Re: Plywood reefers

Dennis Storzek <dstorzek@...>

--- In STMFC@..., Anthony Thompson <thompson@s...> wrote:

I'm sure Greg is right. The PFE documents did refer to "curling,
checking and cracking," but as it happens the shop sketch I saw did
have about a 1/8 inch gap between the plywood sheets. Is that an
inadequate gap, Greg? That gap was in addition to the T-section metal
seal strip (with the "leg" of the T down between the sheets).
As for it being an "installation error," I have no doubt that
PFE followed the instructions of the Douglas Fir Plywood Association --
whatever they may have been <g>.
Three possibilities come to mind. 1) the drawing calls for the 1/8" gap, but the shops mis-interpreted this as being the gap FOR the metal trim, rather than IN ADDITION TO it. 2) the shops installed the plywood with the specified gap, but the gap, while adequate for house construction, was inadequate for railroad service. 3) the sheets moved after installation due to the car frame twisting and "weaving", forcing the edges of the sheets together.

I am not aware that the Soo Line gave this any consideration when the recovered their cabooses, but then again, the plywood was so far from the car frame, being attached to the ild siding, that it likely just shifted towards the end of the car when it expanded from moisture.

I kind of wonder why the Ply-Metal Company didn't jump in here with their metal faced wood laminate. Ply-Metal was adopted early on by Electro-Motive for side sheets on F and E units, and seemed to give good service. I suppose the extra cost and weight made it non-competitive with plain steel.

Dennis Storzek

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