Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Coach 218 rehab continues

Rehabilitation of a resource that is nearly 100 years old requires patience and considerable discipline. At times it would seem so easy to adapt a modern method or material, but that is not consistent with accepted standards and practices. Take the car's side sill for instance.

A thin strip of deteriorated wood lines the bottom of the sill. This affects the long term stability and preservation of the car but if it were simply covered up with new car siding, it could be years before there were obvious signs of the misdeed. Similarly, adding a steel plate or daughtering another board on is convenient and expedient but does not serve the long term interests of the car or historic preservation. So what to do? Alan W., Bill H., & Michael L. spent hours with a chisel carefully removing the rotten wood and cleaning up the steel backing plate. Next week, a new piece of southern yellow pine (same species as original sill) will be carefully fitted into place and held tight with epoxy and bolts.

Using the proper ties rods and bolts is also an area of detail not lost on the project managers. Ray M. recently used the "new" 1945 vintage Monarch lathe to turn threads onto a new tie rod that will help hold the car side together. The new tie rods are exact copies of the originals and are vital to the long term stability of the car - they hold the car side together in compression from top to bottom.

So what else is happening? Crews have completed installation of all the new window posts, 50 feet of new top car side plate, all but a handful of the 170 new carlines, new intercostal blocking, and hundreds of new bolts and screws of the same size, thread pitch, and head as the original fasteners. Whew! The minut details are not for everyone, but the end product is: preservation of the methods and materials used by 19th and early 20th Century carbuilders.

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