Caboose #1 Progress Report
3-18-06. Gathering at the caboose site this morning at 10:00 AM were:
Jeff Millerick, Don Millerick, Gus Campagna, Bruce Evans, Harold Mentzer, Lauren Williams, Charlie Siebenthal, Don Cabrall, Angelo Figone, Skip Rueckert, Allen Tacy, Verne Alexander, Dave Turner, Michael Manson, Marsha Trent.
The weather co-operated and it was a sunny mild morning. The caboose was uncovered by pulling the tarp up onto the roof.
The under-floor was inspected and it was determined that a steel beam needs to be incorporated into the frame to connect the whole caboose together. Each of the individual floor beams was either rotten or previously cut off short of full length. None ran the full length of the car with out serious rot or notching.
The car has a hump as it now sits. Both ends sag downward. Bracing at both ends is needed to straighten the car floor.
> Bruce, Gus and Jeff will look into recycled timbers for the outside sill beam that is rotted thru. The side beams need to be a 5"X9"X32' piece of wood. Old and dry is best.
> Jeff will check on a steel beam to close the gap between the end sills.
> Harold will look into getting a storage box on site for tools. ***
After straightening the floor and connecting the steel end sills with the new steel beam, the sides may be tackled one at time.
Skip Rueckert volunteered to make the window frames.
Next get-together will be on Saturday March 25 at 10:00 AM at the Library/Archives in Rohnert Park. Gus will make copies of the plans we have for the caboose class CA.
This next meeting is to start putting together a Renovation Plan with a budget and sequence of work to be done on the caboose.
*** Just before going to lunch Lauren opened the building on the property. It has a restroom and plenty of storage room for parts, tools and maybe even a small workshop.
3-25-06. Meeting at RPAC this morning at 10:00 AM were:
Gus Campagna, Harold Mentzer, Christopher Stevick, Charlie Siebenthal, Jeff Millerick, Dr. David Lightfoot, Don Cabrall, Skip Rueckert and Lauren Williams.
Chris is the person who has arranged for us to use the building at 110 Baylis Street to store materials and tools and use the restroom facilities.
Gus reported that he found the plans for a CS 15 Caboose at the CSRM. Charlie will place the order with one of his contacts there. Gus found two sources of timbers for the caboose sills. One at $850 and one at $1200 per stick. Very expensive.
We decided we need to have the caboose sitting flat and level before we can make any decisions on how to proceed. A date was set and later changed to April 15th at 10:00AM for the first full fledged work session at the caboose site. Gus will secure an industrial sized First Aid kit before any work starts. Gus will supply a laser level and Jeff will supply the jacks and blocks need to level the caboose. After leveling, if time permits, we will begin the task of determining the scope of work. Teams will be formed to do evaluations on separate parts of the caboose. Gus will make evaluation packets for each team.
Budgeting was mentioned, but without the evaluation and determination of the work to be done it is anyone's guess at this point. We will need to determine how far we will go with the restoration, but even that cannot be decided until we have done an evaluation. We have collected almost $15K at this point, with expenditures under $4K.
We discussed the upcoming meeting with the PVP on April 4th. Harold expects Angelo to introduce our group and give a brief overview of what we hope to accomplish. Chris thought that giving the PVP more information was better than holding back. Whet their appetites; get their imaginations going towards our program. He is doing publicity for other groups and will include us in his work. The idea of an Archive/Museum right at the tracks was mentioned, using the former express building was mentioned as well as using the former P&SR depot building moved to a new location. Gus mentioned covered track in the location of the existing track by the parking lot to house P&SR #1, the Petaluma Trolley and maybe even Engine #112 at some point in time.
A method of contacting the group was discussed. Gus will set up a Yahoo Group that will list work schedules and be a repository for restoration data and photos. The site is set up at: Group home page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/psrcab1
Charlie will bring the donuts next time, someone else can make the coffee, and Chris mentioned that there are coffee making supplies and a coffee pot in the building.
Don wants access to take some shots of the caboose ends and under frame before we move the supports. Gus will open the site up for him.
April was very wet and we got a slow start on our biweekly project. We were rained out twice, even though the rain did not fall on Saturday the site was too muddy to do anything but track it around.
May started out on a better note, but the PCR Convention kept some volunteers away doing other fun stuff.
5-6-06. We set up the laser level and blocked the caboose level as best we could. By lifting the ends we made the supports at the bolsters loose. We also braced under the needle beams.
