Sunday, April 21, 2013

Buggy Update


I decided to post an update on my buggy building.

Over the past month or so, I have been scrounging as much stuff as I can, to get one together. My BIL came up with 4 wheels and a hub. My FIL let me dig through his supply of dried Cedar and Ash boards to come up with enough wood to build the "box" (along with a few pieces that I had on hand). Then, a couple Amish neighbors donated a few parts.

One day last week, I was over at my FIL's house when he mentioned a pile of old parts down by an Oak tree. He said they were there when he bought the place in 1972, and he'd not moved them! I dug around and came up with some buggy steps, and some other useful pieces.

More Buggy Parts....

A couple weeks ago, I went to the post office in Princeton, MO. While there, I noticed that there were some chicks there with an Amish neighbor's name on them. I loaded them up, and delivered them. While there, he mentioned he had pieces of an old buggy in one of his old barns. He said if I wanted them, I could have the pile for $20. It didn't take long for me to decide! He had most of the things I needed.

While all of the stuff is still in pretty good condition, it sometimes doesn't "mix" well with new parts. When I run into this, I have found that the easiest - and cheapest, in the long run - thing to do, is to "horse trade" parts. I have also been finding out, that NEW parts from Amish tradesmen are usually WAY cheaper then trying to modify something, and hoping it works. Almost all of the parts from Amish buggy makers are about 1/10th the price of online venders, too.

Apparently, the stuff I am trading is over 100 years old, and hard to find, so I have managed to get a LOT of new parts for almost ZERO cash!  I have even traded a little work, or cell phone usage for parts! The other day, I helped an Amish buggy builder saw about 2 dozen boards, and let him call the lumber yard on my phone - he let me pick out the shaves for my buggy!

A couple days ago, my FIL and I used clamps and boiling water to bend the wooden "axle cover" down to the front axle. It is now clamped down tightly, and drying nicely. It should be ready to un-clamp in a day or two.

I have also been trying to get the "box" built. I almost have all of the wood cut for the lower box, and just need to layout and cut the seat pedestal, then the seat frame. There are a lot of little things that I will need to "clean up", but things are looking fairly good - at least to me!

Buggy

Buggy Rear Axle

One interesting story I ran across during all this, is when I took a set of those shaft supports (those long, curved things in the top photo...)  my FIL had laying against the tree, over to the main buggy shop that is close by. I had planned to just hold them up to the shaves to see if they would work. Well, I got a shaft down, held the support up to the curve, and found out the curve was all wrong. I figured I'd just have to make new ones.

The man took it from me, looked it over, and said that it would work fine. He said he'd show me how it's done. Well, he took that support, grabbed his hammer, and headed for his anvil.

WHAM, WHAM, WHAM, WHAM!

He holds it up in the air - nowhere close to a shaft.....

"OOPS, just a BIT too much...."

Back to the anvil, he flips it over....

Tap, Tap, Tap....

He looks it over and says - "PERFECT!"

He hands it to me, and I hold it up to a shaft......and it WAS perfect!

Experience is a wonderful teacher.

I have found out that the whole - or MOST of - the Amish community knows me - even if I haven't yet met them! I will see a new face in town, and they already know who I am.....

I'm the guy who inherited the horse, wears an Amish straw hat, and is building a buggy.....

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