Sunday, May 10, 2009

If Mama's Happy, Everybody's Happy!

by Guest Blogger Vicki Nelson Bodoh

For those mothers who are also carriage drivers, my Mother's Day may sound perfect. My husband, Jim, helps me muck stalls and then gets on his tractor to mow the dressage arena, cones course area and driving trails. After breakfast, we hook the pair, do a little work in the arena, drive the trails a bit and head out on our country roads for a nice ten mile drive with a "cruise" through the local winery included. Back home with the ponies in the pasture, we take the dog for a four mile walk, do farm chores, clean up and head to town to our local gourmet restaurant for a 7:30 seating. It's perfect--no Mother's Day brunch to interrupt a day where I get to do all my favorite things and dinner at night, that I don't have to prepare, when I am ready to rest.

The skeleton gig taking shape on the blog is mine. It is a cob-size reproduction of a Kimball carriage once owned by Jack Thompson, Richmond, IL. Todd found the carriage with my help and the original is for sale at his repository. My goal with the gig Todd is building is to have a two-wheel vehicle for use in pleasure shows. It must be light, look as much like an antique as possible, be sporty and high enough for a good view.

We are at the point of choosing paint colors--black and what? I know I want sporty tan Bedford cord upholstery as it shows gray pony hair and dust much less than wool broadcloth. I know I want battleship linoleum on the floor and toe board--no dash in case I want to use it with a tandem. I call two antique carriage experts--Jack Day, Maryland collector and Joe Jennings, New Jersey paint expert. Jack makes suggestions and sends photos of striping patterns from his collection. Joe tells me--vermilion, either English or American, perhaps with some darker pigment added to give it a nice rich color. He also gives me a thirty minute lecture on the chemical composition of vermilion and why it was produced for the gear of antique carriages. The chemical composition makes it the first "rustoleum" paint. Both Jack and Joe agree that the striping should be black, bold and that there should be a minimum amount.

Todd tells me that the gig will soon be ready for paint. The experts have spoken. I can't wait to see the results.


Peter said...

I just have to tell you how much I have enjoyed your new blog. I really enjoy seeing the before and after pictures. You and your crew are true wizards. Please keep it up. It's the first thing I check on the internet when I get home at night.
I have particularly enjoyed the pictures of the skeleton gig. There is something about the curve of those rear braces that just pulls at me. Do you have any pictures of making the seat?
Pete & Nolie
Clippity Clopping Down the Road in Georgia

Toddersville said...

Hi Pete,

Well thanks for those kind words. The Gig is a fun project and it is coming along nicely. Much of the inspiration for the body of this carriage comes from the C.P. Kimball tandem cart linked below.

We are on a mission to keep this vehicle light weight so it is a bit shorter and we've eliminated the wicker basket behind the seat. The curved irons were inspired by the original Kimball. I've posted most of the photos that I have taken along the way so not much more to see there.

Nice website. It looks like you have a lot of fun driving. Hope we cross paths along the way.


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