Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cheryl Frey Interiors

I’m going to take an opportunity it introduce you to a new blog. For all the years we have been together my wife Cheryl has been a creative force in whatever we embark upon. The two of us have been restoring shacks, homes, buildings, furniture, carriages or whatever we happen upon along the way.

Cheryl is passionate about interior design and decorating. The challenges of color and texture on all of our renovation projects have landed squarely in her lap. We felt it was a good time to expand on that natural ability and use those talents to help other clients with their decorating projects. So is the beginning of Cheryl Frey Interiors. From interior painting and decorating to furniture and d├ęcor selection Cheryl can help make your project a success. Check out her site below.

We continue work on the Kimball Bachelor Brougham. The body is now ready for paint. It has been detail sanded and Dale will begin putting on color later this week.

The upper portions of the body will be black and the lower recessed panels will be a deep forest green. Dale will begin by painting the majority of the body black and work from there. It is a heavy body but it will be hung from the ceiling in the paint booth to be painted.

Many of the small components of that restoration have been painted. Here is a step cover which is fastened to one of the doors. When you open the door it swings along with the door to expose the step to enter the coach.

The other project that continues to progress is the Albany Cutter restoration. The runners have been put into first coat primer and Brandon began the sanding process on those this afternoon.

The parts that have been blasted are now in primer as well. They will each be sanded individually before seeing another coat of primer later in the week.

Bob in the meantime has been busy working on the body. He has all of the joints and splits stabilized and has both the inside and the outside of the body covered in a layer of hard coat sealer. Here you can see a fresh coat covering an area that required additional attention. The balance of the body has already been coated and sanded. It should be ready for some primer by later today.

Have a great Wednesday.


Monday, September 28, 2009

One of My All Time Fav’s

I really enjoy a wide variety of architecture. Right now some of my favorite is the mid-century modern work of the 50’s and 60’s. Both exterior and interior details of this style are appealing to me. The clean lines and blocky proportions just seem to get me going. I think it blends well with certain landscaping and I think these folks have done a great job of that too. Kind of minimalist in some ways and again done in large masses.

I really like this house a lot. It's over in Sheboygan along our walking route. Not the greatest photo of it but in my eye a pretty groovy house. I’ll have to send my buddy Rod over to take a good picture. I would love to spend an hour on their lawn taking pictures as I think some of the details are really fun. What is really great about this house is that it has not been messed with. That is important to me no matter what era the building is be it Queen Anne to Contemporary. No one has tried to make this house into something it’s not. That is a very common occurrence and it NEVER works. Want to wreck your historic home? Put a ranch style two car garage on the end of it. That’ll do it.

We are putting up a few more photos and details about the Road Cart that I pictured last week. What a great little cart. This is a modern vehicle designed and constructed from a vintage design. We built this vehicle a few years ago and it sold to a client that barely used it for one year.

It was done in natural finish with a tufted seat in black vinyl. The dash is also done in black with a brass rein rail.

It has an attractive look from behind and includes a spares box under the seat. It is fully striped in black. The advantage road carts have over other models are they are very light in comparison. They have the light basket body and a single half elliptic spring which keeps the weight under control. They are traditionally a rear entry from an axle step and this one has a folding seat back to make that easier.

Now for the bad news. This one was stored in the previous owners barn in a clean dry area. Unfortunately the kitties in the barn had access to that space as well. You know what happens when cats with sharp claws meet up with upholstery. So there are numerous tiny little claw marks in the seat. Not noticeable from a distance but obvious up close. So other than that this cart is in perfect condition and it is priced at $3,400.

Have a great day.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Somebody Loves Me

I have no tolerance for the couch. I sit on it and I fall asleep. I lay down on it and five minutes I‘m out. Something about that thing that just puts me in a slumber. On the rare occasion that we put a movie in our VCR (yes, I said VCR) I sit on the coach and fall asleep. I might make it half way through depending on the movie.

