Friday, June 12, 2015

Cart rehab

Sebastian & I busted the mounting for one of the shafts on the cart moving compost a couple weeks ago, and I figured it was long overdue for a stronger installation and nicer shafts.  The old shafts were made of buckthorn branches and the installation was definitely of "Our Gang" quality.

I had some used white oak fence boards that looked like they had been outside for maybe 20-30 years, but in using them I found they all had very solid centers.  So I ripped them up until I had enough strips that were maybe 3/16" x 2".  I made a jig on the workbench and glued them up one at a time into 5 plys, in a curve that fit the cart and Sebastian.

Here you can see one rough blank after gluing, and the second shaft freshly clamped up.  It was cold in the shed and I ran a space heater for at least two days to get the glue to set.  I used ordinary white carpenters glue, outdoor type.

I was worried about gouging with the drawknife so I ordered an old spoke shave on Ebay.  I used a block plane and the spoke shave to shape the shafts.

Here's how they looked after shaping...

Dry fit with Sebastian...

And installed after 3 coats of varnish.  I will install loops for the britchin/tie backs once I have a donkey in harness and can see where to put them.

First try with Wilhelm!  This cart was actually built for him, but I have used it for the donkeys only in the past 4 years.  The shafts are wonderfully springy and for his narrow body they just bend in really nice.  In fact, the angle is such that no hold back is required--the shafts just naturally slide to where the re-curve and the shaft loops are supposed to be.  The shafts are so springy, in fact, that I think they are possibly too small in diameter for heavy duty work with the donkeys.  I'm not worried about breakage, however.

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