ET&WNC Boxcar 434
Alexander Chapter NRHS
The end of #434 has taken more time to repair than anticpated. The left-most vertical post was cracked and split due to some collision or moving accident at some point in the car's life. This resulted in a total failure of the wooden member, as well as pushing the end off-square and off-center from the end sill. In this view, the end sill has been squared with the rest of the car and the cracked vertical post has been removed.
Below, ET&WNC Historical Society president Johnny Graybeal struggles to break the rust of a left-handed bolt in a right-handed vise.
In the photo to the right, a crew installs the custom milled tongue and groove siding onto the car. Each piece is individually put into place, leveled vertically, and clamped into place.
(Photo at left) One of the interior corner beams had been cracked and shifted at some point in the car's life, either during service on the railroad (most likely) or during one of the early moves of the car.
This particular timber had a mortice-and-tenon joint into the roof members, but surprisingly, not at the lower end into the end sill. Notice the new replacement timber duplicates the original faithfully.
At right, John Hicks drills pilot holes for truss rods into the new coupler bumper timber that had just been installed. Below, Gerald Williamson and Jerry Keever continue with the siding.
Above, a work crew works hard to re-install a horizontal tension rod in the car before the siding is complete. In the two photos to the right (above and below), note that our attention to detail even includes duplicating the original nail pattern in the car.
At left, the rotten section of the remaining side sill has been cut out, leaving only solid wood, the end of a needle beam, and a vertical tension rod. Interestingly enough, the sills were made of yellow pine, and the saw dust produced by removing part of the timber was still moist! The sill will be spliced by a lap joint in exactly the same manner used by the railroad on the other side of the car.
Below, the existing needlebeam is in excellent condition and other than a surface age crack is as strong as ever.
At left, the new side sill is ready to be spliced with the old. The lap joint has been cut, the hole for the vertical tension rod has been drilled, and the starter hole for the mortice which will mate with the door frame timber has been sawed.
Above, the rotten half of the door frame timber has been removed and will be replaced with a new timber. The ET&WNC used lap joints to splice some timbers in this car, and the chapter is duplicating this method. At right, the original timber is ready to be mated to a new one.
This view shows the mortice in the side sill before it is hand-chiseled deeper and square. Notice the lap joint in the sill and the unfinished joint in the vertical door timber.
The new door framing timber is test fit into the mortice and into the lap joint. The cuts were so precise that the roof had to be jacked up slightly in order to slide the new piece in. The white patches on the old timbers are where old nail holes were filled and puttied.
Above and to the right show close-up views of the mortice & tenon construction of framing, as well as the lap joint repair of the side sill.
Click HERE to see more pix of the ongoing restoration of #434