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WW1 Thornycroft restoration

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It has been quite an exciting day really.. Tim and I pulled the camshaft out and rotated it through 180° yesterday. Unfortunately, he then had to go home but this morning, we were able to put the engi

We haven't balanced the shaft. The rotation depends on how well I drilled the leather so there will be some variability in it. Hopefully, there won't be a problem but if there is, then I will have to

Thanks Tomo. I'll remember that! We have had a nice day., all bright and still and not cold. I have been pressing on with the hand controls and linkage. First part was to cut the throttle shaft a

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As I was not inclined to pay Photobucket the $1,000 a year ransom for my photos they have blurred and watermarked them all. I do have backups and will try to replace them but this will take me an awful long time to complete. I will start with the Peerless ones. A downside is that it is now impossible to get the captions to match up, but I am sure that you will all work this out. If you need to see any photo specifically please let me know and I will treat that one as a priority.


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  • 3 months later...
3 hours ago, Bill Coates said:

She looks fantastic! wouldn't Mike J have been pleased!!

Is that a United Africa Co Sentinel next to her in her new home?  I remember them on the docks in Birkenhead in the mid to late '50s.   It was worth putting up with my parents' shopping trips just to see them!!



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Getting in and out of the back of these old trucks is not as easy as it looks. For that reason many photographs show a ladder (sometimes improvised) lent up against the back. Workshop trucks were issued with two ladders. We decided to get an old length of wooden ladder for easy access to the Thornycroft. It had been used previously for decorating purposes and was splattered in paint. I was going to give it a coat of paint but was told that I should not do that as ladders were not supposed to be painted as it would prevent any damage to the ladder from being spotted which might result in a possible accident. Any thoughts anybody?

Ladder 1.jpg

Ladder 2.jpg

Ladder 3.jpg

Ladder 4.jpg

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It may be worth noting that steeple jacks, by far the most prolific ladder users in the country, traditionally painted their ladders red. If It were good enough for Fred........

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That’s correct, I was told that years ago when I joined the forces. Any wooden stressed equipment should not be painted. I think a shellac was acceptable though. I also mentioned this to a retired fireman at a show years ago who had a painted ladder on display. He said he painted it because it was full of wood filler and it was just for show. Problem is that he knows that but the next owner may not.


i believe in some countries/areas such as Ontario it is against H&S regulations to paint wooden ladders with anything except a clear coat. It’s perhaps an old regulation but such an odd sounding one today maybe made much more sense 100 years ago.

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I was told in school woodworking classes that wooden tools and handles should never be painted or covered with anything which prevented them from breathing.  Painted wood dries out and loses its flexibility and so is more prone to cracking or snapping.  The best treatment for wood is something like linseed oil.  Certainly in the Sappers after coming back off exercise wooden tools had the mud washed and brushed off them, they were then allowed to dry naturally before being given a good rub with a rag or cotton waste dipped in linseed oil.  Rather like the traditional treatment for cricket bats.  We didn't have any wooden ladders, so I can't speak for them - but we were always a bit sniffy about units which painted their shovel handles green!


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8 hours ago, alsfarms said:

Nice Thornycroft lorry!  It may have been asked before, but I am new to this forum....what is the history behind the name "Thornycroft"?

Named after the family: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Isaac_Thornycroft

The shipbuilding part still sort-of exists, and built: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirabella_V

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3 minutes ago, super6 said:

Is this part of the lighting setup?

Acetylene generator.  Fill it with Calcium Carbide and drip water on it ( I think ...) and Acetylene is given off and will flow under modest pressure to lamps.

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