It is a busy time of year for all of us and I am no exception to that. However, I still managed to squeeze in three sessions of painting this week. I've mentioned before that the black bitumen paint is a 'challenge' to work with (that's the polite way of putting it). I have had three challenging sessions this week and it is even more of a challenge when cold.
My focus at this point is to give the bus rigidity, reinstating floor channels in the lower saloon, which will allow me to put a floor back in. Along with those comes the waist rails and treated and repaired pillars. I'm still waiting on some brackets for the pillar feet at the rear of bay 3 (just in front of the long seats. Now bear in mind that all of the pillar feet brackets were too corroded to do anything with, as were all of the floor channels, so all of it is brand new. The floor channels are zinc coated steel and the brand new replacement brackets (made to original specifications) are bolted and welded on to each end. With treated ash fitted to the floor channels, I've then proceeded to treat all of it with black bitumen paint. The pillar feet brackets are new reproductions (for which Ken should take most of the credit for) and are welded and now also painted with black bitumen paint. None of this will ever need replacing in my lifetime, hopefully not in the lifetime of anyone who is alive now. The pictures show parts laid out and in the process of being painted. It's laborious as I have to do one side and wait for a couple of days for the paint to dry and harden, do the same for the other side and eventually touch up any bits missed and wait again.
I've also been working on treating the nearside waist rails, attached wood and the waist rail brackets (as seen in the pictures). I have not been idle.
None of it is yet ready to go back on the bus, but the plan is to get some fitted over Christmas. There is lots more work to do and hopefully I will have more spare time to do it as my other commitments are completed. Realistically I envisage completion as two years away, in part because those making the parts are not very interested in straying from their bread and butter work to do small ad hoc pieces like those that I require. This phase has involved a lot of that and I am hoping that there will be less of it going forward, plus I may be able to speed things up as I have now brought the CAD drawing aspect in-house.
I plan to post more info over the festive period, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here are some photos of the bus escaping from the dampness of the cold storage shed and airing in some pleasant December sunshine.