More questions on GN Boxcar underframe painting and finishing


Steve Haas
 

In a conversation back in April of this year under the heading "GN USRA DS
Box Cars" Staffan Ehnbom made the following comments on the under frame
painting on the subject cars:

"For a 1950 model mineral red would be correct for the entire car including
roof ends and under frame."

And

"My comment was a bit brief and addressing only cars repainted after 1948."


I took Staffan's comments to apply to these cars as re-painted, but this
raised a couple of questions on GN boxcar under frame color in my mind:

As originally built, wouldn't the under frame and appliances have been black
or red oxide, but the under side of the floor left natural until the first
repainting?
What would the underside of these cars looked like prior to their first
repainting.
What would newer GN cars (built 48-53 or so - I'm thinking of the St. Cloud
built 12 panel cars specifically) have for under frame and underside of
flooring appear like circa 54?

I have Staffan's 85 Mainline Modeler article and Duane Buck's "ding" article
from 98 - neither mentions the original color/finish of the underside of the
flooring material. Duane, in his modeling article does paint the undersides
either all mineral red or all black, but he models a bit later than 54 and
these cars would have been repainted by the time of his modeling.

There was another pair of articles in later issues of MM, but those are
packed away deep in the garage following a recent move.

Any guidance?


Best regards,

Steve Haas
Snoqualmie, WA


gn3397 <heninger@...>
 

Steve,
I hope Staffan will join in here, but I can share some information that I have.

I have a copy of an article from Railway Age, Vol. 117, No. 6, dated August 5, 1944, entitled "Great Northern Builds Plywood Cars in Company Shops". It details the construction of the first 1,000 plywood boxcars built by the GN (44025-44999 and 2501-2524 series) in 1944. The article states the floor was 1 3/4 inch TIG boards, sprayed with a clear sealer on the interior surface (as was the plywood lining of the sides, ends, and roof of these cars). It makes no mention of the undersurface of the floorboards, but I suspect they were left untreated, as the article goes to great lengths to describe the preparation, sealing, and painting of the wood panels used in these cars.

I have no further information specific to GN cars, but there is a good photo of a Reading boxcar being built in a ACF plant in one of the early RP Cycs that shows unpainted, untreated undersurfaces of floorboards. Also, the only other steam era boxcar I have had the pleasure of examining up close is a Soo Line sawtooth boxcar, and it didn't have a trace of paint or coating on the undersurface of the floorboards.

I suspect most new boxcars in the steam era had unpainted wood floorboards, but Jack Spencer and Ted Culotta are the only guys I know of who have modeled this feature.

I hope this information is somewhat helpful.

Sincerely,
Bob Heninger
Iowa City, IA

--- In STMFC@..., "Steve Haas" <Goatfisher2@...> wrote:

In a conversation back in April of this year under the heading "GN USRA DS
Box Cars" Staffan Ehnbom made the following comments on the under frame
painting on the subject cars:

"For a 1950 model mineral red would be correct for the entire car including
roof ends and under frame."

And

"My comment was a bit brief and addressing only cars repainted after 1948."


I took Staffan's comments to apply to these cars as re-painted, but this
raised a couple of questions on GN boxcar under frame color in my mind:

As originally built, wouldn't the under frame and appliances have been black
or red oxide, but the under side of the floor left natural until the first
repainting?
What would the underside of these cars looked like prior to their first
repainting.
What would newer GN cars (built 48-53 or so - I'm thinking of the St. Cloud
built 12 panel cars specifically) have for under frame and underside of
flooring appear like circa 54?

I have Staffan's 85 Mainline Modeler article and Duane Buck's "ding" article
from 98 - neither mentions the original color/finish of the underside of the
flooring material. Duane, in his modeling article does paint the undersides
either all mineral red or all black, but he models a bit later than 54 and
these cars would have been repainted by the time of his modeling.

There was another pair of articles in later issues of MM, but those are
packed away deep in the garage following a recent move.

Any guidance?


Best regards,

Steve Haas
Snoqualmie, WA



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Staffan Ehnbom <staffan.ehnbom@...>
 

Steve and Bob,

It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I realized that freight car wood floors were left unpainted some of the time (all the time?). Apparently the "underbody color" mentioned in painting instructions was only applied to the metal members of new cars and before the floor boards were put in place. I'm not aware of seeing any info as to GN practices in this regard. When I get back to my info I will try and go through stuff that might give an indication like drawings or construction photos.

