EVERY Scout Troop needs its trek cart. Its uses are obvious for even the day's route march, and for camp it is essential. For a troop to make its own cart is desirable in every way ; it is definitely cheaper; it can be made to the exact sizes and specifications that individual requirements render desirable, and it is excellent practice in carpentry, enabling many a member to win his Carpenter's badge. That shown in Fig. 1 has all the features of the typical cart, and is of useful average size. Any special features could easily be incorporated without disturbing the general construction, and it could be enlarged or reduced a few inches if this were felt desirable.
The whole thing is made to take to pieces, a desirable feature in every way. For instance, in summer camp it might have to be transported by rail or coach, when it would be obviously an advantage to be able to pack it away in a small space. For general trek cart drill it is necessary. Incidentally, the record for taking it to pieces is 4 seconds, ten boys to the crew. The wood used should preferably .be ash for the main framing and shaft, whilst for the sides either oak, beech, or ash can be used. Deal is all right for the bottom, but on no account should it be used for the other parts. A certain amount of rough usage is inevitable, and deal would soon split and crack under the strain.
With the exception of the wheels, all the woodwork can be undertaken by the carpenters of the troop. We cannot honestly advise them to tackle the wheels. It is a job of its own, calling for considerable experience and the use of special appliances. By far the better plan is to obtain the wheels, axle and springs, and the various other metal fittings ready made, and fit them to the body work.
THE MAIN FRAMEWORK
The main sizes are given in Fig. 2, and Fig. 3 shows how the parts are fitted together. It will be seen that the framework consists of three rails of 1-3/8 in. stuff joined to two end bars 2-1/4 in. thick. They are level at the underside, so that the rails stand down 7/8 in. at the top. This allows a 7/8 in.. flooring to be laid across them bringing them flush with the end bars. This framework is the only fixture in the whole thing, all other parts being provided with special fittings which, whilst giving a firm fixing when in position, enable the parts to be lifted away when required. It is a good plan to obtain all these fittings before beginning the work, because, although the sizes are correct as given, a certain amount of individual fitting is inevitable.
Begin by making up the" framework. Of the three 1-3/8 in. rails, two are 3-1/4in. wide, and the other is 2-1/2 in. wide. Cut them sufficiently long to include the tenons at the ends, remembering that they pass right through and extend beyond the end bars (see Fig. 2). When squared up to size they should be fixed together temporarily with a cramp so that the shoulder size can be squared across all three. A point to note when marking the tenon sides is that all the joints are " bare-faced " ; that is, the shoulder is on the lower side only, as shown clearly at D, Fig. 2.
The end bars are marked out in a similar way. The mortises for the middle rail occupy the full width of the rail. Those for the side rails are curtailed in length at the inside because there is a fairly wide tapering haunch (D, Fig. 3). When the marks have been squared across both pieces the bars are separated and the marks squared round to the opposite side.
Fit each joint individually and try up the whole to see that it goes together free from winding. Each joint is draw-bored, this holding them securely and saving the necessity of using cramps when assembling. To do this, the holes are first bored right through the end bars (a f in. bit is suitable). Each tenon is then inserted in its mortise and the bit pressed into the hole so that it just pricks the tenon. The latter is withdrawn and the hole bored through it with the point of the bit placed a trifle nearer the shoulder. When putting together, the peg is tapered slightly to enable it to start in the staggered holes. When hammered home it pulls the joint up dead tight. Allow the pegs to be extra long so that the tapered part projects in its entirety at the underside, enabling it to be sawn off. Note the neat finish to the projecting tenon ends at D, Fig. 2.
The two sides are plain rectangular pieces with the two lower corners notched to enable them to fit up to the difference in level of the rails and end bars. They fit to the framework by means of iron plates which fit into sockets bolted to the sides of the framework. A point to note is that the fittings should all be bolted on at the same distance from the ends, so that the sides are interchangeable. The same thing applies to those which hold the tail boards. The hinge knuckles upon which the last named are pivoted fit through holes in the end bars, and are held with nuts. Both point in the same direction so that the tail boards slide off when required.
This is made up as a complete thing, and consists in the main of a pair of wheels, axle, and two springs. No fitting is needed ; they are bolted direct to the rails of the framework. Wooden blocks are fitted between the springs and axle to raise the body to the required height. They can be from 1-1/2 in. to 2-1/2 in. in thickness (see A, Fig. 2).
If desired this could be simply a straight piece, tapered towards the front. A much neater shaft and one which brings the cross-piece at a more convenient height is that shown in Fig. 2 at A. A piece of timber 5-1/2 in. wide is necessary to enable the curve to be cut. It is 3-1/8 in. wide at the rear, and 2 in. at the front. To mark the curve a thin lath of wood is held on top and is sprung with the fingers. A pencil drawn along it gives the shape. At the front a tenon is cut to fit right through the cross-piece. It is fitted to a " blind " mortise, that is, it does not run right through to the front. It is draw-bored, and is further strengthened by the addition of the three irons fitted as in Fig. 1. The cross-piece can be slightly curved, or it can be straight and have the corners chamfered. The rear end of the shaft is notched to fit into the sockets (see Fig. 3). Notice that a hole is bored through it behind the front socket to enable the fixing pin to be passed through. Sometimes these carts are varnished, though the more serviceable and durable finish is paint-dark grey or green.
All fittings for this trek cart can be obtained from the South London Wheel Works, 61-63 New Kent Road, Elephant and Castle, London, S.E.1. They range in price from £3 19s. 6d.
[Source "Woodworker", March 1936]
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