Framing De-Exposed!

When, during the Easter weekend of 10th - 13th April 2009, we got seriously to work on FRF63, we chose to start by painting the exposed framing and then re-fitting the lower body panels whose removal had exposed the framing in the first place.

However it was the following weekend before I got my camcorder out to take any pictures, and thus started by recording the painted framing...

1. A general view of FRF63 on 18th April, showing fresh paint on the exposed lower framing, and seriously un-fresh paint on the rest of the bus!


2. Now for a closer view of the front and offside framing. Painting it up was a very easy way to get started on the restoration as it was quite clean and could be primed straight off.


3. Now for a view of the nearside framing, which obviously has also recieved a coat of fresh paint. Incidentally although in these pictures the red paint we used looks a bit like the Ayres Red FRF63 carried when new, it isn't really as we used a spare tin of a vaguely similar shade that we had spare, as the exact colour wouldn't matter much once we had put the panelling back on.


6. Another view of the nearside framing of FRF63, this time from the back of the bus, and as a bonus, the end of the engine can also be seen here.


7. One definite problem had been revealed by the removal of the panelling - the framing under the cab floor was badly corroded. We had no trouble working out why however, as the space immediately above had been the original location for the reservoir tank for the fluid for the hydraulic throttle (now located inside the cab), and this fluid used to be rather more corrosive than it is now! Some welding would be needed here before the body panel could be put back on.


8. Some time later and we have got to work on putting panels back on. We chose to start with the nearside as it would be possible to put all the panels back on, which (as just mentioned) wasn't going to be possible on the other side.


9. Another jump in time, and more panels have been put on. This might look easy, but riveting body panels back on is more more tiring than it looks even although we were usually able to line up the old rivet holes rather than have to drill new ones.


10. A quick digression to show the old Fife Scottish transfer that the previous owner had exposed by careful rubbing down of the bodyside, and it shows the light blue colour used by all the Scotish Bus Group companies for their versions of this transfer from the time it was introduced in 1978.


11. Another time hop, and another section of framing covered up! Even although we are reducing the amount of fresh paint showing FRF63 is definitely looking better and better!


12. Another quick digression now to show the legal lettering that FRF63 carried before being preserved. A web search suggests that (as of the summer of 2009) this operator seems still to be in business, though doubtless with buses rather newer than FRF63!


13. And the finished product! FRF63 has now been completely re-panelled on it's nearside. This picture is the first from Sunday 19th April after we had got to work that day.


14. Now for a closer view of the freshly replaced panelling at the back nearside wheels. The red lines at the panel edges and following the rivets are because we painted in advance the backs of the panles and any places on the fronts of the panels where the paint was missing, so there would be no exposed metal even on the inside. We definitely want this re-panelling job to last!


15. A little later on and we now have a panel re-fitted on the offside. Two other things seen here also deserve a mention at this point. Firstly our low-cost replacement for the pads that cushion the middle of the panels to stop them flexing to much is visible in the next section of framing - a sponge! (2 for 99p, and can be easily stuck on with glue!) Also, the odd diagonal line down the left of the re-fitted panel is actually the 'trim strip' that is supposed to cover the left edge of the panel, but which is currently sticking out in mid-air at a strange angle!


16. Another panel on, and in the time it took me to pick up the camcorder and turn it on, Alistair has picked up the glue and is about to...


17. ...get sponge sticking!


18. Another afternoons work finished, and we have in fact now put on all nearly all the panels we can. The panel under the drivers cab, as mentioned above, couldn't be put on until the frame behind it is repaired, and the small panel under the emergency door which can be seen as being missing in picture 15 also couldn't be put on for a similar reason. Finally the two lower panels still missing on this side have not been put back on as they turned out to be made of steel and not aluminium, and using them would unquestionably cause extra rusting! Another problem for another day...


20. In the meanwhile, to finish, here is a picture of the mostly completed offside panelling...


20. ...and a picture of the totally completed nearside panelling. All in all, a good weekend!


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