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Austin Ruby chassis

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Daglocks Andrew Shepherd
Aylesbury, Bucks, UK   GBR
I am about to build a wood and fabric body for my Austin 7 Ruby. I know its not a cycle cart, but I plan on using similar methods.
I want to cut plywood rings and add stringers to form the compound curves and cover with doped canvas.
I've tried making drawings, but can't draw the boat like tail very well.
I want something like a Frazer Nash le-mans, or the famous Salamander austin seven.
Can anyone help with how to make the plans before I cut wood?


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DOMIT William Smith
Fort Worth, TX, USA   USA
Hi Andrew,

A few things to consider that might help you. Not with designing the shape, but with getting that shape right once you have your design in mind.

1) Make patterns from disposable materials. Cardboard is perfectly adequate. The shape is all in your mind and eye... it us up to you. Making patterns and placing stringers over them temporarily allows you to be sure you have a "fair" curve without dips and weaves.

2) When you are defining the shape, keep in mind that the fabric is going to follow a flat or even slightly concave profile between the wooden stringers. Make sure your ply rings sit well below the surface of the fabric or you will have unsightly bumps.

3) Do you truly mean doped canvas, or are you using that term generically? Modern aircraft fabrics are actually dacron, and they are NOT pre-shrunk. This allows you to use heat (a properly calibrated clothes iron!) to shrink the fabric to drum-like tautness. Buy your fabric from an aircraft supply. It is more expensive but worth the extra expense for the ease of use. Even if you could find fabric that had not been pre-shrunk, clothing fabrics use a different lubricant when weaving, they don't take a finish well. Google "covering a wing" or similar, and be sure to separate the models from the real aircraft. There are some good videos out there.

4) Stringers go "on edge," meaning the narrow side faces the fabric. 1/4" x 3/4" is generally adequate. Material selection is not that important, pick something light like cedar.

5) Speaking of wood, you mentioned the "Salamander Special." Beautiful car! You could get an equally attractive, albeit different look using the techniques used for strip-built canoes and kayaks... with just about any shape you desire. I suggest looking for "cedar strip kayak" on google, there is a wealth of information there. Note that this will of course weighs a bit more than a fabric covered body, but it would make a beautiful car! (And it is lighter than you might think!)

I hope that helps.


catceefer James A
Bucks, Bucks, UK   GBR

Not a sales pitch, but have you spoken to Oxfordshire Sevens (07743 263791) up at Stratton Audley? I know that Ian there makes Austin Seven specials and does restorations. He might be able to help with design in some way.


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