and screw it. If it is just screwed, at least it can be removed easily, at a later date.


Has anybody any suggestions with what to do with the preparation of the wood on the outside of the trunk area? I have had lots of experience with painting metal and glass fibre but none with wood. Below is a photo of the left had side of the trunk area where the paint had cracked. The paint has also cracked the same on my 1903 Crestmobile, which I believe had been restored in the 60's or 70's.023.thumb.jpg.63de8241ee442bc61a121f506d3303fa.jpg



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  • 3 weeks later...

I have had no suggestions, as yet, to my question as to what to do with the cracked paintwork on the trunk of the Humberette. Somebody can suggest something.

It has been a week or two since I last reported on the progress of the Humberette. It's not that I have not done much, most of the work has been checking over the rolling chassis to find out what has been done and what needs attention. Having bought a project, where both of the previous restoring owners have died, makes life a bit more difficult as I have nobody to ask what has and what has not been done.

We packed the body, wings, doors and wheels into the van and took them to SBL in Wolverhampton for them to remove the paint to check how rusty the body was under the paintwork. It turned out to be a 9-hour driving round trip. The work has now been carried out and so another long trip is planned for this week.

The wheel hubs where the ball bearing race is were covered by means of some circles of plywood so the blasting process would not damage the races.024.thumb.jpg.1cf9dd8fa76904b2f05398bd44364882.jpg

Wheels prepared for blasting with ball races protected

Still trying to get a sizeable 'lump' out of the Sweet Chestnut tree for eventually making the hood bows. Robert and I spend a couple of hours each week in the wood to attempt to remove a 9 foot quarter section length of the trunk. At our ages, Robert is 78, a couple of hours on the chain saw is enough! We have cut across and along the trunk vertically and horizontally at 90 degrees. We only have another 3 to 4 feet to saw before we attack the trunk with the wedges to split out the section we want. Looking at the grain it appears to be very straight.025.thumb.jpg.a13e563afb8cd3f09bf0dfc59dee455b.jpg

The tree we are cutting up for the three hood bows - I thinks there is enough wood for a few problem bends!026.thumb.jpg.423fac9462e530640a01a51c673f6975.jpg

The chassis cleaned up

The chassis was cleaned up with gasoline (petrol) and wiped clean with cleaning thinners. I was surprised to find that work carried out to date by the previous two owners was well done and there where only a couple of areas of the chassis that needed touching up with black paint.027s.thumb.jpg.1f068b622a131f755f4097e820d78fe6.jpg

Slack in LH steering joint (Sorry I have forgotten how to remove one yellow arrowhead - getting old's a wonderful thing!) 

A couple of items that did concern me was the slack in the connection from the drag link to the steering arm joint. Also at the other end of the drag link there was slack in the joint where it connects to the end of the steering rack. After having a look where the problem was with the LH joint I decided to open the hole up in the centre part and make and fit a brass bush to eliminate the slack.028.thumb.jpg.d84416d816495bfada2992feadc7d649.jpg

Slack eliminated with a brass bush and brass thrust washer

That's all for this report. The next report will include overhauling the steering rack and some photos of the soda blasted parts. I never realised that they used steering racks by 1914. I thought they were a lot more modern invention for motorcars than before the first world war.






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For painting over wood, I've used an epoxy primer from a company here in the states.   https://www.southernpolyurethanes.com/products  You'll find that on page 2, "Epoxy Primer".  The trick to this guy is that, as a polyurethane, it is a little bit flexible.  It will withstand some of the wood movement while also reducing the movement by reducing the moister exchange.   I don't know if they ship across the pond, but the owner there is a great guy and I'm sure he will find a way.