The next question is what happened, when a car was repainted. Would the floor boards just be hit by overspray from when the steel members were repainted or would the painter give the floor boards an even coat?

Another question: How were early wood underframe cars painted? Did wood sills and cross members recieve paint but were floor boards left unpainted?

Questions like these might lead to solutions like not haveing any brand new cars on the layout and painting all underbodies a grimy grayish-brownish-blackish dirt color!

Staffan Ehnbom

----- Original Message -----
From: gn3397
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 6:18 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: More questions on GN Boxcar underframe painting and finishing



Steve,
I hope Staffan will join in here, but I can share some information that I have.

I have a copy of an article from Railway Age, Vol. 117, No. 6, dated August 5, 1944, entitled "Great Northern Builds Plywood Cars in Company Shops". It details the construction of the first 1,000 plywood boxcars built by the GN (44025-44999 and 2501-2524 series) in 1944. The article states the floor was 1 3/4 inch TIG boards, sprayed with a clear sealer on the interior surface (as was the plywood lining of the sides, ends, and roof of these cars). It makes no mention of the undersurface of the floorboards, but I suspect they were left untreated, as the article goes to great lengths to describe the preparation, sealing, and painting of the wood panels used in these cars.

I have no further information specific to GN cars, but there is a good photo of a Reading boxcar being built in a ACF plant in one of the early RP Cycs that shows unpainted, untreated undersurfaces of floorboards. Also, the only other steam era boxcar I have had the pleasure of examining up close is a Soo Line sawtooth boxcar, and it didn't have a trace of paint or coating on the undersurface of the floorboards.

I suspect most new boxcars in the steam era had unpainted wood floorboards, but Jack Spencer and Ted Culotta are the only guys I know of who have modeled this feature.

I hope this information is somewhat helpful.

Sincerely,
Bob Heninger
Iowa City, IA

--- In STMFC@..., "Steve Haas" <Goatfisher2@...> wrote:
>
> In a conversation back in April of this year under the heading "GN USRA DS
> Box Cars" Staffan Ehnbom made the following comments on the under frame
> painting on the subject cars:
>
> "For a 1950 model mineral red would be correct for the entire car including
> roof ends and under frame."
>
> And
>
> "My comment was a bit brief and addressing only cars repainted after 1948."
>
>
> I took Staffan's comments to apply to these cars as re-painted, but this
> raised a couple of questions on GN boxcar under frame color in my mind:
>
> As originally built, wouldn't the under frame and appliances have been black
> or red oxide, but the under side of the floor left natural until the first
> repainting?
> What would the underside of these cars looked like prior to their first
> repainting.
> What would newer GN cars (built 48-53 or so - I'm thinking of the St. Cloud
> built 12 panel cars specifically) have for under frame and underside of
> flooring appear like circa 54?
>
> I have Staffan's 85 Mainline Modeler article and Duane Buck's "ding" article
> from 98 - neither mentions the original color/finish of the underside of the
> flooring material. Duane, in his modeling article does paint the undersides
> either all mineral red or all black, but he models a bit later than 54 and
> these cars would have been repainted by the time of his modeling.
>
> There was another pair of articles in later issues of MM, but those are
> packed away deep in the garage following a recent move.
>
> Any guidance?
>
>
> Best regards,
>
> Steve Haas
> Snoqualmie, WA
>
>
>
>
>


Bruce Smith
 

On Jul 14, 2010, at 4:43 AM, Staffan Ehnbom wrote:
The next question is what happened, when a car was repainted. Would the floor boards just be hit by overspray from when the steel members were repainted or would the painter give the floor boards an even coat?
Staffan,

I can document that a 1950s era repainting of a PRR X31A boxcar had the undersides of the floor evenly coated with Freight Car Color since I was given a floor board. This was clearly done after installation of the boards, as the areas covered by the stringers was not painted, and neither was the interior side of the board.

