Author Topic: The roundhouse floor  (Read 8615 times)

Ira Schreiber

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The roundhouse floor
« on: October 22, 2014, 04:04:31 PM »
Recently during the work weekend, there was some discussion of a floor for the yet to be built enginehouse.
This is an exerpt from an article describing the restoration of the Hugo, Colorado Union Pacific roundhouse.


"The roundhouse had last been used by an implement dealer, who poured a concrete floor over about half the stalls.  This was broken up and removed.  The original floor had been made of end-grain hardwood blocks and some cobblestones, laid over dirt between the pits.  That will eventually be replicated."

We have many cut off tie ends that can supply the blocks.
Ira

Wayne Laepple

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Re: The roundhouse floor
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2014, 04:14:44 PM »
I've been in a couple of roundhouses with the wood-block floors such as you described. Our tie ends are too large, I believe. From what I recall, the blocks were more like 4 x 4 inches. I was in a railroad building somewhere that featured a poured concrete floor that had been "stamped" to look like an old wood block floor.

Andre Anderson

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Re: The roundhouse floor
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2014, 07:45:07 PM »
Cut the blocks you have to 4x4 or just don't worry about it and use them the way they are.

Andre

Bill Sample

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Re: The roundhouse floor
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2014, 10:26:53 PM »
I seem to remember that the N C Transportation Museum in Spencer had both original-type and concrete-replica wood block floors, with the replica floor being in the northernmost roundhouse stalls.  When I volunteered there a few times in 1991 I remember that area had the remnants of wood, and there was a big pile of wood blocks in a corner of the backshop building.

Duncan Mackiewicz

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Re: The roundhouse floor
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2014, 08:30:52 AM »
Years ago, I worked in an old factory and often was required to interface with the guys in maintenance. At the time I was young and inexperienced but was quite struck by the floor in part of the department: hardwood blocks, end-grain up, well-soaked with old oil and rubbed with sawdust. Talk about long-wearing, this place was well over 100 years old. The mill still stands and I'm quite sure the floor is still the same but I have long since left that facility. A wonderful, long lasting floor and quite durable. The blocks were roughly 4 x 4 in size, hardwood and laid tightly to each other on a compacted dirt/gravel substrate. The floor was quite resilient around the various machines used to maintain the factory machines.

Ken Fleming

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Re: The roundhouse floor
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2014, 09:30:19 PM »
If my memory serves me right, hardwood block floors are known as "Belgium Block Floors". I have been in a number of machine shops with them.

Ira Schreiber

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Re: The roundhouse floor
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2014, 10:20:51 PM »
Belgium blocks were a blue hued stone. Many Philadelphia streets were paved with them.

Kyle Irving

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Re: The roundhouse floor
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2014, 11:28:14 AM »
A wonderful, long lasting floor and quite durable.

From what I've heard, one of the main advantages in using end-grain blocks is that unlike concrete, they accept footsteps in a much more ergonomic way. I've heard from several older blacksmiths, who spend their days in the shop walking back and forth between forge and anvil, that they would pick an end-grain floor over concrete without hesitation.

Ken Fleming

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Re: The roundhouse floor
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2014, 11:34:18 AM »
My bad.

Stephen Piwowarski

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Re: The roundhouse floor
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2014, 12:10:21 PM »
Also, if you drop a bolt, or anything threaded onto an wood floor, it is far less likely to mar than if you drop it onto a concrete floor. The end-grain also absorbs grease an oil by capillary action rather than leaving it on the surface to form a slick.

Steve

Wayne Laepple

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Re: The roundhouse floor
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2014, 12:31:27 PM »
Have any photos surfaced of the interior of the WW&F roundhouse? I recall a few photos of the interior of the shop, but not the roundhouse.

John Kokas

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Re: The roundhouse floor
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2014, 01:17:16 PM »
Even if we can't find a picture of the original area I would strongly recommend the wood end floor not only for its ease on the feet and dropped parts, but it would also be prototypical of the period where most shop/industrial floors were of this type of construction.
Moxie Bootlegger

Wayne Laepple

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Re: The roundhouse floor
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2014, 05:37:13 PM »
One thing for certain. Placing all those wooden blocks will keep a bunch of volunteers occupied for some time.

John Dulaney

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Re: The roundhouse floor
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2014, 10:06:45 PM »
I also concur with the wood block floor.  Having worked in my fair share of shops, I much prefer wood floors to otherwise if I'm to be standing on them for long periods of time.  Also, at times it can be handy to be able to screw to the floor.

Roger Cole

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Re: The roundhouse floor
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2014, 01:42:41 PM »
Many years ago, I toured the Chrysler Corporation assembly plant in Newark, DE and remember the floor being the wood end type.  Regarding Belgian blocks, they were used by the Pennsylvania Railroad around their track pans to prevent erosion from water splash when locomotives were scooping water on the fly.