Alexander Chapter- NRHS
Alexander Chapter- NRHS
Lawndale Boxcar #401
November 2008 thru February 2009

     (Left and below) The siding, including the beading and the tongue-and-groove milling, was done on-site at the woodworking shop where the car is being restored. The siding was placed on the car over the winter months (and holiday-shortened ones as well) by the chapter members. The siding was primed with two coats of a quality oil-based primer
March 7, 2009

     (Right) Uh-Oh. We have our first real setback. The end sill on the "B" end of the car was marginal at best. Before placing siding on that end, we opted to replace it. Note all of the tenons that approach the void from the X and Y Axis. Not a pretty sight.

    (Below) But why should we worry? We have a master carpenter in George Ritchie, seen below chiseling the mortices in the end sill. For any splits and cracks, we used Liquid Wood from Abatron to strengthen and seal the silly sill.
March 21, 2009

     (Right) With the end sill being finished and installed by one crew, others begin to install the drip cap and other molding under the lip of the roof. All of this wood was likewise cut in the shop by George Ritchie and it matched the originals perfectly.
April 18, 2009

    (Above)  With more molding and minor wood parts being installed, another crew begins painting the bare wood with two coats of Sherwin-Williams best oil-based primer. We opted to spend a lot of time and money on the preparation of the surface before the final painting.  

     (Right) One aspect of the project that this chapter is very proud of is the attention to detail and the faithful restoration we are performing. Every mortice and tenon has been duplicated and maintained. At a surprising expense, squarehead bolts and square nuts have been used on all replacement hardware. Even the nail patterns on the original siding were duplicated- a tedious project that spanned one crew more than six weeks.

     In the upper photo to the right, note the cut nails in the tongue of the siding, the two finish nails in the face of the board, with a 4-penny nail placed on the left finish nail. This pattern was consistent over the entire original car.

    In the lower photo at right, note our exact reproduction. Again, this was duplicated over the entire car as the original.
May 2, 2009

     (Left) With the car body sufficiently finished and prepared for paint, we turned our attention to the roof. This part of the car is the ONLY reason it survived at all. Despite the rot and insect damage on the siding, the roof showed very little signs of deterioration and no leaking since the car was retired to the farm in 1945. Naturally, we wanted to preserve this part of the car and keep it intact as much as possible.
May 2, 2009

     (Right) The roof was a double-layer tin roof that had been sealed at the over-lapping seams between the panels. The flashing aroung the edges was in dismal condition and had to be replaced, but the roof panels were in excellent condition for their age. Some of the old flashing that was removed was marked Shelby, NC and dated from the 1930's.
May 16, 2009

     (Left) One of the very few "modern" parts we used was sheet metal screws with washers to fasten the edges of the roof panels down over the flashing. We also used a two-part epoxy to fill in any holes or cracks that we found along the length of the 34-foot roof.

    Cordless drills come in pretty dang handy as well! By the way, George isn't any prettier in person, so don't email looking for his phone number.
May 16, 2009

     (Right) Preparation, Preparation, and more Preparation. The tin roof was first swept, then wire-brushed, then blown off with an air hose. The roof was then wire-brushed again, and blown off again. Another team with fresh eyes then scraped any "rust bubble" and wire-brushed the roof for a third time. The roof was blown off again, and then wiped down from one end to the other with Naptha.
May 16, 2009

     (Left) Ok, Naptha stinks, and on a 90-degree day (even in the shop), we need to make sure the fumes don't get to anyone and have them fall off the car!! In this photo John Hicks looks prepared for either solvent fumes or a WMD attack !
June 6, 2009

     (Right) After more than a year of weighing the pros and cons of various rust inhibitor/removal/prevention methods. we chose to use the POR-15 product for protecting the roof. It went on extremely smoothly and we are pleased with the coverage. At nearly $150 a gallon, it better be good!!!
    We will have to use a different type of primer for the new flashing, as the POR-15 product is not appropriate for the new galvanized material.

June 27, 2009

     (Above) Do you have any idea how hard it is to find "boxcar red"? Well, not so bad, really. It took Sherwin-Williams about an hour to match some samples of the original paint off of the car. We took a board that lined the ceiling part of the boxcar door entry, lightly sanded it, and then wetted the surface. We used that sample to create this version of boxcar red. We opted again to buy the very best, going with the $68-gallon Sherwin Williams "Duration" brand of semi-gloss acrylic latex paint. This paint was outstanding over our well-prepped surface. It went on smoothly with one coat and dried quickly. If it lasts as well as advertised (uhm, Lifetime Guarantee!), we will continue to be be pleased.
June 27, 2009

     (Left) A bird's eye view of the car. We still need to paint the roof (that is the POR-15 you see and prime/paint the flashing, but the car is coming along nicely. Next up- rebuild and install the boxcar doors, ladders, walkways, and grab irons.
October 10, 2009

     By now, the roof has been covered with its final coat of black paint and is ready for the roofwalk. First, a template was made in order to cut the supports (upper left) and the parts were evenly spaced. 2 x 6 x 12 planks were used to construct the roofwalk itself. Joints were offset between the outer and inner strings (above).
    (At left) At diagonal ends of the car, the roofwalk branched toward the ladders so the brakeman could easily climb on the roof. These were designed and constructed with calipers and an analysis of vintage photographs of Lawndale boxcars
Click Here to see the next page