The other night was no exception. I came in from a late night at the office and thought I would just sit there for a minute. So guess what. I fell asleep. Sonny’s (that’s the dog) all time favorite thing in the world is to lay down on the couch with me. He knows if I’m tossing the pillows off we are getting ready to crash. Well I guess it’s a dogs life.

New projects. We have new projects. I’m going to introduce you to a couple today and you will be seeing much more of both of them over the next few weeks. The first is an Albany Cutter restoration. It was a local piece with a manufacturers tag but you know something, the maker’s name escapes me at the moment. Maybe it was Lull. I'll let you know. Bob and Brandon have been working on it for a week or so now and it’s coming along. The runners have been dismantled and stripped.

Bob has been working on the body. It is in nice solid condition other than the dash and one of the lower body panels. Bob has the body panel repaired but the dash has yet to be done. We like to get the front corners of the body in pretty good shape before we install the dash. Once the dash is in place it makes accessing that area difficult.

Today Brandon stripped the shafts and readied them for primer.

Along with the shafts he has been blasting metal runner parts to prepare them for primer. Blasting takes a lot of air. My air compressor is about ten years old and although it has served me well it is finally giving out. We managed to get through these parts. I don’t think we will be doing any others until we address the compressor issue.

And here is a very brief introduction to the Show Gig project we are embarking upon. It will be a variation of the Whiskey chassis with a much different body. Here we have the chassis and wheels together and I’m beginning construction of the body. It will be on the order of a Stanhope Gig cross bred with a Going to Cover Cart. We’ll see some large louvers in the sides and long flat fenders like the Going to Cover. The seat frame will be reminiscent of that vehicle as well but just a two person carriage. I have the body designed and it will be quite elegant but more nimble in appearance than a Going to Cover. This vehicle is being built for a Wisconsin client for her Friesian. She has chosen black for the primary color with gold striping and tan upholstery. In that combination it will be very classy.

This will have to serve as my Wednesday and Thursday blogs. Wednesday was crazy and I am off to Port Washington, Wisconsin on Thursday with a group of local people with an interest in downtown redevelopment. Port is a really great little town on the shore of Lake Michigan. This day trip organized by the City of Columbus through the CDA and our Economic Development Director. Port has been working hard on their historic downtown redevelopment. I’m looking forward hearing how they made things happen.

Have a great day.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Hate To Bring This Up But…

I keep getting scolded for talking about the pending doom we face. It’s coming and I’m scared. Really scared. It’s not going to be good. Don’t scroll down beyond this point unless you are on solid ground emotionally.

Winter. It’s going to snow and be cold. I used to love winter. I think the last couple have just taken their toll. We have had those old fashioned winters where it snows just about every day and doesn’t melt until spring. Getting through November and December are still a breeze but the rest of it can get a pretty long. I did take up skiing a few years ago so that helps. Rough part about that is I just sit here thinking about Colorado. Oh well, one way or the other I’ll get through it. The good news is it makes for great sleigh rides.

I thought I would just hit on a handful of nice vehicles that we have in stock right now. The first is an original Bobsleigh. Just remember winter is coming and this will make it a whole lot more fun. It has nice lines, solid condition and could make for a great project. It was built by C.F. Worthen & Co., Amesburry, MA and sells complete with a pole. A real bargain at $3,995.

If you follow American Carriage Builder you know that this vehicle was recently restored. It is a modern Pleasure Show Phaeton. It has not been put to since restoration. It looks spectacular and is priced at $8,495 with shafts. It is a large horse sized vehicle appropriate to around 16 hands.

Here we have a modern Road Cart built by us about seven or eight years ago. It was used for a season then the owner retired from driving. It is in excellent condition and would make a great pleasure or show cart. It is priced at $3,400 which is about half the going rate for a new one.

This two seat Albany could be a winter driver or restoration project. It is very solid and has outstanding lines. With winter right around the corner it’s a great opportunity to pick up an unusual sleigh. These two seat Albany’s a few and far between. It is priced at $6,995 and sells complete with pole and shafts.

