Monday, May 24, 2010

O what a tangled web we weave

So far we've cut down trees, chopped up wood, made poles, crossbars, wheels, and assembled the frame. If hounds were attached to the poles (and a dog in harness) there would be something to pull.

To make the cart useful it needs a bed. Again, there were many options, from lashing or trenailing some boards, to a simple ladder frame for lashing a load to.

In the end I decided a wattle or basket weave would match some of the historical record, as well as being both strong and light.

Ideally the way to do this would have been to find a "basket ash" of the proper size and splint the necessary splints. Since I lacked a suitable basket ash I ripped splints by eye from long lengths of green tulip poplar. Ripping long, thin lengths from green wood with the table saw is not recommended. All my fingers are still attached, but then I'm not merely a lunatic: I'm a careful lunatic. :-)

After the splints were ripped, the widest were laid out on the bed of the cart and rough cut to length.

Then the splints were clamped with a temporary cross brace at the back and cross pieces were woven in. This was made easier by using a long dowel to pry apart the splints.

There is no cross piece at the axletree and all the splints lie flat on top of it. When the bottom of the bed was woven the front was also temporarily clamped, and the cross pieces were clamped with spring clamps to the frame. Everything was then left for a few days to settle and dry.

The sides then followed much the same procedure. They were originally held in place by friction, but I later trenailed them to the frame. Where the cross pieces of the bed rest on the frame they are simply held down tightly by the bottom batten of the side. The pieces holing everything together at the tops of the sides are clinch-nailed with cut copper nails.

The final pieces of the bed were cross bars front and rear. These were originally tacked with long cut copper nails, but the end grain did not hold well and I eventually trenailed them with "trenails" made from wooden axles from some old 'pinewood derby' car kits.

All that's left to cover is the iron work for the hounds, swingle tree, axlepins, and harness. This is going to require digging out the camera because I didn't take pics when I was making them. They'll be up on Monday after I get back from MKA&S. Also starting Monday, in time to get it finished for Pennsic will be the "Oseberg" wagon. I'm working on plans in Google Sketch-up and it's slow going, but I'm digging in the pitons and climbing the learning curve.

Lastly, for your viewing pleasure...

This is a shot of my daughter Caitlin's "Fairy glade in a forest at night" bedroom. The bed is a "talan" or "flet" such as the elves of Lorien use :-) Its tree trunks, and the supports for the bookcases were made from horse-chestnut trees that had to come down due to storm damage, and the ladder from some overgrown areas of tulip poplar that needed to be cleared.

Being now a teenager, and fairy-glens being "for little kids," the theme was recently changed to a tropical beach by the addition of a wall mural, and tropical plants and new lighting.


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