Wooden buffer beams

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Ben Mason

Wooden buffer beams

Postby Ben Mason » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:04 pm

I am building from scratch an 0-4-0 saddle tank, LBSCR No.27 built by Craven in 1868. The project is going very well so far and I will soon be fitting a Mashima 10/15 under the saddle tank. This engine had wooden buffer beams. Can anyone suggest a good source for using real wood on the model as I feel that this would be a great enhancement, much better than using brass or plastic? The beams are somewhat larger than my plywood sleepers! Thanks from Ben (Scaleforum was awesome!)

David Knight
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby David Knight » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:22 pm

Hi Ben,

Mark Stapleton had mentioned to me that he had done up a set of wooden buffer beams using stir sticks from his local coffee shop. Not sure of the exact dimensions but knowing Mark they would have been right.

HTH

David

beachboy
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby beachboy » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:35 pm

Ben,

You could try try the Midwest Basswood sheets in 3/32 or 1/8th sizes from Expo & others.
Or treat yourself to a lolipop as the wooden sticks are a good scource of modelling real wood.
I usually drill out the various buffer etc holes b4 cutting to size.

Steve.

beachboy
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby beachboy » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:06 pm

Ben,

I saw a Craven loco pic today, and noted the wooden buffer beam appears same size & thickness of a 12/14" sleeper, or C&W undeframe timber which matches scale 1/16th wood sheet. or same as my ice lolly sticks stash.

I wondered if there was a metal plate on the front or rear buffer beam face for the framework to be bolted, or riveted to ?

Steve.

billbedford
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby billbedford » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:02 am

..but the grain in wood doesn't scale, so you would have to choose a close grained wood, like box or ebony. However once these are painted will anyone be able to tell that they are wood and not plastic or metal?
Bill Bedford
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beachboy
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby beachboy » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:30 am

Having cut a batch of sleepers from Midwest basswood , the grain looks no different to the wood section of a fence about 10ft away from me. Bar the knots which could be added with a fine brush incl. the oval grain effect of the knot. But i do not see knots in sleepers etc given the seasoned wood. Painting wood means it soaks in the paint, whereas plastic will not. Finite perhaps, but I can see the difference. My shed is painted at 20ft away, & I can still see the grain. But then I'd rather look at my GP's Aston Martin.

Steve

jayell

Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby jayell » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:23 am

All modeling involves compromise.

Most models use electric motors to provide motive power for example, I don't think there are many examples of live steam being used in anything smaller than 7mm scale. Silver soldered copper boilers are used almost exclusively in the larger scales up to and including 7.25 & 10.25 gauge rather than riveted steel per prototype. Again I don't suppose there are many locos built using steel for frames, in anything smaller than 2.5 gauge locos, for various reasons.

But many of is like to have things as authentic as possible so wanting to use wood for things like sleepers and buffer beams rather than plastic seems quite normal to me. It feels right ;)

So carry on using wood for your buffer beams if it makes _you_ happier.

John

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David B
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby David B » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:52 pm

billbedford wrote:However once these are painted will anyone be able to tell that they are wood and not plastic or metal?


I think one often can and the difference is in the texture.

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Paul Willis
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby Paul Willis » Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:08 pm

davidb wrote:
billbedford wrote:However once these are painted will anyone be able to tell that they are wood and not plastic or metal?


I think one often can and the difference is in the texture.

Didn't we just do this about canvas roofs ???

;-)
Flymo
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billbedford
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby billbedford » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:31 pm

davidb wrote:I think one often can and the difference is in the texture.


They'll be the adze marks the chippy has left to prove that the piece was hand made?
Bill Bedford
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Will L
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby Will L » Thu Oct 03, 2013 4:10 pm

Wooden buffer beams? Really all wood, or, as they were typically at that period, a wooden core with thin iron plates front and back? At that point all you can see is the wood at the edges, and really all the texture you can see is the obvious three layer structure.

Will
Last edited by Will L on Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

andrewnummelin
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby andrewnummelin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:24 pm

I had a quick look in a couple of books this morning and found that it was mostly impossible to tell the structure of the beams, in particular whether or not there was a rear plate. The only good photos I found were of preserved locos: an ex Mersey Railway 0-6-4T in Australia (two plates), Trojan at Didcot (two plates) http://www.andrew.nummelin.me.uk/ADR/trojan/007_JPG_view.htm and a coal tank that appears to have only a front plate (sorry I can't post the photo here).
Interestingly the ex Mersey loco has a single metal plate for its rear buffer beam. So what was behind the decisions to sometimes use wood and sometimes not - has anyone any ideas?
Regards,

Andrew Nummelin

Terry Bendall
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby Terry Bendall » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:14 am

The preserved De Winton vertical boiler locomotive Chaloner, which lives on the Leighton Buzzard narrow gauge railway in Bedfordshire has a wooden buffer beam at the front. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chaloneratlbngr.JPG . This has a steel plate on both sides and this can be seen in the picture mentioned above. There are more pictures in the book De Winton of Caernarfon by Fisher, Fisher and Jones published by RCL Publications. It is a very nice book but rather expensive just for this purpose.

Anyone who wants to get close up and personal to this engine should contact me.

Terry Bendall

essdee
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby essdee » Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:00 am

From 'The Locomotive of Today', pub. Loco Publishing Co. 1899, p119:

"The buffer plate or beam is either as shown, of a single steel plate, somewhat thicker than the mainframes, or built up of two thinner plates, one on each side of a beam of oak, this being favoured by some makers to reduce the shock upon the frames when the buffers strike."

Note the specified use of oak; presumably a 'lesser' timber would be likely to compress/split significantly under repeated 'hammering', thereby tending to loosen the entire buffer beam assembly, and require extra maintenance?

