Museum working party 10th Feb 2022

The Tywyn weather mojo was in good form this morning with sun on offer as the team assembled in Wharf Yard. Max Birchenough, Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen wheeled wagon no. 146 out of the Gunpowder Store for part 2 of its roof restoration. But first the van had to be emptied of the accumulated tools and fittings so that someone could actually get inside it as the fixings that held the ridge strap in place had to be removed (the second half fits under it). Then there was a visit to the museum to fetch out a pair of step ladders to reach the top fixings.

With a safe position secured, John did the honours undoing the nuts and setting them to one side before the team lifted the second roof sheet up into position. There followed the game of ‘to you, to me, to Wharf edge, to Pendre’ as we made the small adjustments to get the bolts to thread up through the all the holes, or down in the case of the endmost bolts through both roof sheets and the roof strap. Only then could the nuts and washers be put back in place to hold things in position. It should be noted that we have encountered another of those little ‘the bolts too short’ issues for the four bolts that go through internal angle irons, as well as the roof beam and all the layers of the roof, hence those downward bolts to get those holes aligned.

This seemed like a good moment to break for morning coffee and we made our way into the warmth of the cafe, for although the sun was shining it was a pretty chilly morning. As we crossed the threshold we beheld Mike Green tucking into his morning repast and joined him to continue our banter fest over coffee, shortbread and a variety of biscuits. Our chatter kicked off with the history of car making in Coventry before Mike revealed that he was now the Bionic Man, having been fitted with a pacemaker, and he was now feeling a lot better than of late; and his banter showed it! We discovered that the TR has a new person in charge of Health and Safety and Efficiency, before winging it with the history of early attempts at flight.

Much refreshed we returned across the tracks, where Keith Theobald came to inspect progress and chat about relevant matters whilst taking our photos. As we attempted to fit the third roof strap, that holds the bottom of the zinc sheet in place, we re-discovered that two of the fixing coach screws had snapped off in the holes during disassembly all those years ago (before COVID kicked off). So we only had two functional holes and getting the four holes through the roof strap and zinc to align with them was proving to be a headache. After much pulling and pushing the misalignment was still there and we reluctantly concluded that original holes through the strap were too tight to allow proper reassembly. As our drill set was not up to the task of opening out the holes Andy volunteered to take it home and use his better equipped workshop to do the job. The tools and remaining parts were put back into the Gunpowder Store before we heaved no. 146 back under cover and closed the doors on the mornings efforts.

By the close of play four men had gotten one half of the roof in place, but not yet secure, as we inched towards completing the rebuild.

Photo by John Olsen