5-20-06. The crew today was Harold Mentzer, Skip Rueckert, Lauren Williams, Don Cabrall, Jim Gray, Gus Campagna and Jeff Millerick.
We worked on doing a survey of the work needed on the caboose. We loosened some bolts and cut away at the side sill to see what was underneath. We also removed some of the plywood siding and temporary walls on the side of the caboose. The metal corner brackets were removed along with the bolts that hold the stair railing on both ends of the caboose. Don Cabrall took pictures of the progress and of the details we were uncovering.
6-3-06. The crew today was Harold Mentzer, Don Brewer, Skip Rueckert, Lauren Williams, Charlie Siebenthal, Don Cabrall, Gus Campagna and Jeff Millerick.
Lauren assembled a "Story Board" under the car to show the position of the centerline reinforcement structure. Then he took up part of the plywood flooring on the cupola end with Don Cabrall. He also took off the first of the original siding boards on the "inner" side. Lauren and Don Brewer also pulled a few of the "Million Little Nails" from the inside of the roof. Jeff and Lauren stayed after and further refined the preliminary design for the centerline reinforcement structure.
6-17-06. The crew today was Harold Mentzer, John Schubert, Jim Gray, Lauren Williams, Don Cabrall, Gus Campagna and Jeff Millerick.
We placed a beam inside the caboose at the roof level just above the mid sill and put posts to the floor. This will help keep the roof straight while we remove the side sill. Lauren and Jeff researched the underside components. We again tackled the surveys, with Charlie and Gus doing the cupola. We made drawings and took measurements. The cupola is so rotten that it will probably need to be rebuilt in its entirety.
7-8-06. The crew today was Skip Rueckert, Lauren Williams, Gus Campagna and Jeff Millerick.
Jeff and Gus picked up Gus's scaffolding, and then we rented planks from Hertz. At the site we set up the scaffolding along the side of the caboose in order to get to the top of the walls. The eve trim was removed along with some of the roofing at the edges. A lot of junk (old electrical conduit and gobs of tar roofing) were removed from the top of the caboose near the cupola. We were able to see the roof sheathing from the top to be able to evaluate its condition. After lunch we decided to go inside and work on a restoration plan. There had been a lot of discussions about what we are doing, but nothing has been written down until now. We came up with a restoration plan to bring to the NWPRRHS BOD.
See Preservation Committee Report to NWPRRHS BOD 7-22-2006
7-15-06. The crew today was Skip Rueckert, Lauren Williams, Gus Campagna and Harold Mentzer.
We got the siding off the inner side and were able to see all the framing that was left. We removed the window and noted how it was assembled. We also pulled all of the nails out of the ceiling, the "million" little ones penetrating the roof. Skip took off one of the 1" boards that match the roof rafters under the cupola. The roof sheathing is not nailed to these as I suspected, it is toe-nailed to the rafter. This extra piece just covers the edges. Lauren made notes about the underside and took more dimensions.
7-28-06. The crew today was Skip Rueckert, Lauren Williams, Gus Campagna, Charlie Siebenthal, Allen Tacy, Jim Gray and Jeff Millerick.
Jeff delivered the metal underframe today. Just as we started to level and block the mid right side sill, Lauren decided that the I beam supporting the underframe at the bolster, needed to be moved towards the end of the car. Skip worked on removing some of the plywood from the car floor, just over the center of one of the needle beams. We were trying to determine if the bolts went thru the flooring, they do not. Gus built a (temporary) ladder/stair to get into the car. After Jeff and Lauren moved the I beam we straightened the side and started to remove the old sill. Skip put braces about every six feet along the mid sill and tied them together. It turns out that the joists are mortised on both sides into the sills, not notched over the center ones as I thought. We will be able to replace the two that are broken with relative ease. We removed the needle beams; both are rotten or split and will need replacement. All but the last four feet of the rotten side sill has been removed. A trailer load of trash and rotten wood was loaded up for the dumps.
We will be looking at pricing a 32 foot beam this week. We will need it soon.
8-10-06. The Caboose Finance committee met tonight over dinner. Jeff Millerick, Harold Mentzer, Charlie Siebenthal and Gus Campagna worked out the monetary numbers for the current year and for next year's needs. The decision was made to purchase a Glu-Lam for replacing the side sill of the car. They are cheap (compared to re-cycled beams), strong and available. We also decided to purchase the siding material and store it to beat any future price increases. We talked about placing the cupola inside the building at Baylis Street and working on it inside during the winter months. The end beams and needle beams will be replaced with re-cycled Douglas Fir beams.
