Re: Scratchbuilding a car in styrene


Randy Hees
 

In the 19th century, you would not be able to see the wood grain on car siding... to see wood grain would indicate poor wood and a terrible paint job...  prior to painting a car would be primed, then "rough stuff" (a cross between body putty and think paint) applied, then scraped or sanded to make a smooth surface, then primed again, before several coats of "color"...  If a passenger car it would then be varnished, lettered, then varnished several more times... I believe that too often modelers 1) are modeling railroads as they fail, and are no longer maintaining equipment, and 2) we overdo textures... including wood grain and canvas roofs... 

The car siding was likely "quarter sawn, vertical grain" as called out in Kirkman's book on freight cars in the Science of Railroads series...  Today a mill cuts a log in slices (or slabs), in quarter sawing, you cut the log into quarters, then cut those in various directions to keep the grain running as closely to vertical when the plank is laying on its broad face.  This is still done for flooring and for fine cabinet work.  It was critical in the 19th century when much of the wood work was by hand.  A hand plane does not like random grain... a hand molding plane likes it even less.

Visible grain would be seen on flat car decks, inside gondolas and on roof walks... 

If you look at photos of D&RGW narrow gauge stock cars (of which many can be found on line), the side boards are not worn grain, but more often the pattern of paint failing, noting that paint fails in part because of the differences in density of the wood as represented by grain... 

Randy Hees

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