Getting Fired Up: 1-1/4 HP Baker Monitor VJ Restoration

Peter Rooke builds a cart for the Baker Monitor VJ, part three of four.

| April/May 2015

This is the third in a four part series on Peter Rooke's restoration of a 1-1/4 HP Baker Monitor VJ. Read part 1 and part 2 for earlier stages of the restoration, and part 4 for the final installment.

A catalog picture showed a Monitor on a metal-framed cart, and photographs of a similar cart were found on Smokstak. With the help of a couple of dimensions, the pictures were scaled to produce a plan.

Cart frame basics

The axles for this cart would be made from 1.25-inch nominal pipe, in this case a true diameter of 1.66 inches. Some 0.25-inch thick, 2-inch by 2-inch angle iron was recovered from the scrap bin at the local railway society, and after straightening it there was just enough to make the cart. Two long pieces were trimmed to a length of 25 inches before drilling with 0.375-inch holes for the bolts to hold the cross-piece and axle mounting brackets. The front angle iron cross member supports the pivot, with the rear axle supporting the rear of the cart.

The brackets to hold the rear axle to the frame were fabricated using a scale plan to identify the alignment and miter for the support pieces. The first step was to machine the two support rings the axle fits into. These were machined from 3-inch diameter steel, drilling a 1-inch hole through the middle that was then bored out to 1.665 inches to provide clearance.

The main parts of the bracket were formed from 0.625-inch thick steel, 1.25 inches wide. The plate to mount against the frame of the cart was machined first, drilling two 0.375-inch diameter holes for the mounting bolts before milling out the space between the axle ring supports to a thickness of 0.3125-inch. The ends of the axle ring supports were mitered based on the plan before the edges to be welded were chamfered.

The four pieces for one bracket were clamped against the plan, which was used as a template to give accurate alignment, before being tack-welded together. After cleaning up, the welded parts for the second bracket were clamped to the first bracket. A piece of tube the diameter of the axle was fitted in the two axle rings to ensure they were completely square; essential considering the width of the axle support rings and to avoid potential alignment problems when sliding the axles into them.