Cab: Wood or metal?

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LivingLegend
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Re: Cab: Wood or metal?

Post by LivingLegend » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:33 pm

Harlock wrote:....In the past we've made them with oak, but we've come tor realize that the grain is too large for smaller scale projects. Mahogany creates a good scale grain match for oak.
Beech is also good. Has a fine tight grain.

LL
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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Cab: Wood or metal?

Post by Greg_Lewis » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:34 pm

Thanks, everyone, for your input. I've decided to go with wood. Mike, your beautiful cabs gave me the final nudge. And thanks, RN, for the additional pic.

Today I figured out a few ways to reinforce it with metal here and there. I figure the worst case scenario is that it gets smashed and I replace it with metal. Really, that's not all that big a deal in life's adventures. Working wood is no problem for me; I just finished a grandfather clock (6'7" tall) from solid quarter-sawn white oak (no plywood), and some time back made a mantle clock with miniature mortise and tenon joints, the sixth small clock I've made. I've got woodworking machines in my shop, so after the holidays I'll be heading to the hardwood yard for a piece or two of beech. LL is right about beech. Jack Bodenmann recommended beech in a post here years ago and I used that to make the toolboxes and deck for the tender and it looks great. The grain is very much to scale.

Thanks again everyone!
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
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SteveM
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Re: Cab: Wood or metal?

Post by SteveM » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:37 pm

How about making a metal cab and gluing wood veneer to it?

Steve

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Cab: Wood or metal?

Post by Greg_Lewis » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:42 pm

SteveM wrote:How about making a metal cab and gluing wood veneer to it?

Steve
I thought about that but getting the wood to adhere to the metal would be problematic. Wood expands and contracts much more than any metal and I think it would pop off as it absorbs and desorbs moisture.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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Harlock
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Re: Cab: Wood or metal?

Post by Harlock » Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:42 pm

Greg_Lewis wrote:
SteveM wrote:How about making a metal cab and gluing wood veneer to it?

Steve
I thought about that but getting the wood to adhere to the metal would be problematic. Wood expands and contracts much more than any metal and I think it would pop off as it absorbs and desorbs moisture.
I think you'd be right, unless all the pieces were individually attached and allowed to move. That might create gaps where you don't want them.

Glad you decided to go with wood. I always appreciate a well done wood cab on a locomotive.
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Glenn Brooks
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Re: Cab: Wood or metal?

Post by Glenn Brooks » Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:09 am

Great choice going with wood construction. Post lots of pictures!

There’s lots of materials choices and expertise in the wooden boat world that would cross over into loco cab building. For example, wooden boat magazine has a free wood boat forum similiar to Chaski. You can find lots of specialized help there, regarding epoxies and ideal wood choices for both cold molded and traditional frame and plank construction techniques for cabin tops, cab sides, window framing, etc.

One thing to consider is cold molding is a very, very strong construction method for cab roofs, resulting in very thin cross sections with enormous strength - easily rivaling metal roof construction in longevity and strength.

You can also steam bend frames and beams to almost any shape, particularily at scale.

Regarding wood choices, now days you can buy African Sepele in lieu of mahogany - which is nearly impossible to find anymore due to import restrictions, and teak for trim and flooring, etc. Both display very nice high quality natural finishes, producing satin to high luster to gloss finishes with 5 or 6 coats of oil - what ever level of finish you desire.

Also a variety of bronze fastenings for wood construction, are readily available, including very small bronze ring nails, various bolts, and copper staples (cold molding). boat yard epoxy works very well for strong layups and joints, leaving very little need for metal reinforcing straps, or cluggey angle brackets.

In an earlier life, one of my sail boat rebuilding projects involved firing up my old 7.5” ga Atlantic, that i plumbed into a home made steam box, to steam and bend 60’ of teak planking to replace my old 50 year old toe rails with new steam bent 4” gunnels and cap rails.

Lots of fun!

Looking forward to your build. This would be a very interesting thread to follow!

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Cab: Wood or metal?

Post by Greg_Lewis » Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:11 pm

Thanks for your thoughts, Glenn. Crossover knowledge and techniques from other fields is something we often forget about. When I was a photographer I was surprised at the lack of crossover between cinema and still work. Stuff used in one field could have been quite useful in the other, and once in a while it did happen, but not often enough. The old cliche about being a hammer and thinking every problem is a nail certainly applies.

By the way, this engine is modeled after V&T #26, so the cab will, unfortunately, be in basic black, not stained and varnished like a brass Betsy. (My wife hates it when I make some nice-looking part and then I paint it black.)
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
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Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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makinsmoke
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Re: Cab: Wood or metal?

Post by makinsmoke » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:34 am

There are references around to how car builders
treated their wood for building passenger and freight cars.

Basically boiled linseed oil in several applications, then oil based paint, colors, then
a varnish topcoat, hence the old name for passenger cars being "varnish".

Treated this way those old wood cars lasted decades and some are around still having been built in the late 1800's.

Even a black paint job on a wood cab would follow this method.

If I was building anything on a locomotive that was wood I would do it this way.

Freight and passenger cars not subjected to as much wear and tear can use more modern methods. My wood cars I use sanding sealer, then latex Kilz, then several coats (two minimum) of latex exterior color coat, then lettering, followed by satin spar urethane.

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10KPete
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Re: Cab: Wood or metal?

Post by 10KPete » Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:43 pm

One of the more popular 'receipes' for wood treatment, that is still widely used in the small boat building community, is linseed oil, pine tar, turpentine and, sometimes, spar varnish (not synthetic stuff).

An egg sized glob of pine tar in a quart of linseed oil, warmed a little to help the tar dissolve. When cool add a bit of turps to get a brush-able consistancy. If a harder or glossier surface is desired then add a few tablespoons of varnish to the mix.

Soak the bare wood, let it sit for 8-10 hours then wipe off any wet spots. Repeat after about 48 hours.

Holds up all year out in the salt and sun then only needs a light wipe of the stuff to renew the appearance.

And it's paintable!

Pete
Just tryin'

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Dick_Morris
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Re: Cab: Wood or metal?

Post by Dick_Morris » Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:55 am

Although they are 1" scale, I used moldings for doll houses on my CP-173 cab.

rkcarguy
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Re: Cab: Wood or metal?

Post by rkcarguy » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:56 pm

I use PL construction adhesive on most non-metal items, and it's been stronger than the materials are if I try to take something apart. Wood, fiberglass, even carbon fiber broke before the adhesive failed in a little test I performed before I started using it.

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Cab: Wood or metal?

Post by Greg_Lewis » Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:41 pm

Just stopped today at the California RR museum in Sac where the librarian found some era drawings of Baldwin wood cabs from the early 20th century, fully dimensioned. Just what I need. She'll email me some scans. Librarians are great!

The drawings show that the overall dimensions change depending on the loco, although the basic design is constant, which makes perfece sense.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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