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Smoke box handrails .


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Hi all ,

 

I would like some advice on making smokebox handrails that look neat , mine tend

to end up looking as if they have been beaten unto submission by a hairy ar**d

blacksmith and a 14lb sledge hammer .

 

So , how do you go about shaping them , what sort of wire do you use , where abouts

do you start , at the front , by the cab or a mix of both ? Any special tools ?

 

Any help would be gratefully appreciated .

 

Thanks in advance .

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I use .45mm piano wire for all hand rails, harder to work with but best for the natural colour. Brass is easier to work with, but just cant get the appropriate appearance. For curved handrails I use a set of home made formers, and a variety of shaped edge pliers. For the more complicated handrail such as GW one piece handrails to go round both sides of the boiler, I work out a 'development' drawing for the entire length, and start bending from the middle.

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I+For the more complicated handrail such as GW one piece handrails to go round both sides of the boiler, I work out a 'development' drawing for the entire length, and start bending from the middle.

 

Those are the ones I have the problem with , for cab side ones I use my Bill Bedford jig ,right first time every time , but round the smokebox door I allways seem to end up with unequal curve and bends that dont match .

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I have found that brass wire comes in different springiness and it pays to research the market. Some of the wire I have found is dark yellow and soft and some is nearly silver and is springy.

 

I do like the idea of piano wire as B to S suggests but I fear that my Dock Tank near full circle on the smokebox door might have been a curve too far especially trying to hold the brass stanchions straight while I soldered them!! I had enough trouble with the brass wire. In the end I put the two bottom ones in a holding tool and fed the wire through the others as I mounted them and then soldered the wire to the stanchions at one end and pulled the wire gently from the free end until the curve matched the stanchions and then soldered that end. It pays to start with a curved wire round a former.

 

The first job of this type I did was a Comet coach water filler pipes and I bent them in situ. It is not good. The biggest problem was soldering the brass wire to the white metal ends. I learnt later that you need to tin the brass wire with 176 solder and then solder with a cool iron and 70 solder. I used Araldite. It looks OK from a distance. I use a hold and fold and non serrated pliers for bending

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I have tried different wire size's , .45 soft steel type , .50 nickle which takes a nice bend okay but still get

patchy results .

 

I did manage to get one nicley formed around the door , bends that lined up down the side , looking good ,

then I realised that I had forgotten to put the over door knob on before bending round the sides . wacko.gif

 

By the tme I had unbent it enough to fit the knob it would not reform again .

 

Now I'm just going to use the excuse that as the locos I've just done are all over 30 years old in

my time period they are bound to be a bit beaten up . ohmy.gif

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I make the smoke box handrail in two halves, jointed inside the knob at the top. Much easier!

 

 

I have enough of a problem getting the wire through the hole in the knob at the best

of times , I stand NO chance of getting a join in the middle .blink.gif

 

It's an age thing . Eyes going .

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Mike - if it's a GW loco, then I gradually bend the brass wire to shape, laying it out from time to time on a scale drawing from the Russell GW Locos book. Once I've got the smokebox door curve right, I then use the drawing to work out where the bends go, do the first two bends (one either side of the main curve) - while I can still lay the whole thing flat, then make a tiny mark with a black indelible pen where the main bend should go. I then put the central handrail knob in place and then put those main bends in, and then fit the whole thing.

 

Alternatively, if you don't want to or forget to put the central handrail knob on before it's too late, take the top off a handrail knob, glue it into the smokebox, then indulge in a bit of extreme soldering to affix the handrail wire to the knob (it can be done!!)... ;)

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Mike - if it's a GW loco, then I gradually bend the brass wire to shape, laying it out from time to time on a scale drawing from the Russell GW Locos book. Once I've got the smokebox door curve right, I then use the drawing to work out where the bends go, do the first two bends (one either side of the main curve) - while I can still lay the whole thing flat, then make a tiny mark with a black indelible pen where the main bend should go. I then put the central handrail knob in place and then put those main bends in, and then fit the whole thing.

 

Alternatively, if you don't want to or forget to put the central handrail knob on before it's too late, take the top off a handrail knob, glue it into the smokebox, then indulge in a bit of extreme soldering to affix the handrail wire to the knob (it can be done!!)... wink.gif

 

 

Thanks for that idea Tim , I have the Russell loco books and have been using them a lot just lately

for checking other details but never thought of that method , will definately use that on the build

I've just started , details will appear as a workbench topic soon .

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