Around The Twist

With all pressed metal sheets in place, we must now manufacture curved timber mouldings to cover the joint where the main roof sheets and the end vertical sheets meet.

The art of bending and re-shaping timber is rather specialised and typically utilises purpose built machinery. We’ve got the next best thing – an 1880s railway workshop!

This is how its done:

Step 1: Take some timber that is either green or poorly seasoned. Machine your chosen profile.

Step 2: Cut timber to the correct dimensions, then soak each length in boiling hot water. We used this piece of conduit, which is strapped to a piece of timber to avoid the pipe bending due to the heat of the water (we learnt the hard way!). Allow to soak for 15 mins, top up water as it is absorbed by timber.


Step 3: Form timber by laying on bench and forcing a round template, ensuring to support the timber all the way. Not enough support, and you’ve got (another) broken piece of timber for the firebox.


Step 4: Installation is a 2 stage process. First we install the base strip, which is then followed by the dressed strip. This provides sufficient coverage of the join.

Step 5: A light sand and a coat of undercoat sees us out for the day.


Its time to call the painters again to apply the final coats.

Ashes to Ashes, Panels to Cars

Our car builder Davo has been very busy preparing the Australian red cedar panels for the final fit out of the “Lounge” end of L516. These panels were salvaged from the former NSWGR sleeping cars at the Zig Zag Railway (which were set for scrap) and Dave has done an outstanding job bringing them back to their former glory. It is sad to think that the cars at Zig Zag have since been reduced to a pile of ashes following the recent bushfires in the Blue Mountains, but it is great that this panelling has been saved and put to such a fitting use.

One of the refurbished panels was test fitted between the window frames.

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Our weekday volunteers have also been making progress with the former Attendant’s compartment, which we plan to make into a toilet space. Work completed includes a small repair to the timber near the roof vent, while the window, sills and shutters have been installed along with associated timber panelling.

Painting of the pressed metal roof started with a coat of etch primer, followed by the installation of the wooden light bases (using a string line to install them in a straight line).

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Outside, the our carpenters continue rebuilding the timber work around the door frame and upper ends. Some cosmetic work had been performed here a few years back, but a closer inspection revealed that some additional attention was required to replace rotten timber panelling.

It doesn’t take the boys long to have it looking brand new. Taking the time to do this work now will help to ensure the car has a long low maintenance life in service.

Meanwhile, Ross’ engineering expertise was called upon to replace some corroded steel stud plates used to hold the gangway curtain in place. These will be refitted in due course.

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After lunch, focus was turned to building out the corridor section near the toilet. Brett took the lead starting with a sturdy timber frame and a wide grin!

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…before installing the Masonite sheeting…

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…followed by fitting the original pressed metal sheets, which were then painted with etch primer.

Next step is to manufacture the moulding to cover the join. See “Around the twist” post.