Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a couple locomotives missing handrail sections (Athearn Blue Box stuff). Can anyone recommend a type and gauge of wire that works well to fashion handrails?

Thanks!
JP
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,236 Posts
I have wondered about using safety wire for handrails on trestles; I suppose it might work on engines, too.

It is easily available in two different gauges from Horror Freight. It is stainless, easily worked, and seemingly rigid enough although it might be better on stationary structures that do not see handling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,444 Posts
i know what i used was a little smaller, and quite a bit harder than the stuff that comes with the blue box units ...
don't know the name for it, maybe 10 inches long with a pre applied black oxide finish, some kind of spring steel...
origionaly it was made for tying a label onto a farm machinery part, just wrap the wire around what ever ....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,452 Posts
A strand of wire from 22 ga. hook up wire should suffice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,263 Posts
guitar string

most strings are too long for a guitar. So muscioans cut off the excess.
The spiral wrapping on most has to be removed leaving a strong stiff wire which work out better tha copper/soft wire IMHO
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
500 Posts
JP Most real RR handrails are 1-2" dia. So just find piano wire that size to scale. It can be bent w/ good pliers. But Athearn handrail sets do show up on eBay.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,904 Posts
JP Most real RR handrails are 1-2" dia. So just find piano wire that size to scale. It can be bent w/ good pliers. But Athearn handrail sets do show up on eBay.
Piano wire comes on a roll. Might be kinda hard getting it perfectly straight. It works great for the Tortoise Machines when you have thick roadbed to go through.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
I bought some "straight" wire from Jeff at The Train Tender. It was sized perfectly for my American Flyer. I believe that he has different sizes.in 1 fool lengths.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,452 Posts
You can also pick up individual guitar strings at any music store, or a pack of six in various guages for $5.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,153 Posts
Two more wire suggestions

Thanks for all of the great ideas, gents!

JP
jpati75;

Sometimes its necessary to replace the vertical stanchions that hold the handrails as well as the handrails themselves. When doing this its very handy to be able to solder the wire handrails to the stanchions. Most of the prior replies, while quite good, don't suggest a type of wire that can be soldered. Brass wire and phosphor/bronze wire can be easily soldered. Brass wire in the small size you'll need fro handrails is very flexible. That means it may easily get bent out of shape when handling the locomotive. Phosphor/bronze wire is a little bit stiffer than brass, though not as rigid as the steel music wire that John suggested.
The tops of wire stanchions can be flattened before installation, and then wrapped around the handrail, and soldered making a strong permanent joint.
I ordered the phosphor/bronze wire I use for making catenary from Amazon. It's inexpensive, solders easily and is quite strong.
As you can see in the photo, it is sold as "Artistic Wire", for reasons unknown to me. In the background is some of the N-scale catenary I made with this wire.

Regards;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:

Catenary phospher bronze wire.JPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,170 Posts
Nice find for phosphor bronze wire! Catenary been on my list for a long time. John, what do you use for flux to solder steel wire? Acid? Not on my solder station!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
jpati75;

Sometimes its necessary to replace the vertical stanchions that hold the handrails as well as the handrails themselves. When doing this its very handy to be able to solder the wire handrails to the stanchions. Most of the prior replies, while quite good, don't suggest a type of wire that can be soldered. Brass wire and phosphor/bronze wire can be easily soldered. Brass wire in the small size you'll need fro handrails is very flexible. That means it may easily get bent out of shape when handling the locomotive. Phosphor/bronze wire is a little bit stiffer than brass, though not as rigid as the steel music wire that John suggested.
The tops of wire stanchions can be flattened before installation, and then wrapped around the handrail, and soldered making a strong permanent joint.
I ordered the phosphor/bronze wire I use for making catenary from Amazon. It's inexpensive, solders easily and is quite strong.
As you can see in the photo, it is sold as "Artistic Wire", for reasons unknown to me. In the background is some of the N-scale catenary I made with this wire.

Regards;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment 468518
Great points on the stanchions and soldering. Appreciate the picture of the wire you used. Many years back my mother and grandmother used “Artistic Wire” to make decorative trees to sell at craft fairs. They used to have rolls of artistic wire everywhere...until they realized no one wanted to buy wire trees. :laugh:
 

·
Admin
Joined
·
44,180 Posts
I used nickel wire for these handrails as I had it in the right size, and I needed to insulate them for the TMCC upgrade. I replaced the stanchions with plastic as well. It had stainless steel, couldn't use that as it wasn't long enough to reach inside to the antenna connection.

MTH 30-1339-0 B&O Dockside Switcher N1.JPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
267 Posts
I know what you mean. I got a GE-8-40C Diesel off Ebay a few years back that was missing a front handrail. I didn't notice it at the time - my bad. Anyway, I ended up buying a kit that had all the brass sections already cut. You're suppose to put it together with super glue, trim to fit and paint. I could only imagine what a nightmare that would have been. I thought about soldiering it, but boy that would have been just as tough. I would be pulling the hair out my head trying to soldier all those tiny pieces of wire together without leaving big globes everywhere. It would have looked more to scale though.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top