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Don F;

I checked your website and got the e-mail address. I also saw that you are modeling in O-scale. If that is so then you're going to be using some big parts. (I'm in N-scale) I'm not sure that my unit would produce enough heat to do what you want. However there's no reason you couldn't build a higher power model. I have had little success soldering steel. I've heard of it and even tried it with steel wire for my catenary. However the steel never seems to form a strong permanent joint. The joints once made, tended to come apart fairly easily. I have since switched to brass poles and phosphor bronze wire, both of which solder extremely well, forming very strong, and permanent, joints.
I'll be happy to e-mail info to you, but have you considered/rejected some sort of small arc welding tool? I think it might be able to produce much better joints in steel, than soldering.

Regards;

Traction Fan
I had no problem getting satisfactory joints, but with so many small parts so close together, I had to use a lot of clamps to keep nearby joints from releasing. Here are a few pics of the bridge.
I would appreciate you sending the how to info for the resistance soldering rig.
Don
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Wow!

I had no problem getting satisfactory joints, but with so many small parts so close together, I had to use a lot of clamps to keep nearby joints from releasing. Here are a few pics of the bridge.
I would appreciate you sending the how to info for the resistance soldering rig.
Don
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Don F;

That is some great work! Fantastic!
Resistance soldering, if you have not done it, is all about low voltage and high current. I will send the specs. on the transformer I used, but I think you will need to use a bigger version for the size and material you are using. I run it at full current to solder N-scale brass pieces together. I'll send you a P.M. with the info. What kind of solder did you use on your bridge model?

Traction Fan
PS. here's a few photos of my stuff.

Black River station sharp focus.jpg

Cape Ripiculous peninsula end view.jpg

Garrison Creek trestle dark.jpg

Molly Mcguires coal trestle full length.jpg

Structures maintainence shed interior day.jpg
 

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Lemonhawk,
Thank you. It was a fun project. The rivets were hand punched using a masonry nail with a point. I made the sides so they could be folded after the rivets were punched so the detail would be on both sides. I work for a school district that once had a metal shop. There was a full rack of all different sizes of flat stock and sheet steel, both galvanized and bare steel. Our maintenance department took it when the shop teacher wanted to clear house. We also acquired all the sheet metal tools, and a small break and shear. We also have a large band saw, a small band saw, a table saw and many other power and hand tools. I did intend to make these to sell at train shows, but my wife said I already spend too much time in the workshop. I'm nearing retirement, so that may be the impetus to get back into it again.
This bridge was made for my shelf layout around the ceiling of a covered patio attached to the workshop, and abutting our pond. I also made three wood bridges for the layout with the help of my son Mark.
 

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My oldest son and a friend are raising bees for honey, and he recently acquired some hives from a keeper who was getting out of the business. He had to burn several due to disease and bugs, and these wire dividers were left in the ashes. These will make great railings; they are stainless steel, and the spacing between rails is 1/4", and the spacing between posts ranges from 3 1/2", to 2 3/4", and are 14" long. it's unfortunate that all the post spacing isn't the same.
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Making A Coal Load

