by Jim Kelly
Wonderful old toy trains are still coming out of attics and basements a century after they were manufactured. Recently I was fortunate in acquiring a Carlisle & Finch #4 locomotive that was in need of a lot of TLC. While the loco and tender were complete, the two big problems it had were the poor complete over paint and the wrong trim accent color, and the locomotive's broken wooden frame.
The loco had probably been dropped on its pilot snapping off the wooden frame just forward of the leading axle.
I decided to start work on the tender. Both pieces are supposed to be gloss black with gold painted lining and accents. I knew that it would probably be necessary to completely strip, prime and repaint both the loco and tender. I used a commercial paint stripper and the warm October weather allowed me to work outside with plenty of ventilation.
Gloves, stripper, a wire brush, and Q-Tips help make the job easier.
C & F wooden frames were stained green.
All the old paint was removed.
Masking the wood before the prime coat.
Priming the tinplate prior to painting.
After the gloss black coat has dried, the gold accent lines are masked out and painted.
The letters are hand-painted with gold leaf paint.
Next came the locomotive. The tinplate boiler and cab assembly is fastened to a cab floor and undercarriage that is made out of wood. These wooden parts, the motor frame and the cab floor assembly, serve both a structural and electrical function. The wood electrically insulates the two halves of the locomotive below the boiler and cab. The reverse switch is mounted underneath the cab and uses the tinplate under-cab sides as part of the electrical circuit. All of the wooden cab parts were assembled with nails at the factory, and the entire assembly was loose and coming apart. For restoration, all of these wooden parts were disassembled from the boiler and cab.
Wiring from the cab attaches to the motor brushes.
Boiler and cab stripped and ready for the prime coat.
After priming and painting, the application of gold leaf lining and accents can begin.
The simulated hatch on the cab roof is done in gold lining.
The numerals are hand painted with gold leaf paint.
Repairs to the wooden cab floor and under frame. Note the brass contacts for the reverse switch.
A wooden repair piece is fitted to the locomotive frame to replace the broken off and missing part.
A metal repair plate insures a strong frame repair.
New motor brushes made from strip brass.
At this point, all of the repainting has been completed, the motor frame repaired, and the wooden cab structure repaired and strengthened. The motor has been cleaned, new brushes have been installed, and the motor has been checked for operation. All that remained was to reassemble the locomotive and reunite it with its tender.
The restoration is complete.
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