Pliers For Freight Car Builds


Lester Breuer
 

In recent months I have received emails requesting me to write a blog in which I show and describe the various pliers I use for bending wire grab irons, ladder rungs, uncoupling levers and adding details to a freight car I build.  If you are interested in the plier types I use to build a freight car.  Photos and writeup of the plier types are now available on my blog I have to share photos and writeup of modeling subjects or projects on my Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company.   If you would like to take a look please do at the following link:

 

http://mnrailroadcab100.blogspot.com/

 

Lester Breuer

 


Jim Betz
 

Lester,

  Your three "most used pliers" are what I know as "wiring pliers".  I first tried a
pair of them when I was doing some punch down blocks (for a layout).  I
now have several pair and use them everywhere and for most things in my
model railroading.
  However, I do not use them for bending grabs and steps - I build a bending
jig to do those to get the size of the end product the same size so they look
right on a car.  I make my jigs out of styrene - I tried doing it out of metal but
it was a slow process since I had to "cut some metal" - "test fit" - "cut some
more" to get the precise size I wanted.  In addition the mill I use to cut it 
ends up with a very sharp corner that I don't like the look of the bend and I
haven't - yet - figured out how to get it rounded over correctly (don't have
the right mill bit for that job).
  They make "bending jigs" for electronics - used mostly for bending resistors
to fit in old thru hole PC boards.  It would be great to make up something
similar to that ... in metal ... for bending grabs (etching the sizes on them
would be great!) ... but I haven't seen such a tool for bending grabs ... :-(

  The Kadee "spiking pliers" are essentially the same "wiring pliers" - but they
have a "T" ground into the tips to grab and hold the head of the spike. 
  Did you know you can also use spiking pliers for other stuff?  They are
great for grabbing the head of the rail if you want to coax one rail of flex to
move in a certain direction.
  You can also use the to hold a spike perpendicular to the pliers to drive spikes
using a 'side force' when there isn't space enough for the pliers to be in their
normal position (the only place I've had to do that is when spiking in a helix).
                                                                           - Jim in the PNW


Kenneth Montero
 

Jim,

There are a ton of grab iron bending jigs in the commercial world. Here are some examples:



http://www.laserkit.com/laserkit.htm (American Model Builders - for a caboose)

Grandt Line used to make one for HOn3. Eastern Car Works included one for the P-70 coach.

Ken Montero






On 06/29/2022 10:20 AM Jim Betz <jimbetz@...> wrote:


Lester,

  Your three "most used pliers" are what I know as "wiring pliers".  I first tried a
pair of them when I was doing some punch down blocks (for a layout).  I
now have several pair and use them everywhere and for most things in my
model railroading.
  However, I do not use them for bending grabs and steps - I build a bending
jig to do those to get the size of the end product the same size so they look
right on a car.  I make my jigs out of styrene - I tried doing it out of metal but
it was a slow process since I had to "cut some metal" - "test fit" - "cut some
more" to get the precise size I wanted.  In addition the mill I use to cut it 
ends up with a very sharp corner that I don't like the look of the bend and I
haven't - yet - figured out how to get it rounded over correctly (don't have
the right mill bit for that job).
  They make "bending jigs" for electronics - used mostly for bending resistors
to fit in old thru hole PC boards.  It would be great to make up something
similar to that ... in metal ... for bending grabs (etching the sizes on them
would be great!) ... but I haven't seen such a tool for bending grabs ... :-(

  The Kadee "spiking pliers" are essentially the same "wiring pliers" - but they
have a "T" ground into the tips to grab and hold the head of the spike. 
  Did you know you can also use spiking pliers for other stuff?  They are
great for grabbing the head of the rail if you want to coax one rail of flex to
move in a certain direction.
  You can also use the to hold a spike perpendicular to the pliers to drive spikes
using a 'side force' when there isn't space enough for the pliers to be in their
normal position (the only place I've had to do that is when spiking in a helix).
                                                                           - Jim in the PNW


radiodial868
 

Lester, your plier box looks very much like mine, including many of the same versions.
I've been looking for fine round tip plier, so your info on the Xuron 488 is timely.
Thanks!
--
-------------------
RJ Dial

Mendocino, CA


Ted Larson
 

Looks like a fantastic magazine article 




--
Ted Larson
Trainweb.org/MHRR   ---   GN in 1965   ---   NASG.org 


Charlie Duckworth
 

I was thinking the same thing. A great topic for Model RR Hobbyist 
--
Charlie Duckworth 
Omaha, Ne.


Tim O'Connor
 

On 6/30/2022 3:42 PM, Charlie Duckworth via groups.io wrote:
I was thinking the same thing. A great topic for Model RR Hobbyist 
--
Charlie Duckworth 
Omaha, Ne.

--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Ed Rethwisch
 

This is a very good article on modeling tools.
I do know I love tools and always look at tools every chance I get especially now when it seems like we as modelers
are losing companies that produce detail parts that's why I get excited every time something new comes out. 
My work around is to make as many of my detail parts as I can and one of them is grab irons it seems that most of the 
model company's like to use 0.012 wire and there 90' isn't 90' so I started years ago to start bending all my grabs using 0.010
half hard brass wire.
I start by drilling all the holes for the grab irons and then use a protractor to measure the length between the grab iron
holes then take a piece of scrap styrene plastic use the protractor to mark a hole to drill the hole for the length of the grab.

Start by bending a 90' to one end of the wire then put the wire into the hole in the styrene and use a flat sided pair of pliers
and butt them up to the side of the styrene and remove from the hole so you can make the second 90' bend.
Know you have a grab that will fit perfectly into the holes you previously drilled into the car side.
Know if you want to do a drop grab you need to rework a set of flat bill pliers and put a stop on one side of the pliers thinner 
than the diameter of the wire so you can pinch the wire in the pliers but not smash the wire.
After your straight grab is now firmly in the pliers and up against the stop (you put on one of the jaws) bend the grab over
the jaw and now you have a drop grab the exact distance for your car side you drilled the holes earlier without the need to
modify a grab that doesn't really fit.
This is how I do all my cars both with smaller diameter wire and very crisp 90' bends just like the prototype.

I know this isn't for everyone but for me part of the fun of freight car building.

Edward Rethwisch, 
  

    


Nelson Moyer
 

Thanks for the tutorial on bending grab irons. Your work on the hopper is the perfect testimonial.

 

I didn’t take mechanical drawing, but I think your measuring tool is a divider. A compass is a divider with a pen, pencil, or scriber on one point for drawing arcs and circles. A protractor is a tool of measuring angles, usually a half-round plastic gauge.

 

Nelson Moyer

 


Mark Rossiter
 

Ed, wow!  Those are some nice looking grab irons!

Mark Rossiter