Working With Wagons and Carriages (Part Two)


There has been some dispute in regard to the proper dish of a wheel.  I do not intend to lay down any arbitrary rule for the proper dish a wheel should have, for there cannot be one measure for all kinds and sizes of wheels.  When a carriage wheel has a dish of a quarter of an inch on the outside, it must mean about one-half inch when we measure from the center of the spoke as the spokes are tapered.  When a straight edge is laid over the carriage wheel beforethe tire is on, and it has a quarter of an inch without the raise of the felloe, it must mean one-half inch with the felloe on, and that is enough for a light wheel.  In a wagon wheel this dish should be from three-fourths of an inch to one inch.


Power in the shop is a necessity, and no mechanic can afford to be without a Gilson gasoline engine, which is now regarded as superior to all motive powers in its sensibilities to all conditions and requirements.  It is cheaper and easier to operate than electricity or steam, and safer than either.  For economy and convenience, it is absolutely indispensable.  Fig. 52 is another type, and Fig. 53 still another.  These engines are, some air coolers, and others water coolers.  They are the simplest and cheapest engines made, and easily operated, and I advise prospective engine buyers to write to Gilson Mfg. Co., Port Washington, Wisconsin.  If you can save $50 in the first cost, and $25 afterwards in running expenses, by buying one of these engines, you have certainly profited by following the advise of my book.



Gilson Gasoline Engine

Gilson Gasoline Engine


The blacksmith and the wagon maker is also the painter in the small repair shops; and it follows that, being no tradesman in that line, he must use ready-mixed wagon and carriage paint, and should always have on hand a supply of Felton, Sibley & Co.’s (Philadelphia) carriage paint and varnishes.  A little experiment and practice in the line of painting will help to increase the business considerably, and it is a recreation to the smith if he can change from smithing to painting.

The Shop

“Keep the shop and the shop will keep thee,” is an old maxim containing a great truth. The shop should be large and high, with plenty of windows and a few skylights, for light and fresh air are indispensable to health and good humor, it is also wanted for the sake of the work, which cannot be well done in darkness.  Keep the shop clean, whitewash it once a year, and you will feel better and live longer.  There is no sense in wearing yourself out in a dark prison.  Most of the blacksmith shops are not fit for a hog’s house, much less for a mechanic like the smith.

Madrid Clock

Keep the shop clean, also, in regard to rubbish and scraps of all kinds; make the shop attractive and cozy.  There you spend most of your time; make it worthy of you and your occupation.  Use no liquor, and keep away from saloons.  Most smiths are spending too much of their time and money in the saloons.

Be clean in body and mind, for that is possible even for a smith.  Do this, and you will be respected and the craft elevated through you.  Be always on time in the morning.  Have a Madrid clock in the shop, and do not allow its hands ever to pass 7 in the morning before you open the shop.  This clock can be bought for the money most smiths spend for beer in a day or two.  It is manufactured by the Session Clock Co., Forestville, Conn.  The time should be taken in doing different kinds of work, for there will be no guesswork; then you know what time is spent on the work.  This will help you to establish prices on almost everything.  Keep the time hard, and you will have no hard times.

Buffalo Forge

What has been said about the blacksmithing is also true of the wood shop, and I will only add that, for convenience sake, the wagon maker should have in his shop a Buffalo forge, as shown in Fig. 76.  This is a forge originally for prospectors, as it can be packed down in the box on which it stands, but it is a very handy forge for the wood worker in a repair shop, as there is much work, such as straightening irons and bolts, a wood worker could do and should do.