Monday, July 29, 2019

More about lumber loads

In my previous post on this topic, I described how a cast-resin type of lumber load could be adapted for use on flat cars or gondolas (you can see that post at: ). In the present post I want to do a different kind of load.
     I will begin by referring back to a post in which I showed a variety of loads built by my late friend Richard Hendrickson (that post can be found at: ). One point I like to make, amplified by the Hendrickson loads just mentioned, is that not all flat car lumber loads were the same. The size of lumber varied, of course, and so did the amount of lumber. The cars with lumber loaded as high as box car roofs were certainly often seen, but a variety of lower loads can also be seen in photos. One example is shown below, a photo I took myself in 1955 at SP’s Midway Yard in Los Angeles; the load is about half the height of the switcher cab.

This kind of photo suggests that one should field a variety of sizes of flat car lumber loads. By the way, switcher 1382 is a Baldwin VO-1000.
     With the goal of building some shorter loads, I have collected coffee stirrers for awhile, especially the wooden ones that are about 5.5 inches long, 1/8-inch wide, and 1/32-inch thick. Then I start gluing up layers, with the layers above the bottom only represented by short ends, looking like this:

     The height of course is something you are free to choose. I wanted to make these two stacks shorter ones, like those shown in the prototype photo above. Once I got to about 15 layers, I felt like I was about where I wanted to be. Before closing the top of each stack with full-length boards, the stacks looked like this.

     When finished with 15 layers of boards, 7 boards wide, with only the top and bottom layers made entirely with full-length boards, and each intermediate layer with a full-length board on each edge, the finished stack contains 170 pieces of wood. Richard Hendrickson once said that every modeler ought to build one lumber load board-by-board, but would then have to decide if they wanted to repeat the experience — ever. I now understand his point.
     With the two stacks finished, I now added stakes to the load, spacing them to match stake pocket spacings on the flat cars usually used for lumber on my layout, the Red Caboose SP cars. I deliberately made some of these stakes rather longer than really needed, in accord with the prototype photo at the top of this post. When that was complete, cross-ties were applied. The prototype photo shows no longitudinal ties, though those are shown in the AAR Loading Diagram, and in fact photos of many prototype lumber loads of this general kind show an absence of longitudinal ties. Compare this view to the prototype view at top.

     To demonstrate the contrast of these shorter lumber stacks with “full-height” stacks, I show below the same locomotive and flat car of lumber shown above, with an additional flat car with full-height Owl Mountain lumber loads (if you wish, you can read a review of those loads at this link:  ).

     I should also mention another way to build lower-height loads conveniently, which is with the lumber kit from American Model Builders (kit no. 289: see it on their web page at: , and scroll down to no. 289). Here are two kits worth of stacks.

     My own preference is for the individual-board kind that I built, but the AMB stacks look quite good too. Either way, I look forward to having both full-height and low-height lumber loads on my layout, to suggest the variety that would have been seen on the prototype.
Tony Thompson

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