So today we have a small project that is rapidly nearing the finish line. A new set of shafts for a Wicker Ladies Phaeton. This carriage belongs to a client and it just happens to be missing its original shafts. For those of you that are not drivers the shafts are the long wood parts that fasten to the front axle of the carriage and extend up each side of the horse. All single horse carriages have shafts and on four wheeled carriages such as this they are typically removable.
The original carriage has Bradley coupling fasteners on the axle so we match the hardware on the new shafts with the antique carriage. The Bradley Coupling was a patented design of shaft coupler that was basically a ball and socket. The ball could be clamped tight in the socket and it provided a connector that did not rattle like a bolt or pin through an eye.
So off track here a little but one of the most time consuming parts of carriage restoration is sanding primer. The shafts that we are painting today have already been primed and sanded to be prepared for paint. Taking wood objects and making them look like glass is no easy task. Here Brandon is sanding a wheel making it ready for a second coat of primer.
Every part of a carriage is dismantled, and primed and sanded twice prior to paint.
Springs are completely dismantled and each leaf is blasted, primed and sanded before it goes back together.
So back to the shafts. The original carriage is medium blue. We have matched the blue and they are painted by afternoon.
These shafts will need to cure for a few days before they can really be worked with. The paint dries to the touch but it is pretty tender for several days. By the end of the week we will be able to install shaft trim and pinstripe. A nice shade of blue don’t you think?