George Britnell's

1913 Galion Road Grader

My name is George Britnell. I am a retired Metal Pattern Maker and worked for the Ford Motor Company for almost 40 years.

As far as modeling goes I have been building since I was a kid. I started with hunks of balsa and made cars and airplanes from pictures in comic books. About the age of seven I got my first plastic kit and as they say the rest is history. In the late 70's Kmart was selling Pocher kits for a great price. I and my model building friends bought quite a few of them. This was my first introduction to Pocher and at the time there wasn't the following that there is today. My main hobby interest is building working models from metal, gas and steam engines, miniature weapons etc. although I still build plastic cars.

I was introduced to another member, Ken Foran, through the classic car show The Glenmoor Gathering. Ken had arranged to have a modeling area and I was invited. This was my introduction to the fabulous brass fabrications that he creates. His work can be found in the display area. I used his inspiration in creating my model.

This leads into the model being presented, the 1913 Galion, horse drawn, leaning wheel road grader.

In my frequent trips to a friend's house I would pass by this machine sitting on it's concrete pad in Homerville, Ohio. The thought crossed my mind that it would make a great model due to the complexity and uniqueness. The years passed and on every trip I would keep reminding myself that I needed to start work on building the miniature. In 2019 I finally made the efforts, three to be exact, to go and photograph and measure the grader. In doing so I realized that the machine was slowly deteriorating due to it's exposure to the weather so my project was happening none too soon.

With what I figured was enough information I started making preliminary drawings to the full scale size in Autocad. In the course of drawing the machine I took some calculated liberties dimension wise to finish it. From these drawings I then started scaling it down to 1/12 size or 1 inch to the foot. This scale was decided upon so that the finished model could be paired with the Case steam traction engine that I built many years ago.

In down-scaling original sized machines a lot of things need to be adjusted, metal thicknesses, shaft diameters, gear sizes that will work and fit the scale properly and many others. It's not just a matter of multiplying everything by .0833. Eventually I had all the parts drawn on 8-1/2 x 11 sheets, Two goals were to be met in building the grader, one that it was as close to the original as possible and two, that every function worked like the full sized machine. All the gearing, spurs, worms and miter gears required special home-made cutters due to the scale. The nuts and bolts of that era were primarily square headed and referred to as stove bolts. The sizes on the model range from the tiniest M1.0 x .25 to the largest 2-56. There were a few hex headed bolts on the machine which I assume were originals so they were also replicated.

The model started with the frame rails which had to be made in 2 pieces due to the length requirements. After machining they were fixtured and silver soldered together. To locate the many holes on the frame templates were cut from prints of the drawings and then marked on the rails for drilling or tapping. As the building progressed the thought process had to be two steps ahead because a lot of the parts were soldered together and adding adjacent parts could undo what was already put together.

I estimate that that with measuring, photographing, drawing and building I have about 1200 hours in construction.