1880 Fuller's of St Ives
Estimated to have been built circa 1880, this Fullr's of St Ives 'Reading' style wagon arrived in a very sorry state. Th roof wasn't even attached to the walls! The springs had practically disintegrated and it was a miracle it arrived on the back of an Ifor Williams trailer in one piece really.
The owner chose the colour scheme amd asked us to make it an open space internally allowing a range of possible uses at her wedding venue deep in the Forest of Dean.
We began by taking off the wheels to get at the springs for replacement, much of the original ironwork was rusted away and our local blacksmith fabricated new parts as required, the springs were sent off for replacement.
Th roof was removed and found to be rotted out so new laminated roof spars were fabricated and a new roof built onto a replacement wall plate using wooden pegs rather than screws.
Internally we built a room within a room to preserve the exterior whilst creating a structure to carry the roof.
Previous attempts to repair fell rather short of being effective! Screws through rotten timber that didn't even reach the plate were just the start.
A mix of expanding foam, fibreglass, even carpet tiles had been added under the rotten canvas.
The walls were not attached in any meaningful way to the roof.
The springs were just about as bad as any we have ever seen. It was an urgent priority to jack the wagon up so the wheels could be removed allowing us to take the springs out for replacement with new nibbed and slotted springs.
Laminated pine strips were bonded in a former to match the original roof structure amd fixed to a new plate with tenons and mortices using wooden pegs instead of modern screws allowing greater flexibility and reducing the chance of rot around the screw.
We machined a matching beaded tongue and groove board to fix over the new roof structure before covering in a thin plywood deck ready to take the new roof covering.
We favour rubber as a protective roof. Resistant to tearing and good for at least 30 years its not an authentic material - but we are sure that if rubber roofs had been available in 1880 no one would have used canvas!
Black rubber looks like lead when fitted and we can send the wagon out knowing it will stay dry.
Challenged with the task of creating an open multi-functional; space inside the wagon, bearing in mind the fragile state of the exterior woodwork and previous poor repairs we built a 'room within a room' using 25mm studs fixed to the original external struts, mass filled with 25mm rigid insulation bonded to the walls to add rigidity before lining in pine cladding boards to match the original over a new deck fixed over the existing boards.
100's of carvings to go back on, the originals were a lot of work to clean and prepare, with many being too fragile to re-fix so resin copies were made.