Author Topic: Caboose 320 repairs  (Read 2136 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Caboose 320 repairs
« on: December 13, 2008, 05:25:00 PM »
MODERATORS NOTE:
Caboose 320 repairs has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
Some formatting may have been removed or modified from the original postings that appear quoted in this topic.
Information contained within this post may be superseded by more recent postings and conversations.

Stewart Rhine wrote:
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Hey 2ft,  You mentioned painting ... here's a suggestion.  I worked on Excursion car 103 for over a week in October but the weather got cold and I didn't get to paint the numbers on the West side of the car.  I was planing to do it in May but feel free to apply them when the weather warms up.  The stencils are on the second floor (back room) and the gold paint is on the paint shelf in the machine shop.  The artist brushes are hanging on the wall next to the shelf.   103's floor also needs another coat of gray.  We used gray XO Rust on the first coat.  Time just ran out and we had to have the car ready for the Halloween trains.

I also plan on repainting the rest of 320.  I did the East side in Oct and was going to paint the rest in May.   If you want to tackle that job, use the Benjamin Moore cottage red that's on the paint shelf.

Thanks, (fellow painter) Stewart

MikeW replied:
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I would be pleased to do it!  Before the weather warms up I'll scope out where the supplies and brushes are.  I take it from your post that the pinstriping etc is done, just not the numbers on 103?

On 320 does the lettering need repaint too?

Stewart Rhine replied:
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The only thing the 103 needs is the numbers on the West side.  I painted the East side numbers in October - you can get the measurements and spacing from them.  I also painted both letter boards last year so those are done.  The car does not get pinstriping.

The 320 only has numbers which was the practice in the later years of the WW&F.  The most pressing job is the repair to the northeast corner of the cupola.  The wood is rotten all the way through.  It must be replaced, sealed and painted.  You can see the rot from inside and out.  I think the car was going to be kept inside this winter so you may be able to work on it now if the temps stay mild.  Talk to Zack and he can give you more info.

Mike Fox replied:
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Stewart,
I think the southwest corner needs the same treatment. It isn't as bad as the other but if it's going to get fixed, might as well get it all. What do you think of replacing the rot with Pressure treated?  You can still paint it when it's done. And hopefully won't need any further attention accept paint.
Mike

MikeW replied:
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Stewart -

I'm planning on being down there either next Saturday or the following.  That will give me a chance to locate the painting materials and look at the rot on 320.

- Mike

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Mike, You are right about the southwest corner of the 320.  Using PT sounds good to me.  It would be good for the car since it will sit outside for a few more summers.  The cupola's end windows should be modified too.  The glass needs to be moved outward 3/8" so the quarter round is even with the shoulder of the end sill.  This will stop water from sitting in the flat spot between the quarter round and the shoulder which allows it to get into the joint between the end sill and vertical plate.  The window job will not change the looks of the car.  The inside of the cupola will have to be repainted to seal the frame where the windows were.

As to the 103.  I understand the concern about keeping the Edaville number.  I asked about a new number before painting the car.  I was told we had to keep the number since the car was leased.  I've already put numbers on the East side of the car.  103 has been used in train reports for the last two months so I don't think it should be changed now.  We own coach 8 so that's why the number was sellected.

Allan Fisher replied:
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Sorry to be so long writing this up. At the ARM/TRAIN Convention in Sacramento in November, an excellent seminar was held on Maintenance of Wooden Railroad Cars. The highlights were as follows:

In Priority Order, the group assembled agreed:

1. Get them under cover - tarping does not help.and can hurt.

2. Wood Used is VERY Important.
a. Wood grown today is not the same as first growth timber.
b. Best wood to use is Mahogany
1. second best is Cypress,then Douglas Fir, then Southern Pine.
2. Try not to use Oak (Unless it is White Oak, and never use Poplar)
3. Don Curry (Seashore) uses Ash supplied by Dave in Ashland,ME
4. Douglas Fir and Southern Pine must "settle down " before using in a car.

3. Paint is very Important.
a. Lynn Moediger (Strasburg) says, "I love Linseed Oil! IloveLeadPaint.
b. D&S NG uses 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of paint & sands after each coat.
c. Benjamin Moore is pretty good inexpensive paint.
d. Always paint tongues of every board.
e paint all sides and top and bottom of every board.
f. Seashore uses epoxy primer (Algriff?)from Holland

4. Water at the bottom of Window Posts & sash is the biggest source of rot.
a. A recommendation for Large V cuts and fill with Caulk - Caulk will stretch and not crack. where putty will.

