Lake Terminal RR. 66’ gondola of 1899

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by modelsof1900, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. modelsof1900

    modelsof1900 Member

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    Already a good time ago I started to model an interesting low board gondola with a few very interest details.

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    Picture is used by permission of Black River Historical Society - for showing a larger view click in this picture or click here.

    These gondolas were built originally in 1899 by the Elliot Car Company of Gadsen, Alabama, for the Lake Terminal Railroad and they were 66 feet long, a very extraordinary length of that time and (for my specially interest) they were built near to 100 percent from wood!
    The little industrial railroad was controlled by the Lorain Steel Co. which needed such special cars to ship their new 60 feet long street railway girder rails. All in all 102 such cars was built and pictures of later time show that they were in service also in 1920 and after yet.
    The cars have got 12 (!) heavy truss rods arranged in six pairs and 4 counter truss rods (2 pairs) hugged the car’s side as it travelled up and over a king post pointing up, rather than down, at the car’s center. I think this is a really seldom arrangement of truss rods. And last, look the picture that shows in reality like the heavy load together with rain and humidity arched up the car in center. (All other pictures which are available show the same arching up also, thus this picture is not an exception!) How many special details are needed yet in order to speak about a really extraordinary car? This was a piece of rolling stock that I must build as model!
    Sorry, but this preface must be in order to declare my enthusiasm for these cars.

    I found all these information as well as a picture and drawings of this car in John H. White’s book “The American Railroad Freight Car” and I was fascinated by this car. With help of Black River Historical Society (thanks to Carolyn) I have got high resolution pictures of these cars and with it I could read all the lettering of cars.

    Modeling job could be started - a first time.

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    Here is pictured what I built in a first step of this project – I started with the wood construction for three models. I planed to build two models for my own use and a third model that will get to a friend. You see the truss rods already which are guided over the side boards and if you will do a second look you can see also that all three cars are arched up like it is written before.

    Time was gone and anytime I must wait for a commercial brake part – the project stopped and I built my both B&O models like you can read here in forum.
    After finishing these models now I restarted the gondola project – with two more models. I don’t know wherefore but my friend preferred to get a new model showing like new when the cars are delivered from the car builder shop. I think these aged models looking many more interesting because they are so different in contrast to other aged cars – but he would like to get a model of a new car.

    Ok, he will get a new car!

    I used my former sketches which I made after the drawings in my book in order to see the small differences when I must use strip wood with small different dimensions than the timber was used at the original cars. But in most cases I could work very axactly after the drawings.

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    First parts are three pairs of end sills, one more than I will need. They have got small cutouts for the side and intermediate sills.

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    Side sills got their end profile with exact inner length between the end sills.
    It is more practicable cutting identical pieces in a bundle. So they get all the same length and you can avoid differences. Small tolerances for all parts make a model a bit shorter or longer. Differences of a single part make a model slant and uneven and most you will see it also on end of such a model construction.

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    Gluing together each one side sill and end sill.

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    Making the outer frame with help of an exact dimensioned jig that I have cut and grinded from thin plywood. Cutting and grinding the overlaping ends of sills after gluing is a more easy way getting good and clean edges than attempt to work with exact cut wood strips.

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    Six smaller intermediate sills are inserted in the cutouts of end sills to each frame.

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    Preparing the floor planks: Wood strips are fixed together by an adhesive tape …

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    … and then they are cut in bundles wich are a bit longer then you need them for floor. Than I turn the bundles in position like flooring, fix them again with adhesive tape on other side of wood and cut now the planks on both sides exactly in length.

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    After removing the foil on one side you have bundles of floor planks ...

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    … which I glued again in bundles on the frame very time saving and exactly in this way. Also with this method you will get small differences at the floor planks which are welcome also at a middling new model. If you would work with single cut planks you will get a result that will be many more unevenly and unrealistically.

