Re: wood sheathing on box cars

Greg Martin

Mike Brock sez...

Greg, when you get a chance, how 'bout addressing vertical siding. I believe you have noted before that the joints in that case are more visible and the evidence is obvious as can be seen in Ted's article in May 2003 RMC.

Mike Brock
I would have to dig out my old pattern books but I can tell you that "CAR SIDING" appears in all the pattern books I have seen form all the grading agencies. There are two types and to patterns for both type of cars, passenger and freight. The first is the Passenger car siding, which was a single patterned board that had a detail called a bead at the end of one side before the tongue. (T&G V&BV) The pattern could be made as a single pattern (flat back) or a reversible pattern (details on both sides). Later the pattern was adopted to be a double pattern (T&G V&CVBV... T&G Vee and Center V with a beaded vee... did you get that?), meaning on piece would substitute for two boards, but not originally. This pattern was generally run from, well let's just say "dried" (kiln or air dried) Alder. It was used on the exterior (and interior which was usually an imported or domestic hardwood) of passenger cars as well as the interiors of S.P. and Santa Fe locomotives, it could have appeared in others as well. The pattern was about 2½ inches wide (I would have to check).

The other pattern was Freight Car Siding" (these patterns had numbers not names and each grading agency used there own pattern number). These pattern can be found in all grading agencies pattern books, and run in any softwood as well as Alder. Most commonly the boards were run double pattern to save labor upon application. There is an alternative for single pattern stock, but most cars I have examined (usually PFE, Santa Fe and SP equipment and on D&H car at the museum in Perris, CA)are examples of double pattern. The pattern has what we modelers reference to a simple VEE groove, but the true pattern has what the industry calls an eased edge, a slight nosing not a true VEE groove. Old timers call it a shadow groove. I does create a groove. The width of this groove was different on reefers than on house cars for all that I have seen. The groove is slightly greater on the reefers. The pattern books note this. The width of the groove is approximately 3/16" (reefers), and I would have to verify this, and 1/8" on freight car siding, but again created by a nosing. But every other groove is more pronounced than the center groove once applied and with age this difference is even most noticeable. This was called V and center V. (V&CV) The stock could be run and was most commonly run from B&Btr Clear Douglas Fir, Redwood, or White Pine and Southern Yellow Pine. Other woods were used but Douglas Fir from the west coast was the most common. (see the preserved reefer at the CSRM) Interior paneling on cars double sheath ed and reefers was generally from 1x4 or 1x6 Butt Joint Center matched pattern. Nominal dimensions of wood have changed over the years starting in 1972, by the ALS (American Lumber Standards)but not as much as you might believe, certainly not like the old timers would swear they have. The greatest changes have come about with the lack of old growth cuttings and the use of second growth, but that is another story.

There is w wealth of patterns out there like, Casket Stock patterns, Water Tower patterns, and hey want to talk about the oiled, double tongue and groove drilled, spiked and splined flooring pattern... Nah perhaps a rainy day this fall. You couldn't just bolt a square board to the floor and expect it to stand up to the elements. If not drilled for spikes and splines the floors would never have been even close to flat or support any real weight... Again another day! Remember wood is good! 3^)

Another good open load too talk about this fall is Cross Arm Stock!

Greg Martin

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