5. D&S NG has wooden cars on a 6ix year maintenance cycle and figures 800-1500 man hours to paint Cars.

Bruce Wilson replied:
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Harry Percival once said to me, that it was impractical to use modern wooden doors for exterior household and commercial applications. Why, I asked and he stated that old growth timber made for tighter wood grain and therefore, more impervious to moisture and ultimately, rot. The wood was less likely to check and split when exposed to sunlight as well.

Harry also loved using (only) oil based paints as made by Touraine paint. He had found that Touraine had one of the highest concentrations of titanium dioxide of any of the oil based paint manufacturers.

His favorite saying..."put the linseed oil to it..."

Wayne Laepple replied:
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In my experience, using pressure treated lumber for railcar restoration is very chancy. The wood often warps, and it also has a endency to develop major cracks and checks. In addition, PT lumber also becomes brittle with age, with the result that it no longer flexes but will simply snap. Also, special care must be taken when sawing, drilling or sanding the material to avoid inhaling the dust containing the nasty chemicals.

For railcar construction, it's much better to use Southern yellow pine for the major structural elements, heavily treating it with linseed oil. For exterior sheathing, mahogany is the best way to go. It's expensive and not prototypical, but as others have noted above, we no longer have the luxury of old growth hardwoods with tight grains well seasoned. Mahogany is extremely weather- and rot-resistant.

Mike Fox replied:
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I took another quick glance at 320's cupola yesterday. The upright next ti the northeast window is definately gone. The piece below it that goes across the whole car has rot on the east side. so that needs attention. As for the southwest corner, it looks like just the upright on the west side of the window is bad. But when it is taken apart you might find more on the other. And now I'm thinking PT won't work. The wood used when it was constructed was rough sawn. We should use the same type to rebuild it. But this time instead of having square butt joint, cut it with the saw set at 45 with it sloping outward so if any moisture gets in, it will drain to the outside. I did this to my shed and worked like a charm.
Mike

Josh Botting replied:
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It seems that the track work discussion has moved into car maintiance.....

Anyway, It would make sense to follow the example of the marine industry with regards to preserving wood.  In the local fishing fleet, there are many wooden boats.  For all services, I believe you will find that epoxy based paints are the standard for hulls, ect.  This is due to the better bonding of the paint, and the increased durability of the paint.  It is definatly more expensive than the oil based paints, but it sure saves on maintance.  Especially since most of our cars ares stored outside, in the weather.

James Patten replied:
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Somebody wake up that moderator!

As you can see I split out the discussions of car 103 and of caboose 320 repairs from the track thread into their own thread.

Josh Botting replied:
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If you want to schedule a work date for 320, I can add it to the calendar if you are let me know before they are printed.

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Wayne has a good point about using southern yellow pine.  Railroads used it for years in cars and trestle work.  It is durable and would be even better with a coat (or two) of linseed oil.  Mike, your 45 degree slope would fix the problem of the seems holding water.  I wish I could be up there to help you guys with the repairs.  320 should be fixed now as there won't be time come Spring as the water tank project will take much work and material.  We now have enough funds for the lumber, etc. to complete the tank and tank house this year.

MikeW replied:
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Stewart -

We searched everywhere looking for the stencil for 103 - not to be found.  We found stencils for pretty much everything else on the second floor in the cage.  Any ideas?

- Mike

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Mike, The 103 stencils were there the last time I was at Sheepscot, last October.  They are hand cut and were on the shelf.  If you can't find them, just make a set from the numbers on the East side of the car.  I used the stencils to etch out the numbers and then hand painted them.  It takes time but looks good.  As I mentioned before, you can measure the East side for placement of the numbers.  If you panit the cars floor (with the gray XO rust) you can paint the inside wall up to the sill.  This should be done to seal everything.

Thanks!

