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Bill Hudson

1910 Popcorn Wagon

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Bill Hudson

Please note:   I am posting this progress to share with others who might be interested.  During the progress I will be showing procedures I use to build each piece.  I am quite aware that there are many other ways too do the same procedures but these I show here are what I use for this project. It is quite normal for others to feel they have a better way to do them. Please resist the temptation to post those here. It messes up the flow and topic being posted.  I definitely want to read your method  about making the same part but please not here.  Start a new thread or PM me on your method. I would be anxious to learn about it.

 

Thank you;

Bill Hudson

 

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This is a 1910 Cretors Popcorn Wagon I started many years ago. It was a local wagon that ended up in a junk pile. I started researching it in 1969. The second picture is of the frame as I built it. This is a very highly detailed, complicated project yet to be completed. I can, from time to time post the progression by bits and pieces and some of the details and the progression of their development here.

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Moderator1

I have seen this project and it is incredible, the details go on and on. I have moved this thread into metalwork because most of the project is made of metal...... But there other things like beveled glass, wood wheels, etc. If Bill posts all this, and we hope he does, this will be a very long thread..... To make it easier to load he might make it a part 1, part 2 or so after about 10 pages.........

Also just a thought, when someone is posting a long or complicated thread they often have to put it in more than one post, some times a bunch in a row. I you see a thread like that being posted such as the tin work instructions, let a little time go by before you respond. This way your response isn't buried between pages or posts and the idea isn't broken up by a post...... This makes it easier for folks to print out too.Thanks.

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Bill Hudson

I have seen this project and it is incredible, the details go on and on. I have moved this thread into metalwork because most of the project is made of metal...... But there other things like beveled glass, wood wheels, etc. If Bill posts all this, and we hope he does, this will be a very long thread..... To make it easier to load he might make it a part 1, part 2 or so after about 10 pages.........

Also just a thought, when someone is posting a long or complicated thread they often have to put it in more than one post, some times a bunch in a row. I you see a thread like that being posted such as the tin work instructions, let a little time go by before you respond. This way your response isn't buried between pages or posts and the idea isn't broken up by a post...... This makes it easier for folks to print out too.Thanks.

Thanks Mod. 1, I will start a slow posting of the progress here. The process and methods I show here are "how I did or do it." If you don't agree or have an alternative way please post it in your own thread or PM so as not to take this progression off in another direction. I feel it is a mixed bag on posting comments during a progression. It is nice to hear the comments (they keep me going) but not nice to have the progression topic hijacked.

I am really liking this forum and am getting the feelings to get back into making miniatures again.

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Bill Hudson

PART 1

This is where it all started in 1969. Found this hulk sitting out in a field. Started research and found pictures of three different popcorn wagon in Eugene in the same area of 1910. The one with the horse is the nicest. I went back later to see if I could buy the hulk with the thought of restoring it but the lady wouldn't sell it. It finally rotted into the ground, nothing really salvageable.

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A little research at our local museum brought up these two photographs.

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After that the trail went dead and I had pretty much forgotten it.

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Bill Hudson

At that time I was building in 1/8th scale and had planned to eventually build the wagon in that scale. One day I was invited to show some of my work at a newly formed NAME club here in Eugene. One of the members commissioned me to build a horse drawn buggy but in 1/12th scale(the Jenny Lind posted elsewhere on this forum). The miniature bug bit me and I started working in 1/12th and attending as many miniature shows in Oregon and Washington as I could. Around that time I lost my job as a draftsman and model builder for a large engineering firm when the lumber industry crashed and the firm shut down at. I took the spare time, in-between looking for another job, to build up a stock of miniatures. I then took a trip down to Newport Beach, Ca. to the Mini Bazaar where I sold much of my inventory. That lead to an invite to the TAMS show in Anaheim in 1983. At The TAMS I received an invitation to attend the Guild Show. I did so in 1985. That show brought me an invitation to teach at the Guild school. Where I taught my first Guild School Class in 1988. I never looked back.

