Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Another Dandy Day

It’s a great day to be outside taking some pictures. But before I get to that I attended the Community Development Association meeting last night. Lots of positive things happening in Columbus these days. My friend Steve Sobiek our Economic Development Director has been a busy guy. Steve’s position is both Economic and Energy Sustainability and he certainly has been putting Columbus on the map as a leader in green energy.

The media likes anything green these days so Steve has been a popular fellow. This month he is featured in Wisconsin Builder magazine showing off the groundbreaking projects that he has in the works. In other CDA news Columbus was just awarded an LED Street Light grant. This grant will make Columbus one of the first cities in America to convert its street lights over to LED. This is just a couple of the projects he has in the hopper. Steve is one person making a big difference.

We thought it would be a good day to pull the Show Gig out for some pictures. It is nearing the finish line and turning out just lovely. It is black and maroon with a gold stripe and tan wool broadcloth upholstery. A rich combination.

The body is traditionally built with the rear chamfer on the back deck and louvers on the body side panels.

The two tone black and maroon body make for a nice subtle contrast with the fine gold stripe.

The wheels feature roller bearing hubs with solid brass caps.

Looks great from any angle. At this point the only thing we are waiting for are the lamps. A nice pair of black and brass rectangular lamps with polished nickel interiors. The one thing left to set off this great carriage.

Get out and enjoy the weather. Sounds like it’s going to be cooling down again this weekend. Have a great Tuesday!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Summer Has Arrived!

Was yesterday nice or what? At least in our little part of Wisconsin it was. Two weeks ago we had a foot of snow on the ground and snow banks everyplace. For all practical purposes it’s gone. Few little chucks of ice here and there but it has disappeared in a big hurry. It was pushing 60 degrees yesterday afternoon. Same for today. After a typical Wisconsin winter an early warm up in March is most welcome.

We are getting a lot of great new (antique, but new to us) vehicles in these days. One of them is this single horse Chaise which is pronounced “shay”. This is a pretty early vehicle. Maybe pushing a couple of hundred years old. They were made in Europe as well as in the early American states. This type of carriage was built before steel springs where commonplace so the body is suspended on leather.

This particular carriage was restored in Europe a few years back. It is beautifully done in traditional high gloss brush paint. The top and the upholstery are all done in genuine leather. These vehicles are a popular collector carriages because of the early construction. This one is ready to go and priced at $13,995.

Out at the shop Bob has been working on an early Country Sleigh. It came to us pretty much intact but as we were taking it apart the wood was marginal in more areas than not. We ended up replacing most of the wood on the body which in the long run was easier.

It’s a pretty simple body and chassis. An early and probably locally built form of transportation. We ended up replacing the dash as well. Here it is in first coat primer.

The runners are fairly heavy construction. I think the bottom runners are probably 1½” square which is pretty chunky compared to some of the light cutters. This was more than likely a farm sleigh and was heavy duty enough to handle any kind of work you could throw at it. As of this week it’s getting pretty close to being ready for paint.

Have a great Monday!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Name, New Vision, New Image

We have been Colonial Carriage Works for a long time. I’ve been rather so-so with that name for just about as long. After all I was twenty years younger when I came up with that. I guess I thought it was cool at the time. There were a lot of things that I thought were cool twenty years ago that I’m not so sure about anymore. The biggest difficulty in building a business around a name like that is the lack of brand identity. It might be OK for a shop but not for a product. It’s been an issue for a long time not to mention that there is really nothing Colonial about us.

So we are at the point where we are making a big change. It’s been passively in the works for several years but we are stepping up and making the move. We are officially Frey Carriage Company. We have grand plans for the future beyond a name change and I look forward to bringing them all to life. Some will happen fast and some things will evolve over time but the new image and vision will be great fun to develop. Above is our new logo concept. I think it’s very close to the finished product. I initially set out to create something a bit more contemporary. As time passed and things came together it just seemed to loose that “classic” feel that I was also after. I like the simplicity and clean elegance this conveys.

All of the carriages that we produce will carry the FREY tag. It has been our brand for a couple of years now but making the full commitment will streamline our overall image. We are fully investing ourselves into our future with new products the likes of pleasure carts like the Sprint lineup, to all new marathon carriages, to hand built traditional coaches. I feel strongly there is a place in America for a contemporary world class coach builder. We hope you enjoy watching our evolution. The last twenty years of creating this business has been a great life experience. I’m looking forward to another great twenty years holding the lines of Frey Carriage Company.

We have been very busy working on several project back at the shop. The Show Gig project continues to grow ever closer to completion. The body will be painted in black and maroon. The black base coat and first coats of clear have been shot at this point.

After that cured we wet sand the entire body to prepare for the maroon. This shot was taken just after that process. We are now masking out all of the areas that will remain black. The maroon will be sprayed, the black will be un-masked and the entire body will be coated again in high solids clear. After a few stripes it will be ready to place in the chassis.

The chassis has been painted, striped, trimmed and ready to roll. The wheels are also ready to install. The maroon color looks nice in contrast with the black trim and gold stripes.

Back at the ranch we are beginning to see the early signs of spring. Still lots of snow on the ground but it’s in the 30’s today and 40’s later in the week. The sun is out and it all feels great.

Have a great Wednesday!