Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stagecoach hits a bump in the road

Very shortly after beginning my oh so ambitious Stagecoach project, I encountered a snag...

The wheel rim pieces are one of the few parts that are pre-cut from the piece of wood they are on.

Except...  the front wheel pieces weren't cut all the way through.

The piece that held the parts for the back wheels (after I popped them out), front:

...and back...

Moving onto the piece that held the front wheel rim parts.  Front...

..and... back?   Uh-oh...

My husband and I tried and tried to figure out how to cut them out.  In the end, it took my Dremel drill, a teeny tiny wood saw bit that he had for his, and a fair bit of time.  Below are four of the pieces rough cut and four above that had been sanded down. 

Once I had each part hacked out of the backing, I set off with a sanding wheel and carved out the shape of each piece, stopping when I saw the partial burn marks where they had been cut partway out.  Whatever wood these pieces are made out of is HARD stuff.  I joked with my husband that it might be the wood that real stagecoach wheels are made from!

For a comparison, here are the 8 pieces of the back wheels, and the 8 pieces of the front wheels.  You can see the clean burn marks all the way along the back wheel pieces, while only 1/3 or 1/2 of the depth for the front wheel parts had been cut out.

Here are the parts for one front wheel and one back wheel set together.  It was quite an unexpected journey to get to this (FIRST!) step in the process of building the model.  Ah well, like I've bee saying, I know that real stagecoach wheel parts aren't exactly popped out of a backing, pre-formed and cut.

 All of the above pictures were taken a few weeks ago, prior to our trip out of town to visit family for Thanksgiving.  It took a bit of time to get back into "stagecoach mode" but I finally got back to it a couple of nights ago.  Here are the wheel rims now, pinned down and glued together.

A front wheel...

A back wheel...

Now the next step is to finish making the spokes and then work on setting the hubs and spokes into the rims.  I have the spokes cut out already - and will be making another post on that - but they need to be shaped. 

I watched some videos on real wagon wheel making and it made me wish I would have done that research first, before cutting the spokes.  It would have been really neat to actually make these wheels true to how the full size ones are done.  Alas, the spokes have all been cut without enough length to form and dowel the ends to pop into the rims.  I suppose there will be plenty more realistic detail on this little beast to where I shouldn't worry about the wheels being perfectly accurate, but I still think it would have been neat to go all the way with it. 

Next time will be a post on the spokes and then hopefully I'll have some finished wheels to show!


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