Amazing work you're doing with the tree!!  My new goal in life is to be able to use my chainsaw to acquire some lumber from a tree 26 years from now when I'm 78.  A more realistic goal is to still be able to start my chainsaw in 26 years. :)


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You are right with Andy of Southern Polyurethanes he is an amazing guy. I emailed him after reading your post and in no time at all I had the following reply:

I would strip the paint off down to the wood, then apply a few wet coats of epoxy primer.  Walk away for a day and let the epoxy soak in, cure and seal the wood.  Sand the epoxy after a day or longer with 180-320.  We're just looking for a quick leveling.  Apply two or three coats of epoxy over the sanded epoxy.  Wait overnight, then do what you over the epoxy including applying your color.
I was not expecting to have a reply until at least Monday afternoon. I then replied asking if he could ship to the UK and he instantly replied with the following:
Unfortunately, its way too expensive to ship a couple of quarts across the pond.
You would access to Diamont/Glassurit and Sikkens over there.  Any off their better grade epoxy primers would do the same thing. 
Just tell the person at the store you want a quart kit of their better epoxy, not their lower tier epoxy. Explain it's for a restoration, not a ten-year-old VW.
I can't thank Luv2Wrench and Andy from Southern Polyurethanes enough for all their help and advice.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, I have got a bit behind with my reports. As soon as the body was back from Soda Blast in Wolverhampton, UK, I wanted to get on with the bodywork. The novelty of filling in the screw heads on the edge beading and rubbing down is now starting to wear off, after a morning of it today I thought I would have a rest and spend the afternoon on writing up the reports.


One part I did not send for blasting was the Stepney spare wheel. The reason was that it has a couple of brass locking pins and I was concerned that the basting may be too much for the brass. To get rid of the paint and rust that was under the paint, I used a Mule Skinner in an drill.


For those that have not seen these before they are a wire brush encapsulated in a type resin substance. They last for absolutely ages. The one in the photo is half worn and it has been used for many hours of work on previous restorations. When it stops removing the rust and paint so quickly you just reverse the drill direction and it starts working brilliantly again. In the UK I buy these from Frosts www.frost.co.uk I am sure they are probably available in the USA. I know Frost deals a lot with Eastwood's products. 


After I had cleaned off as much of the rust as I could I coated it with Kurust to passivate what was left of the rust. The next day the Stepney rim was hung up on the washing line and painted with etching primer and then sprayed with grey primer.


A lot of the original nickel plating on this car is very worn out and nearly all the nickel has worn off. Some of the parts don't even seem to have any traces of nickel and may have been bras to start with. A trick I found on the internet was that badly tarnished brass can be brought back to life with Tomato Ketchup. I thought I would give it a try. Before I started on the Humberette I had spent a whole week polishing up the brass on my 1903 Crestmobile, not a lot of fun! I was pleasantly surprised that the Tomato Ketchup worked and saved me a lot of polishing by hand. I left the ketchup on for 15 minutes before wiping it off and then buffing with brass polish.


This is the Lucas acetylene gas generator that is attaches to the right hand running board to supply the front and rear gas lamps.


I reckon its time for a beer. A friend bought me round this beer to try. I must admit the name OLD ENGINE OIL put's me off a bit!
Hopefully, if I survive trying this beer, I'll try and write a bit more tomorrow. 


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2 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

I'll have to see I can find some of that Old Engine Oil the next time I'm in England. Is it local to Norfolk?



Looks very tasty... I shall see if it is possible to get some here.


Update:  Lucky me!  My local Total Wine location has some in stock.


Edited by Luv2Wrench (see edit history)
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The 'OLD ENGINE" beer is brewed in Scotland. https://harviestoun.com/

I really don't know what to say about the beer. It's a bit dark and powerful for my liking 6%. It was a lot nicer than I thought it would be. I think it was the idea of drinking old engine oil that put me off!

Back to the Humberette. OVERHAULING THE STEERING RACK (sorry the photos are not in any particular order)035.thumb.jpg.a279d8a07297432199f34f22f279508a.jpg

The pinion looks fairly unworn and usable. The last owner had filled the steering rack with grease but had not cleaned of all the old grease that had been sitting in inside, probably since 1914!


The pinion shaft was cleaned with gasoline to get off all the old grease and muck and as the shaft had some rust and marks I cleaned it up in my large lathe.038.thumb.jpg.87eaa667bf6e5ee251ed65ee17e848f7.jpg

To clean the inside of the tube that the pinion shaft rotates in I sprayed some Brake and clutch cleaner down the shaft.039.thumb.jpg.77bf077528cc4988ab7ac48511ee14db.jpg

There was quite a lot of muck in there.040.thumb.jpg.6939aa8124c5dc6fa76082c051111ca8.jpg

I made some balls of paper wipes and kept pushing them through the steering column tube with a rod until a last they started to come out the other end clean.