8-12-06. The crew today was Gus Campagna, Allen Tacy, Don Brewer and Charlie Siebenthal.
It was a short session today as most of the regulars were manning the NWPRRHS booth at the Historic Railroad Square Celebration in Santa Rosa. We removed the last four feet of side sill in very small chunks as it was not rotten yet. We then used a die to chase the threads on the rods that stick out in various places along the side of the caboose, cleaning out the rust that had grown there. We also noted that more than just two of the floor joists are broken just above the mortise that goes into the side sill. We will need to figure out a repair detail for this problem. Just before lunch we went inside the caboose and figured out how best to remove the cupola in one large piece. We figured we would use a Sawsall to cut along side the rafter under the cupola, between the roof sheathing and the rafter. The roof sheathing does not nail directly into the rafter, rather it was butted to the rafter and toe-nailed into it. From experience with the side sill cutting "all" the nails always misses a few hidden ones; this will have to be dealt with when the time comes to remove the cupola. We rolled up the tools and ended the day with lunch.
Chris Stevick came by and I asked him about storing the cupola and working on it inside the building; he was OK with that and showed me where it could be placed.
8-19-06. Jeff Millerick and Gus Campagna went to the Heritage Salvage in Petaluma, a wood recycling center, and picked up two new needle beams and 2X framing material for the wall studs and blocking. Jeff also power washed the undercarriage of the caboose to try to remove most of the crud that had accumulated over the years. He found under the crud the caboose's old SP number 272.
8-26-06. The crew today was Don Brewer, Charlie Siebenthal, Lauren Williams, Allan Tacy, Harold Mentzer Skip Rueckert, Angelo Figone and Jeff Millerick.
Work included getting the side prepped for installation of the new side sill beam. The beam arrived around 9:30 and was placed along side the wall and blocked so that it was in line with its final location. Don worked on paint prep, loosing bolts for eventual removal of the grab irons. Skip and Lauren worked on the beam mortise layouts and skip made a new floor joist to replace broken ones. Harold and Charlie worked on straightening rods and rethreading them. Angelo talked about a sign to let Petaluma know about its Caboose.
9-2-06. The crew today was Jeff Millerick, Harold Mentzer, Skip Rueckert, Gus Campagna, Charlie Siebenthal, Lauren Williams, and Mike Manson.
Skip, Gus and Harold framed the window sections form material that Jeff had previously milled. We made four window sections.
10-7-06. The crew today was Gus Campagna, Lauren Williams, Skip Rueckert, Jeff Millerick, Don Brewer, John Schubert, Dave Turner, Harold Mentzer and Mike Manson.
Final mortises were cut into the side sill today, holes were drilled for the cross rods and the wall rods. John worked on scraping paint off the door sills. Dave and Mike took the ladder off the end and removed the walkway on the roof. Don kept working on paint removal from the ends.
10-21-06. The crew today was Harold Mentzer, Lauren Williams, Dave Turner, Don Brewer, Gus Campagna, and Jeff Millerick.
Today was a NWPRRHS Board of Directors meeting which was held inside the 'barn' on site to quicken the meeting and get us back to work. Lauren and Dave started to move the side sill into position. Using clamps about 1/3 of the way in from both ends and using brute force (large hammer) on the ends to move the sill under the wall framing. The three window frames were positioned in their mortises before the sill was slid in place making a tight fit all around. Two extra studs were placed after the beam was in place. The floor (side to side) rods and washers were installed and the nuts tightened.
11-4-06. The crew today was Gus Campagna, Don Brewer, Charlie Siebenthal, Jeff Millerick, Lauren Williams, Dave Turner, and Mike Manson.
Gus Charlie and Skip did the diagonal braces in the wall and under the windows while Lauren and Dave worked on prepping the other side sill. Preparations included a large "Dutchman" to replace some dry rot under the new window to be placed in that wall. The "Dutchman" was mortised to receive the studs. Dave removed roofing materials near the edge of the cupola to make its removal easier.
12-2-06. The crew today was Harold Mentzer, Charlie Siebenthal, Skip Rueckert, Lauren Williams, Don Brewer, and Mike Manson.
It was a short day today as the Christmas trees have taken over the lot around the caboose. The "Dutchman" was installed in the side sill using Gorilla Glue. Jeff had fabricated some metal rafter braces and these were installed today.
2-3-07. The crew today was Gus Campagna, Mike Manson, Lauren Williams, John Schwintz, Skip Rueckert, Harold Mentzer, Charlie Siebenthal, Ron Bracklow, and Jeff Millerick.
