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Pentewan Light Railway

The Pentewan Railway in Cornwall was possibly unique in having three* gauges in its lifetime. Christopher Hawkins built the original rai...

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Ageing Wood with Cider Vinegar

I'm slowly making a set of telegraph poles for the PLR and particularly want to try and reproduce that rather elusive aged and weathered look. As start I thought I would try and age the wood itself with a suitable potion. A bit of googling turned up a recipe for a home made potion made from vinegar and iron filings. I ended up using organic cider vinegar (nothing but the best for PLR - actually it turns out to be stronger than red wine vinegar which was the only other thing in the kitchen cupboard) and steel wool left to stew for a couple of days. I tried using several dilutions of this on a piece of dowel as shown below:

From left to right dilutions of: 1:4, 1:3, 1:2 and 1:1. I felt the 1:2 looked best so then tried this on a full sized pole and also several other pieces of wood as shown below:

From left to right: treated and untreated dowel poles, thin and thick coffee stirrers and finally Scale 7 group walnut sleepers.

In many respects the dowel poles was the least successful as they still have a decidedly yellow tinge but I think further painting and weathering will tone this down. The coffee stirrers have a really pleasing grey hue which I am sure I will take advantage of sometime - it actually makes me wish I had done all my sleepers like this rather than my usual potion of Jacobean dark oak stain. The most surprising effect was on the walnut sleepers which have become almost as black as ebony.

They all smell slightly of vinegar and must be still acidic, so I'm wondering whether I should try and neutralise this using Bicarbonate of Soda (another kitchen find) or whether this may ruin the effect. Perhaps another test is due.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Hudson Bogie Wagon

Recently I decided to have a go at a David Provan kit for a Hudson Bogie Wagon that I acquired second hand a couple of years ago. I had not looked properly at the kit at the time, apart from sourcing a copy of the missing instructions thanks to friends on the O14 yahoo group.

Starting on it properly and using the article by Adrian Gray in NG&IRM Review issue 42 as a valuable reference, it was clear this was going to test my soldering skills somewhat. It contains a myriad of tiny little pieces which often need to be attached adjacent to each other. My little used Graskop RSU came to the fore - in fact I defy anyone to build this kit without an RSU.

The kit was advertised as complete/unbuilt but unfortunately someone had rather crudely pressed out the rivets on all the etches but not really done anything else. I filed the rivets off the solebars and replaced them with tiny brass rivets pressed out of some brass shim and soldered on with the RSU, but it was clear this was not going to be practical for the rest of the kit. In the end I just ran over the rivets with my GW Models riveter and vowed to make it a very rusty finish. Construction followed the instructions and tips from Adrian's article. The hardest part was fitting the wheelsets, couplings and trying to represent the door pins and chains.

The bogies are scale width and supplied wheels are to 14mm gauge - it could not be built to anything wider. Even with drilling the bearings I could not get enough room to fit the axles so I ended up shortening the axles (by grinding one end). The wheels/axles need fitting at the same time as the whitemetal axleboxes which need to be soldered in - which is not easy. I ended up using pop rivets to fix the bogies to the body as this enable most of the brake gear to be represented. Fitting the brakes was quite a challenge too.

The bogie platforms are far lower than my standard coupling height. Internet searching showed this to be a problem on the prototype too and provided a potential solution of an additional platform as shown in wagon 74 on the Festiniog railway here: http://www.festipedia.org.uk/wiki/File:74.JPG.

I adapted a pair of my round couplers to pivot in a rectangular brass tube with a phosphor bronze centering spring and fitted a new brass platform above. Milliput was used to fill the gap each side.

Although it provides reasonable sideways flexibility it doesn't flex up and down so it will not run reliably over the whole of the PLR without occasionally uncoupling. I fear it may be banished to a siding and allowed to rust - it will need a bit more weathering if it is to match wagon 74!

Door pins and chains were attempted in very fine brass wire and fuse wire but probably don't bear close scrutiny. Perhaps the banishment siding needs to be at the back of the layout.