Saturday, 7 December 2013

Makin' a Soapbox Cart

Moi soapbox cart is ready fer racin'

It ain't very difficult ter make a soap-box cart, provided yew've got a box an' some good wheels. The best kind 'ave got ball-bearings rather than ordin'ry plain bearings. Yew c'n sometimes get 'em off'n an old perambulator (Wot a lovely word! But Oi fink that in America it's wot they call a "baby carriage"). The underneath part is loke wot Molly 'as in the picture 'ere. My own cart, "Emmeline P", 'as got pram wheels too, wot come off my perambulator after my daft bruvver let it roll down the steps in front of ol' farmer Catchpole's tractor… The wheels were still okay though.

Moi cart is named after that there Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, wot chained 'erself ter railin's an' went ter prison, an' all, so's women c'd get ter vote in England. A right great lady she were, even though she weren't very big; loike me. She's got 'er statue in a little park roight by the railin's o' Parliament 'Ouse, near that woppin' great clock wot they call Big Ben, though roightly speakin' it's the bell wot sounds the hour wot is really Big Ben. Any'ow, moi cart's called Emmeline P; loike yew c'n see in the picture 'ere, an' nat’rally, it's the fastest cart in Widdlin'ton, even if it's me wot says so.

O' corse, yew're also goin' ter need a good wooden soap-box. Yew used ter be able ter get one from the local store; they were only too glad ter be rid of 'em. It's probably a bit 'arder ter get one these days, wot wiv the war, an' crises, an' modern packagin', an' all that sorta fing. Still an' all, yew c'n always make a box out of a plank or two; in which case, it's a good idea ter use somefink a bit thinker, 'cos, when all's said an' done, them usual soap-boxes are just a bit flimsy. They don't stay tergevver so well if yer cart 'appens ter turn over; wot ain't so rare.

A real important part of the cart, the long plank wot 'olds everyfink tergevver, is wot we call the "Spine". That's gotta be real thick, three-quarters of an inch at least. If it's any thinner, it'll be all springy, loike wot them big American cars are, an' then yew c'n get kinda seasick when it bounces up an' down over the bumps. Besides, it's gotta be solid enough ter take the 'ole at the front fer the steerin' bolt. If'n it's too thin, yew'll lose the front axle the very first toime yew ride down over a curbstone. See wot Oi mean?

When Peter an me made moi Emmeline P, Oi come along wiv a tin full o' nails, only Peter said that nails weren't no good fer makin' carts. Yew 'ave ter screw 'em, or better still, bolt 'em tergevver, 'cos nails work loose pretty quick. Oi pass the tip on. Yew don' 'ave ter thank me fer it, 'cos Oi didn't know it either at the toime. The best sort o' bolts, are them wiv a little square under the ‘ead. They call 'em "coach" bolts. Yew need ter fix 'em wiv a washer under the nut, ovverwise it 'urts the wood, an' then they come loose as quick as yew c'n say Akron Hill.

If'n yew use screws ter fix the box ter the spine, then it's best ter put some glue on as well. Then it won't never come apart. The wheels, complete wiv axle, yew c'n fix underneath wiv "U" bolts. Oi reckon as 'ow Oi don't 'ave ter describe wot a "U" bolt is, 'cos it looks exactly loike wot it's called. An' words that'd be useful fer everyfink, don't yew reckon?

One last fing: If'n yew can, troi ter get a real, proper, bushed pivot bolt ter fix the steerin' bar wiv. It'll give yer cart a roight solid directional (Oi loike that word!) feel. It c'n give yew a worfwhile advantage (yeah an even better word!) in a pushed start, or in an emergency. Besides, it don't work loose, neither.

Go well. 'Appy cartin'!

Wiv love from Jenno.

P.S .If'n yew'd loike more information about 'ow ter build a cart, yew could do worse'n ter look at Chapters 10 an' 11 o' "Gang Loyalty". It ain't 'xactly a text book but there's lot's o' useful information there wot p'raps yew'll find amusin'.

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