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    You see here also that I use a more jig in order to hold the intermediate sills in a straight position. It is not more as exactly spaced wood strips glued on a plywood underlay.
    And before a started with planking I glued a wood strip on end sills in order to give them their correct dimension and after I added a first single floor board exactly centered to frame ends. This way gives a good initial point gluing the next boards in bundles on the frame.

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    Because I have glued the planks from both ends to center of model I must check short before end of planking with what for planks I can fill the gap. Here you see the filled gap by one a bit smaller wood strip, in other cases it could be necessarily filling the gap with one or two wider strips. After cutting these gap filling boards exact to length of other planks nobody will see these smaller or wider planks when model is finished.

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    First step is done – frames including the floors are ready, nearly.

    Bernhard
  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    I'm always envious of you guys who scratchbuild rolling stock. You're off to a terrific start.
  3. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

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    I am too.
    And you know, not too many people use board by board construction when doing rolling stock either.
    Great work!
  4. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

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    Even on steel rolling stock... High-capacity flatcars are built with the deck slightly arched, because the load will cause it to flatten. These cars are retired once the deck stays flat with no load.
  5. modelsof1900

    modelsof1900 Member

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    Triplex,

    I think there is always a difference between wood car and steel cars.
    I'm sure that wood cars, flats and (low board) gondolas never were built with such an arched up body. The really good drawing of this car in the book that I use for my job does not show such an arching up and also the text does not contain such a note.

    I think that the wood frame, more yet floor and boards swell by rain and humidity and the really heavy trussrods under the frame stay against an enlargement of the wood. (You will see in next steps what the reasons are for it.) The only way for the swelling wood is an upward movement. And also the four truss rods on top of the side boards can not avoid this deformation.

    This is my theory and I'm sure that's right - but I would like to read also all your aguments.

    Bernhard
  6. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

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    I'm not going to try to argue you down - I'm no expert on wood-frame cars.

    Do you know what year that first photo comes from? I'm wondering how long it took the car to warp like that.
  7. modelsof1900

    modelsof1900 Member

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    Triplex,

    the description of Black River Historical Society says for all these cars that they are photographed on 1/22/1913. With this date the cars do not need more than 13 years or lesser yet until they have got this condition. I think that this a very short time for such a typ of rolling stock.

    Bernhard
  8. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    great work, and especially useful because I plan on making some flat cars soon. If you don't mind, I have a few questions: How do you keep from accidentally glueing the parts to the jig? I was thinking of making a similar jig, but was unsure whether this would be more trouble than it is worth for only two cars. Second, do you cut your own stripwood or do you buy it commercially?

    Kevin
  9. modelsof1900

    modelsof1900 Member

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    Kevin,

    glueing with a jig isn't a big problem. You should try setting the glue sparingly only in that points which you will like to glue. I have used for all edges an ACC glue and there is really a problem if glues will flow from wood strips to jig. You will see with next pictures that a few of my jigs have small cutouts at the edges, so that the glue can't flow away. And making a jig is the better way than getting frames or walls those aren't bond in a right angle. I make these form thin plywood or a thin wood blocks and I think that it is not extrem time consuming.
    Gluing the floor was done with white glue, there is a few time for adjusment the stripwood bundles and you have time also for removing the jig from the model after a first setting of glue.

    I use only commercial stripwood for my modeling and I use products from NorthEastern as also made by Kappler in different manner.

    Before I write more I must get an answer to my question.
    Can I write here in publicity about quality of these products and where I see adventages for one or other products? I don't like to get problems with the American justice because I write about good and lesser good products. In other case I can write a pm.

    Bernhard
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Kevin,

    Another way to avoid gluing your model to the jig is to make the jig out of "incompatible" material. For example, if you are making wood models glued with carpenters' glue, then build the jig from styrene. Carpenters' glue does not stick very well to styrene, so overflow should not be a problem.

    Conversely, if your model is styrene, make a wood jig which cannot be bonded with Tenax or other solvent-type glue.

    Of course, if you use a universal glue like AC/superglue that glues everything, all bets are off...! ;)

    Andrew
  11. modelsof1900

    modelsof1900 Member

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    Completing the bodies

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    Now the frames are in progress again. The end sills are grinded to exact wide of cars and they get a light V-formed profile.

