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Rebuilding Gresley Buffet 644 - Chapter 8

The west and east ends of the coach have now been panelled and some of the panels varnished, principally to "keep the muck off". At the west end the two overhead tank filler pipes have been plumbed back in and the joints made watertight (after a fight). Many thanks to Robin Nelson and Jim Summers for tackling this (awkward) job. Thanks to Jim and Robin for all their work with glue blocks and scraping and sanding and many other things we won't mention. As winter 2004 closes in the object will be to get as many exterior teak (curved) panels as possible in place while the weather is damp. Wood bends much more easily when it is cool and humid. Cool? That's a laugh! It is always "cooler" inside the Reserve Collection Building then outside even in the frostiest of weather!

East End

panel K

In early December 2004 the first of the side panels was attached to the coach in the SW corner. The curvature of the side panels is much less than that employed at the coach ends, so we hope for no problems with panel splitting. The panel was first cut to size, then the lower edge only was attached to the framing with Polyurethane glue and numerous brass pins. Because we are dealing with teak, even the brass pins had to be knocked into pilot holes. It all takes so long.... After the glue had set on the lower edge, the higher framing was glued and the panel pulled to the correct profile with several cramps. While constrained, numerous brass panel pins were used to hold the upper edge in place. The overall integrity was then consolidated by gluing in MANY glue blocks.

The east end vestibule was panelled in October 2004 on the saloon partition side. This has been done in teak faced plywood with solid teak skirting and door facings. The facings for the two exterior doors have also been manufactured from solid teak and fixed in place. We have a restored gangway door. Now all we need are two restored side doors. If only there were 20 days in every week..... Jim Summers spent several "happy" hours dealing with a large rectangular hole in the vestibule floor the purpose of which remains a mystery. There was no pipe or valve exposed by the hole and no obvious route for wiring either. It is filled in now!

East end partition panelling

crack repair

Andrew Daniel said that if you were going to have any problems with panels splitting, it would be one of the corner panels. Well, he was right again! The final corner panel fitted was at the SW corner. Gently tightening the third last screw caused a loud bang (the panel splitting from bottom to top) followed by a lot of sweary words. The panel was unscrewed (circa 50 screws) then the two halves of the panel glued together again. The panel was then placed on a curved surface and weighted with brake blocks to "persuade" it to start bending the right way. After a couple of days it was removed from its position of torture and sanded down. You couldn't see the glue line! So the panel was then mounted on the coach again and all the screws down the gangway side fitted. After bending the panel gently, the screws down the other (outer) s ide were gradually put in and tightened in sequence for minimum panel stress. After 80% were in place thee was a cracking sound - yes - the panel had split again but only over 50% of its length and the crack was only a millimetre or so wide.
We decided to glue the panel in place and repair it in situ. Many cramps were applied to get the panel in exactly the right shape, then glue blocks were fixed in place and fillets glued on the inside surface of the panel across the split to give strength.
Postscript March 2005 - after several weeks and considerable variation in temperature and humidity the crack has not worsened. Let's hope it stays that way!

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