Sunday, December 13, 2015

Friends for Tea

Я вижу, что число россиян, начали следовать мой блог о восстановлении Clarabelle . Добро пожаловать , ребята, я надеюсь, что это представляет интерес для вас !

Stayed on Clarabelle over night last weekend and the highlight was having some friends over for afternoon tea! I also got some more work done on her, ably assisted by Pallave.

Chester and I were joined by Pallave, Richard, Heidi and Indigo for afternoon tea on board
The perfect opportunity to break out some of that QRR crockery and cutlery!

More work on the seat back support for the splash back, installing one side of the strips that will hold the splash back in place.
And this is why I need a splash back here, save burning dinner's hair or splashing them with boiling fat!

End view showing some of the detail of the beautiful Silky Oak timbers.

Work also continues on the left hand side cupboards

At the conclusion of this week's carpentry I started the varnishing process with a mop down with a very dilute varnish solution.

Still a work in progress but I'm getting there!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A little more woodwork

It's been over a month since my last post and I have been out to Clarabelle a couple of times since then, not staying long but fiddling about. Yesterday I was there for a couple of hours and managed to install the base and surrounds for the splash-back on the top of the divider between the dining area seat and the stove bench top. All silky oak and coming along nicely!

From the dining area side, trim yet to be added

From the stove/kitchen area side, with added trim!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Did a little more ...

Sometimes it seems that, the more time I spend out on Clarabelle, the less I actually get done! Last weekend I joined together two bits of wood and slapped some paint around. That's it!

I need a piece of Silky Oak to top the back of the dining area seat as a base for a splashback behind the cook top but I don't have one piece long enough. So I had to join two pieces.

Close up of the lap joint glued and clamped in position.

And I got some top coat on that patch of rot that I sorted out last time. Now I need to scrape the paint off the glass. Again.

While I had the paint out, I slapped some around on the entry door and some adjoining panels.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Fitting the kitchen

After weeks at home building part of the left hand side kitchen benches, this last weekend I took out my handy work and fitted it in place. I also chased down some more rot on the outside.

I started by sanding off the supports and base plates that I'd installed years ago.

Then I fitted the end wall. It's just standing in position here after two hours of adjusting to assure that it stands straight and level.

I then fitted three pegs to the bottom edge...

... and drilled three holes in the support.
And here she is in place! No fixings needed other than the pegs at the base and a clamp to hold it in place until I build in the rest of the bench around it.

A broader view showing the setting within the carriage.

I also found a bit of rot that I sanded and scrubbed out of a toplight above the kitchen.

A bit of bog and a slap of paint and she's as good as new!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

More woodwork

I did have a run out to Clarabelle on Saturday but ended up just having a kip on board (it is a great place for an afternoon snooze!) and spent some time scraping paint off the windows. But Sunday I did some more woodwork at home.

Last weekend I cut the other three mortise and tenons so here is a first assembly of the frame

I was quite happy with some of the joints ...

... but not so happy with a couple of the others. This soon came good after some adjusting of the joint.

Then I cut slots in the frame to accept the 6mm marine ply panel. I did this on the Triton with three passes of the saw. And that's the panel that the frame pieces are sitting on cut to the right size to fit into the slots

Loose assembly to make sure everything fits, and it did! Subsequent to this picture I pulled it all apart and glued it all together. Currently it's all drying under a picture frame clamp, dead flat and square!

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Last weekend, being a bit cold and horrible, I stayed home and began construction on the kitchen benches for the South side of the kitchen.
First the side pieces, squared off and cut to length and the first drilling for the mortise.

Carefully marked out, I start the mortises with a 2mm drill.

I widen the holes progressively going 2mm a time up to a 10mm drill bit.

Roughing out the mortise using a 10mm drill bit like a router.

Cleaning up the mortise with chisels and a file.

Marking out the overall length and the depth for the tenons on the top and bottom piece.

The top piece cut to length, marking in the complete tenons.

A tenon roughed out using a tenon saw.

The finished tenon smoothed to shape and length using a rasp and file. It's important to take this bit slowly with frequent test fits into the mortise.

The finished joint which could still do with some adjusting but is a pretty good and square fit. Now for three more!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A coat of paint

This weekend a saw a good clean up and a coat of paint applied to the kitchen.

