Making grab irons

Doug Polinder

Allen is referring to, I believe, the sidebar on p. 89 in Ted Culotta's fourth installment of the Essential Freight Car series in the July 2003 RMC on NP's double-sheathed boxcars. In the same issue on p. 66 Mike Rose also illustrates building straight and drop grabs (although on cars out of scope for STMFC).

This issue is one of RMC's high-water marks for mid-century freight-car modelers, what with the above articles and techniques as well as two product reviews, one of Sylvan's HO Canadian National autobox and the other of Lionel's O PS-5, and a pictorial of a layout of Hamilton ON in 1958 and Keith Kohlmann's description of the American Motors auto loading facility for its plant in Kenosha WI.

Doug Polinder
Grand Rapids MI

Re: Molded-on Grab Irons and grab iron bending device
Posted by: "Allen Cain" allen_cain
Date: Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:29 pm ((PST))


The Mission Model bending jig looks really nice but $90 puts it out of may
range for a specialty tool.

Sometime back one of the magazines ran an article where a piece of sheet
plastic with manufactured scribed slots (siding?) was cut in a triangular
shape with the slots running parallel to the base of the triangle. Then,
you pick the slot that matches the width that you need and lay a piece of
wire in it and simply bend it over the edges of the plastic. Bingo, a grab
iron. The taller the triangle combined with a narrow base gives you a LOT
of slots which vary in length only slightly as you go from one slot to the

I built one of these for a zero cost using scraps from the plastic box and
it works great.

Hopefully my description makes sense.

Allen Cain

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