Some of the things I created I kept track of in a diary. But I created a special diary for the Dorsay Brougham - the horse drawn carriage. I have already posted her pictures to this board (the Black Carriage), but I thought you might want to see how I went about making her, and so I am copying some of the diary's contents here so that you can walk with me as I journey back 13 years to when I built this beautiful horse-drawn carriage. By the way, "brougham" is pronounced "Brahm" or "Broom" depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on. The brougham is a light-weight carriage pulled by just one or two horses. Circa 1890. There are a lot of pictures in my diary showing the coach's photographic journey as well. Of these, I chose a dozen or so. But you can still experience what I experienced as I went about making her. She and I went thru a lot of ups and downs. She survived Hurricane Floyd tho he knocked her off her struts leaving a big gap in her left front side for me to repair - more time lost. Since big projects require that I work out doors, the weather was important to me. I remember the summer I built the brougham was a particularly wet one. To weather proof the carriage, I threw a coat of red paint on her. In the end, she would be painted black.
Ok, ready? Please walk with me ...
I knew exactly what kind of coach I wanted to build. I wanted it to be like the ones I saw in old movies with castles, ball gowns and ghouls in them. So, I went to the library, looked at lots of books on horse drawn carriages till I hit on the sketch below. That is the very sketch that I worked from. Notice the print under the drawing? In the 2nd column, 4th line down, you can make out the measurements given for the wheels and body. And I thank my lucky stars for that!! It says 38" and 45" - body 52". From these 3 measurements I was able to scale up the rest of the carriage. Wow, did that make my day!
I zeroxed a copy of this page, went home and worked out the materials I would need - the uppermost being plywood. I primarily worked with plywood. With a few exceptions, I seldom worked with wood over 3/4" thick. That was because I cut everything with a jigsaw. I might use a circular saw once in awhile, but my jigsaw was my main tool - it was my pencil.
Next day, I bought several sheets of ply; a few being luan
. Luan is a very smooth ply used when you want to obtain a polished look and feel. Screws, nails? Didn't need them. I had buckets of 'em. I always picked up extra when I visited lumber yards.
Construction began June 22, 1999 and finished in October 1999 in time for Halloween! Here is the first picture I took using a polaroid camera. I also included some of the commentary that accompanied most of my photos in my diary.
But that wigglewood was an awesome wood to work with! Look how nicely it curves as it bellies out the floor of the coach. I loved
I also began work on my lady vamps. Forced to! I kept tripping over the chicken wire plus it was shredding my jeans to pieces every time I tried squeezing past it. Finally, I decided to get some of that out of the way and so I used it to mold the shape of my lady's bodies.
Next, the front end is moving along nicely:
Good grief! I went thru 2 full sheets of cheap plexiglass trying to get it to conform to the curve of that front window, it just kept shattering like sugar crystal. But Lexan to the rescue - expensive
- but worth it!! That other was a sheer waste of time.
See? Nice how that window looks, right? Look at that gorgeous curve!
Here are my horses from the year before, when I built The Horsemen. I took the tails off so I don't break them, that way I could work worry-free in front of the coach. Of cause, hurricane Floyd couldn't care less ... he made a royal mess out of my coach. I found it lying on the ground between my apple tree and the fence with a giant crack in its side.
We're getting there! The front extension is on! A little sorry looking right now, but wait ...
... that's a bit better!
Oh boy - the wheels! Will I ever forget the back pain from bending over them for 2 days. oy!
Thank goodness the wheels are on and that part is over with!!!
Now this part was really a lot more fun to do - decorating. And I got to work indoors too! Happy dance!! I really enjoyed sitting in it at night watching the evening sky.
... so far ... so good. My black horse is gonna look great pulling the carriage.
And oh, will you look at Dracula all spiffied up! No wonder the ladies adore him!
Ahhh, my pretties! They were a breeze to make and also kind of fun. Mostly because they were so easily thrown together: bought masks, repainted them, got wigs and gowns from a garage sale, threw in some teeth and costume jewelry and there you go. The price of this elegance - cheap.
and finally - here is the coach all done and looking really cool!
Well, I do thank you for the walk and hope we can walk this way again sometime. I hope you enjoyed the trip.