We were joined by Russ and Jane Clover. Mike and John tackled the paint removal project using a heavy duty paint remover and scrapers. Lauren worked on taking up the floor over the needle beams so we can place the new bolts that will hold the beams in place. Gus, Skip and Charlie worked on the diagonal bracing and the nailing blocks for the siding in the 'outer wall'. We also installed the tie rods that run from the floor to the roof. Ron was our official photographer today, next time we will put him to work. Russ brought the artwork for the numbering and herald for the caboose. He will be doing dry transfers for HO, N, S, O and G scales as well as sending the drawing to a print shop for a 1:1 stencil. Jeff and Gus went to Shamrock, next door, to find out if we could use the fork lift. We need to talk to the manager; Jeff got his card and will call before the next work session.
2-17-07. The crew today was Gus Campagna, Skip Rueckert, Lauren Williams, Don Cabrall, Don Brewer, Charlie Siebenthal, Harold Mentzer, John Schubert, Mike Manson, John Schwintz, Verne Alexander and Jeff Millerick.
First up today was the removal of the cupola. Jeff was able to secure a truck with a boom and a strap to attach to the cupola and lift it free. Gus and Jeff used a sawsall to cut nails holding the cupola to the roof sheathing. Force was used to dislodge rafter tails from the wall at the sides of the cupola. The sway braces on either side of the cupola were cut off, later they were unbolted from the caboose roof. The cupola now rest on a trailer and will be carefully disassembled and its design studied ad documented. Mike, Verne, Don Brewer and John Schwintz tackled the paint removal chores, working on both ends of the caboose; many top layers of paint were removed. Gus, Skip, Harold and Charlie worked on finishing the framing and blocking of the walls. Lauren and John Schubert worked to remove the extra plywood layers of flooring from
From the May-June 2007 Headlight:
P&SR Caboose No. 1
From the Sawhorse of the Restoration Crew
By Jeff Millerick
The crew arrived in force with tools in hand, ready to go after a long holiday and winter season. "Where did we leave off? Where do we start again?"
Skip Ruckert: "The blocking in the walls isn't quite completed. Some of the pieces made from the recycled 2 x 4s are a little thick on dimensions and should b be removed and replaced so as not to interfere with the siding being fair and smooth."
Gus Campagna: "The cupola should be removed now to start rebuilding the side and support beams under it."
Don Brewer, John Schwirtz, Vern Alexander: "We need to keep on stripping the paint at the ends and end overheads as there are still many layers to go."
Well, let's go!
Skip, Dave Turner and Charlie Siebenthal went to work on the blocking, removing the odd pieces, tying the end joints together with Simpson tie strips - not used by SP but good.
Mike Manson, John, Don and Vern picked up the brutal task of paint stripping, again a dirty job that needs to be done. But when freshly painted it will give them a lot of satisfaction.
Meanwhile, arrangements for removing the cupola were being made. Steve Turner, owner of a logging rig with a HydeBoom and portable sawmill, said he would be willing to help us out. The next work day he arrived at 8:30 with a load of logs on his way to a Saturday Job. "Hey, you guys, let's do it!" By 8:45 the boom was rigged over the cupola and ready to lift. Oh-Oh, we needed to remove the end support struts and the bolts were badly rusted. Rushing to get Steve on his way, we decided to cut the 1-inch strut bars with Sawzalls - to be welded back together later. Putting some lift tension on the cupola we cut the rods in a few minutes. Up came the cupola and away from the body, parts and pieces dangling and showing a century of dry rot and wear.
The lower edges were very fragile but great for patterns - and some parts were surprisingly sound. The cupola was lowered onto a trailer next to the body to be evaluated and partially disassembled by Gus and Dave.
Everybody is busy, John Schubert working with Skip and Loren Williams on removing the catwalks and old canvas roofing, exposing the tongue and groove roof sheathing with many holes in it, showing many stove pipe location changes through the years. The holes will be repaired later.
While Gus was working on the cupola and laying out the two heavy transverse wood beams that support the cupola, he picked up the old SP plans that showed the roof arch radius was 26 feet, 8 inches. So my brother Don and I one evening laid that radius out and found that our now-installed rolled steel beam supports were not an even radius, leaving the center approximately 3/4" - 1" lower than shown on the plans . So out they will come to be re-rolled to our new pattern. They won't go in as easily next time but will surely take the backache out of the roof and keep the sides at their proper parallel distances from each other. The S shape has been wedged out of the upper side walls, making them as straight as the lower side sill beams, removal of the cupola making this possible.
