Saturday, August 05, 2006

Bus restoration

0608 bus restoration
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

While today was mostly about quilts in various ways, inspecting this bus restoration was a profoundly educational part of it.

It's a pre-WW2 Leyland bus, which after years of patient restoration is expected to take the road on Australia Day 2007.

It's astounding how many decisions, discoveries and challenges are involved in the process. Take this seat for example.
- The seat frames came from a later vintage bus, so the legs you see on the left have all been moved several inches from a position closer to the centre. Because on this model bus, they were on the edge.
- The seat frame has been restored in two parts: when originally constructed, the top of the metal was dipped in chrome, in a way you can't get done now. So these have been painted brown, and the top chrome pieces have been made separately and joined.
- The seat and back are made of brown leather. I was shown an original: the colour match is remarkable.
- The seam at the back of the seat is correct for this model and vintage.
- The back of the seat back has been scumbled to echo the original finish.
- The chrome frame also provided 'straphanger' room to hang on. To finish the leather in that corner, half-cylinder metal has to be found, cut to appropriate lengths and screwed in place.

This bus will shortly be painted in its historic livery, red and cream with some black.

I have no plans to acquire a bus, let alone restore one. But it's fascinating to see, in someone else expounding their passion, the same commitment to imagination, problem-solving, patience and ingenuity which one can require to design and make a patchwork quilt. All of us on these different roads, which are so often the same road. I've seen this bus in progress at several stages over the years, and it's the most complicated, challenging 'jigsaw' I've ever seen.

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