Saturday, July 7, 2012

Does Your Rubber Keep Slipping Off?

Sorry about the title but in my line of work I’ll never get to write about such a provocative subject again. Figured I better make the most of it while I had the chance. As if building great carriages wasn't enough we provide wit and humor free of charge.

 Lately there has been a lot of buzz stateside about rubber tires on modern carriages. There have been recent issues with rubber tires pealing off the wheels of European carriages. Most carriages that are imported to the states have steel wheels with rubber tires that are either bonded or vulcanized to a flat rim. This process is probably efficient for manufacturing but not so much for repairs. The photo below shows the tire of a typical import wheel.

As you can see the metal rim is thin. It is a flat piece of steel in which the rubber is bonded. If there is an adhesion failure the process of repair is not easy. I do not believe there are over the counter adhesives and processes available to make a good quality lasting repair.

During manufacturing the rubber is fused to the raw steel. The steel must be clean, chemically treated and then bonded to the rubber. The rubber tire is trimmed and finished after installation to the rim. It’s a complicated process and better suited for large scale production applications rather than putting rubber back on a couple wheels.

Bottom line there are no simple repairs. To do it right the wheel would need to be stripped of paint, chemically washed and new rubber installed through the same adhesion process. Then the wheel needs to be repainted. All things considered it’s probably easier to buy new wheels and the original manufacturer probably had that in mind.

We manufacture wheels and we may be able to offer you an aftermarket alternative to ordering new wheels from Europe. Our wheels are made with a channel rim which is more traditionally seen on American carriages. The metal rim itself is made of a “U” shaped channel. Rubber is extrusion molded to set into this channel. The rubber tire is designed with continuous holes for feeding of wire. These wires are stretched very tight and brazed together. After those connections cool the rubber is pressed closed over that connection.

There are two big advantages to this style of install. One the rim can be powder coated rather than traditionally painted. Powder coat is much more durable than paint. Number two if the rubber were to fail again it can be repaired locally.

Our process is a conversion from the bonded tire to the channel type tire. We have done this in the past with very good success. It is a cost effective solution to shipping new wheels from Europe and makes future repairs much easier.

Basically we remove the hub from your wheel. The spokes are manually cut (shown in photo above) and the exterior of the hub is then machined to clean and true up the outer surface. We build a new wheel around it with new spokes and a steel channel tire. The wheel is then powder coated and channel type rubber installed. This gives you a new wheel with the ability to repair or replace rubber at numerous locations in the states.

Depending on the wheel and the color this process will run about $1,000 to $1,200 per pair for new wheels. Please remove the bearings from the wheels prior to shipment. You can ship the entire carriage if you wish and we can do the complete replacement as another option. Removal and re-installation is done on a time and material basis.

I wish there was a simple solution to this but it’s really more complicated than just putting on new rubber. We have found this concept to be a good way to solve the problem and make future repairs much easier.

Have a great weekend...

Ciao! T

Friday, November 12, 2010

Brewster Park Drag #25895

Every time I post a new blog I seem to say the same thing so let’s get that part over with and move on. “Sorry I’ve been too busy to blog, bla, bla, bla…” There got that out of the way. But we have been busy. Juggling a lot of balls, or flaming torches, or rubber chickens these days. Pick your pleasure. Some good restorations going on in the shop. We are about midway on an Albany Cutter, wrapping up a Portland Door Cutter and getting a good roll on a Studebaker Sailor Wagon. All good fun.

I wanted to share a number of photos from a recent project. It was a pretty good sized project and it turned out spectacular. It is Brewster Park Drag #25895 built May 18th 1912 for D.R. Hanna. This could very well be the last Coach built by Brewster. It has many unique features that coincide with the order direction to be built extra light. The axles are equipped with Timken Roller Bearing hubs per the specification.

We acquired the coach in New England for a client and dove right into restoration. The majority of the original finish had been stripped. Some of it was painted and some was stained and varnished. It had been in rather damp storage for a number of years but all in all the coach was a very solid and intact vehicle.

