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They would not have "stained" (as in for appearance, per furniture or millwork) wooden coaling towers. I would imagine that creosoting played a role in their construction. Never trust the color of a plastic kit. The tower wood would (wood would?) age, of course, and brown, black and gray would all play a role in their colors. The black would come from general environmental grunge, plus the smoke from the steam locos.

One of my favorite steam-era colors for rail, ties, creosote structures and the like is from the flat camouflage line by Rust-O-Leum or Krylon, called "Camo Brown" or just "Brown", as the basic color. It's what I call a "black brown", but that's just me. Some black and gray dusting adds to the "used industrial wood" effect.

I imagine that there were variations.

Last edited by D500
@Ron H posted:

If you can find color photos of a water tower you like, then you can paint and stain it accordingly. this is a tower for my 1/20.3 railroad copied from the tower at,,I think,, Alamosa. Good luck.

 

That certainly is a beautiful water tower. However, the original poster is inquiring about a "wooden coaling tower", which tended to weather quite a bit differently as a result of the fairly high sulphur product inside. Not to mention all the coal dust from resupplying the coal tower to fueling steam locomotives.

Last edited by Hot Water
@Hot Water posted:

That certainly is a beautiful water tower. However, the original poster is inquiring about a "wooden coaling tower", which tended to weather quite a bit differently as a result of the fairly high sulphur product inside. Not to mention all the coal dust from resupplying the coal tower to fueling steam locomotives.

DUH !!!!!!! You're so right! I haven't even had any strong drink this afternoon.

Yet still, he should find a color photo of one to copy.

I would be surprised if creosote-impregnated wood would have been used in coaling towers. It certainly wouldn't have been used in water towers. Beside the added material expense, Creosote-impregnated wood is also extremely heavy, and would require additional vertical beams and piers in construction, more than wooden coaling towers appeared to have. Such reinforced construction would have added greatly to the costs of construction, not to mention increased labor cost. Since the sides of coaling towers were protected from rain and the elements by a roof with overhangs, there also would have been minimal advantage to using creosote treated wood in the construction of the sides of coaling towers. Just my opinion.

Last edited by breezinup

Shou sugi ban; burnt surface weatherproofing is an old technique with possibilities. The surface is burnt and then charing is mostly brushed or scraped away leaving a more porous surface which is then simply oiled well. It looks similar to the black/brown of ties sometimes.

What did they use on telephone poles back in the day? 

I know an arsenic solution was involved in a lot of treated lumber. (and two folks hospitalized after burning treated pallet wood in campfires and breathing it)

Rich, that is going to be a really nice structure when you get it done, did you scale it down to fit the area?  I really like it.

Ron H., that is a beautiful water tank, would you please contact me off list at sptrainnut@att.net , I'd like to talk to you about it.  I've been wanting to build something for my RGS #455 after the wreck K-27.  I had it on a shelf for display (no place to run it) but I'd really like to make a scene out of the display.

Thanks for the nice pics of Chama from Hartman, brought back a lot of memories and also from Scalerail too.  Good topic, thanks for posting it.

Last edited by J. Motts

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