Finally I pushed some rag through, just to make sure I had got all the old grease or oil out of the steering column tube.042.thumb.jpg.161d56dd05e65e80a5b28ba90503ca7f.jpg

I now realise what somebody had done in the past. The brass offset tube that should be 'gently' rotated to adjust the pinion gear shaft and then clamped, had been hammered down to try and adjusted the slack in the steering. The 'slack' problem was not with the rack but the worn bolt and 'eye' that connects the rack to the drag link and the bolt and eye that I have already replaced with a bush at the other end of the drag link. That's why there were some miss placed hammer marks on the steering pinion shaft that I have removed in the lathe. What they had done was force the pinion gear forward so it was 'pushing' into the steering rack bottom plate and wearing this plate. After much contemplation whether or not to make a new plate, machine the scored part out, or think of some method of repairing the score marks I decided that as the pinion does not need to touch the bottom plate I would leave the plate as is.


This is the rack housing and you can see the rack and the bush I was talking about previously just above the rack in the photo.


Starting to put the rack back together. Amongst my old tools I managed to find a spanner that fitted the slots in the adjustment bush.047.thumb.jpg.0ac6611127744619527a123b82497eca.jpg

Adjusting the pinion shaft to rack clearance with the 'special' spanner. When there is no slack and the rack moves easily, you tighten up the pinch bolt.049.thumb.jpg.616200f93a43cd243409a58e89db1090.jpg

Clamped up and the indent plate for the advance and retard mechanism fitted to the bottom of the rack.


All for now. I'll go out to the garage and do a bit more bodywork.

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Yes Roger, I was surprised to find the Humberette had a steering rack. I did not think that steering racks came in until much later. It just goes to show us Brit's where ahead of our time!!! Well, until the 60's and 70's when it all went 'pear shaped' with our car and motorcycle industries.


I have just received the photos from Soda Blast who cleaned up the body for me. I was very pleased with the results. http://www.sodablastingltd.co.uk/


In their blasting booth ready to blast.


All the inside wood and ash framing masked up.


Now the blasted body is ready for it's first coat of 2-pack etch primer and then 2-pack grey primer. I am very pleased with the results. This is the second body that they have blasted for me and I have been extremely pleased with their work. If you look at their website you can see a number of project they have worked on including cars for the Car SOS television programme.


Bring the Humberette home in our Ford Transit van. Would you believe you could get 4-wheels, 4-wings, the bonnet and the body of a car into the back of a Transit! The blue patch on the scuttle is the area I masked up to leave so that the paint could be matched up to the original.


The wheels are going to need some careful filling to remove the rust pits. At least with the blasting and etch primer should protect them for some time to come.


The body back on it's stand ready for the hard work of filling the moulding screw holes and the laborious rubbing down. I have ordered the 2-pack epoxy primer for the wooden parts. Does anybody know if it is OK for the epoxy primer to go over the normal 2-pack primer on the metal parts or should I mask up the metal parts that are primed and just spray the epoxy primer on the wooden parts? I have moved another dehumidifier into this workshop to help with the removal of moisture. I have also left the heater on at 18 degrees to try and keep the temperature constant in the workshop.


This is a photo of  a close up of the area that I 'T-cut' to find the original colour under the darker blue paint. It seems to be a bright Royal Blue. It is actually a brighter and deeper colour than it looks in the photo.



Where the end of the steering rack bolts to the drag link the bolt and the hole had worn and there was slack that a previous owner had tried to eliminate by the wrong adjustments on the rack itself. I cleaned up the hole in the rack end with a 0.2mm oversize drill and made an oversize bolt in my trusty Myford lathe. I then lapped the two parts together with some metal polish to obtain a nice smooth fit.


The steering wheel was cleaned up with plastic cleaner to remove the dirt. I was surprised to find that the steering wheel was made by Bluemel. I have always associated Bluemel steering wheels with 1930's sports cars.





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