The wheels are traditional Brewster and all original. It appeared the hubs were a bit oversized to accommodate the original roller bearing boxing inside. All the original Brewster oil caps were in place and in good condition. This vehicle weighed in at about 1,800 pounds and with roller bearing hubs it moved effortlessly.

The original Brewster lamps were with the coach and in very solid condition.

Interior was all original and complete. Notice the simplicity. No buttons. I believe this was done to keep the weight as light as possible on this coach. The new interior leatherwork done by Greg Hunt was an exact duplication of the original.

One of the first steps is removal of the body.

There was only one cracked panel on the front boot below the toe board. Here we are in the early stages of stripping the main body and replacing the panel.

The chassis was dismantled, stripped and shown here in first coat primer.

The lamps were very solid and pretty straight for the most part. After minor repairs they were stripped and then into primer.

Here we have the body in final coat primer. It has been wet sanded and ready for first coats of base color.

Our wheels in first coat primer after sanding and ready for another.

The body in first coat base color black. Much wet sanding, color and clear to follow.

We completed the chassis, striping and all before we installed the body. Here the body is coming down and Dale is aligning the fasteners. Once it’s down with a couple bolts holding it in place everyone can take a deep breath.

Outside in the sun after completion.

Find a ripple if you can. Flawless paint and preparation by the crew at Frey Carriage Company.

Beautiful details.

The completed interior in a soft chocolate leather. The simple interior is very unusual.

The chassis was just gorgeous. Deep red with vermilion stripe per the original specification. We were lucky to find some original red intact on the window shades to make a match.

A very striking Coach at any angle. It was a privilege to bring it back to life. You can click on any photo to see a larger view.

We have numerous new arrivals at the showroom. Stop by sometime for a look. We are going to be planning some sort of open house in the near future but have not picked a date as of yet. We’ll keep you posted.

Have a great Weekend!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Do the Times Compare?

It was a time of big changes. The photo is not dated but it probably dates around 1920. Some old car buffs ought to be able to date this one for me. The card is titled Sentinel - Autos at Columbus Wis. At this point the automobile has been solidly cemented as the preferred form of transportation. But it wasn’t too many years prior that photo would have been a street full of buggies.

The automobile was a huge mechanical advancement for the average American at that time. Such changes they were witnessing to go from the horse and buggy to a self propelled vehicle. The Wright’s had flown their airplane. What a marvel. Are we in the midst of similar times? It certainly seems that way. There are many difficult transitions taking place today much like the challenges that faced manufacturers at this time. But it lead to a better life for most families. Some my argue that but most agree for American’s easy travel meant easy street.

So work on the Portland Door Cutter continues. After the new body panels were in place everything was trimmed and fitted. The new door openings needed to be cut to fit the existing doors which is really kind of touchy. There are a number of compound angles and curves going on so it can be a challenge to get a good fit.

The body was then primed in our urethane sanding primer. After priming the body goes through a sanding with 220 before heading back to the booth for the final coats of primer.

This photo shows the body after the final sanding ready for paint. The body has been wet sanded with 320 then 600 grit papers. The body is now very smooth, level and ready for a fresh coat of black paint.

The doors are ready for paint as well.

The runners and the springs were painted today. The original sleigh was painted deep maroon on the runners with black paint on the body. All striping was fine line gold so we are matching all the original details. By the next time you see this sleigh the body will be in paint and we will be ready to begin striping.

Have a great Weekend!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Sleigh Ride

Can you believe we are a month past the longest day of the year? As usual summer is going really fast. We have been very busy working in the shop on a number of different fronts. It’s great to be busy but that always tends to make the summer fly by.

Been finding some cool Columbus postcards lately. This one titled Fishing is Good at Columbus, Wis. is a great image. This photo has to be real. It was long before Photoshop. Some nice walleyes being pulled from the Mighty Craw. I’m guessing it’s been a few years since walleyes of that stature have been landed at the local watering hole.

We are well on our way through this project. It is a very attractive Portland Door Cutter that is in need of some serious attention. This sleigh is a Wisconsin family heirloom. I think that is the coolest thing. Family carriages or in this case a sleigh still around to pass through the generations.

