P&SR Caboose 1 Progress Reports: March 2006-February 2007

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

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