Our new siding has arrived also and is perfectly to dimensions and of high quality vertical grain clear fir. We got a good deal. The oak end beams also arrived. Not as good but will do. After being cut down to dimensions they should be OK.
In the next word days we hope to have the cupola wood support beams in place, allowing us to redo and repair the tongue and groove. Then a layer of 3/8 inch plywood will be laid over the top, creating a good base for the new roofing mat but most importantly preventing the upper roof from returning to the long S configuration that probably developed while No. 1 was converted into a building.
I guess sometimes going backwards is going forward. It still seems as though we do more taking apart than putting together. But that's progress!
From the September-October 2007 Headlight
P&SR Caboose #1 - A Diamond in the Rough
By Jeff Millerick
I'll bet by now everybody is wondering what is going on with P&SR #1. At the last reporting the cupola had just been removed, giving #1 the appearance of still going backwards.
Well, that was the turning point. She is starting to move forward. Lloyd Butler of Oakland Pattern & Mold showed up soon after the cupola's removal and said he would like to make us some of the difficult parts for the base at the roof level, such as the two heavy end beams sawed to the roof arch radius, the two side beams that tie the two end beams together and also carry the four short roof beams mortised and tenoned into them. With all the arches, angles and dovetail joints, these parts are difficult at best. Lloyd went right to work. Thirty days later he showed up at the work site, wood parts in hand.
All hands went to work tapping and assembling the tight-fitting pieces together. Soon the cupola roof opening was all framed in, new and structurally sounder than it ever was. Two more steel 5/16 x 2 roof-beams rolled the hard way are also bolted to the cupola's arched end beams and then through the outside walls at the ends, tying the outside walls together while giving support to the frail cupola end beam tails at the outer walls. The outer tails of these two beams are only 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" of wood. These four ends are really what held the old cupola up for 100 years! How, I don't know! Lloyd says he would like to take the cupola to his shop in Oakland and complete the rest of the more difficult parts. Yes, you can, Lloyd! Thank you for your hard work.
While the cupola work is going on the new steel center frame beam is being slid into place. Loren Williams, John Schubert, Gus Campagna, Mike Manson, Skip Ruckert and I pulled on ropes, moving the 400-500 pound beam into place, at which time a floor jack was set under the beam, a little off-center. By jacking a little off-center, the light end went up quickly and was maneuvered up against the car's bottom transverse cross members to be blocked tight. The jack was then moved to the other end, bringing it up slowly, blocking as it was raised tight to the transverse beams.
Oh, no! Looking at the holes for the two needle beams to pass through - they are too low. How could this have happened? Well, end of the work day, time to go home and we'll worry about it later. After shaking my head in despair for a week, the light came on. We still need to notch the floor cross beams up 2-1/2" to the base of the mortise and tenons, giving the tenons support at the center beams. Next word day the notches were made and up went the beam to a perfect fit, giving the tired old wood beams a rest. The new steel center beam will soon be welded to the coupler support beams, just behind the bolsters, tying #1 together from end to end with steel - straight and strong. The needle beams were next slid into place through the center beam holes. They are made of some recycled tough old fir, much tougher than the originals. Boy, do they look good - a perfect fit!
A week later at the Awards Dinner barbeque, Bruce Evans said Roots and he had something for #1. He soon appeared with a cardboard box; inside were four queen posts for our new truss rods. Thanks, Bruce and Roots. We know you worked hard removing them from your parts car. One week later they were painted and ready to install. The turnbuckles, truss rods and square-headed bolts were on site. Within hours #1 has her truss rods again, after 50 years!
Things are going well. Gus, Charlie and Skip have been working on the outside corners, replacing with treated wood the lower deteriorated corner wood. Mike, John Schwirtz and Don Brewer keep pecking away at the paint stripping, between other tasks. Removing multiple layers of paint without damaging the wood has proven to be no small task, requiring infinite patience and there is still more to go.
We have acquired a pair of brake hand wheels as shown on the original SP plans (from Ebay and from a flea market). They have been straightened along with the end rails, ladders and grip rails, ready for the sandblaster.
Basically, all running hardware has been located, except for those elusive Janney couplers. They were relatively common so they are out there somewhere. Please check your iron piles or the piles of the short line railroad you may travel. "Janney" is cast into the top of the knuckle.