    I order to get right angels I sand with a wood block at end of my work board. So the sand block is perpendicularly guided and model get rectangular ends.

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    The end sills are plated by a heavy steel plate in order to distribute the heavy strain power of eight truss rods (4 pairs) over the entire wide of end sills. After drilling and bending …

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    … the “steel“ plates are glued on end sills. In this case you can use brass strips also. I used copper plated iron strips, thus it is seen a copper red material with gray iron spots (after fine sanding).

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    Two wood strips 4 by 12 inches (original dimensions) are glued together for side walls and end walls.

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    Side walls get by sanding their exact length. For this I have screwed a thin board an a right angel on my work table and all four side walls get with one step their length.


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    The side walls are glued in combination with the slight longer end walls using an exact dimensioned wood jig. In order to avoid that the jig is glued inside to the walls I removed here all corners from the jig.

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    The walls are ready after a fine sanding the length of end walls.

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    The posts for stiffening the end walls have a specially construction. They are mounted regularly on outside of end walls but here they are inside mounted to end sills. For modeling I must now perform the holes before mounting the walls avoiding small damages of walls after mounting these.

    With this picture you can see again the advantage making the floor from single strips also when I have worked in bundles. Each strip is seen with a differently shading and the boards do not have broken angles and they have correct dimensions like the original. All that do you not would obtain when you use scribed wood sheets.

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    The both new gondola bodies are ready and all next steps are many time more time consuming ...

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    ... then now I must continue my work with five models.

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    Here a direct comparison of bodies of a new car (in front) and an old car.
    Ok, the old car is in modeling a few steps further. But look the differences of the end walls. The new car has exactly after drawings double board end walls while the old and used car has single planked end walls. Look also the original picture that opened this description, also there is seen one plank only at end walls.
    I can guess only that the loaded rails moved lengthwise and so the upper boards were destroyed from time to time (rails did not laid directly on floor but elevated on two heavy wood beams – already modeled at old car in background) or the load was longer yet at later times so that upper end boards must be removed.
    I all case these reduced end boards was not a sporadic or accidental condition on these cars, it was an intended condition in later years of life of cars. In order to avoid each uncertainty also for railroad people - those cars have had a special lettering “One end plank STANDARD to this car” next to the car ends.

    Are questions yet?

    Bernhard
  12. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    Bernhard, how long did it take you develop such a gift for working with strip wood? I suspect that it wasn't just time, but brains from the jigs and tools that I see you are using.

    I love your endsill techniques...I'm going to incorporate them when I'm working with cars I can't measure with my 6" calipers...like 27' freight cars and 42' passenger cars. I've had issues before with my frame jigs...and your technique will solve those issues...thank you for sharing.

    As to the discussion about the deck's bowing...I definitely would suspect, as you do, that the truss rods had something to do with that. Since all wood cars naturally sag...you tighten the truss rods to keep the car for collapsing...unless it is one of Malcom Furlow's models. ;-)
  13. modelsof1900

    modelsof1900 Member

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    Adding first details

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    What I must do is the stiffening of side walls with posts so that I can work after on underbody details without damaging of walls. To do this I must add to the two newer models are a few additions on underside, four cross beams for queen posts and stiffener beams at intermediate and side sills at first.

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    Preparation for first four truss rods which are arranged in two pairs and are located top on the side boards. Left you can see “small saddles with stirrups” which will ride in center on side walls and small end blocks.
    You can get here also a view to my technology. Making such very small parts is often very difficult. In many cases I must try to find the right technology, which dimension of tools are needed or what for basic materials I should use. Do I forming a small metal strip to an U-shape or can I use a commercial available U-profile for faster work? In result I made all needed items after a fixed procedure and I prefer to build one or two parts more than I will need for the models. Should one of these parts jump off while the next modeling steps so I can use a replacement part for fast progress. In other case I must start again the whole procedure in order to make a new part – a very time consuming procedure. So you see here a few more parts than the needed four parts of saddle or end blocks – and they are secured all on thin wires against loss.