This could make for a lovely show carriage. This light Shooting Break is in solid condition but in need of restoration if one would like to turn it out in the show ring. It is a horse sized vehicle with a makers tag from Chas Fritz, Southampton, NY. It sells with a pole and is priced at $9,495.

I’m just touching on a fraction of our current selection. Our showroom is filled with new, used and antique carriages of all types. If we don’t have it we can find it or build it. Our selection is as diverse as our clients and we look forward to working with you.

For some reason my post sounds like a sales pitch today. Usually I'm a little smoother than that. Must be the pending doom...

Have a great day.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Our Favorite Part Of Wisconsin

We made a quick day trip up to Door County last week. For those of you not familiar with Wisconsin it is the little peninsula that juts out into lake Michigan on the eastern shore of our state. It is a striking landscape with rocky shoreline, beaches, rolling hills and quaint little towns. Natural beauty and some quality architecture here and there along the way.

Door County was over developed like everywhere else over the course of the last fifteen years. Big condo complexes and some strip mall tourist traps. I think the overpowering condo complexes are about the worst of it. Sorry condo folks just not my cup o' tea. Not up there anyway. The county does keep a pretty tight finger on development as there are no chains or big boxes but beyond that it did get a little out of hand. Still all in all it is a great place to get away. The historic small towns are still pretty charming and play host to outstanding dining options. You will find fabulous historic homes along the bay and lake shores which makes for an enjoyable walk in the country.

We pulled a project out of the weeds last week. It is a Portland Door Cutter that we started restoration on about a year ago. It was restored about five years ago and wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time. The barn it was stored in burned. It was in a corner that survived but the paint was blistered and upholstery was destroyed.

It is a really nice sleigh in that it has an auto style seat. This was probably a later model using this design. Back in the day with the springs and doors this was a pretty serious Buick Park Avenue of a sleigh.

We stripped it down to the bare wood and started over. The dash was charred so we ended up replacing that. The door skins also needed replacement but other than that it was very solid and intact.

The runners are pretty well complete. They are dark maroon with a metallic gold stripe.

The striping is done for the most part. We have a little free hand work to do on the uprights but other than that the body is ready to attach.

The upholstery is going to be dark green wool broadcloth. Ryanne has started laying out the back cushion with a diamond tuft pattern. For a little sleigh the upholstery is pretty involved between the side cushions, doors and all. We will be working this through the shop in the next couple weeks so it will be ready to use over the winter.

Have a great day.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Mad Max Beyond Our Restoration Shop

Ouch! Really sorry about that post yesterday. Blog hackers are on a rampage taking over nice innocent little blogs like mine. Unless you have a blog you don’t know that things like that happen. A pimple? What kind of a warped twisted mind would come up with material like that? There ought to be a law.

So if you are wondering why this nice little cart is called Mad Max you need to go way back. Visit my post from July 9th to read the whole story.

So Mad max is all done. He turned out really nice and has been getting quite a bit of attention. For a little road cart this vehicle has some super interesting details. Overall it has great style. It has a real American feel about it. I can just see it racing along in a Currier and Ives print.

I know we have been using a lot of it lately but we are just about out of deep maroon paint. I think it looks great on this vehicle. It has enough interesting lines that the maroon in combination with the vermilion stripes chasing all over really looks sharp. You can click the photos to enlarge.

Ryanne did the upholstery in a black cotton duck with a medium luster black vinyl piping and button covers. That was a new combination for us and I really liked how it came together. We have used a tan cotton in that combo but not black. I think we will see more of this fabric on some of our vehicles. It’s just an interesting look.

When we started the project we didn’t even know it was a spindle seat. During the last paint job someone cut off all the spindles so they were gone. That happens from time to time. If there are a couple broken spindles it’s easier to cut them all off rather than fix the broken ones. To bring it back Bob hand turned all new spindles for this seat.

Sometimes vehicles don’t have a flattering posterior. This one looks great from the back. There was serious thought put into the design of this little cart from all perspectives. Really well done and that is why we choose to restore vehicles such as this.