From the November - December 2007 Headlight:
From the Sawhorse of the Restoration Crew
P&SR Caboose #1 is a Diamond in the Rough
By Jeff Millerick
Get a load of this! Another complete set of trucks has arrived. The caboose's siding is primed and coated with a base coat of caboose red. Installation will soon be completed.
There has been a flurry of activity around #1 - for only two work days a month, a lot gets done. John Schwirtz, Don Brewer and Mike Manson have gotten the end walls to the fresh primer stage - clean and smooth from all the layers of paint. The first coat of caboose red painted on our October 27 work day was a milestone.
Believe me, painting the color on is their privilege alone.
Meanwhile, Gus Campagna, Charlie Siebenthal and Skip Ruckert filled the remaining open areas in the roofing tongue and grove. Loren Williams was busy replacing the end corner T&G below the marker lamp brackets. When this job was completed, the north end was ready for primer, which John brushed on, giving the wall a fresh look. The primer was soon sanded and scraped, nail holes filled and another coat of prier applied. The wall looks close to new, yet retains its 100-year-old character.
Gus, Charlie and Skip moved their operation from the roof to the east wall saying, "Hey, let's get some siding on this thing. She's ready. We just might beat the Christmas Tree man before he shuts us down for the holidays. Let's do it!" The bundle of new siding is broken open; the cut-off saw set up and the new siding is cut to length, 220-plus boards one inch longer than necessary. The quality of the wood is so good all the waste didn't fill a plastic milk crate. Only a few knots and chips had to be cut out, leaving usable lengths. The boards were neatly stacked and ready for the next work day.
The crew brought their personal saw horses, then strung leftover 2 x 4s from #1's framing between them. And the painting begins. Using Kelly Moore's best oil-base wood primer the boards are painted five at a time - just enough to hold onto. First the tongue edges are painted generously (brushed on). The five boards are then rotated 180 degrees groove up, painted, then boards turned 90 degrees, runs on face brushed out, 180 degrees rotation again to backs, rolled and brushed. Then they're rotated back to face-up for final roll and brush job, giving the faces a smooth surface with no runs showing. They are set aside face-up to dry. It's a full day's work for 100-plus boards. Next work day the process is repeated with water-base custom mix to match the original red. They dried quickly.
Gus, Skip, Charlie and Loren took them as soon as they were dry to touch and started the installation process, utilizing Gus's nail gun shooting galvanized nails. No hammer marks and each nail is set perfectly. They put the boards up as fast as we could put the color on. By the next newsletter issue, this process will have been repeated and the other side will be on.
Meanwhile, Dave Turner has been rattle gunning and chipping the steel end platforem and oupler support beams. The cutting torch is also carefully fired up to cut large rusted bolts and straighten the steel to receive the new oak end timbers above the couplers. The steel is now straight and clean, ready for paint. The 250-300 pound roughed-out oak end timber is now wrestled into place for a trial fit, then removed to have a steel face fitted and the hand rail and ladder holed drilled later, to be installed next work season.
On top of all this, a full and complete set of trucks have been delivered. Dave Turner, while on a trip to the Mount Rainier Railway, noticed a pair of the exact trucks that #1 once had, sitting in the weeds. During a work day lunch, he says, "Get a load of this" and shows us photos. With a set this nice we won't need to search further for wheels, bearings and who knows what else. The question is asked: "If you don't mind, Dave, I will call them and ask. Surly they aren't for sale, but it never hurts to ask." The call was made and pleasantly answered. "Please give us a couple of weeks. We are extremely busy right now." Sure. A couple of weeks later, I called again. "Yes, we will sell them to you for your restoration project. We have no use for them." With a lump in my throat, the Big Question was asked: "How much?" Answer without hesitation: "Scrap value." Answer: "We will take them."
Harold and Jo Ann cut the check. Charlie Lix with his big rig was contacted to transport them and we used a large fork lift on this end to unload them. The folk lift rental was more than the cost of the trucks. Upon arrival and inspection all looks good - bearings, wheels, parts, pedestals which we have on our extra parts trucks are exactly the same manufacturer. All parts identical and interchangeable. How lucky can you get! Janney couplers, where are you?
PS: Thank you, Frank Morales, for sawing out the oak end timbers (a day's work), and Lauren Williams for taking extra time to shape the ends.
Work on the caboose will pause soon as the restoration area will be used as a Christmas tree lot during the holiday season.
From the March-April 2008 Headlight
From the Sawhorse of the Restoration Crew
P&SR Caboose #1 - Phoenix Rising
By Jeff Millerick
Well, the Christmas Trees are gone. We're into a New Year and work season. A pre-workday meeting is held at Pete's Henny Penny Restaurant and the new work season is discussed. Where do we want to be at the end of this work period? We all hope to have the body pretty much completed - windows, doors, letter boards, roof drip boards, roof, end platform timbers and hand rails.
