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Author Topic: Wood Burner  (Read 4926 times)

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« on: March 04, 2007, 01:12:05 AM »

I am contemplating back dating one of my 36ton large scale shays.
Could anyone suggest a realistic length for the firewood used in them.
Size could be 1:1 scale or 1:20.3 scale.
Thank you

Paul W.

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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2007, 10:18:58 AM »

I'm sure you will get others, but I just went and measured my 1:20 figures, and the Shay tender area, and I would think that 2-2 1/2" should work nicely. Much longer and the scale engine crew would have problems picking them up to throw them in the firebox. At 2 1/2", that still is a large piece of wood to throw in, but if it was split, it would be able to be done. It scales out to over a three foot piece of wood.

Happy Steamin'


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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2007, 05:09:20 PM »


Wood burned in locomotives was typically around 18 to 24 inches long, dependent on the size of the firebox and the enthusiasm of the wood cutter. Firewood cutters don't use a tape measure so there is always variation based on the sawyers eyeball and what was being cut.

At 1:20.3 scale, the model wood would be between 7/8" and 1 1/4" long. Wood for a specific locomotive being cut by a 'company' crew or a contract supplier would be close to the same length at any one location.

I can't imagine using a piece of firewood 2 1/2" (~50" or over 4' at 1:20.3 scale) long as Paul W suggested. Not only would it be extremely hard to load onto the tender and handle on the engine, but it probably wouldn't even fit in the firebox of our small Shays.

Hope this helps.

Happy RRing,


Sequoia Pacific RR in 1:20 / 70.6mm
Boonville Light & Power Co. in 1:20 / 45mm
Navarro Engineering & Construction Co. in 1:20 / 32mm
NMRA Life Member #3370
Member: Bay Area Electric Railway Association
Member: Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources

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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2007, 12:00:36 AM »

Thank you Paul W and JerryB.
Your info is very helpfull.
Jon D. Miller

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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2007, 12:51:51 AM »

I never cut fire wood for a steam locomotive.

However, I sure cut enough for farm steam traction engines. We used slab wood. The wood was cut to roughly 2 to 2 1/2 foot length.  I cut wood for my grandfather and several other owners of steam traction engines.  We'd cut a 2 1/2 ton truck load just for a weekend of running at gatherings of these old farm steam traction engines and we brought very little wood home with us.

Now the fire box on most steam traction engines, such as Case, Baker, and Huber to name a few, were somewhat smaller than those of early railroad steam engines.

However, Avery steam traction engines were large engines and their fire boxes were probably the size of steam railroad engines.  The folks that owned these Avery engines used wood that was also around 2 to 2 1/2 foot in length.

Remember, the wood had to be distributed rather evenly over the grates of the fire box.  If not, you'd end up with a hot spot that would stress the fire box.  Wood much over 2 1/2 foot in length would be difficult to distribute inside the fire box.

Poster Child (unofficial & uncompensated)

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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2007, 08:28:36 PM »

Jon D, thank you for info. was very usefull
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