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Install Wire Grab Irons

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  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 13,032 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, July 22, 2022 1:31 AM

richhotrain
In the few instances that I have installed grab irons, I apply glue from the inside of the shell.

Me too, as it's better (and easier) to keep the messy stuff inside the car.

Wayne

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,199 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, July 21, 2022 10:36 PM

SeeYou190

I put a drop of LocTite Gel Control super glue on a plastic card and dip the grab irons in the glue. If you can see the glue, you have too much.

That's for sure. In the few instances that I have installed grab irons, I apply glue from the inside of the shell.

Rich

Alton Junction

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    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, July 21, 2022 11:47 AM

B Rutherford
Dave, thank you for the shim idea

Hi Bill,

Wood will work just fine.

I can't take credit for the idea. I believe that doctorwayne was the person who first recommended it. He also showed us how to make jigs if you do want to make your own grabs.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, July 21, 2022 11:25 AM

I put a drop of LocTite Gel Control super glue on a plastic card and dip the grab irons in the glue. If you can see the glue, you have too much.

I use a pait of Snap-On miniature needle nose pliers instead of tweezers for better control.

-Photographs by Kevin Parson

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

  • Member since
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  • From: Lancaster, NH
  • 98 posts
Posted by B Rutherford on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 6:03 PM

Thanks!

- Bill Rutherford Lancaster, NH

Central Vermont Railroad 

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    May 2020
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Posted by wrench567 on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 1:42 PM

  One more tip. Make more or have more than you think you'll need. Nothing worse than flicking one into the great unknown. While the glue is drying. Don't ask how I know. The worst sound of model building is that click of the tweezers as the part goes rocketing into oblivion.

  When I made the little curved grabs for a steam engine sand dome that required two. I made five and had one left over. For some odd reason my tweezers were allergic to them.

     Pete.

  • Member since
    March 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 11:44 AM

Installing wire grabs used to drive me crazy until I read a good tip in these Forums years ago - slightly shorten one "leg" so you aren't attempting to get both "legs" in the two holes at exactly the same instant, which is possible to do but an increasing challenge when your hands are not rock steady any more.

I usually dip the tips of the legs in ACC before applying and assume that that will spread enough cement into the hole to hold the grab.  If I am unsure I apply some to the inside and hope it wicks into position.

Dave Nelson

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • 773 posts
Posted by wrench567 on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 8:07 AM

   Bill.

 I use a sharpened toothpick for grabs with blind holes. Squeeze some glue onto a scrap piece of something and use the toothpick. When done, toss it away. Simple and easy.

    Pete.

  • Member since
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  • From: Lancaster, NH
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Posted by B Rutherford on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 7:19 AM

Thank you everyone for your replies.

Wayne, those are some good looking cars!

I have access from the inside for one side of the grab iron and will definitely glue that one from inside. The other side is actually in the car end (cast resin so thicker side walls) so will use the idea of dipping the leg of the grab iron into CA

Dave, thank you for the shim idea - I don't have any brass sitting but planned to use a narrow strip of wood.  I am not making my own at this point, the kit I am building included really nice wire grab irons.

- Bill Rutherford Lancaster, NH

Central Vermont Railroad 

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 13,032 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 12:47 AM

hon30critter
Tichy Train Group sells phosphor bronze wire which is ideal for making your own. They sell a variety of sizes. Their 0.0125" wire is the closest to scale for HO grabs (1").

Tichy also sells ready-to-use grabirons in both straight- and drop-style.

I had more than a dozen-or-so of cars like the one shown below...

...but they all had free-standing plastic grabirons which were overly thick.  I removed all of the plastic ones, then filled the holes using Evergreen styrene rod, using lacquer thinner to make a strong bond.

Next, I used a #79 drill bit in a pin vise to drill 78 new holes in each car (36 grabirons and two three-point grabs on the laterals of the roof walk).


I used a similar procedure to what Dave posted, but with a spacer slipped behind the installed grabirons, used my X-Acto knife to bend-over the grabirons' legs which protruded into the car.  I then deposited a small pool of Krazy Glue onto my glass work surface, then used the blade in the X-Acto to pick up some of it and apply it to the points where the wire was bent-over inside the car - no muss, no fuss.

Here's an inside view of a similar car...

For open cars like this...

....I simply bend the wire to size, then trim any excess so the wire doesn't protrude where it shouldn't.

Once the cars are painted and lettered, they generally look at least decent...

When I first added free-standing grabirons to gondolas, I left the bent-over excess inside the car, but later realised that once the ca had hardened, it was quite easy to use the X-Acto blade to flex the excess material until it broke-off cleanly, leaving the grabirons still sturdily in-place.

Wayne

  • Member since
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  • From: Potomac Yard
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Posted by NittanyLion on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 11:16 PM

I've never felt the need to use anything. The tiny amount of paint that gets around the area where the wire goes into the hole seems to do the trick. 

  • Member since
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  • From: NW Pa Snow-belt.
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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 11:05 PM

Second the suggestion of glueing from inside.

If that is not feasable, dip the grab iron leg into a drop of CA before placing.

Ricky W.

HO scale Proto-freelancer.

My Railroad rules:

1: It's my railroad, my rules.

2: It's for having fun and enjoyment.

3: Any objections, consult above rules.

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 10:07 PM

Hi Bill,

Do you have access to the inside of the car body? If so, I would suggest putting the grab irons in place and then applying the CA to the stub on the inside of the car. The CA will wick its way into the hole. Once the CA is set you can trim off the excess wire with an X-acto chisel blade.

If I can offer a couple of suggestions, you can keep the distances between the grab irons and the body consistent by using a styrene or brass shim between the iron and the body. If you make the shim a bit narrower than the width of the grab iron, any glue that might come through the hole won't glue the shim in place. If you are getting glue through the hole, you might be using too much but I doubt that will happen with medium CA.

Are you making your own grab irons? If not, Tichy Train Group sells phosphor bronze wire which is ideal for making your own. They sell a variety of sizes. Their 0.0125" wire is the closest to scale for HO grabs (1").

https://www.tichytraingroup.com/Shop/tabid/91/c/ho_wire/Default.aspx

You can easily make styrene jigs to keep the sizes consistant.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    August 2010
  • From: Lancaster, NH
  • 98 posts
Install Wire Grab Irons
Posted by B Rutherford on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 8:35 PM

I am wondering the best way to glue wire grab irons into holes on a car body.  I have some medium zap a gap but with a #78 hole in the car body I am wondering the best way to apply it without getting 10 times what I need? A little on the end of a pin?

Suggestions definitely appreciated.

- Bill Rutherford Lancaster, NH

Central Vermont Railroad 

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