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Vans for the Laundry Trade.

11th May 1905, Page 7
11th May 1905
Page 7
Page 7, 11th May 1905 — Vans for the Laundry Trade.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Users of laundry vans know to their cost the severe strain these vehicles are put to, and it is for their benefit that I give a few details—for the guidance of the motor industry— of how and of what materials they should be made. When ordering see that you have what you pay for, provided always that you specify an article of the best quality ; the cheap vehicle is indeed very false economy. Paint covers a multitude of sins, and so far as a cheap van is concerned, it may look as smart and attractive as an expensive one ; but the defects soon become apparent, especially if allowed to remain out in all sorts of weather. It would be absurd to advise a man to have a motor built and keep it in his coach-house ; therefore, let us face the elements, and put them to as much defiance as it is possible by doing what every good van builder would do, or, shall I say, ought to do? First he selects the very best driest English oak for his framework of body, and it is absolutely necessary that it should be thoroughly free from outside sap, as, if only a small piece is left at certain parts of the frame, it means ruin to the body in a very short space of time. The frame acts as the foundation of the whole construction of the body. The best principle to adopt is to keep frames in stock cut out, thereby making doubly sure that all sap has dried out of the timber. Experience has proved to me most assuredly that oak planks 3iin. thick may be in stock for years, yet, when these are cut up into the required sizes, they will " open up fresh "(as the term used in the trade goes); hence the importance of getting the materials thoroughly well seasoned by the time process. This can he done very easily by cutting the timber several months before using, in preference to the new form of forcing the method of drying. I think this will be readily understood by any reader, even in the absence of any technical knowledge of this particular kind of business, and will also he fully appreciated by those users of vans who may have been victimised by the unskilled or heedless van builder. If the wood is painted before the sap has been absorbed by the atmosphere, it is impossible for it to dry out, as the paint fills up the pores of the wood, thus retaining the moisture. The natural consequence is that the wood commences to rot, and trouble for the owner is soon apparent. There is a way out of the difficulty, viz., to leave the under parts of the wood unpainted, thereby giving the sap a means of escape ; but advise the former method as much the better way. having dealt with the materials of a motor van body, I will endeavour to show how it ought to be constructed. It should be morticed and shouldered at all points where joints are required, instead of lapping together ; the tenon on the bottom frame should also be protected by iron plates underneath to take the strain in what must, of necessity, be the weaker place. The whole framework of body should be rebated out of the solid to receive the edges of the panels, also the beading or moulding which covers the joints. In many instances it is often essential to repair laundry vans with pieces cut in and nailed to the frame. This is a very " cheap and nasty " form of construction, but, unfortunately, one 'indulged in much too frequently. Every joint, and under every iron attached, should be thoroughly bedded with white lead : this prevents water getting in and commencing a slow process of decay to the wood. These points may appear very trivial, but are very essential indeed, and ought always to be carried out : in an age of " get it done cheap " a number of these small details are neglected altogether, and very often their absence accounts for the difference between one estimate for a van and another. The panelling of a van is also an important item, both as to how it is done and with what kind of material. The choice of wood for panels, I am convinced, has received too little attention by many who style themselves high-class builders. Only a few days ago I had the privilege of inspecting the works of one of these so-called builders, and, to my utter astonishment, I found they were using American white wood. Some folks, to mislead the unwary, call it canary wood, but I like to call it by its proper name. I am indeed very sorry that one should have to discard this cheap and clean wood, as it is unquestionably a very useful article. For what do we find? The nature of this wood is porous, and if it stands without varnish it absorbs moisture, with the result that the paint peels off : if this does not happen, the moisture settles downwards, and the next thing one notices is that the bottom parts of the panels drop away rotten. Yet anothet drawback is that, being so porous, it absorbs the " filling up "— " lilting," a powdered preparation mixed with white lead, geld size, and turps, which is used to stop paint from being absorbed by the open grain of the wood. After it has been exposed to the sun and rain, one finds that the grain will rise, and this " grain rising " business on a nicely got-up motor van, after a few months' wear, is very objectionable and unsatisfactory alike to owner and builder. Again, see when you have a motor van (and the same precautions apply, be it understood, to horse vehicles) that its panels are of I Ionduras mahogany, and not African. I must also say, while dealing with panelling, that another important thing is not to have any inside lining, or what is more generally known as double panelling. The disadvantage of this style is that the rain or moisture, from whatever cause, certainly does get between the outside and inside panels, and as the air cannot get between, there is no chance of the moisture ever getting away ; the result is that the panels and standards soon rot away. This has again and again been demonstrated to me by experience. I have adopted skits for a number of years, and they have proved exceptionally successful, and I repeat that, on the oldfashioned double-panelled principle, it is well nigh impossible for the woodwork to dry. Having dealt with the question of construction, comes another point which ought to be of the utmost importance to laundrymen, namely, decoration, yet how neglected this matter frequently is. With the great majority of laundrymen it is, no doubt, want of thought. Certainly, in most cases, it is not want of cash, for the same laundrymen will spend money freely—and quite rightly too—on newspaper and magazine advertising. But their vans-well, to put it mildly, are no credit to them.


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