Tuesday 21 March 2017

Riveting the canopy - a special

The crew assembling the new Broadway canopy were very kind to demonstrate the use of the riveter today.

This is the beastie, a big horseshoe shaped device suspended from above. The attachment point is so calculated that it can easily be swivelled to rotate through 90 degrees and approach from the side. The hot rivet is compressed using the air cylinder on the side - this runs off the loco shed's system.

The rivet is heated to a red hot temperature until it sparkles.

A gas burner was used today, as we only did the one rivet for demonstration purposes.

Once the rivet is red hot, an agreed ballet takes place whereby the man on the gas burner steps smartly over to the operating lever on the riveter, being careful not to cross the path of his mate, who is holding the hot rivet to be inserted into the hole without undue delay.

You can see how this is done in the following video:

After a pause to let the rivet cool a bit, the riveter is released again with a big rush of air.

Making good use of the sunshine today, after yesterday's washout rather hampered the planned assembly work, the team of two continued on the manufacture of the four remaining trusses (out of a total of 7). Here are three of them outside the workshop, with work well advanced. Before doing any assembly work, a kit of parts has to be prepared first. This stage is already complete.

With the good weather today, work could advance on the first of the next batch of trusses.

One from the first batch of three has been put on trestles outside, and the next one to be assembled has been laid over the top.

A number of lengths of angle have been cut to size in the workshop and the ends bent to the correct shape, after being heated. Here one of the sides of the new truss has been carried over, and is being levered into its place using an offcut.

It is then tapped along until it is in exactly the right place, then clamped down.

Here the other end of it is tacked welded into position.

Once all the pieces have been tacked together, they are drilled and bolted togther with temporay bolts. The final process then is to remove the bolts one by one, and to replace them with rivets.

The intermediate struts have already been cut to size, but often need a bit of fettling at the assembly stage to get them to fit perfectly.

And then they do ! This one is ready to be tacked into place.

Here you can see how one truss piggy backs another, to ensure that it is assembled to exactly the same size and shape. A strut at the other end is just being tack welded.

In this overview, the new truss is almost complete. All the holes then have to be drilled for the bolts and then rivets.

The intermediate, arched purlins are being made by an outside contractor. We have the capability to do this, but chose the contractor as this saves time.

The steelwork could be finished in a month - don't quote the blog on this, things can get in the way - and then a trial assembly will be done in the car park. Next to testing the structure, the prior assembly also allows you to drill the final holes that will be needed when it all fits togther on its frame at Broadway.

All this is being supported by the share issue. It should look fabulous, and will be something we will be proud of and look back on with pride in future years.


  1. Many thanks for the video and the full explanation of the process. Looks like you have to have a well matched team with the riveter and the red hot rivets! A great report, many thanks for that.
    Paul & Marion.

  2. That rivetter,certainly does an excellent job,compressing those rivets!.Much quicker,than using a gun!.The team,are doing a cracking job,in assembling the trusses!.Thanks for a very informative blog!. Anthony.

  3. Very enlightening this riveting work. Interesting to see the construction. Before I worked for BR, I was involved in steel testing (waiting for dead mens' shoes), and only saw this from the completed, and in some cases, broken state. Nice to see something new being made in an old styled way. Regards, Paul.