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While in the area of TAMS I took side trip to SanDiego zoo where I stumbled upon two Cretors wagons. I took some pictures and when back at home made a rough drawing of the wagon with X in dimensions I needed. I sent a letter with the drawing and with a $50 donation and asked for the X to be filled in. From these dimensions I drew up a more accurate drawing. Along with the returned drawing the zoo included contact information for Cretors Co. I contacted Cretors and in return they sent me a reprint of their 1909 catalog with drawings of many of their wagons and a contact for Bob Pearson in Kansas who was restoring and building Cretors wagons. I sent Bob my copy of the drawings. he made many corrections and also included a bundle of information.

This concludes Phase one the introduction of the build of the popcorn wagon. The next phase will be the start of the construction.

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Bill Hudson

The topic now open for questions, comments and discussion.

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ElgaKoster

This is really great Bill, and nice that you could get the missing dimensions. I find it sad that people don't see the value in these old bits of history and allow them to fall in disrepair and eventually rotting away. I am sure you would have done a great job in restoring it. Looking forward to seeing more of you miniature version.

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Bill Hudson

Thank you Elga, It is just as well, It was in very bad decay and from what I now know would not have been savable. I would have to rent storage with room to restore it as I did not have room at home. That is why I like miniaturizing.

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Bill Hudson

PART 2

In October 1999 I flew back to kansas City to visit a friend and to rent a car and drive down to Pearson's in Gardner, Kansas to measure and photograph a popcorn wagon frame they were starting to restore. It was so cold in the ware house that I had to keep one camera in my jacket next to my body while I use the other one. They kept freezing up. The heater/defroster in the little Toyota I rented could not keep up with the freezing windshield. I had to stop every few miles and scrape the ice off. To top it off I got lost and had to call Bill to get directions. I'm used to trees, hills and other landmarks, not flat lands.

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From that trip I developed the drawings for the frames. The picture below is the frames soldered up and ready to put together.

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And shown below is the assembled frame with wheels, undercarriage,springs and wheels.

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Bill Hudson

Part 3 (coming some day soon to a forum near you) will be the wheels and undercarriage.

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Wm. R. Robertson

I think it is so important to show the full size prototype for a big project. It helps readers understand the level of detail that make it into the miniature. Often, like possibly this popcorn wagon it is something very few of would have ever seen and if we walked by one in a museum we would have never noticed..... Now after reading about and seeing you miniature we all would certainly take notice should our paths cross a real one.

The famous ship modeler and miniature carver Lloyd McCaffery said in his book that doing the research for building a major model is about equivalent to writing a thesis for a masters degree. I remember when I did a miniature microscope years ago I had read about 800 pages on scopes of the period and the environment they were built in and used..... All that for something only 2" tall.

I'll look forward to more details about this as it progresses and you post. It is such a big project it is almost hard to figure out what to post next....

One question on the frames, are these hard soldered, soldered with stay- brite and were they riveted first to hold them together? They look great!

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Bill Hudson

I think it is so important to show the full size prototype for a big project. It helps readers understand the level of detail that make it into the miniature. Often, like possibly this popcorn wagon it is something very few of would have ever seen and if we walked by one in a museum we would have never noticed..... Now after reading about and seeing you miniature we all would certainly take notice should our paths cross a real one.

The famous ship modeler and miniature carver Lloyd McCaffery said in his book that doing the research for building a major model is about equivalent to writing a thesis for a masters degree. I remember when I did a miniature microscope years ago I had read about 800 pages on scopes of the period and the environment they were built in and used..... All that for something only 2" tall.

I'll look forward to more details about this as it progresses and you post. It is such a big project it is almost hard to figure out what to post next....

One question on the frames, are these hard soldered, soldered with stay- brite and were they riveted first to hold them together? They look great!

The frames are silver soldered. Originally they were riveted using gussets. At the time I started this I was not really into riveting. The problem with silver soldering is that it anneals the brass angle and over time (even being careful) the frames still distort from handling. If I were to do it again I would use 1/32" model ply as a skin instead of tin and epoxied the brass angle to it. It would be much easier to attach the various parts to it including the window frames. Once the windows were in place the thickness of the wood would not be noticeable. Of course if I were a real purist I would go back and rebuild the frames using gussets and rivets. But I have too many years (14) in this and I don't want to go back. I just want to get it done.

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Bill Hudson

PART 3: MAKING THE WHEELS

BrakeAssy.jpg

This is the rear wheel of a popcorn wagon that is being restored by Pearson's The thing in the hub is a hub nut wrench, the wheel was being removed at that time. Look closely and you can see the brake hub and brake assembly on the back side of the wheel.