I am going to share my process for making coal and other loads for O and S gauge hoppers and gondolas. I use 1/4" Luan plywood, Black Beauty sand blast fine grit, and water base urethane industrial floor finish.
The first step is to select a hopper; I am currently making loads for Weaver 3 and 4 bay hoppers. Note: these hoppers, regardless of type, all have the same inside dimensions. This is true for the new Lionscale 3 bay hoppers by Lionel, which use former Weaver Models tooling.
The second step is to determine the inside dimensions of the hopper. For a snug fit, it is important to measure the inside length and width precisely. The next measurement is the depth to the slope sheet; this is the point where the taper to the bottom of the hopper begins. In the Weaver 2 and 3 bay hoppers this measurement is 5/8". Depending on one's preference for load height, this will determine the height of the legs under the load base. Since Luan plywood is not a full 1/4" thickness, I use 3/8" legs cut at 2" long, about 1/4" short of the actual width.
Since I make many coal loads for most manufacturers' cars, I have templates for the load bases, aand most hopper shells for fitting the loads. If legs are required, that info, including size is included on the template. I have made loads requiring the customer to send the car I may not have, for proper fit. While I have the car, I make a "mold" of the car using rigid plastic, again marking pertinent information on the mold.
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Making the base with the template requires using the template to set the width on the table saw, the length on the chop saw. I cut one sample for width and length to make sure the saws are set correctly, then proceed to cut the desired amount of bases. I have containers with ready cut legs, and for popular loads, I do the same with bases.
After the base is cut to width and length, I use the 6" belt sander to slightly taper the edges, and final sand for the a fit that is snug, but releases with just a slight tap. I use the disk sander to adjust the length. I clamp a guide square to the disc for this step.
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Now that the base fits properly, I glue the legs to the base using Franklin's Tite-Bond exterior wood glue. Be sure to glue the legs to the bottom tapered side if you choose to taper the base. I keep the legs about 1/8" from the end of the base. This allows for "glooze",and also lets the load rest a little lower on the slope sheet, so the load is not level with, or above the sides. For longer loads, I use a stiffening rib glued to the bottom to control warping. Luan is a light yet strong and resilient material, but it is still subject to warping.
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The next step is to add some build up wood to define the load, and save on material and weight. I first determine what type of load I want to make, a humped load, or piles. For a humped load, make a strip about 1 1/2" narrower, and about 2" shorter then the base, or about 2/4" from the sides, and 1" from each end. For pile loads, determine how many piles, and cut small squares and space evenly. Glue and let dry. Spray paint the bottom and edges completely, and around the perimeter of the top with flat black paint. It is not necessary to paint the bottom, but do spray the top. If there are any spots that might have been missed, or some material should rub off, there will be a black background so it won't be noticeable.
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After the blanks are dry, it's time for the fun. To make the loads, I use a very low tech approach. I have two stations side by side. One station is for applying the urethane, and the second is for building up the loads. I use a plastic container in a cardboard box with the front cut out, as I use a plant misting spray bottle to apply the urethane. I have a rest which accepts all the different types of loads I make that sits inside the container. The second station is for applying the Black Beauty. Any coal product can be substituted. I use Black Beauty fine, as it scales to about the size of "Chestnut" coal. There are coarser grits available. Black Beauty is relatively cheap. The last time I bought a 100 pound bag, it was under $20.
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Be sure the stations are level, (it may be necessary to shim), so the urethane doesn't run off the blank. Lay the blank on the elevated holder. Note: for comfort, raise the stations to a level that requires the least amount of bending. Spray the blank with urethane to the point of creating a large puddle. Surface tension and a level surface will be your friend. Move the blank to the build-up station, and grab some material mostly between the thumb and fore finger, and sprinkle the material around the perimeter first. Check for bare spots and re-sprinkle any, then proceed to fill in the middle. Do not pile the material, instead, spread it evenly. Return to the spray station and apply another coat of urethane, almost to the point of puddling again. Back to the build-up table, and begin covering the blocks with a few sprinkles on each, the spray again with urethane. This ensures a complete saturation of all the material. Add more material to the piles, making sure the edges are not visible. A well mounded pile forming a rounded peak is what you want. Return. Using a pair of good tweezers, remove any discolored or mis-shaped granules from the load before applying a final spray of urethane. This step is not necessary with a packaged coal product. Place load on a flat tray to dry. Move load after sitting for a while to prevent it from sticking to the tray. Loads may take several days to dry completely, at which time they can sanded lightly on the edges with a file, (in a downward motion only), to remove any excess urethane, and test fitted into the hopper. Some additional filing, or sanding may be necessary. Keep a rag close by to wipe your fingers, and work in a well lit area, and use those glasses!.
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I made two Weaver 4 bay loads, which I usually make as auto Flood loads. I use the same technique as the hump load, then use a load blank to gently press down the final pass of material prior to spraying the final coat of urethane. This creates a flat center replicating the fill chute dragging across the top of the hopper as it passe under the loading facility.
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Lastly, it is important to thoroughly clean the spray bottle. Completely disassemble and wash with hot water. If you use the bottle a lot, it may be necessary to remove and clean the nozzle assembly. Clean the tray as well. The build up tray can be emptied back to the material container and cleaned. If using other material be sure to clean thoroughly so as not to mix materials. There is a complete catalog of completed loads on my website, which is at the bottom of the post. I hope this information is useful.
Don
 

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I had a tough time with this post, most of the attachments didn't work, so I had to go through several times to edit them. I don't know why the two attachments at the bottom of the post are there, and I can't get rid of them because they don't show up on the edit format. Anyway, I think I got it straightened out.
Don
 

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Seriously good stuff guys! Excellent work! I'm just using emery cloth cut to size and "humped up" in a gondola it looks just like coal and can be removed to simulate "full-empty" operations of any kind and no mess.
 

