Cab roof material?

This forum is dedicated to the Live Steam Hobbyist Community.

Moderators: Harold_V, WJH, cbrew

User avatar
Greg_Lewis
Posts: 1542
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 2:44 pm
Location: Fresno, CA

Cab roof material?

Post by Greg_Lewis » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:31 pm

Does anyone know for certain what material was used on Baldwin wood cab roofs, circa 1906. This would be wood cabs that were painted, after the varnish and brass era, just before the switch to steel cabs. I have one photo that suggests it was a thin material such as tar paper or treated canvas, but I can't tell for sure. And if you know whether it was one piece or strips and how wide those strips were, that would be even better. (As you might deduce, I'm a detail freak! :D )

THANKS!
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.

765nkp
Posts: 623
Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 9:24 pm
Location: st louis, mo

Re: Cab roof material?

Post by 765nkp » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:31 pm

I saw someone use denim from some olds jeans one time. It was painted black and looked really good. It was one piece across the entire roof. I am not sure if they used strips or one piece on the prototype.

Tim

User avatar
FLSTEAM
Posts: 1447
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2003 10:55 am
Location: Central Florida
Contact:

Re: Cab roof material?

Post by FLSTEAM » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:07 pm

I used black denim from Jo-Ann fabric. Get a pint of "Stix IT" from you local hobby shop.
Just paint the cab roof two coats of it and let it dry. Stretch the denim over the roof.
Now all you need is an old iron to set the glue. BTW set the iron to "Cotton". Roll the fabric over the edge and trim. Use super glue on the edges. You can sand smooth the edge where you used the supper glue.
Paint it semi gloss black. +

John B
Last edited by FLSTEAM on Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
http://www.ngshay.com/
Shay drawings and castings

User avatar
ccvstmr
Posts: 1501
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 10:37 am
Location: New Lenox, IL

Re: Cab roof material?

Post by ccvstmr » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:20 pm

Greg...John described the basic process used when I rebuilt my cupola caboose roof (he did in a lot less words). You can search for the cupola caboose rebuild article I posted here on Chaski a few years ago.

When using the SIGS Stix-It heat activated adhesive...make sure you're in a WELL VENTILATED area. The stuff has some high powered solvents in which is why it dries so fast. Use a brush you can throw away when you're done with the project.

If you don't have any old jeans material around, you can visit a fabric store...but watch out. You'll be surprised how many different grades of denim are available. Light weight, heavy weight, tight "grain", loose "grain". I tried to select a middle of the road fabric weight and grain.

Applied (2) brush on coats of paint and a several spray applications to lessen the jeans appearance.
IMG_5843.JPG
Got any questions...you're welcome to PM me. Hope this helps. Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

User avatar
Greg_Lewis
Posts: 1542
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 2:44 pm
Location: Fresno, CA

Re: Cab roof material?

Post by Greg_Lewis » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:23 pm

Thanks for the tips, guys. Do any of you know what the original material that Baldwin used was?
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.

jkimberln
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:32 am
Location: Richmond, California

Re: Cab roof material?

Post by jkimberln » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:51 pm

The references I see state that the roofing material was 'composition.' Supposed to be fireproof. I didn't find anything that said strips, sheets, or what. I did see a reference to Johns-Manville as a supplier and that implies asbestos composition. The Baldwin archives are in Texas somewhere and may be accessible if you were on site.

Glenn Brooks
Posts: 1365
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:39 pm
Location: Woodinville, Washington

Re: Cab roof material?

Post by Glenn Brooks » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:32 am

I worked on a Bridge and Building gang (B&B 5) on the Alaska Railroad In 1966. I remember many of the older rolling stock, particularly work crew bunk cars, and ROW cars were 1940 and earlier. While not the era you are interested in, these old cars very much represented design considerations from an earlier age.

I can remember roof tops covered with painted canvas, nailed down around the edges and corners with wide headed canvas tacks, then seam sealed with asphalt. (Correction - not asphalt, more like modern day roofing tar). Then painted for water proofing. The top covering was often laid in strips. Sometimes the edge of the roofing material along the body of the car would be sealed and secured with a wood batten aka, trim piece runing the length of the coach line. The canvas would be turned down over the edge of the roof to seal the roof joint, and probably tacked or glued in place. Then the trim strips were nailed or screwed over the edge of canvas, affixing it to the upper edge of the sill, top edge flush with the roof.