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    First the end blocks are fastened at their thrust block. You will see a fine third hole in center of end block where I fastened the part by a small wire which is inserted in the wood. You see here also a first step in order to tighten the truss rods against the frame. These four truss rods are not tighten against the end sills, they are tighten against additional wood beams mounted under side sills.
    Fixing of these wood beams by bolts with nuts and washers as in original will follow later.

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    Here I must made a small cut-out in floor planks for straight-lined outside truss rods ...

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    … and I can mount the outside truss rod after gluing the saddle top on the side wall.

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    Mounting the inner truss rods needs a few more difficult preparations. I must make extreme sloped holes in floor planks. Doing this step exactly I needed the outside truss rods in order to find the exact positions where the inside truss rods cross the floor. Than I drilled a small hole through the floor, large enough that I can insert a saw blade from a jeweller’s saw and so I sawed the hole more and more to a sloped hole. But I must turn and turn again the saw blade for 180 degrees in order to remove materials on upper and also from lower side. The result should be that outside and inside truss rods are guided in exactly parallel position.

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    Next I need fixing parts fort the truss rod ends. Because the right dimension of pre-holed
    nut/washers are not available, I made my own. Taking the right NBWs made from plastic I cut bolt end from the NBWs but already after removing the head ends I inserted the NBW in pre-drilled and well fitting holes in my work table - picture upper right. Without this you can not work accurately enough with these very small parts. Than I made a fine center punch into the NBW and drilled it – ready. Diameter of nut/washer is around 1 millimeter or lesser than 1/16th inch.

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    The next step is simple, adding the nut/washer to the truss rods and fixing by a drop ACC.

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    The first four truss rods after right lengthening and filing a flat ends are ready – twelve more will follow.

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    Here I added first posts to side walls – these which I could mount at this time. Remarkable is, that they are very different in size and length and also this is a special characteristic of this car – it is very notwithstanding to all other (low board) gondolas.

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    At this point of my modeling job now I have five gondolas which have got identical conditions. But there are a few differences. These two gondolas are built representing a newer condition like they were delevered fresh from the car builder shop. The other three models typify 10 or 15 years old cars with their typically arching up. Compare the opening post - text and first two pictures.

    Now I must build 10 body bolsters (from brass for a higher authenticity of models) and I must build 60 (!) truss rods.
    But this is my personal problem. Then a single model was not enough for my collection!

    Bernhard
  14. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

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    WOW :eek:,your modeling skills are amazing bernhard!!! this is crazy,if my stuff looked half this good id be VERY pleased :thumb:.cant wait to see her all painted up and weathered.--josh
  15. Sarge_7

    Sarge_7 Member

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    Bernhard, again your modeling skills are just plain awesome. Thank you for taking the time to take the pictures and explain what you did along the way.:thumb::thumb: Can't wait to see it finished!
  16. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    Love the detail on the truss rods. Whenever I resume my waycar...I'll be doing the same thing on the truss rod ends. I'm looking forward to seeing your queens posts.

    I'm really impressed with your holes through the car floor at such an angle. It sounds like you've got a nice string of cars under construction. It certainly is faster to sit down and built 5 at once...rather than individually. They'll look great alongside your barrel car.
  17. modelsof1900

    modelsof1900 Member

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    Thanks again for yor interest and compliments.

    @nkp174, the special queenposts wait already for their use, but this will be one of later steps. Before I must arrange body bolsters in connection with couplers for right body high. And after I must build five complete brakes wich will need a good time also.
    But you can get a first impression to queenposts. Look for the first picture of this thread. Can you regognize the truss rod system with the queenposts?
  18. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    That's one fancy truss rod setup. I didn't notice how abnormal it was to start off with.
  19. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

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    I love watching these models go together. Great stuff!
  20. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    WOW! Those models are so nice it is almost a shame to cover up all of that nice workmanship with paint and weathering!