FRCNT-AUi BLOCK llVifl, x2Viiv X 3s/« n> Epoxy carriage bolts in axle Woe* holes. i

To prevent the steering column from sliding down in the boiler block, insert a retaining pin in the steering column on the underside of the boiler Mock, and attach a pin-retainer block over it


Reinforce the glue joint between the cab front and the boiler block with finish nails.

Attach the wheels to the axle blocks with carriage bolts (above). File off the square corners underneath the carriage bolt heads so the wheels spin smoothly-Glue the front axle block to the bottom end of the steering column (left}. Fasten a lag bolt behind the front axle block to prevent the wheels from turning too far.

retaining pin in the hole in the steering column. Finally, slide the pin-retainer block over the bottom end of the steering column and glue it to the bottom of the boiler block as shown in the photo on page 23. The purpose of the pin and pin-retainer block is to keep the steering column from sliding down when the train is picked up.

STEP 8: Glue the boiler block to the locomotive body. Refer to Fig. 1 for correct placement of the boiler block, then glue it to the cab front, the boiler support block and the sides of the locomotive. (See photo above.)

Reinforce the glue joint between the cab front and the boiler block with finish nails.

I reinforced the glue joint between the boiler block and the cab front with 1 '¿-in. finish nails.

STEP 9: Cut out the locomotive wheels. I used a 4-in. dia. hole saw with a 5/i6-in. pilot drill chucked into a drill press to cut out the maple wheels. You could just as well turn the wheels on a lathe. Make sure your saw is sharp, and go slow because major tear-outs and burning can result. I avoided tearing the faces of the wheels by sawing halfway through each wheel, then turning the board over to finish the task. To make the wheels a bit more durable, I epo.xied a piece of 5/i6-in. i.d. metal tubing in the central hole of each wheel. Finally. I mounted each wheel on the lathe and gave it a bit of a crown. You don't have to do this, but it will prevent the wheels from chipping along the edges when junior engineer rides the locomotive on the driveway.

STEP 10: Cut out the front and rear axle blocks. These pails will be under stress, so choose split-resistant wood I3/* in. thick. I used oak. Since the top side of the front axle bears against the pin-retainer block when the steering column is turned (see Fig. 1), reducing the size of the bearing surface will make turning the wheels easier. To do this, handsaw off two of the top corners on the front axle block, then drill a 5/4-in. dia. hole approximately 1 in. deep for the steering column in the top of the front axle block. (See Fig. 2.) Next, drill the Vi6-in. dia. holes approximately 1 Vs in. deep for the axles on both sides of each block.

STEP 11: Attach the wheels to the axle blocks with carriage bolts. The axles arc 2-in. x 5/i* -in. dia.

carriage bolts. File off the square corners on the bolts between the cap and the threads so the wheels can spin freely. (See photo.) Partially fill each of the four holes you drilled in the axle blocks with epoxv. Mount a wheel and a spacer washer on each axle and insert it into one of the holes in the axle blocks. Be careful not to get epoxv on the wheels because the wheels will stick. Leave each wheel loose enough to spin freely, but not so loose that it wobbles when spun.

STEP 12: Attach the axle blocks to the locomotive. After the epoxied axles have set, glue the rear wheel assemblv to the underside of the cab bed. Glue the front wheel assembly on the bottom of the steering column. Don't get glue on the underside of the pin-retainer block because the front axle block will stick.

Then, to prevent your young engineer from steering too far sideways and capsizing, you need to restrict the rotation of the steering gear. Do this by screwing a short lag bolt into the retainer block V* in. behind the front axle block. (Sec photo and Fig. 1.) Now if you try to turn the steering column, the front axle block bumps against the head of the bolt, limiting your turning capability.

STEP 13: Turn the sand dome, the lanterns, the boiler front and front button. I turned the sand dome and lanterns from 1 %-in. dia. dowels. The smokestack is also part of a 1%-in, dia. dowel, but requires no turning. I turned the boiler front from a 1-in. thick piece of clear fir, using a 1-in. dia. dowel for the button in the middle. At this time, I also cut out the two H-in. dia. dowels attached to the sides of the boiler block. (See Fig. 1.) Don't attach any of these parts yet, because you'll first need to apply a clear finish on them instead of the paint that's on the rest of the locomotive.

