The reconstruction of the Scammell cab is progressing well. We realised that making a new bonnet to suit the vertical windscreen type of cab (as favoured by the G.W.R) would be something of a challenge. It was to involve panel beating some fancy corner pieces, which is a skilled operation none of us is familiar with, then welding them into the folded main parts of the panel.
We started by making the spherical pieces that go right in the corner, using a cast iron ball weight from a fly press as a former. This proved to be remarkably easy and gave a good result. However, the side pieces are shaped rather like a bullet, and although it was simple to make a cone shape, forming that into a bullet shape proved to be impossible (for us!) just using a hammer and wooden former. The end result was so lumpy and bumpy that it could not be used.
By chance the following day I was speaking to Bob Timmins (who had briefly owned the Scammell in the early 1970's). He said that he knew a lady who had a wheeling machine for sale. And so it was that we came to buy a wheeling machine for the Friends. It made all the difference, ironing out all the imperfections in our hand hammered panels and leaving the metal in a beautiful smooth curve. Bob welded the pieces together with his MIG welding set and 'hey presto' a very presentable panel was made. There is great satisfaction in learning a new skill. Admittedly the panel we made was about as simple as you could get and we are not going to start turning out Alvis mudguards, because we really couldn't, but we were well pleased all the same.
The panel was completed by drilling all fixing holes, fitting strengthening strip and forming the lipped hole for the petrol filler pipe. After carefully dressing the welds, the lightest smear of body filler was added to them, and this was rubbed back with Carborundum paper to smooth out any slight imperfections in the seam. A coat of red oxide was followed by several coats of undercoat over the corners only, which was then rubbed down to get rid if any small imperfections. The result was very pleasing, particularly as only the very thinnest smear of filler was needed, rather than about ⅛" as I had feared.
The rest of the cab is comparatively simple woodwork which will be completed as a fill-in job when we are unable to work on station projects. An identical lorry is preserved at York Museum — a visit is in order!