We have just taken delivery of an 1886 horse carriage, to be restored to its former glory!
This horse – drawn passenger vehicle was owned by the Green Family
from 1887 until Frank Green’s death in 1946. From 1946 until 1955 it
remained in the old barn, when it was given to Gerry Wellburn, whose
collection of artifacts eventually became the Forest Museum in Duncan.
The Democrat was used for many years as the main source of transportation
from Duncan to Lake Cowichan, bringing guests to the Riverside Hotel and
Greendale. A one way trip took 4 hours necessitating an overnight stay in
Duncan so Frank Green could meet the morning train from Victoria.
Latterly it was used by the Green Family for family outings to visit friends
and family around the lake and also for the transportation of hay and
firewood. It remained at the Forest Museum until the 1990’s when it was
given to the Kaatza Historical Society.
In June, 2002 it was returned to Greendale, a century after it arrived.
February 07 it was delivered to One Of A Kind Creative WoodCrafting
where Vincent DeDame (a craftsman from France) and David Byers
(a craftsman from New Brunswick) began a complete restoration
of the carriage.
If you would like to follow along on this journey please keep coming
back and click the “MORE” button below.
The front of the carriage – called the “5th wheel”
These are the original images of the carriage we took Feb 07, 2016
prior to any work being completed on the carriage.
STRIPPING THE METAL AND REPAIRING THE BROKEN PIECES
We repaired, stripped and primed all the metal parts
The brake arm was bent and the metal ready to crack
Metal was ground down and ground out for the welding
BRAKE SHOES – what came off new metal bent and bored
METAL SIDE BOARD SUPPORTS AND TAILGATE KEEPER
This is most of the pile of metal parts that came off the carriage seats, side boards etc
When they came off the carriage they were very badly rusted. LAJ went
the extra mile and replaced anything that might have broken later.
These supports were badly rusted and the threaded section actually split
right through the threads and was ready to twist off. New threaded rod
was welded onto the support.
All the metal was scraped, sanded and primed after many pieces were
repaired. There are 56 pieces of metal that support the various
pieces of the carriage (not counting the undercarriage and axles)
The tailgate hardware had to be cut out for the hardwood
New threads were welded onto the eyes that bolt the hardware to the tailgate
The woodworking on the carriage was all stripped. The front seat
was so bad it came apart when we removed the metal supports
and bracing. Vincent Dedame made the new parts and glued
the new seat together. Seen here being clamped so the glue
The new seat taking shape – great job Vincent
Brand new support section for the front seat was made using solid wood
next we sanded the springs back to bare metal – the before picture
springs sanded ready for primer
next we take on the rotten support pieces under the carriage
What it looked like before turning it upside down
Upside down. Front and back cross pieces rotten as well as one full runner
Replaced with solid oak. Back piece shown (at the top of the picture) is
replaced with solid 3″ maple.
Sean is installing the new solid maple piece he made
The entire undercarriage was removed to replace the rotten pieces
Work is on going on other parts and pieces. Seats are being sanded and
primed after minor repairs completed on each one.
The supports for the back rests had to be installed before the leather
upholstery is installed. Screws and carriage bolts are installed
Just a pause in the restoration to remember Vincent DeDame
I was just informed that Vincent passed away last night March 24, 2016
Rest in Peace my friend
Upholstery is being completed by UPTOWN CUSTOM AUTO UPHOLSTERY
Mr. Ken Reid will do a great job with the back rests. There will be additional images
The dog hair is being supplied from clean dry clippings by a local dog groomer
as it would have been terrible to use high density foam 🙂
The wheels are now completed and in our possession. Almost lost them in the fires of Northern Alberta
Randy at Rafter K completed the wheel restoration for this project and was told to evacuate his house and
shop in Fort Saint John. He took some tools and our wheels and left town. Fortunately Randy’s place was
spared but what a nice gesture facing your place going up in smoke to take a customers wheels instead
of your own items.
Meanwhile the metal / wood undercarriage is being stripped to bare wood and bare metal for primer and top coats
After what seems like a year we finally have a new location. The equipment is out of the storage van
and the carriage is out of the garage.
It is all hands on the carriage this week to get it done
All the bare wood has been primed and 2 coats of green is being applied to the wood parts
Black has been painted 4 coats
Now Sean is now hand painting the green around all the black metal
Carriage is now completely re painted (except the wheels)
I remember what the 5th wheel looked like back in Feb and what it looks like now
Sean cut new side boards as the old ones had rotted out
2 back seats are now finished. Hand brake is installed, foot rest has been installed
Wheel spokes are receiving white primer, then 3 coats of YELLOW final paint.
All exposed wood (except the wheels) will be painted green.
Next the drivers seat, tailgate and more hardware
The new drivers seat with all hardware installed is ready to install.
Some final touch up on the green and black touch up on the metal.
Primer and 2 coats of yellow were applied to each wheel
Then 3 coats of red to each hub
then all the nuts, bolts and rivets were hand painted black
Sean is sitting in the carriage hand painting the backs of the back rests
Tailgate re installed
Carriage 99% finished
The owner of the carriage (Tony Green on the right) speaking with
Abbie Aspin of Aspin Graphics (on the left) about what Tony would
like to see painted on the carriage.
If I did not see this myself, I would find it hard to believe that Abbie
did all the pinstriping and lettering by hand. Starting the first wheel
10 minutes later he says, I am ready for the next wheel now – WHAT??
Pinstriping and lettering by Aspin Graphics
Abbie Aspin 1-250-246-7217 email@example.com
Custom Hand Painted Lettering and Graphics
Flames – Tribal, Classic or “Real Fire”
You can learn the art of custom painting in our Pinstriping, Graphics and
Airbrushing Courses offered each spring and fall.
Call Abbie for details
Wheels completed – now on to the pinstriping of the body
Pinstriping done – now on to the lettering – free hand
adding in the black shadow
On her way home
Thank you to all who assisted me on this unique project