We have really ripped into this sleigh over the month of July. If you look closely in the first photo the runners were completely rotted along the bottom in need of replacement. So everything comes apart, blasted replaced and primed in first coat as we see here. All the metal parts, springs and the whole shebang is hanging in the booth.

Don't ask me why this picture is yellow. I'm not sure what's up with that but the camera was not digging the lighting. The body was a bit worse for the wear as well. The dash and back panels were split and delaminating. The side panels were cracked and warped. We took the body down to the main frame and started from scratch. The original area for the doors had warped and the doors no longer fit the openings. It was like the body swelled leaving the door openings larger than the doors and way out of whack. We reshaped the side frame pieces and rough cut new sides.

The back panel was split and delaminating so we replaced that as well. That was the starting point. Back panel was installed and the sides were then made to fit. The openings for the doors were rough cut then finish cut after the installation of the doors.

Last but not least came the dash. Today Bob installed a new one. We normally cut the pieces oversized and square as shown here. A rough pattern of the finish dash is drawn on as a guide and then all glued up and fastened. In the morning Bob will remove the screws and cut the dash to the final shape.

I had a friend ask me to blog about the Independence Day carriage accident in Iowa. In case you have not heard there was a runaway horse and carriage in a July 4th parade in Bellview IA. One passenger in the vehicle was thrown from the carriage and died from her injuries. Multiple injuries along the route. This accident made big news. There was actually another fatality in Iowa over the 4th with another parade accident. That one didn’t make so much news. To be honest I’m not sure what I think of it. Horses are never 100% predictable. Sometimes shit happens. Sorry to be so nonchalant about that but it might just be an accident and nothing more. Without being there to witness any of this I would tend to believe that to be the case. Interacting with large animals can be dangerous at times. Most things in life worth enjoying involve a certain amount of risk and I guess sitting watching a parade does too. That being said I do hear from a lot of drivers that refuse to drive parades. When you think about the possibilities of a runaway and picture that happening on a street lined with people it is really scary. Can’t say as I blame them.

Have a great Wednesday!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Political Pressure

So I’m taking some heat from several of my constituents to get back to work blogging. Writing a blog is really quite fun but for some reason my ADHD gets in the way. I can’t remember a report card as a kid that didn’t say “Todd struggles to pay attention”. I get way too many ideas rattling around in this noggin of mine and I’m always compelled to act on all of them. So what have I been up to you ask?

Well I started running again. Here is a shot of yours truly ready to run his first 5K in a few years. I’ll have you know that I’ve been told that I look like Superman in running shorts in this photo. So with that I am inspired to run my next 5K in leotards, a Superman shirt, and of course a red cape. See if you can spot me in the lineup.

Remember the Trap Sleigh project that we started on in the last blog? Well it’s done. Damned if I can find the pictures of it but it’s done. So the placeholder above is waiting for me to locate those shots. It came together very quickly and turned out beautifully. As you may recall I had a very tight deadline so we really didn’t have a good chance for a nice photo shoot. I’ll track them down and get back at you on that one.

The Columbus Carriage Classic was this past weekend. That is always a big event for Columbus. We were busy as usual over the course of the weekend although this year I took a huge step back in my obligations to the show. The last eleven years have been a blast but sometimes a person needs a breather. We hosted a party on Saturday evening which was very well attended. Even until the wee hours of the morning. The photo above is by my buddy Rod taken at the 2009 Columbus Carriage Classic.

A big project that rolled out the door since my last blog was this Brewster Park Drag restoration. A spectacular vehicle that we are so proud to have restored. Projects like this are interesting but one thing about them is they seem to go on forever. Details, details, details. Whew.

We’ve spent the last few weeks working on a shop renovation. We were in pretty dire straights for some additional workspace in all areas. Adding on wasn’t in the cards right now so we chose to reorganize and make the most of what we have. Some of you may recall our former showroom at our farm. That building has been very underutilized since our move downtown. We’ve made much better use of that building by creating a new final assembly area there which allowed us to gain a little more metal shop shown above.

So last on the list has to be The Great American Time Machine Experiment. My friends are pretty aware of the GATME project but there are a whole bunch of you out there that are not. Well, I must say it’s the best idea I’ve had yet. We are going to move forward on that project this year with the GATME festival happening in 2011 in Columbus. Now that I’ve given you enough information to think I’m completely over the edge I think I’ll leave it at that. Maybe tomorrow I’ll expand on this thought to start the momentum.

