July 19th, 2011

Obviously when you undertake a project like this you are going to need somewhere suitable to store and work on it. Now I happen to be very lucky here and am blessed with not one but two garages! My house, when I bought it, came with a small, single car, wooden garage. Oddly I think the garage originally belonged to the house next door and was probably built in the 1920s/30s. When they subdivided it seems the garage went with the new property. You can see where the original door was opening out onto the original house.

I also have a nice, fairly new double garage I had build when I was half way through my MG restoration. It houses my MGB, my tools and has plenty of space for restoring another car. It would be the most practical place for restoring the A7. What is doesn’t have however is the right atmosphere! The wooden garage is a much more suitable a place for building a vintage car, it being around the same vintage as the car itself. Now my mate Dave accused me of being ‘artistic’ with this thinking but such things are important. As my friend Mike would say it is in my own particular idiom.

IMG_9824_1_1 Wooden garage.

The spare garage is was rather dark and dingy and full of rubbish left over from restoring the MGB. It has also suffered over the years from borer beetle. In the time I have lived here I have had the walls repaired, the roof and gutters replaced and recently had the house and garage painted. So the outside of it is fine. I even added the nifty railway themed weathervane you see above.

The first job was to clear it out. All the old MG parts that were no use got thrown out. Lots of old paint tins, wood and all manner of other junk went out too. I had to get in a 3m skip to contain it all. Apparently such a well organised rubbish skip was highly amusing to my friend Paula. You get that on the big jobs though.

IMG_0089_1_1 IMG_0090_2 Rubbish.

The biggest issue with old cars is usually rot. I had that problem BEFORE the car even arrived! The garage had suffered over the years from borer and water damage so I set about cleaning and repairing it. In the pictures below you can see how dirty it was and the damage done by the borer. On the end wall some timber had completely rotted away so that wall wasn’t actually sitting on anything solid!

IMG_0079_2 IMG_0081_1 IMG_0082_1_1

Garage before repairs.

I first removed all the damaged timber. You can see how timber that has a few small borer holes on the outside can be totally weakened on the inside. Some pieces of wood were like a sponge! I had previously had some of that wood repaired by a builder but they didn’t replace it all and in some places simply nailed up new timber next to the rotten pieces instead of removing them. I went and removed all the damaged wood and replaced it. Along the rear wall I dug out the remains of the rotten base and in it’s place poured concrete. Once set I put down building paper and a new base plate of 2×4. I also replaced some of the studs for solid new ones. I didn’t find any evidence of live borer in any of the timber I removed but I have treated the existing timber and will treat all the new timber also.  I also put a timed insect sprayer in the garage to hopefully keep it clear of insects and spiders.

IMG_0102_1 IMG_0103_1 IMG_0119_1

Borer damage.

The other thing I replaced was the roof beam. Note the singular. That was also half eaten by borer. I also discovered there should have been another one when I discovered where it had previously been nailed in. Oddly I have had two different builders in there over the years, one who replaced the entire roof, and neither said anything about missing beams. I decided to replace both the rotten beam and the missing one with soild 3x4s. My mate Grant helped me transport them one morning (4.8m long 3x4s won’t fit in an MG!) and I spent the day putting them in place. A bit tricky by myself but I got there in the end. The beams were bolted to the roof rafters so I was able to drill the holes then tie a rope though them to hold one end of the beam in place while I positioned the other end. I did need to remove a section of timber (that I had just replaced damn it!) in order to lift the beams into position but that was easy to replace after the job was done. As well as replacing rotten timber I also gave the whole place a coat of cream/white paint whenever I found some time. It has certainly brightened the place up.

IMG_0124_1 IMG_0126_1 IMG_0127_1

IMG_0132_1 IMG_0141_1_1 IMG_0146_1

Replacing roof beams and painting.

I still have a few small things to do like repairing the small door and finishing up the painting of the new timber but the garage is now clean, dry and solid so should make a good home for the new project. And more importantly it has the right atmosphere. As Grant said it is very English.


One Response to “Preparations.”

  1. Sean Kerrigan Says:

    I having tryed a few times to build a car and now about to start for the thrid time at fifty realise having a shed to do it in is of prime importance and have some nice huge timbers from a huge CNC milling machine to frame up from. I love the Austin 7 style but will build from A30 parts with a few extras like traverse leaf springs and will aim at a hybrid of lod and new ideas. Yesterday I picked up 3 morris 8 spoked wheels which is kinda telling me it’s going to be a real mixup of parts. I will be reading your blog through to the ends savouring every part as I balance my artistic make it up as one goes along with needing real money to do such things as building one off cars in the backyard in illegal buildings. Cheers Mate and all the best!

Leave a Reply