Author Topic: How are flat car deck boards attached  (Read 690 times)

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mmagliaro

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How are flat car deck boards attached
« on: September 07, 2019, 02:39:13 PM »
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I notice that replacement wood flat car decks (models) sometimes say they have laser etched bolt hole detail. So I started wondering...how are the deck boards on a real flat car held down? Are there countersunk bolts and washers at each end (so they don't stick up and interfere with the load)?

John

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Re: How are flat car deck boards attached
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2019, 02:53:21 PM »
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 this might help

Chris333

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Re: How are flat car deck boards attached
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2019, 03:50:26 PM »
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I think on an older car they might just be nailed:
https://maineon2faq.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/tstank2202.jpg
https://maineon2faq.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/tstank2201.jpg

A steel car might have clips and bolts, probably carriage (rounded head) bolts.

mmagliaro

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Re: How are flat car deck boards attached
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2019, 04:11:22 PM »
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Thanks guys! Both very helpful. An interesting note is that the deck screws, nails, or other heads on the top of the deck are almost invisible, which explains why I never noticed anything on top that would give away how they are held down.

wazzou

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Re: How are flat car deck boards attached
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2019, 04:16:46 PM »
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 this might help


I think the 1st example was a MW flat that looked setup to carry axles/wheels on those rails.
The next two examples were a 40' and a 20' COFC container flat, not flatcars at all.

I think generally they were secured with countersunk panhead bolts, tightened from below.
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mmagliaro

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Re: How are flat car deck boards attached
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2019, 04:18:17 PM »
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Where I'm going with this is that I modeled a nice board-by-board wooden deck on a flat car, and wondered about the bolt heads. But honestly, since they are invisible in real life until you are standing a foot away from a real car, it makes no sense to me to model them in N Scale.

Chris333

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Re: How are flat car deck boards attached
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2019, 04:27:22 PM »
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I watched a video where they were removing an old rotted deck from a flatcar and yeah you still couldn't tell how they were attached.

My VW Beetle has parts of the interior carpet that are nailed right to very thick sheet metal. Even the rubber gasket that seals the floor pan to the body is held in place with nails from the factory. Think flatcars are a little bit thicker metal though.

CRL

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Re: How are flat car deck boards attached
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2019, 04:55:45 PM »
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Looked like countersunk flat head bolts mostly.

mmagliaro

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Re: How are flat car deck boards attached
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2019, 05:44:01 PM »
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Consider a 1" diameter bolt head.  In N Scale, that's .006".  A #80 drill bit is .013".  So we are talking about a hole half the diameter of a #80 drill.   Moreover, since the heads are sunk into the hole making for an almost flush appearance, that makes them even more invisible in real life, which is why I'm having a hard time finding a photo of a real flat car where they even show.  Nope.  I'm not a-gonna do it.  This doesn't have to be a fanatical project like the 0-6-0.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2019, 08:16:42 PM by mmagliaro »

SD452XR

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Re: How are flat car deck boards attached
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2019, 06:41:07 PM »
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Looked like countersunk flat head bolts mostly.

This is what I run into, most of the time at work.

nkalanaga

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Re: How are flat car deck boards attached
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2019, 01:47:04 AM »
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I think, but won't swear, that some flatcars had the boards nailed to wooden stringers, which in turn were bolted to the steel frame stringers. Newer cars have all-steel stringers, and they'd have to be bolted.

Of course, on old wood-frame cars, they were all nailed.
N Kalanaga
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Rich_S

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Re: How are flat car deck boards attached
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2019, 12:39:53 PM »
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Looked like countersunk flat head bolts mostly.

We call them carriage bolts. Pretty much what they are, is a round head over a square nut attached to the shaft of the bolt and it has a shoulder between the threads and the bolt head. This is the most common way of attaching wood to metal beams, channel, angle, etc.

Rich S.

CRL

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Re: How are flat car deck boards attached
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2019, 01:39:49 PM »
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Looking at the 3:33 mark in the video, the bolts appear to be flat head bolts, so they may be flat headed carriage bolts. If conventional carriage bolts are used, the rounded head would be proud of the surface and be subject to wear, unless they were over tightened to the degree that they crushed down into the wood.

The squared top shank is what makes it a carriage bolt, locking it into the round wood hole, or a square metal hole.

Missaberoad

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Re: How are flat car deck boards attached
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2019, 03:25:21 PM »
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Where I'm going with this is that I modeled a nice board-by-board wooden deck on a flat car, and wondered about the bolt heads. But honestly, since they are invisible in real life until you are standing a foot away from a real car, it makes no sense to me to model them in N Scale.

A line of Pinholes to represent them?
Ryan in Alberta

mmagliaro

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Re: How are flat car deck boards attached
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2019, 05:08:20 PM »
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Here are two screen grabs from that video.   You can see some boards attached with very flat, flush bolts and others
that clearly have the round-headed carriage bolt style head sticking up above the boards.
And then some of the boards that are place in lengthwise down the center look like they have larger counter-sunk
holes drilled in them with conventional hex-headed bolt heads down in them.

So the short answer is... this car has clearly had repairs made, so it's hard to say what would be "typical" from this.