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The model rear wheel from the back showing the brake drum and working and adjustable brake band assembly.(more about that brakes later)

Wheeltire.jpg

The model wheel.

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Catherine Ronan

This is just WONDERFUL!

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ElgaKoster

Amazing work Bill, one can't tell from the photo of the wheel that it is a miniature, only the background gives it away. Thanks for sharing this project, I am enjoying following it.

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Bill Hudson

PART 3 MAKING THE WHEELS CONTINUED.

I'll start with how I made my wheels. Nothing I do is new. I learned it from some where else and adapted it for my work. For these wheels I used 3/16" thick model air craft plywood. These wheels are to be painted and are of the two halves steam bent type. I stack my blanks up with double backed tape between each one. I also put a sacrifice blank on top so that I get clean cuts (no splintering) on the wheels. I use my lathe and grind a 1/8" lathe tool with a slight bevel to the outside. So that you look at it from the top the left side starts cutting first. This eliminates shattering. As it turned out on this wagon I could cut the large and small wheels from the same blanks.

wheelblank.jpg

These are the hubs turned from aluminum. Also shown are some of the cut spoke blanks before finish profiling.

hubs.jpg

This is cutting the raw spoke blanks. I cut the wood cross grain so that the grain runs the length of the spokes. I calculated the spoke angle for them to fit together and set up my mill tilt table to hold the blanks while I sawed the angle. I then flipped the blank over and sawed the other angle. (how many of you type adn instead of the and and? I can't seem to break the habit ) Once I have the angles cut I saw off each spoke blank.

spokeblank.jpg

I milled out an assembly jig for my wheels. Since these wheels are military type they have no dish to them. Every thing else about the assembly is pretty traditional model stuff.

wheeljig.jpg

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Bill Hudson

I built the holding jig for drilling the bolt pattern in the wheel hub flanges. Then I drilled all the holes and installed the bolts (rivets) in the front wheels. Neck was giving out and left arm was loosing its strength so I quit for the night. Check below for my progress today.

How I set up for drilling the bolt holes in the hub flanges.

(1) This is the wheel holder I built to clamp the wheels in for drilling the hub flanges. The drill is a .020 bit. I take a piece of brass rod and drill it out to fit the bit. Then the bit is super glued into the hole. This gives me a stronger drill bit where a long drill is needed. Once the drill gets dull or brakes I just heat the shank and pull the drill out and replace it with another one. The knurled brass nut is tapered so that it holds the hub centered. The spring pin is to fit between spokes to hold the wheel from turning whil it is being drilled.

1.flange1.jpg

2. Every thing is mounted in my rotary table and mounted on my Sherline mill.

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3. The wheel is mounted to the jig. The holes have already been spotted with a center drill and are ready for drilling.

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4. The drilling of the flanges with a .020 drill bit.

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5. One drilled wheel and one with rivets in place. I glue the pins in then cut them off and rivet them on the back side.

5.flange5.jpg

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Bill Hudson

Turning the rubber tires for the popcorn wagon.

Below are views of my wheel turning fixture and how it is mounted in the lathe chuck. The plywood backing is sacrificial and can be replaced when it is unusable. I decided to make the tires the same way I make the felly blanks only using ABS plastic to simulate the rubber. I am not too fond of O rings as they crack and fail over time.

Wheelturn1.jpg

Wheelturn2.jpg

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The next two pictures are of the rough cut ABS blanks with double stick carpet tape applied to one. Next is the blanks being turned to the OD of the large wheel tires.

Wheelblanktape.jpg

Wheelturn4.jpg

After the tire blanks were turned to the correct ID they were mounted back on the wheel fixture over a thin core of the OD of the wooden wheel. A retaining cap was turned to the OD of the metal tire rim. This is clamped on with the thumb nut. This acts as a guide to turn the rubber tire portion. I removed 1/64"of material to form the tire. The tire was then finished off on this side with files and sandpaper. Then the ring was flipped over and the whole process was done on the other side.

Tireblank5.jpg

Tirecap.jpg

The simifinished tire is mounted, Temp., on the wood wheel. It will eventually be sanded out to a better finish then I will use my air eraser to sand blast the rubber part for some texture. The metal rim will be painted black. The tires on the popcorn wagon are slightly tapered (flat) on the sides with a slight rounding off on the edges. The tire face is also flat rather than rounded so O rings would not look correct.

