Re: Painting Freight Car Trucks

Denny Anspach <danspach@...>

I paint all of my trucks- by hand with solvent
paints, and have been doing so for at least three
decades. I perform no special preparations
(blasting or etching), but I do thoroughly clean
the trucks with a very stiff Royal Typewriter
cleaning brush. I do not remove the wheels. The
same methods are used for metal or plastic
trucks. Although I am very much aware that paint
does not adhere well to engineering-plastic
trucks, pragmatically I have yet to observe that
this in fact poses any significant problem in my
hands =D> (in actuality, once installed, trucks
do not get handled very much).

My method (perhaps best understood by actually
holding a truck in your hand). Those of you that
are left handed, simply reverse the handedness:

1) Hold the center of the truck by its bolster
between the apposed thumb and 2nd (index) finger
of the left hand leaving the third (middle)
finger free to actively rotate one wheelset by
the flange of the wheel farthest away from you.
2) Using a small round paint-filled brush in the right hand,, I paint the back side of the wheel
farthest away while steadily rotating a wheelset,
followed by then also painting the axle (do not at this time bother with painting the backside of
the other wheel)
3) Now, insert the tip of the paint-filled brush
into the web of the nearer facing wheel, and
allow the continued steady turning of the wheel
to distribute the paint. Lightly lay the side of
the brush on the edge of tire rim so that it is
painted as well.
4) While still being held in place by the apposed
left hand thumb and index finger, rotate the
entire truck around 180ยบ.
5) Repeat steps 1-3 painting the backs of the
farthest wheels, and- the faces of the closest
wheels of the second wheelset.
6) Now turn the truck over in place, and grasp
the bolster center again thumb and index finger.
The unpainted outer faces of the two remaining
wheels are now painted, the truck of course being
rotated in place once in between (as above).
7) Now, systematically paint the side frames,
using the same principles. Paint both sides to
the extent that you can, then turn it over (there
are always places that that you have missed).

This entire process takes only a minute or so to
do, and there is no masking or spraying involved.
I do not worry about getting paint in the
bearings, simply because by serendipity, I do not
load my paint brush to that extent, nor does the
tip of my brush ever seem to actually get in that
deep. The trucks do really look good, and I have
been reassured ditto by a lot of visiting
firemen, as well.

Occasionally some paint gets on the wheel treads.
I simply wipe it off with a Q-Tip. My default
wheels are principally Reboxx . I have never felt
that I needed to polish the treads inasmuch as in
real time the treads look positively silver
compared to the dull paints now covering the rest
of the wheel sets.

My routine default Floquil paint choices for this
process have been varying mixtures and patterns
of Rail Brown, Weathered Black, Black, and Rust.
Additional weathering may yet be applied as a
part of the overall program process of weathering
the entire car.


Denny S. Anspach, MD

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