Submitted by Rich Brinkley, DJ Depanicis, & Steve Winicker
After a rather long hiatus due to Santa and because of work on the flat car, Tom and Rich finally got back to work on the box car. On Friday, with help from John and Steve, we cleared an area around the north side of the car so that we could erect some scaffolding. The afternoon was spent removing grab irons. This involved cutting the nuts in half and prying them free from the bolts. A rather laborious process, but using a torch would be an invitation to disaster. On Saturday morning I went back and placed two more braces in the car. This time they were on the north wall. This was done in preparation for removing the roofing on the southwest corner and then removing two of the iron roof trusses. Then the plywood siding can be removed in preparation for replacing 12 feet of the upper sill beam. With the siding removed we can also better assess the condition of the bottom sill beam as well as determine the number of support beams that must also be replaced in that section of the wall. The next work day will be Friday, February 22nd. The following week the work day will be Thursday, February 28th.
Much was accomplished on the caboose this weekend with the first of the the new north wall structure being cut and prepped. Rob and I began the day planing and jointing all of the oak boards to a thickness just shy of 2″. The main objective for this was to get these boards as square as possible so we have a smooth and flat surface to attach to. This process took several hours. As we were doing this, we took the time to sort the boards into piles, keeping the straightest and truest boards separate. In the attached picture, the pile in the bottom left corner is the wood that needs to be run through the table saw to true up a little bit. The pile between the two saw horses is wood that we can use right now. We took a little more time prepping those as the picture shows.
After lunch Rob, Jerrad and myself began cutting many of the replacement boards. The boards we focused on were those that had the window pocket notched into them and cutting boards for ones that were completely missing. We made a jig to rout our window pockets that worked very well and made clean cuts. We finished the corners with chisels and came up with very nice joints. Jerad spent time cutting boards to replace those missing. This was made easier because of the list of each board. I was able to look at the list, determine the ones that needed replaced. The vertical boards in the picture have been squared on the bottom and the window pocket have all been cut to a consistent height. They still need to be cut to length.
On the to do list, the header beam needs to be notched on the ends to fit the tenons in the existing boards. Also, under the cupola, there are four bolts that need to be cut flush to the bottom of the cupola. I would suggest using a saws-all instead of a cutting wheel to eliminate sparks. Originally, the cupola was tighter to the car from the top down but since the interior of the cupola is good shape, we don’t want tear the interior apart to remove the bolts. If you feel that you can remove the wood cleanly, by all means, try to remove the bolts from the top. If not, we will cut them off and fasten the cupola from the bottom with lags through the header.
Work on the boxcar continues as Wabash 534 sits in the background.
Brandon Willis continues fabrication work on 358’s battery boxes.