Cockpit surround.

May 27th, 2012

During the week I was lucky with TradeMe and won several things of interest or that may be of use later on. I got a small fuse box, a 6 volt regulator box, a stop light, an Austin badge (that I will try casting a copy of) and a rather nice old grease gun.

IMG_2193_1 Parts.

Everything needs cleaning and restoring but I started with the grease gun.

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It came apart easily and it is well made. The only tricky thing is the nut on the end of the piston is held with a tiny split pin. I didn’t realise when I took it apart since it was caked in dried grease. When I undid the nut the pin sheared. I replaced it with a new one. A little tricky since you have to do it inside the barrel.

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I didn’t bother polishing it. I just gave it a quick clean on the outside. It works well. You screw in the handle which caused the small tube with the nozzle to slide out. You then put that against the grease nipple and push. It works quite well!

I also received some parts I ordered from the US from Restoration Supply Company. Their prices were great and the shipping reasonable. The parts arrived very quickly too. From them I got a Boyce motometer and some bonnet strap quick release clips.

IMG_2224_1 Motometer and clips.

The motometer will look great from the cockpit way down the end of the bonnet. Not sure I will be able to see the bloody thing!

Today I started on the metal for the cockpit surround. This will be a single continuous piece of tube to make the edge of the cockpit but I am making it in four pieces. I started with the nearside front. Basically you just bend the tube by hand using the vice, blocks of wood, brute strength, etc until it’s the right shape. If it’s not the right shape bend it some more. I also got out the favourite stick again so I could check that the lines were still correct. Getting that first  one right took me about 3 hours with lots of looking and tweaking to get it right. I removed some of the cardboard skin so I could see what I was doing.

IMG_2229_1 IMG_2231_1 Front left corner.

That tacked in place I then started on the rear near side. That has one 90 degree bend that I did around a wooden block but the rest was bend by hand free form. It’s tricky since the bends in it aren’t simple. Adjust one bend and everything else goes out of whack.

IMG_2234_1 IMG_2235_1 Rear left corner.

For the rear one I cut away the middle support and inserted a wooden dowel. I was then able to slide the tube I was bending onto that to locate it to see what the fit was like. I added in lots of extra bracing with scrap tube to keep everything in position. Most of that will be removed when the frame is welded up properly.

Once I had the rear tube pretty close I welded one end in place and added even more bracing. Then I simply bent it on the car by hand until the shape was right. The two pieces join at the lowest point of the passenger cut away. I replaced the cardboard to see if the shape was still correct (interestingly the rear piece I removed I was able to reuse as it went back exactly the same as it was before). I used brown tape to wrap over the edges.

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It might need a little tweaking still but I really like the shape and it looks right from all around the car. Next the drivers side, same deal. Two pieces joined in the middle. When that is in place I can cut away the tube down the middle of the cockpit and really see what it looks like. I find at the moment it divides the space making it hard to take in all in.

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