Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sonny and Extreme Ironing

So this is our dog Sonny. He's an ex-con that we picked up at a homeless shelter. Long history of complete disregard for the laws of society but he's trying to get his life together. He still has one big vice that he refuses to give up on. He eats poop. Just loves the stuff. His preference is llama of which we have plenty of those tasty morsels laying around the place. Jeez.

Today's project is beginning on the fabrication of the ironwork for the Skeleton Gig. We have pretty much wrapped up construction of the body as of yesterday. Now we just need to figure out how to hold it in the chassis. The rear supports are a gracefully curved uprights starting at the rear frame and going up to the bottom of the seat.

We started with a piece of 1" diameter by 14 gauge steel tube. We bent the shape in our homebuilt large diameter bender. The trick is getting the right diameter on the bend to fit the body shape. I think we pulled that off and it looks proper. Now fabricating the end connections. The brace needs to fasten to a 2" wide rear frame support on the bottom and it just bolts under the seat which is a much simpler connection on the top.

That lower connection turned into a fairly complicated connection for a simple brace. Making sure the connection is strong enough to support the weight of the body and the passengers is of course pretty important. So we put a bolt coming down through the top and a back faceplate that will bolt through the back side of the frame cross brace. That will give us three 3/8" fasteners spread out over a 4" area. That will not be going anyplace anytime soon.

The toeboard supports and under body frame proved to be much easier projects. We liked the detail on the original Kimball vehicle that was the inspiration for much of this body design. It was 2" wide flat stock on the top side and another 2" wide support on the bottom. Of course on the Kimball the edges are well eased all around the perimeter of the metal brace. So quite a bit of time on our end spend grinding down the square top edges of the flat steel.

New subject tomorrow. We are midway through the construction of a new Marathon Carriage. I think we may just dig out a few photos of that project.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Skeleton Gig Construction

We are excited to offer a window into the work that happens on a day to day basis at Frey Carriage Company. We are a full service builder and restorer of horse drawn vehicles. We produce a variety of new vehicles from high tech steel framed cross country vehicles to one of a kind show carriages. With over 15 years in the business of carriage restoration and construction we are a leading source for all things horse drawn. We look forward to sharing detailed information about our trade on this forum.

We are in the early stages of building a large pony sized Skeleton Gig for a Midwest client. Click on any of the photos to enlarge. The construction of this vehicle was started in early April and is progressing nicely. The vehicle will be used as a show carriage at a variety of shows across North America. It is a new original vehicle designed and built by Frey Carriage Company.

This vehicle is a hybrid of sorts. The chassis is a commonly seen platform spring suspension on straight shafts. The front spring mounts are shaped in a traditional loop fashion. The wheels are wood hub with offset spokes and roller bearing boxings.

The character of the floor, toe board, and seat are inspired from an Antique Tandem Cart by one of the master historic coach makers C.P. Kimball of Chicago. The storage box is an original concept and the rear body supports are of traditional lines. So far I think it works pretty well.

I think one of the biggest challenges in carriage design are proportions. Finding that right combination between flow and style is much more challenging than one one might think. Duplicating an antique carriage is one thing. Creating a completely new design is another. But that's still one of the best parts of my job. I'm really looking forward to getting this vehicle a little further along so I can move it outside. I find vehicles look much different outdoors than in the shop.

Thanks for taking the time to read my first post. I look forward to moving the Skeleton Gig into the metal shop tomorrow to start producing the ironwork fittings for the body and frame.

Have a great day!

Todd Frey