If you choose to use modern day materials, you might consider “Sunbrella” awning cloth. Sunbrella is widely used in the marine industry as it is synthetic and waterproof, yet appears to be like canvas. Comes in a variety of colors.
Moderator - Grand Scale Forum

Motive power : 1902 A.S.Campbell 4-4-0 American - 12 5/8" gauge, 1955 Ottaway 4-4-0 American 12" gauge

Ahaha, Retirement: the good life - drifting endlessly on a Sea of projects....

User avatar
makinsmoke
Posts: 1791
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:56 pm
Location: Texas Hill Country

Re: Cab roof material?

Post by makinsmoke » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:38 am

When we were cosmetically restoring the Santa Fe 940 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma I ordered white Sunbrella for the cab awnings. I pulled the rods and made measurements, my wife cut and sewed them and I put them back on. That was in 2011. Six years later and it still looks great.

A running steam locomotive would probably be a lot tougher on it than just Mother Nature.

Rolled roofing was a very common roof covering decades ago, used not only on trains but structures as well.

Don't forget tarpaper.

User avatar
makinsmoke
Posts: 1791
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:56 pm
Location: Texas Hill Country

Re: Cab roof material?

Post by makinsmoke » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:43 am

Here's a Greg Elder photo from April 2017:

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=4685010

Glenn Brooks
Posts: 1365
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:39 pm
Location: Woodinville, Washington

Re: Cab roof material?

Post by Glenn Brooks » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:36 am

Greg,

Here’s a couple of photos trawled off the internet. Both are interesting because of their roof detail. Might be of some valve to you in deciding what to do regarding roofing materials.

The first phot is a 1942 troop train loading 93 Reg Engineers for a trip north to Alaska. Note the large nails used to fasten down the roofing around the top sill of the car.

The second photo is an interesting, 1900 era original passenger car used on the White Pass and Yukon narrow gauge RR between Skagway and Whitehorse. The roofing here seems clearly to be sheet metal. No telling if it is original or not, but that’s what it looks like now.

B7BACDE4-57BF-476A-B9B8-BCE7D0C44286.jpeg
ECDAB703-DA95-4B63-83F2-9F9A153EF016.jpeg
D9CEA5D8-4A7E-4E89-9F65-7379FEC24923.jpeg

Hope these help.

Glenn
Moderator - Grand Scale Forum

Motive power : 1902 A.S.Campbell 4-4-0 American - 12 5/8" gauge, 1955 Ottaway 4-4-0 American 12" gauge

Ahaha, Retirement: the good life - drifting endlessly on a Sea of projects....

User avatar
Greg_Lewis
Posts: 1542
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 2:44 pm
Location: Fresno, CA

Re: Cab roof material?

Post by Greg_Lewis » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:13 am

Thanks, Jerry, Glenn and Makinsmoke. Every bit of evidence is worthwhile. Robert Williams forwarded to me some info from a website UtahRails,net on a roofing material called Mulehide, introduced in 1906 by a company that is still in business. While this pertains to Union Pacific cabooses, not Baldwin cabs, the Mulehide apparently was a common roofing material:

"Mulehide is canvas that is laid over the wooden roof, with hot asphalt brushed on to seal it. Usually, two or three coats of canvas and asphalt was used. This treatment was very waterproof, and very durable, thus the "mulehide" name. But, it also weathered rapidly and needed regular maintenance, which explains why metal roofs were used on freight cars. The color of mulehide would vary from new asphalt black, to highly weathered, old asphalt gray. It was never to be painted. At times, and depending on when it was last treated, the fabric pattern of the canvas is visible."
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.

User avatar
Fender
Posts: 2497
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 8:33 pm
Location: Chattanooga TN

Re: Cab roof material?

Post by Fender » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:12 pm

Greg,
Not exactly answering your question, because this is not sourced from BLW practice, but here is how locomotive cab roofs were treated by the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad in 1906 (reference: Railway Master Mechanic - Volume 30 - Page 437 1906)
Note that this RR also applied a layer of sand between coats of paint to resist burns from hot cinders.
Attachments
Canvas Cab Roofs author.jpg
Canvas Cab Roofs.jpg
Dan Watson

Post Reply