D&RG Long Caboose in 3" scale

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Harlock
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D&RG Long Caboose in 3" scale

Post by Harlock » Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:28 pm

Hi all. I have started another car build project down here on my own for a customer and friend who wants big scale stuff in 7.25" gauge, similar to my train for the MEG.

This caboose is based on a D&RG long caboose and is actually 2.9" scale to fit a particular width, to match some pre-existing locomotives that he owns.

First off here are some pictures of the same caboose in 2.5" scale built by Ron Schmidt. The one I am building will have an additional .4" of scale which is actually fairly significant. The caboose will be 87 inches long, or 7 ft 3 inches.

Ron's features the single side window cupola and mine will have the more conventional two window version.

Mine will be the third caboose built from Ron's very meticulously researched drawings. Along the way I am creating my own set of 3D drawings in the scale I am building. As the numbers are all quite arbitrary at this point it helps quite a bit to sort it all out.

This is largely a wood project so most of what you'll see here is woodwork.
Attachments
16-05-25_schmidt-caboose-4414.jpg
Ron Schmidt's 2 1/2" scale D&RG long caboose
16-05-25_schmidt-caboose-4421.jpg
Ron Schmidt's 2 1/2" scale D&RG long caboose
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
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Harlock
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Re: D&RG Long Caboose in 3" scale

Post by Harlock » Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:29 pm

The first step is to go shopping - the local hardwood lumber specialty supplier is Valencia Lumber down in Van Nuys, CA. Here is a candy store of hardwood, anything you could want including ash, birch, beech, cherry, maple, red oak, white oak, popular, sugar pine, redwood, three kinds of cedar and plenty of exotics such as purpleheart.

A long long time ago in the late 19th century, the wood industry for some insane reason decided to use top-heavy fractions to specify lumber thickness. 1" is 4/4, a little over 1" is 5/4 etc. Except that like today's dimensional construction lumber, the planed thickness is less. 4/4 is guaranteed to be 13/16, so if you actually want to get an inch out of it, you go the next step up. So I grabbed a big slab of 5/4 oak about 12" by 10 feet long for the end beams and other structural items and a couple of boards of poplar for the main frames and plenty of other body pieces.

After some cross cuts it fits in the truck and off we go!
Attachments
20160628_143637.jpg
Hardwood paradise!
20160628_143645.jpg
Nice smelling exotics..
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
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Harlock
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Re: D&RG Long Caboose in 3" scale

Post by Harlock » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:03 am

The first step is to saw the end buffers to dimension. Actually back up. The first step is to go in with a machinist's square and try to make a less than accurate instrument behave as accurately as possible. Fortunately the next stop is the planer so it only needs to be square on one corner and slightly over-size. I also made up some finger boards to keep it all straight. With a good blade this little tablesaw will eat through the 5/4 oak pretty well, and no scorching. The 24 point blade seemed to be perfectly suitable for it.

I have made an interesting modification to the planer. This 13" craftsman planer is a nice planer that is hobbled by a rubbish height gauge. I figured if I added a digital scale to it, I could get incredibly accurate plane thicknesses. So I put a Mitutoyo digital scale on it and the results are spectacular. I am very happy with it. It is in a spot where it does not get a lot of dust and it is well sealed so it should be able to withstand the application.

The last step outdoors is to cut the buffers to rough length in the table saw, it is short enough to use this method rather than the miter saw.
Attachments
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Last edited by Harlock on Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Contributing Editor, Live Steam Magazine
Webmaster, Allen Models of Nevada

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Harlock
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Re: D&RG Long Caboose in 3" scale

Post by Harlock » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:18 am

The next step for the end buffers is to zoom them off to a more precise length in the mill, and then use a 1/2" dia router bit to round the edges per plan. A brand new diablo router bit that is so sharp I cut myself on it does the job nicely. For all these wood operations, the mill is at top speed, around 2,000 RPM. Holding the vacuum up to it as it cuts eliminates nearly all sawdust.

Oak machines very nicely and does not split as you come out the far end, so you can mill on pieces that are otherwise finished without an additional planing step to clean up chipped edges. For router bits you must use conventional rather than climb milling. For endmills on oak it does not seem to matter as much.

All that's left is some gentle sanding on the edges to break the sharp and the basic shape is complete.
Attachments
20160707_124747.jpg
20160707_144745.jpg
20160707_151752.jpg
20160707_151811.jpg
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
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Harlock
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Re: D&RG Long Caboose in 3" scale

Post by Harlock » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:27 am

Next up is the main frame beams. These are made with the poplar which is softer and finishes very nicely. those of you who have seen some of my other car builds may remember that I use mostly popular to assemble the basic flat car bodies.

Once again the 5-minute finger boards are put to use and out come clean, straight boards after a few test cuts.

For these long boards I use the little Hitachi chop saw to trim them to length - they will require some additional sanding to even up, but with poplar that's easy. I don't have a stable enough table setup to try to cut a bunch of them at once. The miter works well after some tweaking, again with the machinists square.