STEP 14: Assemble the locomotive seat. The seat

Attach the wheels to the axle blocks with carriage bolts (above). File off the square corners underneath the carriage bolt heads so the wheels spin smoothly-Glue the front axle block to the bottom end of the steering column (left}. Fasten a lag bolt behind the front axle block to prevent the wheels from turning too far.


The graphics on the skies of the locomotive are computer-generated decals. See the text for a source.

«MNJCl assembly consists of a top board and a reinforcing strip glued and finish nailed to the underside. I made the seat assembly from 3/»-in. thick clear fir. I used a hand plane to round off the top edges of the seal all the way around. As with the parts in Step 13, leave the seat off until after you've painted the locomotive because the seat will need a clear finish.

STEP 15: Apply the finish to the locomotive. I used bright red, oil-based enamel for the body of the locomotive. Although this finish is durable and inexpensive, if you don't spray it on, the brush marks tend to show. To remedy this, once the first coat dried. I sanded it down with fine sandpaper. I then applied a second coat. Once it dried. I rubbed it down with a pumice-and-water solution. Finally, I applied a third coat and rubbed it down with a rottenstone-and-water solution. This vields a nice satin finish. (Pumice and rottenstone arc available from well-supplied paint stores.) You could substitute extremely fine wet-or-dry sandpaper and get similar results.

I finished the seat and trim pieces with Deft, a nitrocellulose-based brushing lacquer, and rubbed the pans-down with fine sleel wool (#0000) between coats. After all of the varnishing and painting was completed, I glued the trim and seat to the locomotive body. I reinforced the glue joints on the seat, the boiler front, the lanterns and the dowel strips with finish nails.

STEP 16: Apply graphics to the locomotive sides. The graphics on the original locomotive were silkscreened. This technique is still common today, although it's not terribly practical unless you're printing on many items. Hiring a sign painter to do the work by-hand can also be expensive.

I dccided on a different approach. I took my locomotive and mv design to a shop that makes vinyl signs with the use of a computer. The computer "scans" a piece of artwork and sends instructions to a vinyl-cutting machine. It cuts a replica of the art out of self-adhesive vinyl. I then applied this replica to the side of the locomotive somewhat the same way you'd apply a bumper sticker to a car. The process is inexpensive and doesn't take long at all.

The only problem is that, on a small scale, the machine is a bit limited in the amount of detail it can reproduce. This meant I had to simplify the graphics of the original somewhat, but this was no problem, since I never intended to reproduce the original locomotive down to the last detail, anyway.

If you'd like to use the same graphics I did, you can order a set of your own in the color of your choice. (Locomotive graphics order #1365 includes directions and applicator tool, $19 plus postage, available from Rainbow Graphics, P.O. Box 969, Creswell, OR 97426, 503-895-4757.)

One Final Thought

When I finished the locomotive, I was a little disappointed in my workmanship. Here, a tear-out I didn't fix; there, a few plane marks on the boiler block; over there, some inaccuracies in the turnings. At first, I thought I must have been influenced a bit too much by the rough construction of the original. Or maybe the knowledge that this locomotive would probably be dropped down stairwavs and ridden over cliffs made me think that build-ing it to patternmaker's tolerances was a folly.

But I realized that some part of me really didn't want my locomotive to be perfect. I wanted someone in the future to be able to look at it and know that parts of it were made by hand—that it wasn't just another mass-produccd toy. Most kids grow up today without ever having the opportunity to touch, let alone own, something that was made by hand. It's a wonderful thing to give a child something that isn't made of plastic, doesn't use batteries, has no integrated circuits to burn out and probably won't wind up in a landfill. Flaws and all, somebody's just going to love this locomotive. ▲

Charles Linn is an architect, editor and woodworker. He lives in Oregon.

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