PCo622 replied:
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The entire cupola from rooftop of the car body to the cupola roof header will be redisgned and replaced staying within original prototype  parameters.  Doug fir is expected to be used rather than the spruce that was first used.  A better primer and paint will be used to match the BM Cottage Red along with better sanding.  First rate mortise and tennons will be used to secure all butt joints and a polyester sealant in the joints will be used to prevent future decay.  I wanted to use a marine based paint, but it would be too cost prohibitive.   Window drainage will also be incorporated.  The design of a inward tilting cupola presents many challenges, however they can be met.  I have spoken to Jason tonite to attempt to schedule down time for 320.  I expect with enough jigsaw puzzle construction, downtime should be at most two weekends, depending on temps for primer and paint curing.  The biggest factor is the braking job 320 provides for the regular season trains.  Other cars will need to be equiped with such before any down time can happen for 320.

James Patten replied:
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Currently we're using a "winter train" of 118 and 8, which is satisfactory for the work crews.  320 hasn't been used since Victorian Christmas.  Coach 3 might have brakes by spring.

Mike Fox replied:
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Why can't the work on 320 be done now. And Paint it when warmer weather comes. We are not using it and it would not be missed.
Mike

MikeW replied:
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Would it be possible to add grab irons inside the cupola above the "ladder"?  When a person climbs up there is no good hand hold there.  I've seen grab irons like this in other cabooses.

PCo622 replied:
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That has always been an awkard issue.  If nothing I beleive that some wide but recessed grab iron be done.  The biggest concern  for not having hand grabs was so no one would wack thier head on something that sticks out because of the narrow aisleway.  If you watch alot of people walk through there without even watching where they are going.  All of the SR&RL cabooses I have seen have a narrow cupola seating arrangement and a wide walkway so bumping into hand grabs would not be so much of an issue.  Good hobby to take up, people watching.  Interetsing to do while sitting in an Amtrak station waiting for your train.

PCo622 replied:
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The ultimate goal is to prevent what has already happened.  The cupola was built as five sub-assemblies without any primer, paint or sealant of any kind in the joints.  That must change in order to prevent was has already occured.  The drainage could have been better to.  Repairing any rot peacemeal would be just chasing the rot around and would be constantly fiddling with it.  I spoke to Zack and he has no objections to replacing from rooftop to top cupola header.   IMO, that needs to be done.  Windows can be salvaged and reworked as/if needed.  It shouldn't take long as it is a simple structure.

MikeW replied:
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I didn't envision the grab irons sticking out into the aisle space, but rather on the butt ends of the knee walls.  They wouldn't protude where anyone might run into them.

Stewart Rhine replied:
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I have two old (1898 era) grab irons from the M&P RR that I will bring up in May.  I will show them to everyone to see if they can safely be put in the car.

As a member of the original 320 construction crew, it is true that no inside grabs were installed because of the narrow hallway.  We decided to see if people had any problem accessing the cupola before adding them.

Stephen Hussar replied:
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Maybe they don't need to be 'real' grabs, but perhaps some smaller, authentic-looking handles for when you reach up...
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Stewart Rhine replied:
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Removing the complete cupola is good as long as the tin roof is not damaged.  I think this can be done by pulling the tin back a little bit and working the removal of the base sill from inside.  I also think the end windows should be rebuilt out to the end of the frame so no water can sit between the quarter round and the sill shoulder.

As you guys know, I installed rain guards over the side windows about 3 years ago.  These work ok when the car is on level track.  They should be about an inch wider.  I never found the right tin to cover the guards.  If they were covered with tin with a drip edge that will take the water out over to the edge of main roof.  The window sills would stay dry unless there is a driving rain.  I hope we can retain the rain guards. I patterned them after a combination of EBT and M&P style guards with the routed support brackets.

James Patten replied:
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The new cupola can probably be constructed on the ground in Bay 2, then lifted into place with the cranes onto the top of the caboose.  I emphasize "probably" because I think the top of the cupola is higher than the bottom of the cranes are, thus the northernmost crane would have to be taken down somehow to allow the caboose out.

Maybe one crane could lift the entire assembly up so that it could be tipped up onto the roof and slid along the roof until reaching its location.  But it may be less work to remove a crane, I don't know.

Mike Fox replied:
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The cupola shouldn't be that heavy so maybe one crane and a person or 2 holdong up the north end and guiding it into place. Or it might be just as easy to build it in place.
Mike

James Patten replied:
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Well I was just thinking back to what Marcel said about the cupola being built piecemeal with no sealant as it was built.  Assemblage on the Bay 2 floor will allow people to move around it with ease instead of crawling around on ladders or roofs.

