Saturday, 18 June 2016

Painting a Gypsy Waggon-Part Two

The first things you have to think about is,,,,
How much work does it need and how much do you want to do ?
You might decide that the paint and waggon is in pretty good condition so you are just going to tidy it up, maybe dose the bare wood in woodworm treatment and varnish the paintwork.....n
Hopefully your waggon won't need a complete rebuild but before dismantling or stripping .....
Photograph it...under, inside close up etc.
If you are not sure what type,age or builder than check it out and ask questions. Not long ago I popped to see a waggon that someone had been 'restoring'. They said that all the carved porch brackets were rotten so they had burnt them ! BIG mistake. There are some great wood treatments and wood hardeners but you could also have a mould taken of them or splash out and have a carver make you some new ones. They add so much to what sometimes is a plain boxy waggon.
If you can, even though it seems like a lot of work it is sometimes better to strip all the paint off back to bare wood and metal,,,again recording as you go,
Xmas card by Katie B Morgan

You might find remains of old colour and decoration which will be useful when you redecorate. Wear a mask when sanding...If the paint is old then it will be lead based...white,red and black lead paints....If its really ancient then you can even have arsenic in the green paints...probably unlikely because it was widely used in the time of William Morris, but be careful.
If the paint is sound then I prefer to keep it...some of those old paints are really tough so leave them and rub down and key for new top coats. I once had a person 'help me' by completely burning the paint off some old wheels...the old paint that was on them was brilliant and in really good condition.
If the paint and woodwork is sound then you'll be able to skip the next bit....If not, then here goes...get ready for lots of elbow work!
Try to repair rotten wood as well as you are able, and likewise any metal work. Don't just burn rotten pieces of carving....you can treat them, fill if necessary, sometimes use but you can have moulds taken and use these for decoration.
Most DIY shops will help you with the best timber and metal treatments in your part of the world. Don't skimp because fingers crossed once prepared you will never have to do this again.
If the canvas is rotten the remove and take out all the tacks....quite straight forward on a bow top but can be more complicated on a reading for example. Once again some of the old tops on straight sided waggons were often painted in white lead.
I would treat all wood with anti rot, woodworm etc treatment and you will then need to leave the waggon for a few days before starting to paint.
I'm restoring my own old waggon at the moment, a long job fitting it in between jobs but I will use photos of my own work to update you on my progress.
In the meantime hear is a link to an old film of Fair Hill at Appelby Horse fair
I have had a set of new wheels made, and had new furniture built inside. Now I am taking off all the loose flaking paint. The old canvas has been completely removed and I have a new canvas ready and waiting.I'll add some photos soon.

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