As usual Dale did a great job of striping this carriage. It is striped traditionally with a fine line. Notice how the step pad is black? All parts like step pads and inner and outer hubs were traditionally painted black. Black is easy to touch up and normally used in areas subject to injury.

We pulled out a project that’s been on the back burner for a while. It’s a vintage Portland Door Cutter built by Wisconsin Carriage in Janesville. We started it a while back but it was over run by customer projects so it was tossed aside. The body is painted and Ryanne is starting on upholstery. Dale striped the runners yesterday. I’ll post some photos over the weekend.

Have a great day.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back From Virtual Vacation

Well I'm back home at my desk. The great thing about virtual vacation is you never leave. No packing, no worries about gas prices, dog sitter, who's going to get the mail, standing at the hotel counter hoping your credit card isn't declined, the girl that just cut you off while texting. You know the deal.

Took a bunch of great pictures while I was away. Cheryl took this one just as I was ready to jump in the pool. Sure feeling better since I started my virtual workout.

I always feel a person should try something new on vacation. So I thought this might be kind of fun. It was fun until the bull threw me into a gate panel where I ruptured my spleen.

Med flight took 2 hours to arrive so I just laid there in the middle of the arena. They had to stop the rodeo. I was in such severe pain they couldn't move me out. People started yelling and throwing beer cups as they left. I was just shocked at how thoughtless people could be but by 9:30 that night I was in ICU.

I was lucky. Turned out it wasn't my spleen after all. Just a bad pimple on my back that popped so we could keep on going the next morning. Well that was a little embarrassing. But anyway we jumped a plane and took off to the Yukon were we could do a little skiing. If Cheryl lays down when she takes pictures it really looks like I'm getting some air.

Returned home this morning and back to work just like I never left. Just amazing what a little time away can do to refresh the spirit. Too bad I've used up all my virtual vacation until January. The good thing though is I get 10 days next year plus two digital personal holidays and three simulated sick days.

See you tomorrow,

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bloggyville Vacation

I'm taking a little blog vacation Monday and Tuesday. Maybe I'll be back at it on Wednesday. Maybe not. We'll see.

Right now I'm sitting on a desktop beach. I'm in a cyber chase lounge soaking up virtual sun sipping on a long overdue facebook umbrella drink. I will probably take a dip in the clip art ocean in my digital speedo later this afternoon. Wishing you were here.

I am leaving you with a shot of the Whiskey in action and Mad Max after completion. Have a good week. Talk at you later.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Whiskey Debut This Weekend

We started American Carriage Builder back in April of 2009. The very first blog in April was on the Whiskey that we were building for Vicki Nelson-Bodoh. We have taken that project along with several others from start to finish and we are happy that you have been along to watch.

This was one of the first images that I posted of the Whiskey when it was in the early stages of construction. The chassis and body were roughed out and the shape was pretty visible.

A few weeks later we were working on steps and ironwork. By this point we had come quite a ways further with the body and the vehicle was really taking shape.

Then into the early priming and paint stages.

Here it was yesterday. We pulled it out at about noon for some photos before it was loaded up and off the Prairie du Chien. I thought it turned out awesome. So did our clients and they are looking forward to seeing it put to a pony. Sometimes as you work through projects things just seem to click. The ideas go from my head to reality and everything works. That was the case with this project. The design was good and everything pretty much went as planned.

The paint went on well. Sometimes we scratch our heads and wonder how we get so lucky under pressure. Paint can go wrong. When it does you can loose days at a time. Not this time.

The striping looked stunning in broad style and it fit this carriage perfectly.

Outstanding profile. I don’t know what else to say about that topic.

So in the end it was a really nice project. The big test will be over the weekend to see how it performs. I expect it to perform well and something tells me it will be getting some attention. Thanks for watching this project as it went start to finish on American Carriage Builder. Watch the blog over the weekend for photo updates of the Whiskey in action.

Have a great day.