Marcel mentioned using a marine based paint but it was too expensive.  Dave Rossi just emailed me a day or two ago with an offer of such a paint.  I have no idea if he has enough to cover the cupola.  If it isn't, it might be a good investment to buy some and use it on other things around the railroad.

And, as always, don't forget the linseed oil!

Mike Fox replied:
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Would it be possible to build the new cupola before the old one comes off. I know you guys followed plans when you built it. You could build the new one in the machine shop if desiresd and move it around with a push car. That way you could seal it or whatever no matter what the weather. Then seal it again after installation.
Mike

MikeW replied:
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Can any of the existing cupola be salvaged?  If so, we wouldn't be able to build it before removing the old one.  I looked it over carefully, checking the soundness of the wood.  Most of it is fine.

Stewart Rhine replied:
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The roof should be removed for re-use.  It is sound and would come off in one piece.  The prefab idea would work if we construct the end and side panel "box" in the shop.  The box is then moved to the top of the car.  The roof is installed after the box is fixed in place.  This is how we built the cupola in 1998.  The box was built first and the roof added on to the cupola.

Joint sealing and marine paint is the way to go.  We built this car and we own this car - it is worth the expense.  I'll chip in for the paint.

HighGreen replied:
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I am in the construction business, I spent 8 years in the deck business building nothing but decks, 90% of them completely out of PTSYP. The other 10% were atleast partly PTSYP. Here is what I learned. The plantation grown SYP of today shares little with the SYP of the past. If you couldn't pressure treat it so it wouldn't rot, it would be good for little more than plywood and firewood, and it doesn't make very good firewood. It is very unstable, even when dry. It warps, checks, shrinks, and splits like no other. While PTSYP might make good timbers for the water tower base, I would not recommend it for car structure or repair. PTSYP just isn't stable enough for any kind of finish work, been there, done that. I make no claim to being an expert on what would be best for our applications, I only know the PTSYP beast and it's limitations.

For what it's worth.

Mike Fox replied:
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Stewart and all,
I took another look at the cupola yesterday from the outside. The paint is blistering at the joints on the west side near the bottom of the windows and is not very solid sounding. I could not tell about the east side. Should have gotten a ladder out to get up there But did not. So IMHO, everything below the top of the window should be replaced. With what I'll leave up to the decision makers.
Mike

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Mike,  Complete removal and rebuilding of the cupola is the best approach.  We would be chasing the rot around the sides of the cupola if we just did the corners.  I spoke to Zack last night and he said that the decision has already been made to remove the cupola and rebuild it.

The way to removed the cupola as one unit is to remove the nuts on the bottom of through-rods.  If the rods turn, dig into the base sill from the inside to clamp onto them.  This wood will be replaced so cutting into it won't matter.  Once all rods are loose, remove the wooden tin sealer straps and pull the tin roof (this is the main roof) edge back from the base sill.  A tin workers 4 or 6" tool will help pull it back evenly. This is important to prevent leaks. Then the cupola can be cut free and jacked (as one piece) from inside.  The other possibility is to lift cupola's roof first.  It can be pulled once the through rods are loose.  Once the cupola roof is off, the box can be pulled more easily.

I think Marcel and Galo H. are going to start this project.  I hope the other interested parties who have posted here will join in.  I'd like to help but won't be back at the railroad until May.

MikeW replied:
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If anyone plans to start doing this work, please post the date and time here.  I would like to assist if I am available.

VicH replied:
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Guys,  to expand a bit on the subject of mahogany for repairs of the cars, let me add my thoughts.

When I rebuilt some windows of coach #8, I used Meranti, a tropical hardwood that machines well, is tight grained, and could be found quarter sawn, a definate plus for insuring flat boards and less shrinkage.  It is similar to mahogany, looking very much like African mahogany, but is priced more reasonably that many mahogany products.

A WORD OF WARNING!  Luan mahogany is about the only think you will find in most of the lumber yards around.  I wouldn't use it for anything other than interior work that I was going to cover with Portland cement personally. However, it is NOT tight grained, tends to be very light weight, and probably sucks up water due to it's porous grain structure.

I bought my meranti in a specialty lumber yard in Lunenburg MA.  If you want to spend the money for fine trim wood, Meranti is a nice choice.  You can see the varnished product in six of the windows of coach 8 next time you are at sheepscot.

Ifyou have any questions about the stuff, drop me a note via this forum.

Vic Hamburger
Ed Lecuyer
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