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Seriously good stuff guys! Excellent work! I'm just using emery cloth cut to size and "humped up" in a gondola it looks just like coal and can be removed to simulate "full-empty" operations of any kind and no mess.
I suggested that to a fellow who asked if I made coal loads for N gauge. I've got a local HO hobby shop owner who keeps asking me to make HO loads, but they're just too small.
Don
 

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Here are some photos of iron and copper ore loads. The copper load is the result of a request for copper ore loads from a customer. I used crushed limestone as the base, and used fine mists of flat black and medium flat gray. For the green, I dry brushed Duron Woodland Green urethane modified paint thinned to a stain consistency.
For the iron ore, I used red concrete sand, aka screenings or moon dust. It is often used as a base for brick pavers. After the load dried, I used Fuchsia Red liquid paint dye from the local paint store, and diluted it with water and sprayed the load using a mister bottle. For Taconite, (modern iron ore), I use old pool sand, as it is smoother, and do the same process as above.
The two hump iron ore load was an extra from a special order several years ago. The customer and I spent over a month back and forth with photos and changes before he approved this version.
Don
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I used a different material for this version of a copper ore load. I wanted larger chunks of ore, and a more varied color range, so I used the gray crushed stone that I use for ballast loads, and mixed in some larger material that I normally screen out for ballast. After the load dried, I dry brushed the Woodland Green. There was no need to use the gray and black mist coats due to the wide variation in color as opposed to the white limestone I used for the first version.
Copper & Iron Ore 001.jpg
 

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River Leaf Models Switchman Shanty build

Last year, I did restoration work on a CNJ switchman shanty in Ashley Pa for the Huber Breaker preservation Society. I contacted Andre Garcia of River Leaf Models about making a model, which our society sold as a fundraiser. I recently constructed one of 3 models I purchased, this one being for a diorama I plan to build for the society. I made several modifications to the kit to make it more closely represent the prototype.
The prototype has an open, (cathedral), ceiling, and the model for ease of construction has a flat ceiling beneath the peaked roof. I eliminated the interior ceiling by tracing the inside walls on the roof panel and then cut the center out, leaving the wall thickness and the eave.
More to follow in another segment.
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River Leaf Switchman Shanty Build

To assemble the walls without the ceiling panel, I used it as an alignment piece only. I assembled the walls using the bottom floor panel, (same size as the ceiling panel), which I did glue. Using rubber bands to clamp the wall sections around the base and ceiling. after the assembly was dry, I made two clamping jigs from some corrugated plastic cut to fit the outside profile of the model. These I will use at the top and bottom to hold the other two kits together while the glue dries, instead of the rubber bands.
Don
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River Leaf Models Switchman Shanty Assembly Paint

After the basic assembly was complete, I was ready for paint. I used interior white primer, with fine mason sand added for texture. I painted the inside and outside, and lightly sanded the paint to remove some of the grit to expose little pock marks, and applied a second coat for depth, again sanding some of the grit. After the paint partially dried, I added a thin coat of Lamp Black and water on the inside and outside walls, and lightly dabbed some of the excess with a paper towel. This adds the weathered look, similar to India Ink that most hobbyists use. Lamp Black is basically chimney soot that is primarily used to dye mortar black. I get it at the local building supply house. For the roof, I applied several coats, dabbing the excess each time. the roof on the prototype is much more pock marked and worn then the walls, and also much darker.
Don
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Don weren't you working on a full scale shanty too? This one looks pretty cool. Will it have a desk on the inside :D
Yes, we restored one for the Miners' Heritage Memorial Park in Ashley PA. Andre and I worked together to produce an O scale model. We sold several as a fundraiser. I am making this model for a diorama for our preservation society, and am trying to replicate the prototype as closely as possible. I do have most of the model complete, including a desk, two wood benches, and a shelf. I am waiting for a coal stove and some other small details for the interior before I can install the windows and door. I will be posting more progress photos shortly.
Don
 

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These are some photos of the interior paint. For the underside of the roof, I traced a pencil line where the bare wood will be glued to the wall tops. I kept the paint inside the line to leave a good glue surface
Switchman Shanty Assembly Roof 001.jpg
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When I glued the roof ring to the wall tops, I needed to use filler to seal the seams where it meets the wall tops. I sanded the filler, and then painted several coats using the primer with the fine mason sand, sanding lightly after each coat.
Switchman Shanty assembly Wood Filler 001.jpg
After I was satisfied with the wall texture, I applied a very light coat of Lamp Black and water to slightly age the paint. I used a paper towel to dab the coating to remove most of it. Since the paint I'm using is porous, there is no need to seal the Lamp Black coat.
Switchman Shanty Assembly Interior Paint 004.jpg
Don
 
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