Another cold bright start in Wharf Yard for Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto and John Olsen, where the mission was to straighten up wagon no. 146. By stringing a chain from the top corner to the opposite bottom corner, and tightening it with a turnbuckle, it was hoped that the trapezoid would become a rectangle; that was the plan.
First two 100mm long bolts had to be inserted in place of the 65mm ones already fitted so that the end of the chain and eye bolt of the turnbuckle could be secured with nuts, ensuring that they would not come off the bolts during the tensioning procedure. Then all the bolts on the south face were slackened off to allow planks, ribs and roof to move (hopefully) into the new alignment. By measuring across the two diagonals we were able to establish how close to square we were and avoid over tightening the turnbuckle. With foam pads in place to protect the paintwork, the tension was applied and then the bolts re-secured once the diagonals were of equal length. We then stopped for a coffee break in the warmth of the cafe where we were joined by Keith Theobald, Mike Green and John Alderslade.
Post coffee we slackened off the chain and then put the doors back on the north side to see how much had shifted; this was promising so we repeated the tensioning procedure for the north side too. With all the bolts tight once more, the doors were re-hung and with a bit of adjustment we got them all to close up. But it was clear that the left hand top door was not able to close fully due to the inadequate gap between the wood of the door and the adjoining planks; this would require about 4mm to be removed. Similarly the right hand top door could be made to close, but only by lifting it over the bottom door; removing a triangular sliver of wood was needed to correct this fouling. The bottom door did not require any adjustment so all the bolts could be tightened up. John volunteered to trim the doors and repaint the cut edges so that the doors could be fitted after Easter as there will be a two week break over Easter.
The next museum working party will be on Thursday 28th April. We wish you a Happy Easter from all of the museum volunteers and trustees.
Photo by John Olsen