A model of a composite beam will ideally suggest that the middle of this 'sandwich', which is most visible at the end of the beam, is of a different material. The timber beam ends can display marked splits and cracks, as evidence of heavy treatment, although they may be nearly as smooth as steel when new and freshly painted. Horses for courses; a tired industrial or goods loco could have a markedly 'split' appearance, while a classier loco will most often not display this feature.

In 4mm, no timber end-grain is likely to scale up to match dense oak grain, I guess. Styrene sheet, suitably - and subtly - hacked, might serve if you want a distressed beam end. As ever, use photos of your prototype - you may even be surprised.

A suitable paint finish (think 'subtle stipple' rather than strokes, possibly with fine 'cracks' added) on brass construction may well be the answer?

(In larger scales, of course, you might want to start worrying about representing the distinctive 'medullary rays' of oak. Prominent in sections parallel to the grain, but I have no idea how they look in end grain. And I have no intention even of finding out.)

Now, in Brian Harrap's exquisite 'Proto-T', I can barely see the buffer beam, let alone its construction.

BW

Steve

Ben Mason

Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby Ben Mason » Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:52 pm

Thanks for all the useful answers! I agree there must have been a metal plate to sandwich the beams on to and these are already soldered in position. I had a browse on-line for wood and found Amazon supply 100 unused lolly sticks for £1.20! These have arrived and with some careful shaping and sanding they should do the trick.

DougN
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby DougN » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:59 am

Here in Australia you can buy the lolly sticks at Bunnings (our B&Q) along with a lot of artistic shops also stock the sticks. you might find a few other uses for the sticks too... the ones that jump to mind are stiring paint, mixing epoxy, smoothing silicon in joints.. on that is how I have had to resolve things at work and how I did my bathroom!
Doug
Still not doing enough modelling

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Andy W
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby Andy W » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:32 am

Costas and Starbucks are cheaper suppliers.
Make Worcestershire great again.
Build a wall along the Herefordshire border and make them pay for it.

billbedford
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby billbedford » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:08 am

Ben Mason wrote:Thanks for all the useful answers! I agree there must have been a metal plate to sandwich the beams on to and these are already soldered in position. I had a browse on-line for wood and found Amazon supply 100 unused lolly sticks for £1.20! These have arrived and with some careful shaping and sanding they should do the trick.


You are modelling a loco built in 1868. At that time the buffer beams were almost certainly plain wood, if only because the material used for the frames would have been wrought iron rather than steel.

You really need to examine a photograph od contemporary Brighton locos.
Bill Bedford
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grovenor-2685
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby grovenor-2685 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:27 pm

Costas and Starbucks are cheaper suppliers.
If you disregard the price of the coffee! How many cups woud you get through to support pocketing a hundred stirrers?
Keith
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Keith
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Andy W
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby Andy W » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:45 pm

I don't drink the coffee. But I do amble in past the stirrers - and then amble out again.

A bit like I treat this forum really.
Last edited by Andy W on Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Make Worcestershire great again.
Build a wall along the Herefordshire border and make them pay for it.

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Guy Rixon
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby Guy Rixon » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:24 pm

billbedford wrote:
Ben Mason wrote:Thanks for all the useful answers! I agree there must have been a metal plate to sandwich the beams on to and these are already soldered in position. I had a browse on-line for wood and found Amazon supply 100 unused lolly sticks for £1.20! These have arrived and with some careful shaping and sanding they should do the trick.


You are modelling a loco built in 1868. At that time the buffer beams were almost certainly plain wood, if only because the material used for the frames would have been wrought iron rather than steel.

You really need to examine a photograph od contemporary Brighton locos.


Why would wrought-iron frames imply a plain-wood beam? I would have thought that a flitched buffer-beam could be done as well with wrought iron as steel.

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Paul Willis
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby Paul Willis » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:25 pm

guyrixon wrote:
billbedford wrote:You are modelling a loco built in 1868. At that time the buffer beams were almost certainly plain wood, if only because the material used for the frames would have been wrought iron rather than steel.

You really need to examine a photograph od contemporary Brighton locos.


Why would wrought-iron frames imply a plain-wood beam? I would have thought that a flitched buffer-beam could be done as well with wrought iron as steel.


Exactly. On a parallel note, my current bedtime reading is a history of the Pre-Dreadnought battleship from the end of the Napoleonic wars.

For a significant part of that period, armour on ships was wrought iron plate backed by (typically) 10" of teak. Steel was not widely available for warship construction until (I assume - I haven't read that far yet) around the 1870s with the widespread development of the Bessemer process. The properties of "composite" materials for construction had been rigorously tested and publicised in the engineering world, so I'm sure that railway engineers read the same scientific journals as the marine engineers.

Cheers
Flymo
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essdee
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Re: Wooden buffer beams

Postby essdee » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:32 pm

Paul,

Bessemer steel, once the initial problems with phosphorus contamination were solved by the use of Cumberland haematite, became relatively common during the 1860s. Barrow itself, and its shipyards (home of many Dreadnoughts), mushroomed after the Bessemer Works there opened in 1863.

John Brown and Charles Cammell were making steel rail in Sheffield from 1860 and 1861; Daniel Adamson in Manchester was making steam boilers in 1860; the LNWR had four Bessemer converters at Crewe by 1865; steel rails installed at Crewe were still in use eighteen years later.

So, by late 1860s, still plenty wrought iron about (and bridge builders were still wary about the quality of Bessemer bulk steel in stressed usages) - but a growing proportion of steel about too, with its cost coming down.

See W.K.V.Gale, 'The British Iron and Steel Industry', D&C 1867, for further to the above extracted info.

BW

Steve


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