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Thornycroft Nippy


Work continues on this vehicle behind the scenes. We have recently bought steelwork for new panels at the front of the cab and cut these to fit. As these panels enclose the wooden framework at the front of the cab the lorry looks far more complete, especially now that the doors are temporarily fitted.


Steve, who is masterminding the project is continuing with the cab itself, but Bob and I have been having thoughts about the back of the lorry. It is not known what type of back the lorry had, as it had been removed in the scrap yard. It is reasonable to assume that it must have been a van body, because this would have been a saleable item for re-use as a shed. Unfortunately although we have photographs of similar lorries with a van back we do not have drawings of the internal framework so accurately reproducing this type of body is impossible. However, we do have some nice pictures of both sides of open truck body lorries with 3-plank sides (see next page). These were fitted to a batch of Nippys supplied only weeks before ours, judging by the registration numbers. By taking careful measurements of the chassis and other fixed features such as the back axle it has been possible to produce a drawing on CAD which appears to be exactly right.


We can clearly see where all the cross members go, and by working to the nearest inch sizes for all major dimensions the whole thing drops into place perfectly. I am confident that the drawing we now have is spot-on and we can build a really accurate body for our lorry. There is absolutely no point in 'making up' our own interpretation of a van body when we have accurate information of an open body design. In any case the bodies were interchangeable and did get swapped around. For this reason they had separate identification numbers from the cab and chassis.


We envisage the work starting as soon as the weather turns foul, and in order to produce the fancy shaped timbers that sit on the chassis we may resort to a little outside help. All the framework and the drop sides will be from Ash. The decking will be Keruing half lap boards.



Running-in board


by Graham Ward.


The running-in board appears to be a recurring theme in my association with 'the Friends' and 2009 has been no different.


After a prolonged period of relative inactivity due to work, family and health issues I have started to undertake limited activities again, but where to start? Obviously the perennial issue of the running-in board came to mind.


Since the 'new' running-in board was installed there has been a problem with paint not sticking to certain parts of it. With a bit of patience I waited until we had a prolonged spell of dry weather (it did happen, honestly). Luckily a couple of these May days were also very warm, ideal for using Aluminium Wood Primer. This paint needs to be applied in certain conditions, so our use of it has to be very limited. The reason for wanting to use this was because where the paint had held more firmly this was the primer used.


Unfortunately one side of the board had previously been painted when the wood was wet. As a result all the paint along the car park side at the bottom came straight off leaving wet wood that needed to be left to dry for a few more days. Hopefully no long term damaged has been caused to the wood by this approach and that the wood has not started to rot from the inside. Those responsible have admitted their actions, which were undertaken with the best of intentions, but they didn't realise the potential long term impact. Experience is such an important part of what we do, and we all learn as we go along.


In order to provide the minimum impact on everybody, I made a number of visits to the station on the way home from work, which enabled the main line side to be built up to undercoat level. The same was then done to the car park side but with less coats of paint before the weather broke.


The wet weather went on so long it was September before work could recommence. At the time of writing, a week before the autumn gala, the black on the main board is finished but the top coat of white on the frame is still to be done. Thankfully there has only been a six inch section that required immediate attention this year, although a couple of blisters have already appeared.


Next year it is my intention to review the condition of the board again to see what areas need improving. It is likely that the letters will need to be redone as a couple of rust spots are appearing and the ravages of winter will take its toll.

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