More on Marcel’s Pulpwood

I’m reminded by Ron Findley that I’ll have to model a custom pulpwood truck for Marcel himself.  It will need the cab roof removed, effectively creating a pulpwood truck convertible.  It also should have twin holsters, one hanging on either side of the cab, to carry Marcel’s McCulloch chain saws.  He failed to mention the color of the cab though….more research will be required.

Also, an update for the pulpwood logs themselves: further reading and “measuring” indicates that logs (in my era) were typically 3″ up to 18″ in diameter, though could be significantly larger than that if the yard had mechanized loading of the cars (a crane or one of the new front end style loaders with a grapple).  Of course, since Marcel’s yard will be supplied by many independent truckers, the size of the logs they deliver will depend on their own ability to load their truck.  I’ve seen a few photos that suggest logs up to maybe 18″ diameter can be loaded if the truck has a simple crane on it to lift the logs.

Photo of Loading the Truck

This is good news, as I have quickly found that I will be chopping pulpwood logs for a looooong time if I limit the size to 12″ diameter as I initially thought I would.  However, many smaller logs are still needed as I’ve noticed in the photos that small diameter logs are generally used to “fill in the gaps” around the larger logs when loading the cars.  A recent chopping session (while watching a movie) only produced about an eighth of a car load….sigh!

Photo of Loading by Hand

I had originally estimated the height of the logs loaded on the woodrack car to be 8 feet.  This was based on the above photo (and a few other similar ones).  The Atlas car is a model of an older woodrack.  Upon measuring the bulkheads, I’ve found that the actual height of the loads will only be 6-1/2 to 7 feet….good news for the cutting crew!

– Jack

4 thoughts on “More on Marcel’s Pulpwood

  1. Jack
    I did about 10 40′ & 50′ pulpwood cars at Lou’s. Lou brought in the small branches and I cut them. After I had a big pile I could load about a car per day, working only on Wednesdays after I finished re-staging the layout.
    The hardest part is gathering the wood and I let Lou do that.
    You can do this while watching TV. I don’t recall doing Lou’s one Atlas car so I don’t know about the proper weight. The wood helps on the loads but some of his Tichy empties were way too light and he had to weight them.
    It’s not hard work, just repetitive and boring. But, as you have seen, the results are worth it.
    Bill Williams

  2. Jack, I just took a closer look at your great pulpwood pictures. The length of the logs are as wide as the car. lou told me to cut his logs half-width. Some of his cars have slanting floors which would seem to call for the half-length logs.
    Do you have a prototype for your wood racks, and are the Atlas cars appropriate for your prototype?
    Bill Williams

  3. Hi Bill,

    I am using the Atlas cars, which have the sloped floors. This is a model of a “kit” car that was offered by General Steel Castings, and many railroads purchased them including the IC and GM&O. The Louisiana Central bought their cars used from the IC as they were moving to the newer, longer cars.

    From all the research I’ve done, the pulpwood was (is) cut to lengths of between 5′-2″ and 5′-4″. The combined length of a pair must be no wider than the 10′-8″ allowable width of the loaded car. I understand that it isn’t terribly uncommon that when the car is inspected, a length of wood projecting beyond the limit is simply whacked off with a chainsaw.

    While the loads appear to be quite long in the photos, if you study them for a bit it appears to me that this wood is about right in length. Compare it (as best you can) to the men handling it. Also notice that the wood generally fits between the tires of the truck. I think you’ll conclude that the pictured logs probably are under the 5′-4″ length.


  4. Jack, you’re right. I was looking at the truck but now I see that the car is in fact being loaded with a double row of shorter logs.
    BTW, how many cars have you got loaded so far??

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