Thursday, April 10, 2014

Don't Get Bent Out of Shape

The number one priority right now is keeping the roof job on the 319 moving along.  And the main task that needs to be finished before the lower canvas can be applied is to install the curved tack molding on the #1 end.  This is made more challenging by the way the molding arches up over the end of the car.  Nearly all interurban cars had the ends of the roof in the same horizontal plane as the sides, so that the end tack molding would be a straight piece of molding bent to a gentle curve.  The only exceptions to this rule I've been able to find are the CA&E and the FDDM&S.  (And it's a real shame none of their big Niles cars were saved, but that's another subject....) 

But first, we need the last corner block installed.  Making these blocks was a challenge in itself, but that was done a couple of years ago.  The block was put into place, and then shaped to fit.  I used the Car Dept. belt sander, after putting in one of the new belts Rod had ordered, and oiling it per instructions.
I'd finished putting the tack molding together at home.  A poplar plank of sufficient size wasn't available, so it's two pieces lapped together and epoxied.  After a little trial and error, I decided it was best to start fastening at one end and bend it around.  The trick is to get it aligned correctly in the vertical direction so that both ends meet the corner blocks at the right height.  It's not easy!  

But things went well, better that I had expected, actually.  Here's the motorman side completely fastened in.
And on the other side, I almost finished the installation before running out of time.  (Farther along than this, by the way.)  The tack molding is about 1/4" too long, and needs to be trimmed to length, by design.  It's also about 1/4" too low, but that can easily be trimmed.  And there's more belt sanding to be done, but on the whole this particular task has been easier than I had feared.

I was planning to work on the side door for the 36 after getting frustrated by the tack molding, but that didn't happen, so it will have to wait.  Tant pis!

Meanwhile, Tim Peters continues to make great progress on the 24.  One of the most interesting aspects of this project is the roof hardware that was mounted on the ends of the first motor cars on the Northwestern Elevated, and which lasted until the merger in 1913.  It's amazingly complicated and bizarre, and since none of it was preserved, it has to be recreated from pictures.

In the center is the roll sign box, which has been fabricated out of sheet metal, and has a difficult shape to follow the contour of the roof.  On either side are marker lights, which can be turned from below.  The one on the left is a wooden pattern, based on careful analysis of photographs, and the one on the right is a brass casting from the foundry in Chicago.  The circular part above it was originally a 36W headlight, which did little to illuminate the track ahead, so it was replaced by a number sign.  Above it is a rectangular part; this was originally the car number, but by 1913 it was replaced by the larger number below it. 

 By studying pictures, Tim realized that the easiest way to get the circular headlight casting was to use a wok frying pan, with the handle removed and a few holes drilled through it.  Here it's just sitting on some blocks of wood behind the roll sign, but Tim will make feet to hold it to the roof.  This is certainly a much more fun project than the usual sanding and stripping and so on.

If you contributed to the Barn 14 construction fund back in 2012, you might have been wondering whatever happened to that project.  Wonder no more!  We're in the planning stages to empty out Yard 14 so construction can begin soon.  This will be somewhat disruptive, but gigantic switch moves are one of our favorite diversions here at IRM,   So the barn should be constructed this year, and you will read about it here first.  If I'm not too busy pushing over telephone poles with my bare hands.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The two Shipyard cars ex Second Avenue Elevated of New York had similar marker lights; but without the sign box. They are being worked on in the process of rebuilding the end platform of the #561.

I guess one elevated car has a family relationship weather in ran in New York, Philadelphia or Chicago and briefly in Richmond California.

We are very lucky to have a pair of cars from 1887!

ted miles
2014 IRM Member