Wheeltire.jpg

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Bill Hudson

A LITTLE CHANGE OF PACE FROM THE REDUNDANT.

This is a picture of the full size shelf bracket in the popcorn wagon. It holds up the shelf for the clown.

shelfbrkt.jpg

These are some of the decorative brackets for the popcorn wagon. They are larger in this picture than actually. the one on the left is the shelf bracket. Sorry the shadow sort of hides the detail. These brackets were sawed out with a very fine Jewelers saw blade. Then they were carved with a file from brass and then nickel plated. The sun brackets go above the driver seat. The lower brackets are the seat front legs.

brackets.jpg

This is the latest photo of the clown shelf bracket finished and ready to mount in the wagon

IMG_0640.jpg

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Bill Hudson

This is how I go about making the decorative metal parts such as the sun burst and now the C details, for the popcorn wagon, from nickel silver stock.

(1) The parts are drawn up to scale and glued to the metal with spray adhesive.

C1.jpg

(2) They are then sawn out using a jeweler's saw (I am using a #1 blade here) Use Burr-life or bees wax on the blade for lubrication.

C2.jpg

C3.jpg

C4.jpg

(3) The shape is filed to contour. I use files as as I have more control; a power burr can grab and ruin the whole thing.

C5.jpg

Once it is filed to rough shape I finish shaping using rubber polishing tools in a power hand piece.

C6.jpg

(5) Once the part is polished to final shape it is buffed to as high shine with compound.

C7.jpg

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Bill Hudson

Next comes the little steam engine.

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Catherine Ronan

This is nothing short of magnificent. I look forward to the seeing and reading about the steam engine.

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Bill Hudson

CLOWNING AROUND

There is probably as much or more going on inside the popcorn wagon as there is going on outside. One thing made popular by C.Cretors Co. is the little clown (Roasty Toasty)turning a drum full of peanuts.

This a picture of the clown I made for my wagon.

clown1.jpg

Below is a full size clown with the model clown between the legs. The clown came in parts. A wooden body was glued to the head and arms and legs were attached by nails. It was painted and then dressed.

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This is a close up of the castings for the model clown and a painted model clown. I carved the pattern clown from styrene and sent him to a friend who cast him in brass. I used the brass to cast him in pewter.

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I carved the patterns with clothing on it. I didn't think I could make a costume that small but a lady friend did for me.

IMG_0123.jpg

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Bill Hudson

Actually popcorn goes back to colonial times here. It is almost every where here now. In movies, at carnivals and many other functions. It is quite easy to pop. At home just take a three quart kettle with a lid add table spoons of table oil and heat it till the oil wrinkles on the bottom. Pour in a half cup of popcorn kernels in the pot and put the lid on. Start shaking the pot back and forth on the heating element. After a few minutes the corn will start to pop. keep shaking until the popping slows down. Add some melted butter and sprinkle with salt and you have a good snack.

In the popcorn wagon there are two poppers which are heated by gas. There are little vanes in the bottom of the popper that turn and stir the corn as it is heated. The popped corn is them scooped into little bags and sold.

Below are pictures of the poppers for the model. The parts of the pans were pressed and formed from nickel silver sheet. The arms and balls are turned on my lathe from nickel silver stock. The handles are rosewood.

The first view is with one lid open ready for corn to be added.

popper2.jpg

The punch is for forming the lid. The round ended rod is the punch. the flat end has a hole in it with a set screw to hold the die punch in place.

The die punch is the first one on the left. The die base is the cylinder next to it. Besides the forming rings in the die cylinder there is a recess in the top of the cylinder to accept a disc of nickel silver with a 1/16" hole in the center. The The rod on the die punch goes through that hole which then aligns up the punches. The head of the punch is then given a blow with a hammer which causes the die punch to form the lid. It takes a couple more blows to finally form the lid.

The other two die sets are for forming the two different size pans. They work the same way as the first punch only they are used in a hydraulic press.

punch.jpg

Lids closed. The white block holding the popper up is just modeling clay.

Popper.jpg

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Bill Hudson

OK NOW THE LITTLE STEAM ENGINE.

This will be the last of the fun stuff for a while. I ail be returning back to the main body and undrcarriage construction.

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