Regards
Bruce

Bruce F. Smith
Auburn, AL
http://www.vetmed.auburn.edu/index.pl/bruce_f._smith2

"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."
__
/ &#92;
__<+--+>________________&#92;__/___ ________________________________
|- ______/ O O &#92;_______ -| | __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ |
| / 4999 PENNSYLVANIA 4999 &#92; | ||__||__||__||__||__||__||__||__||
|/_____________________________&#92;|_|________________________________|
| O--O &#92;0 0 0 0/ O--O | 0-0-0 0-0-0


Tim O'Connor
 

I suspect most new boxcars in the steam era had unpainted wood floorboards, but Jack Spencer
and Ted Culotta are the only guys I know of who have modeled this feature.
Bob

There's probably a few others who enjoy doing this... :-)
http://www.steamfreightcars.com/images/modeling/models/oconnor/dssa17065floor.jpg

But Jack's probably the only guy who knows what type of wood was used
on the prototype car, and has modeled it correctly.

Tim O'Connor


Tim O'Connor
 

Staffan, I would be amazed to find out that railroads bothered to repaint
the bottoms of floor boards on a box car. They may not even have bothered
to repaint the steel underframe, except superficially. I definitely have
seen photos of repainted cars where there was no attempt to repaint the
roof! (Nice contrast -- freshly painted car side and rusty, filthy roof.)

If they did paint the underbody for a repaint, they would first have to
steam clean the filth and muck from underneath the car -- otherwise they
would just be painting the dirt!

And then there's that great color photo of a wrecked Santa Fe "Fe-x" box
car -- some of the floor boards look clean but most of them are black with
filth. My guess is that some of the boards were replaced.

Tim O'Connor

The next question is what happened, when a car was repainted. Would the floor boards just be hit by overspray from when the steel members were repainted or would the painter give the floor boards an even coat?

Staffan Ehnbom


Steve Lucas <stevelucas3@...>
 

Nice work on the wood, but the underside is wayyyyyyy too clean. Those plain bearings threw off a lot of gunk.

Steve Lucas.

--- In STMFC@..., Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:


I suspect most new boxcars in the steam era had unpainted wood floorboards, but Jack Spencer
and Ted Culotta are the only guys I know of who have modeled this feature.
Bob

There's probably a few others who enjoy doing this... :-)
http://www.steamfreightcars.com/images/modeling/models/oconnor/dssa17065floor.jpg

But Jack's probably the only guy who knows what type of wood was used
on the prototype car, and has modeled it correctly.

Tim O'Connor


Bruce Smith
 

On Jul 15, 2010, at 12:00 PM, Tim O'Connor wrote:


I suspect most new boxcars in the steam era had unpainted wood floorboards, but Jack Spencer
and Ted Culotta are the only guys I know of who have modeled this feature.
Bob

There's probably a few others who enjoy doing this... :-)
http://www.steamfreightcars.com/images/modeling/models/oconnor/ dssa17065floor.jpg

But Jack's probably the only guy who knows what type of wood was used
on the prototype car, and has modeled it correctly.

Tim O'Connor
Tim,

That 1950s era X31A floorboard I mentioned to Staffan? I have sliced it into thin wafers. Next step, make boards out of it... for... you guessed it, an HO scale PRR X31A! Given the trouble I am going to to make this floor, you can bet that this particular car will have its doors OPEN! <VBG>

Regards
Bruce

Bruce F. Smith
Auburn, AL
http://www.vetmed.auburn.edu/index.pl/bruce_f._smith2

"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."
__
/ &#92;
__<+--+>________________&#92;__/___ ________________________________
|- ______/ O O &#92;_______ -| | __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ |
| / 4999 PENNSYLVANIA 4999 &#92; | ||__||__||__||__||__||__||__||__||
|/_____________________________&#92;|_|________________________________|
| O--O &#92;0 0 0 0/ O--O | 0-0-0 0-0-0


Brian Carlson
 

50's era, you must be making a gift for me, as that's at least 6 years out of your era. Next thing we know you'll be putting shadow Keystone's on things and running F's and geeps.
 
