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wood axles

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Old 09-24-2003, 07:37:28 PM
Eric McKenna
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Default wood axles

Hi Guy's Scored a couple nice set's of wheels with "skeins" for wood axles. I think I will probably make the axles out of solid white oak or ash stock....4" x 4" 6' long or so. However I do wonder about possibly using pressure treated southern yellow pine and laminating up some stock. If anybody has some advise or experiance with making wooden axles I wouls be happy to hear from you! THANKA A LOT HARRY!! Eric M.
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Old 09-24-2003, 09:59:33 PM
Doug Wilson
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Default Re: wood axles

Eric, all experence with pressure treated lumber Ive had , is that it shrinks like crazy, when it drys out over time. Doug.
Old 09-24-2003, 10:07:09 PM
john willis
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Default Re: wood axles

I go along with Doug. Go with the white oak,hickory or ash. White oak would probably resist rotting better if this is going to be exposed to the weather for extended periods.
Old 09-24-2003, 10:39:36 PM
Don C. Wiley
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Default Re: wood axles


I bought a 1934 Bellsaw saw mill several years back and they listed in order of best logs to use in sawing railroad ties untreated were: 1 black locust, 2 white oak, 3 walnut. Hickory and ash are very prone to rotting if exposed to the elements. They make excellent tool handles because they are very tough but don't weather very well.

I think most old wagons used white oak when it was available.

I had an old man (about the same age as I am) come by my mill and ask if I had any red elm. He said that was the best wood to use in a wagon bed.

"DELCO DON" Southern Illinois
Old 09-24-2003, 11:29:17 PM
Adam Cottrill
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Default Re: wood axles

Hi Eric,

the boys are right, pressure treated pine may shrink. However if you leave it out side in the weather behind your shed with blocks under it to allow the air to circulate for at least 6 months and turn it once a month you will find it will dry totally and not shrink and then you can work with it. (CAUTION:make sure you have enough blocks under it or it will bow)

We use this method in drying sleepers for our minature railway of 7.25" and 5" gauge track our track is ten years old this year and the original sleepers from 10 years ago are still in use and fine being exposed to the elements of a wet climate for 10 years. We have about a 1000metres of track with the original sleepers appox 8,500 in total of which trains over one ton travel over constantly.

However be carful when choosing the pine supplier we have found some suppliers pressure treat better than others and in one case our sleepers lasted not even 2 years from a different supplier

In my opinion pressure treated pine if treated well and "dead dry" is a good effective, cheap way to go if you spend the time in the preperation.

hope this helps,

Old 09-25-2003, 10:08:25 AM
Rob Charles
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Default Re: wood axles

Hi, My .,002 is I think the green pressure treated wood looks out of place on an antique but I suppose you can paint it.I know all of the pressure treated 4 by 4's I have used for fence posts have all split and have nasty knots all over.Not good stock for an axle.Rob
Old 09-25-2003, 05:42:59 PM
Mike Monnier
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Default Re: wood axles

Another item to consider is how heavy of an engine are you dealing with? Southern pine has an allowable bending stress of only 1400 psi. That sounds like a big number, but can be easily reached or exceeded in a 3-point loading situation like an axle. A hardwood would probably be a better choice for this application. My .02 worth, Mike.
Old 09-25-2003, 11:00:13 PM
Glenn Karch
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Default Re: wood axles

I recently saw an old advertisement for some kind of wagon. They made a big pitch for their axles because they had a pipe through the hollowed axle to give it strength and to attach the axle ends to.
Old 09-27-2003, 09:29:05 PM
Cliff Olson
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Default Re: wood axles

I would be carefull with Red Elm.It will twist and warp,got some really cheap and put in an old trailer.If it wasn't bolted down i think the boards would have warped out above the sides. White oak will last us a lifetime if taken care for.
Old 09-28-2003, 10:49:37 PM
Al Hettich
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Default Re: wood axles

I am having a lot of fun with "old wood". I resaw it from beams out of old buildings that were built in the early 1900s. That wood is different than what we get today. It does not shrink, warp, or twist. Sometimes I get a piece where the hard part of the grain is as large as the soft part. This wood is wonderful.The big guy created this tree, not a scientist. It also is great working with something that probably grew for 200 years then worked for another 100 years, and now is in my hands to see if I can make it into something that someone will want to preserve for another 100 years or so. Al
Old 09-28-2003, 11:40:23 PM
Jim Tremble
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Default Re: wood axles


You are a man of my own heart !! Isn't that old wood great to work with ??

Old 09-29-2003, 10:28:48 PM
Al Hettich
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Default Re: wood axles

Jim. I would not have believed it if 10 people told me. If I had not tried it I would have never known the difference. The difference is about as great as the old engines to the new ones. The only similaritys are that they are both wood and they are both engines. Al


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