21 September 2018

September 2018 progress update

The frequency of the restoration updates is proportional to the progress. This is the third update in as many weeks, indicating that progress is good. She is still a skeleton right now, but it won’t be too long before her appearance changes.

It’s been a stormy week. The remnants of a hurricane and then two storms in two days. I must be barking to be four metres up in a cherry picker in gale force winds. But I’ve had some spare time that I have put to good use with some extremely long days getting filthy dirty with my labour of love. The near side framework was reassembled, ensuring all the timber follows straight lines along the length of the bus. I was then finally able to move on to bays 4 and 5 (upstairs over the platform) and the rear corner. The ‘D’ shaped window in bay 5 was removed - the window pan does not need any repairs, but had to come out to check the wood behind it. The piece at the bottom of it was rotten at both ends so had to be replaced. This is quite a deep bit of wood and (in my experience) is beyond doubt the most difficult piece to remove from the bus. It is wedged in to metal channel and held in place by a gazillion bolts and screws. This is the Excalibur of the RT. With all the screws and bolts cut, a three foot hardened steel crowbar hammered in behind the wood and pulled with all my might was rocking the whole bus side to side. This hardwood was the Peperami of all the hardwood on the vehicle. After an hour of gracefully trying to extract it, the mother of all drill bits was brought out to chomp it’s way through it, creating a shower of wood chippings. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Completing all the timber in the rear area of the near side meant that I could add some wood filler to some gaps and old screw holes, do some sanding, some brushing down of dirt and dust and add the metal and timber weatherproofing. This is where the wind comes in handy as sanding and brushing down outside in windy conditions means that it all just blows away up into the sky. I nearly blew away a few times too, but no excursion to Oz for me - I have far too much to be getting on with.

Essentially the near side is now finished. There’s the little matter of some windows and panels, but the bulk of the work is done. The off side is next - I anticipate that it will take two to three weeks to complete. It is actually worse than the near side, but it gets easier when you’ve done it once. I’m a dab hand now!

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