Thursday, November 22, 2012

Let's look @ the plans for the locomotive

Happy Thanksgiving, 2012.
It's very quiet this morning, so a perfect time for a little writing. 
I would like to show you some pictures of the actual plans for building the locomotive.  You will see I really made a mess on each sheet, but only because I was keeping track of my time and I would     hi-lite each step as I completed it and wrote down the time it took to complete. 
I'm really glad I did, because it kept me focused on each step and I didn't get ahead of myself or forget where I was.........and I'm really glad I kept track of my time because at the end I was shocked how many hours I had invested.
The first page is nothing more than an exploded view of the overall  engine and coal tender.  As you can see these plans are based on the Reading Line (T-l) steam locomotive. 
Here's a few interesting facts about the T-1 steam locomotive.   It's a 4-8-4 freight locomotive,originally designed in 1949, and was made in Reading, PA 
T-1 Specifications
Weight on Drivers.....278,200 lbs.
Total Engine Weight.....441,300 lbs.
Total weight in working order, Engine and Tender.....809,000 lbs.
Tender Capacity.....19,000 Gallons Water and 26 Tons Coal
The approximate scale of model:  1/38
The very first thing I had to do to start the project was deciding what wood or woods I would use to build it with.  I love walnut and thought the natural color of walnut would make a good choice. I had a lot of scrapes of walnut laying around so felt I could probably build most of it without having to buy lumber.  I would find out later there would be pros and cons of using walnut! 
The very first piece I had to build for the locomotive was of course the boiler.  This would have to be turned on the lathe starting with a 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" x 16" blank.  Turning, sanding, laying out and drilling all required holes took 2 1/2 hours.   Wow!  One simple piece and 2/12 hours!  I knew right then and there I was in for a long project.
I'm not going into every piece and how long it took to make, but if you look at the following pictures, you can get an idea what was involved and how complex this piece was going to be. 

There is one little part that I had to make that turned out to be quite entertaining to make and that was the little "hand rail post" that run along the entire length of the boiler.  Let me see if I can describe one of them so you can get an idea what was involved in making each one (had to make 44 of them)
Each one was made from 1/4" walnut doweling.
Each one had a 3/32" hole drilled through the doweling 1/8" from the end.
Each hand rail post was only 1/2" in length.
Each end with the hole was rounded off by hand.
Trying to drill a 3/32" hole through a 1/4 dowel is one thing, but trying to hold on and round over the end was another. 
Taking each piece at a time and focusing only on that one and not worrying about the scope of the entire project helped me not to get overwhelmed. I learned so much about myself while building this locomotive.
I very seldom work with plans, especially plans from someone else, so having to build hundreds of pieces to someone else's specifications was a real learning experience.  PATIENCE; that was something I felt I was lacking in, but I found out that building something like this really test your patience almost every step of the way. 
Making very small items that would show up and be such a big part of the overall look of the final piece made me pay much more attention to small details.
Being used to building large items like Entertainment Centers, Furniture or complete set of Kitchen Cabinets, I found it took a totally different mind set to spend just as many hours as building something large as building something as small as this model. 
Little by little I began to see the shape of the locomotive develop before my eyes.  I would work for hours and it would seem like I wasn't getting anywhere, then all of a sudden things would begin to come together and I could see my progress.  
My biggest motivation was of course my Dad; knowing how much he would love it and appreciate all the work I put in it for him.  This was truly a labor of love. 


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