June has finally brought some warmer weather and it’s full speed ahead with restoration work. I finished the flooring in the lower saloon with the exception of the outer thirds in bay 3. This is because the brackets for the pillar between bays 3 and 4 are still not complete, although the parts have been sourced so they will be ready by the end of the month. I repaired the kick plates for the long seats as they were badly corroded and it was necessary to remove the rear half of each in order to fit the riser. Now reinstated, I also spent a few days underneath the rear end, applying rust treatment to corroded parts and painting the underside of many of the parts (chassis and mechanical bits excluded). The riser received another protective coat along with some of the underside of the platform.
The front bulkhead offside received a new coving panel support bracket as the old one came off in several rusty pieces. New steel coving panels for the lower saloon were cut a while ago and I have now had these rolled. They were oversize, so also had to be trimmed to the correct dimensions and have received a coat of primer on the reverse. The next step with them will be to apply primer to the inside surface before turning them over once again and finishing the reverse with paint. The reverse is not seen, but is indirectly exposed to the elements from below and they have a history of corroding here, so will get extra attention from me to prevent that going forward. Once finished, these coving panels will be pressed into place using some shaped blocks of wood that I made and clamps, before fixing with screws and nut/bolt combinations as appropriate.
Following on down with the wood from the pillars, I started on the vertical supports for the lower panels. The nearside front bulkhead was first, the supporting bracket had not been removed from the bus and was treated in situ. The wood needed to be fitted before the front wing could be added back to the bus. This also had further treatment as immediately after it was done the first time, the bus was shunted and parked under a hole in the roof of the shed and it rained heavily that night, leaking directly down onto the freshly primed wing. This caused the metal beneath to flash rust. The wing has been sanded down again and had further body filler added, resanded, coated with primer, sanded and coated again. The front mudguard has received a lot of my attention (not the same one that was on the bus when I bought it – this one was in Aldenham primer, but not brand new as first thought – this one had been repaired and painted in primer to await use). I rubbed this down and filled blemishes with body filler (sand down and repeat a whole bunch of times). When I was happy with the result, I drilled holes for the retaining bolts and sprayed with etch primer. The mudguard was connected to the bus with some temporary bolts through the reconditioned rubber strip. It will be added permanently at a later date.
I also repaired the cant rail support channel over the canopy and the same on the offside.
The support wood for the lower section on the nearside between bays 1 and 2 was cut and shaped and I opted to trim back the outrigger wood to allow it to run unhindered to the bottom, which in my opinion provides a better and stronger panel support (and a smoother, better finish). Each of these has a metal bracket which connects to the outrigger and only one of the four from the central sections of the bus was salvageable. I tried sourcing some more, but was unsuccessful, so I fabricated three new ones. Cue the sound of me blowing my own trumpet, as these new brackets are pretty good. They are not exact replicas, but they’re actually stronger than the original ones. They have been treated with a rust inhibitor and painted in red oxide primer. They will be finished off in black bitumen paint before being added to the bus.
I previously mentioned that I was planning ahead to the roof and I used the LT drawings to create some hoopsticks. Unfortunately there are no drawings in the London Transport Museum’s repository for exactly what I want, as the roof was a one piece jicwood roof originally. I do have drawings though for hoopsticks for the front and rear of this and they have enabled me to design a hoopstick arrangement that can be used for each section, connecting with bolts to the tops of the pillars. Version 1 was not rigid enough and version 2 resulted in oversize tags. Version 3 will pair the strength of version 2 with some off the shelf heavy duty right angle braces and should provide me with a solution. Bear in mind that I am having to create something new, something that has not been done before, but something that I consider a challenge. I have also found the wood to sandwich between the hoopsticks and the source for it is not one that you’d expect, but I am keeping it a secret until a later date.