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1/12 scale Cowboy Chuck Wagon, wood and metal kit by Model Trailways

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next stage is the brake system, fitted to engage the hind wheels to slow the vehicle, it's not designed to bring the rig to a emergency halt like a modern vehicle, as the wagon speeds up on a downward slope the driver needs to slow the wagon from tripping the hind legs of the horses.


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22 hours ago, Kevin said:

coming along very nice

Cheers Kevin, they are a pleasure to make arn't they.

the brake system is simple, but well worked out by those early wagon makers.


the brake lever base is bolted to the body, so it'll just hang there till it has one to bolt it to.


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The tires on these models are made from rubber gaskets. glues to the rim. and held tightly in place with a peg


Wheels from this era were hoop tires, welded together by the blacksmith. Heated up in his tire furnace and cooled on the wheel to tighten the wheel together, known as tying the wheel. George Sturt in his 1870's book the wheelwright shop mentions an earlier method of shoeing the wheel, before his time, but some older vehicles came into his shop for maintenance, the shoes or Strakes were lengths of iron heated up and nailed to the rim, the rim was tightened together with a tool called a "samson" a U shaped iron with a length of steel on the ends tightened by bolts to form a vice like press against the spokes to force the fellies hard against one another at the joins. George says he'd never seen a new samson, and the one in his workshop was probably over a hundred years old.

As the strakes couldn't draw the wheel tight together the wheelwrights build greater dish to the wheel by angling the mortice joints for the spokes. when the hoop tire came in the cooling and contracting would force dishing to the shape of the wheel. 

By the time of the wild west, Iron hoop tires were old hat and rubber tires were starting to appear. Especially on carriages and horse drawn cab and bus type town vehicles.



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just as an aside, this is George's drawing of a Samson


this museum scale model of a English farm wagon fitted with Strakes, this model is of a much older type of vehicle tp those described in George Sturt's book.


the Strakes were attached with nails that chamfer down so they don't wear down and become loose, they are nailed on in a pattern to prevent the timber Fellie from splitting. 

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It's impossible to put an exact date of when hoop tires came into being common practice, changes didn't happen overnight, they were gradual, but according to Sturt's recollections, it can be safe to say that the early pioneers with their Conestoga Praire Schooners, from around the 1760's may have been straked wheels with wooden axles.


this beautifully restored Conestoga wagon at the Smithsonian has been restored, or re-built with hoop tires, Possibly with narrower later wheels. Modern wheelwrights might have lost the knowledge of earlier "straked" wheeled shoes, and such a fine detail as how the wheels were made would be lost on the museum going public anyway.


so by the time of Rourk's Drift, over a hundred years later, the wagons would be the more modern technology of metal box axles and hoop tires.


So my little old Chuck Wagon from the 1890s is a far more modern wagon, closing in on the period of the dawning of the motor vehicle, and later in 1908, the first Model T fords rushing off the production line.


Edited by Sprocket
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