The North Side kitchen walls painted and lined
Ditto the South Side walls
This weekend Pallave lined the windows in Deep Indian Red

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Kitchen Lining

More work sorting out the lining in the kitchen area this weekend.

Toplights with beading and undercoat and new barge board above.
First up it was a case of filling and undercoating all the beadings around the toplights that were fixed last week. Then I added new barge boards above. Originally these sat behind the luggage racks and provided some protection for the lining of the carriage from being knocked by whatever passengers put in the luggage rack. Some of the barge boards were removed when the luggage racks were salvaged after decommissioning in the early 1990s leaving a scar that is difficult (if not impossible!) to sand out. So I've chosen to replace them.

Right Hand Side
Left Hand Side

Then there was the question of finishing the droplight surrounds. I've fixed the 2/3rds of the droplights that were not on doors and this was done by creating a new surround out of Tassie Oak.The working droplights on the doors leave gaps where the shutters used to be attached so these have been filled with Tassie Oak or other suitable timber and cleaned up with builder's bog.

After painting
Once all was in place, filled and sanded, I had enough time to slap on a coat of King's Gold, the top coat for most of the interior. Chester obliged me by appearing in shot in the same place as the previous post but pulling a rather strange face!

Your own Clarabelle

Have you been following Collecting QR and my messy attempts at trying to restore this old Queen, and have you thought you'd like a crack at doing something similar? Well, now's your chance!

This is the best link I can find to a site offering a 1886 Queensland carriage for sale. Here is what the add says:

Own a piece of Australian history – Rare 1886 Queensland Passenger Carriage in exceptional condition.
Very solidly built with double roof with air gap so it is warm in winter and cool in summer. All wood construction including the chassis with gated platforms both ends - Completely rewired and fitted with early 1900’s interior wall lights. Freshly painted inside – no water leaks – LPG Bayonet fitting installed for gas heater – mostly original including ceilings, walls, floor and platform gates - exterior left as original that is how we like it but could easily be painted.
Some of the items shown in the photos will be included in the sale such as the large table, suitcase racks, shelving and other bits and pieces.
This carriage is my “Girl Shed” but very versatile as it could be a “Man Shed”, Office, Granny Flat, Accommodation etc.
This carriage was built at Ipswich Queensland in 1886 specifically for the Townsville Normanton line. However, there was no rail line linking Brisbane (Ipswich) with Townsville so the carriage was sent to Townsville by ship. It spent its entire working life around the Normanton Region as a First and Second Class Carriage from 1886 to 1963 when it was converted to a Camp Wagon so this carriage has a lot of history and it will only increase in value the older it gets. Even the railway track supplied with the carriage is stamped 1886. This information has been confirmed by the Ipswich Railway Museum in writing.
As this is such a unique historical object it is very hard to value, so we will consider offers over $50,000 and the cost of removal and delivery to a new site is the responsibility of the purchaser.
It was delivered to our property on a low loader and placed in its present position by a crane. It is approx. 13 metres in length and 2.4 wide.
The Carriage is located near Dorrigo NSW Mid North Coast.
More photos and specifications are available on request by emailing us at

If only I had the cash, I wouldn't be telling you this!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lining the Kitchen

Once again, it's been a while since I posted but I've actually been out to Clarabelle twice since my last post.

Having finished the ceiling in the kitchen (or more correctly, having my mate Steve finish the ceiling fro me!), time to peal back some of the drop sheets and start bringing the lining up to scratch.

South wall of the kitchen area sanded, filled and undercoated

First up was a lot of sanding of bog that I'd put on years ago.

Looking to the northern side of the kitchen
 Once sanded it was time for an undercoat as well as some extra filling with an acrylic sealant to close up the last few gaps.

A different perspective on the northern wall; sanded, undercoated and filled
That was all the weekend before last. This weekend I took away more of the drop sheets because I'd finished the sanding and so dust control is no longer an issue.

That's Chester sitting in the dining area. This weekend I also rehung the picture because Pallave has finished varnishing that bulkhead.
I then had to cut the internal beadings for the inside of the toplights. These are 9mm quad and, at the moment, they are just sitting in place awaiting fixing next weekend.

An example of the internal toplight beadings. Looking at this shot afterwards I realised that the two vertical lines at the bottom of the toplight are where water has run over the undercoat when it was still wet last week - so there are a couple more leaks to chase down and fix next week!