So on January 12, 2008, we set to work - caboose uncovered, coffee, donuts and drinks in place. A full crew shows up and things move rapidly. By noon the exterior siding is completed and we're off to Mary's Pizza for lunch. After lunch the siding crew (Gus Campagna, Charlie Siebenthal and Lauren Williams) move inside. By the end of the day the east interior wall is almost completely sheathed, utilizing the old exterior T&G.
Skip Ruckert and Dave Turner are hard at it priming the eight new window frames that Skip made at home. They are very professional and beautifully done - a huge step forward for the project. Thank you, Skip, for a job well done! By the end of the day, for a cold start, a lot had been accomplished. January 26 we are rained out. February 9 we are back at it. A little tough getting started but a lot is going on. We need to prime about 20 of our new T&G siding material boards to be used inside as all the old exterior material has been used up on the east inside wall the previous work day. Gus has his saw set up, the nail gun is ready - but nothing can be done until the primer dries. Off to the Pizza Shack we go.
After lunch the work starts in earnest. By the end of the day the west inside wall is 50 percent completed. Mike Manson is still busy priming the letter board and siding that were not completed before noon. Dave is busy putting the first coat of red on the new window frames - a lot of edges and corners to paint. Harold Mentzer is standing on his head with a bucket of black DTM (Direct to Metal) paint, coating the steel end and coupler support I beams in preparation for the new oak and steel end beams, which are now on-site - drilled and ready for the end rails and brake staff.
When Harold is finished the steel looks like new. Harold, it's good to have you back and full of energy, P & V!
At noon, Lloyd Butler show up, has lunch with us before he and Lauren prepare the cupola for its trip to Oakland to be rebuilt at Lloyd's pattern and mold shop, a job that requires a shop and the talent he has. Thanks, Lloyd!
Last, but certainly not least, Don Brewer and John Schwirtz keep at the paint stripping. Thanks, you guys.
We are fortunate to have gained two new crew members: Scott Bowdish has been with us for two work days now, bent over low saw horses sanding and quietly and steadily preparing the end doors for paint. They are looking good. Scott has a background in railroad new construction. Joel Allen also jumped right in, stripping inside overhead ceiling paint. His background is as a job shop machinist with his own ship and many years of experience. Welcome to you both.
February 9 was a hard start day but a lot was accomplished.
In other restoration news, Bruce Evans sent an article to use from the National Railway Historical Society newsletter about an old narrow gauge boxcar found in the brambles, not unlike our P&SR caboose project, and how its restoration put new life into their organization.
There may be a new acquisition of an early piece of NWP rolling stock. There'll be a story about it soon.
From the July-August 2008 Headlight
From the Sawhorse of the Restoration Crew
To Work We Don't Go
By Jeff Millerick
Our February 23 work day was rained out (a little R&R). March 8 - clear skies. Off come the tarps, out come the coffee and donuts. Many tasks to do. Charlie Siebenthal, Skip Ruckert and Gus Campagna go to work on the inside west wall. We are now using new tongue and groove material as all the old T&G has been used up.
Mike Manson and Harold Mentzer have a pile of material primed and ready to go and now prepare to prime the letterboards and upper roof drip edge. Loren Williams takes on the job of fitting the new butt timbers that go between the body and end horn timbers make of oak with a steel face. Scott brings out the end doors and patiently goes to work scraping, filling and sanding - one side at a time. They are looking good.
Don Brewer, John Schwirtz and Joel Allen keep a steady pace scraping paint on the overhead beams. Don Cabrall's son Bill, who is visiting from Colorado, jumps in also, good clothes and all. He wraps his shiny shoes in rags and starts painting. Thank you, Bill Cabrall. Every little bit helps.
By the end of the day the inside west wall is sheathed except for the miscalculation of four boards. The letterboard and roof edge boards have a heavy coat of primer. Scott is close to getting the first coat of caboose red on his doors and Loren amazingly has the mortises all chiseled into the oak horn timbers (south end), with the tenons fitting perfectly at the body end also. We all go home tired.