Have a great Tuesday!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Midwest Horse Fair Weekend

There are not too many equine events in America that rival the Midwest Horse Fair. The event starts today and runs through the weekend in Madison at the Alliant Energy Center. The event attracts over 50,000 spectators over the course of the weekend. If it has anything to do with a horse, it's there. Take a day to hit the fair. It’s quite the experience.

The Mustang Marathon is another one of the available options in our WCC lineup. This Mustang single horse marathon is FEI in weight and width. Weight is 350 lbs. It is priced at $7,995 including shafts. It performs as great as it looks.

Our Trap Sleigh project is in pieces. The body is really solid other than a couple of cracked panels that are being replaced. As you can see we have the lions share of the body stripped. We have some areas that will go into hard coat sealer and we should have the body in primer early next week.

The front seat sections that flip upward have been removed and stripped as well. This is the left side seat. They are in nice solid condition. Bob has the dings and nicks filled with polyester and this part is ready for primer.

This is the other side. It has been pretty much stripped and as you can see has some very nice detail. The louvered panels really add a lot of dimension to the vehicle. The rounded top of that side panel was a fairly typical detail on Traps such as this.

All of the wood parts needed for upholstery have been stripped and are ready for primer. As I mentioned the other day our plan is getting all the parts that are upholstered in paint first. That way we will be working on upholstery as the rest of the project moves along.

The runners are coming along nicely. They are just about completely stripped. The other side of the dash still has paint on that needs to be removed. By the end of the day on Monday I would think that should be ready for primer too.

While you are traveling to and from the Horse Fair stop by our showroom. We are a little over a half an hour from the Horse Fair site. Sounds like it will be a lovely weekend in Wisconsin.

Have a great weekend!


Monday, April 12, 2010

The Season Is Upon Us

If you have not had the chance lately take a look at our website. We have just completed a pretty serious redux and I’m quite pleased with it. We are adding some new features that we will be expanded as time goes by. We have included a new video page with some of our favorites. You can find that on the main menu. Speaking of video Tim Maloy has another new one out called Montage. Kind of a collage of 2009 competition in slow motion. Very cool and I have attached it below for your viewing pleasure.

Driving Montage from Tim Maloy on Vimeo.

Now that I have you all fired up about the 2010 driving season you will need a new vehicle too. We are in the process of building up our WCC inventory so keep watch for new arrivals. We are putting together a container as we speak and at this point we are focusing on the WCC Mustang lineup.

We are a few months out on receipt of our container but we will be bringing in some new inventory a little sooner than that. Shown above is the Mustang M200 Compact Wagonette. Coming in at 440 pounds this vehicle works well for both singles and pairs. Shown with pneumatic tires it’s also available with solid rubber tires. It sells complete with your choice of pole or shafts for $7,995. Equipped with both for and additional $550 and set up with two sets of wheels for an additional $1,200. This carriage is an ideal combination training, pleasure and marathon carriage.

As the week progresses I post more photos of the WCC Marathon carriages. Meanwhile back the ranch we are just in the process of diving into the Trap Sleigh restoration. The seats have been removed and we are in the early process of removing all the metal parts for blasting.

Our schedule is pretty tight on this project. We have a little less than six weeks to pull this project from here to the finished restoration. Part of the plan is beginning with the seats so we can get at the upholstery while the guys at the shop are still working on the rest. The seats have been pulled out, cushions removed and paint stripping will begin tomorrow.

This is the rein rail and the arm rests removed form the body. These parts will be plated and so they are going to be shipped off this week.

In the trim shop Ryanne is going ahead pulling together what she can so she is ready to upholster as soon as parts are ready. The existing fabric was a green wool broadcloth which we will be matching both in fabric and color. She has sewn up enough piping and webbing to trim out all the seat cushions.

Other than that a pretty uneventful weekend. Worked around home on Saturday and picked up a load of hay on Sunday. What a great way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. Loading hay. woohoo.

Have a great Monday!