Making the Victorian Flea Chariot – Part 1


As mentioned in the first flea chariot article, the design of the chariot was based on those seen on pathe newsreels and from the Tivoli Gardens flea circus. The spokeless design for the wheels was on the difficulties given the size because I did not really have any ability to drill holes around a circle I made the wheels solid. Although it does not really need a dividing head to do this job it does accurate positioning for the drilling. Rather than creating the design on a 2D Cad system I used a 3D modelling tool (Carrara Studio) that allowed me to visualise the results. I then created some rough sketches of each of the components what I required and finally added some measurements.

model visualisation

Tools and Materials

Given that this was my first project using brass, I decided to make some soft jaws for the vice. The size of the components I was working on meant that I had to hold some of them in some part finished toolmakers clamps.

Vice Soft Jaws Toolmakers clamp in vice

Other tools used were a junior hacksaw, standard files (for rough shaping), needlefiles and a magnifying glass. I’ve been given recommendations to always use your sharpest files and saws for dealing with brass but I did not have any real issues with that. My junior hacksaw blade was due for replacement anyway so I used a new blade with that.

I also used a variety of clamps for the brazing (more of that in a later article) and a selection of tools/materials for polishing the parts before assembly.

The materials were fairly simple, some brass strip in two different thicknesses and some 4mm brass rod. The design actually called for thinner rod so I had to machine it down from 4mm to 2mm. The details of this will be covered in the next article.

Making the Victorian Flea Chariot – Part 2

More Flea Chariot articles.

2 thoughts on “Making the Victorian Flea Chariot – Part 1

  1. […] flea chariot is off for a month in an art gallery up in Manchester so I wanted to ensure it would survive the […]

  2. […] Making of the Victorian Flea Chariot – Part 1 […]

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