March 22: To work we go again. By 10 A.M. everybody is raring to go and already in motion. Mike is setting letter boards and drip edge boards for their first coat of caboose red. Dave Turner moves the window frames out of #1 and sets them up for their second coat of red. Mike and Dave team up to paint. Gus, Charlie and John Schubert go to work on the scaffolding, closing up the roof edge in preparation for the new letter boards and drip edge. Two of the letter boards are being used by me as a straight edge and saw guide to trip the new siding at the bottom edge of the body. The siding was deliberately left one and a half inches long to accommodate a straight trim at the ends, leaving the siding 5/8-inch below the side body timber so that water will drip free at the bottom siding edge.
Loren is back at it with the new south end timbers, treating them with some real bad wood preservative (bad = good). Soon bolt holes are being drilled and steel tie rods are being driven into place. Next comes the good feeling tightening square nuts for the last time. Get them as tight as you can, then give them another half turn. A job well done, Loren! The south end is ready for couplers and decking. Another good day.
April 5: I am out of town but Gus has a full crew on hand. A safety meeting is held and the work begins. Gus, Charlie and Skip begin the long-awaited task of installing the letter boards - a lot of careful fitting to be done. A 45-degree vertical miter joint at the center, then 20 feet each way, the cut-outs at the two roof ends to accommodate the roof end platform overhangs with little wood to spare from the two vertical grain clear 20-foot boards. One more finishing touch.
Dave Turner goes to work with the needle gun, preparing the steel at the north end for straightening and paint. Loren and Harold wrap up the last of the inside west wall sheathing. Scott is back on the end doors. Mike and John Schwirtz are now standing on the new south end platform readying the end wall for primer and paint. We now enter #1 from the south end. A lot was accomplished.
While we all enjoy the hard work and feeling of accomplishment in saving history for posterity, we also enjoy The Headlight with its stories and photos of us taking part in this preservation effort. The person who is almost always there on the job site, making it possible for others to share in our efforts, is never seen - the man behind the camera. We have been very fortunate to have a gifted photographer with us throughout t his project, recording our efforts with such clarity that you can see the sawdust coming from the saws. We all thank Don Cabrall for his time and expert work. You may not appear on camera, Don, but your work is very much appreciated. Don will be taking a little time off for medical reasons. So as soon as you can, Don, put that wide-brimmed hat on and come back soon. [Sadly, Don passed away October 15, 2008.]
From the September-October 2008 Headlight
P&SR Caboose Restoration Project
Are We Over the Hump?
By Jeff Millerick
When our workdays begin, we pull off the tarps and we all stand back, enjoy our coffee and doughnuts and agree "she looks great!" We've made the transition from "what did we get ourselves into?" to "we're now on the downhill side."
Letter boards are on. The end doors have been installed. Both end platforms are in place with end rails. Grab rails have been fitted, making sure they are straight and uniform.
Installation of the marker lamp brackets is close to completion. Skip Ruckert has finished the window frames and they're installed. The frames that hold the glass are also competed, painted by Mike Manson, and ready for glazing. What a beautiful job Skip did on these frames! Thanks, Skip.
Lloyd Butler is still working on the cupola. He took on a serious project: no square corners, the windows are either trapezoid shaped or leaning in at the sides with the ability to slide. We're lucky to have your talents, Lloyd.
The last three work days have been away from #1. We all felt that the body is going so well we needed to get a jump on the trucks stored in Sebastopol.
So, let's see if you can be confused with this:
When we purchased #1, it had no trucks. We had the opportunity to buy the hardware from two truck sets. The oak frames had rotted and been thrown away. The trucks were missing wheels and bearings, but all the rest of the hardware was there. We jumped at this purchase opportunity. Later, we located two more complete trucks with the same manufacturing time period - 1896. Also, they were the correct trucks for #1 - a one-in-a-million long shot. These trucks had broken, missing and home-made parts and the wood was usable only for patterns.
We decided to disassemble the worst one of the two complete trucks, leaving the better complete one as a reassembly model. Now there are piles of pedestals, castings, truss rods and cast washers for holding all wood together. There are square-headed bolts, nuts and lock nuts. Later we will need to know which way everything went - did they go up or down, with the nuts on the top or bottom?
After disassembling one complete truck and removing the wheels and brass from both trucks, we now have three complete sets of hardware to inspect for wear cracks and then use the original parts. We picked the best springs and journal boxes and had to make a trade with the complete truck frame to get a full set of matching pedestals - eight in total, all good. We now are ready for the sand blaster.
All of this took three working days in the hot sun with heating torches, large wrenches, sledge hammers and a forklift - a lot of hard work and sweat!
There'll be plenty of left over good parts for all of this which we can possibly use on our next project.
Well done, preservation crew!