Brian J Carlson

--- On Thu, 7/15/10, Bruce Smith <smithbf@...> wrote:







That 1950s era X31A floorboard I mentioned to Staffan? I have sliced
it into thin wafers. Next step, make boards out of it... for... you
guessed it, an HO scale PRR X31A! Given the trouble I am going to to
make this floor, you can bet that this particular car will have its
doors OPEN! <VBG>

Regards
Bruce

Bruce F. Smith
Auburn, AL
http://www.vetmed.auburn.edu/index.pl/bruce_f._smith2

"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."
__
/ &#92;
__<+--+>________________&#92;__/___ ________________________________
|- ______/ O O &#92;_______ -| | __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ |
| / 4999 PENNSYLVANIA 4999 &#92; | ||__||__||__||__||__||__||__||__||
|/_____________________________&#92;|_|________________________________|
| O--O &#92;0 0 0 0/ O--O | 0-0-0 0-0-0


al_brown03
 

Bruce, That will be really cool!

Al Brown, Melbourne, Fla.

--- In STMFC@..., Bruce Smith <smithbf@...> wrote:


On Jul 15, 2010, at 12:00 PM, Tim O'Connor wrote:


<snip>

Tim O'Connor
Tim,

That 1950s era X31A floorboard I mentioned to Staffan? I have sliced
it into thin wafers. Next step, make boards out of it... for... you
guessed it, an HO scale PRR X31A! Given the trouble I am going to to
make this floor, you can bet that this particular car will have its
doors OPEN! <VBG>

Regards
Bruce


Tim O'Connor
 

Hey, it's a new car! :-)

I made the floor using a Sunshine mini-kit which he only made
for a short time. It consisted of pre-sized pieces of scribed
Evergreen (painted) to finish off the interiors of box cars. I
laminated two pieces (I think it was .020) to make the bottom
of the floor and the interior floor, and the car is modeled
with one open door (with a torn grain door) and an intact
grain door (kraft paper) as well as an interior.

Of course the whole underframe is bogus because this is an
Athearn 40' box car. Nowadays if I want to do the floorboards,
I paint the underbody a wood color, then mask, and paint the
steel parts. That's how Jack Spencer does his. Then you weather
it and wonder why you bothered in the first place! :-)

If you're modeling a box car only a year or less old, it makes
sense to model the natural wood color because they didn't get
too filthy the first year. But masking is painfully slow with
all those stringers getting in the way.

Tim O'Connor

Nice work on the wood, but the underside is wayyyyyyy too clean. Those plain bearings threw off a lot of gunk.
Steve Lucas.
http://www.steamfreightcars.com/images/modeling/models/oconnor/dssa17065floor.jpg


Gatwood, Elden J SAD
 

All;

I am still having trouble visualizing the circumstance under which one would
use raw or treated wood on a box car floor that would not have then been
painted by overspray or on purpose. OK, individual boards are sometimes
replaced when caved in or such, but an entire floor? Can anyone think of a
situation?

The reason being; there are detailed instructions in my collection of
instruction and correspondence, on how to install a floor, and they include
no pre-painting of the entire car before the floor goes in, but
pre-application of car cement or other between wood parts and frame, prior to
painting, in much of the RR directions I have, followed by painting of the
car, both in rebuilds and as-new. I am confused as to the circumstances...

Thanks,

Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of Tim
O'Connor
Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2010 8:51 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: More questions on GN Boxcar underframe painting and
finishing




Hey, it's a new car! :-)

I made the floor using a Sunshine mini-kit which he only made for a short
time. It consisted of pre-sized pieces of scribed Evergreen (painted) to
finish off the interiors of box cars. I laminated two pieces (I think it was
.020) to make the bottom of the floor and the interior floor, and the car is
modeled with one open door (with a torn grain door) and an intact grain door
(kraft paper) as well as an interior.

Of course the whole underframe is bogus because this is an Athearn 40' box
car. Nowadays if I want to do the floorboards, I paint the underbody a wood
color, then mask, and paint the steel parts. That's how Jack Spencer does
his. Then you weather it and wonder why you bothered in the first place! :-)

If you're modeling a box car only a year or less old, it makes sense to model
the natural wood color because they didn't get too filthy the first year. But
masking is painfully slow with all those stringers getting in the way.

Tim O'Connor

Nice work on the wood, but the underside is wayyyyyyy too clean. Those plain
bearings threw off a lot of gunk.
Steve Lucas.
http://www.steamfreightcars.com/images/modeling/models/oconnor/dssa17
065floor.jpg