Now hey look! The basic frame pieces. This sucker's gonna be huge.
Attachments
20160709_160624.jpg
20160709_161327.jpg
20160713_115745.jpg
20160713_122300.jpg
Last edited by Harlock on Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Contributing Editor, Live Steam Magazine
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Harlock
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Re: D&RG Long Caboose in 3" scale

Post by Harlock » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:43 am

Now for the fun one - the queen post buffers. These have recessed slots to fit the frame pieces, and they set the 'gauge' of the frame so these have to be right or everything else that follows will be screwed up. Here you can see my shoddy $12 6" dial calipers from Harbor Freight that I use for grubby wood work. They actually work very well.

After roughing in the table saw and planer, it's off to the mill again where this time I wanted the length to be dead on. I don't have a DRO or enough mill travel for that matter, so I enlisted the help of an oversized 2ft dial caliper. This is what happens when a metal guy does wood work.

Then it's just a matter of zooming off one end with an endmill. here you can see the vacuum cleaner sucking away all the chips, and my "oak soft jaws" protecting the wood.

If I can work on one end or one side at a time, it's easier to use the vice rather than a toe clamp setup, because I've already trammed and paralleled the vice and with soft material you can go out on the overhang quite a bit and it's still steady.
Attachments
20160714_103612.jpg
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20160714_172251_001.jpg
20160714_172440.jpg
20160714_171709.jpg
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
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Harlock
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Re: D&RG Long Caboose in 3" scale

Post by Harlock » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:52 am

Next up for the queen post buffers is to mill the slots or races where the poplar frame pieces sit.

Again running the mill at top speed (2000 RPM) with a big 7/8 cutter to magnify the effect, it makes quick work of the oak. Two cuts and I'm done with each recess. The two queen post buffers are being made together as you would locomotive side frames, so they are exactly the same.

The frame pieces are a perfect slip to light-interference fit which will help keep the frame members aligned and straight as everything is attached permanently.
Attachments
20160714_174207.jpg
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20160714_192342.jpg
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Last edited by Harlock on Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Contributing Editor, Live Steam Magazine
Webmaster, Allen Models of Nevada

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Harlock
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Re: D&RG Long Caboose in 3" scale

Post by Harlock » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:56 am

And finally, here's where we're at as of tonight. A frame that is nearly ready for assembly. Some more drawings need to be made to determine any features that should be added before assembly. There's nothing worse than wanting to stick an end buffer in the mill after you've glued and attached it to the rest of the frame! Mostly the coupler height needs to be determined and thus any slot in the middle of the buffer that might be needed. After the frame is assembled with few exceptions it's hand tools only on it from then on out!
Attachments
20160714_195908.jpg
20160714_200040.jpg
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Contributing Editor, Live Steam Magazine
Webmaster, Allen Models of Nevada

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makinsmoke
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Re: D&RG Long Caboose in 3" scale

Post by makinsmoke » Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:13 am

That's some nice work.

I love working with wood. That first swipe with a saw cutting oak
and the shop fills with the smell of antique furniture!

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Re: D&RG Long Caboose in 3" scale

Post by sabin » Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:30 am

Nice project Mike. I look forward to your progress reports.
Nice to find a new [to me] source for hardwood. I miss Southern Lumber in San Jose.

Jim

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Re: D&RG Long Caboose in 3" scale

Post by jcbrock » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:26 am

I too look forward to this project too Mike. A couple of tablesaw safety suggestions from your photos:

Putting a fingerboard on the outfeed side of the blade is going to want to close the kerf and potentially cause kickback. It seems safer to keep them on the infeed side only if you're creating an open-kerfed cut.

When using the miter gauge to cut off and the fence as a stop block, I'd put a short spacer block against the fence and use that as the stop. Then when you slide the work through the blade, the cutoff is not trapped between the blade and the fence where it can be caught and thrown, as the spacer block gives you a gap between the cutoff and the fence.

My 2 cents, just trying to offer suggestions to make things safer. Table saws are scary.
John Brock

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Harlock
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Re: D&RG Long Caboose in 3" scale

Post by Harlock » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:42 am

sabin wrote:Nice project Mike. I look forward to your progress reports.
Nice to find a new [to me] source for hardwood. I miss Southern Lumber in San Jose.

Jim
I think you'll find it worth a trip when stocking up for a project. This is the local store that Richard Farmer uses for wood for the full size 1008 caboose. I found out about it from him. I have not yet investigated Bakersfield options, but for me it was worth the 90 minute excursion down to the smog zone.

Southern Lumber was an institution, but my dad was always complaining about the inventory and prices towards the end. There are actually a couple of other good sources of lumber in the Bay Area. Jackel Lumber in Watsonville is on your way in and apparently has a good selection. Macbeath hardwood has a San Jose location. http://www.macbeath.com/



-M
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Contributing Editor, Live Steam Magazine
Webmaster, Allen Models of Nevada

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