Wooden brakes - Montreal Metro
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  1. #1
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    Default Wooden brakes - Montreal Metro

    Jim Christie brought this to my attention. Quite wonderful that peanut oil soaked yellow birch still makes the best brake shoe for the latest model subway cars in Montreal.

    Benefits include just the right amount of friction (not too much) to slow the trains without annoying squealing noise, the ideal friction also makes the steel (ci?) drums last the life of the car without replacement saving "tens of thousands of dollars" per car over the lifespan. Plus it is non-poluting and smells faintly "like a barbeque".

    I never really noticed, but do remember how my standard of subway travel was ever after based on a HS trip to Montreal and how smoothly and quietly the cars ran compared to even Mexico City (which was another standard in 1969), and certainly NYC!

    http://ici.radio-canada.ca/tele/le-t...t?isAutoPlay=1

    http://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/...ur-description

    Wooden brake shoes - YouTube

    Goodbye, retro Metro - Macleans.ca

    smt

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    They are also used on some printing equipment. I made some for a client a year or so, ago.

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    There are still many uses for natural materials, including wood, leather and others that have advantages over more modern replacements.

    I'm reminded of the sawmill I visited years ago where the proprietor replaced heavy steel ramps with ones sawn from ash after the steel ones bent under the weight of massive logs.

    A few other hard to replace items:

    End grain balsa
    Hardwood cribbing for construction and heavy equipment
    leather pump cups for less than perfect bores.

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    Cable cars in San Francisco use wood brake shoes also. But only on 1 of the 3 braking systems there.
    Joe

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    The old PCC street cars in San Francisco used 2x4's on the rail. From the smell it was Douglas fir. As of a few years ago the San Francisco fire department still used and made wood ladders.
    Bill D

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    End grain poplar is a long wearing friction material. I "relined" the disc brake pads on the Bolens garden tractor with the same. That was about 15 years ago.

    Of course the Bolens HT series is a hydrostatic drive, and the brakes only are used for parking. The bonding epoxy I used wouldn't stand up to much heat, I'm sure, although I have driven off with the parking brake set on more than one occasion. ;-)

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    A friend of mine worked for a company that supplied equipment for the Calcutta Tramways in the 1920s. A few years ago the tramways were being altered and they put in an order for more insulators for the power lines. Offered the latest high tech insulators they said were quite happy with the original design made from hickory. My friends company manage to source the right grade of timber & supplied insulators to the original spec.
    I have one hanging in the workshop.....
    Mark

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    I used to be a very active long-distance sea kayaker, and never found a high-tech paddle that could beat a wood paddle for performance. The wood paddles have a natural springiness that gives a competitive edge to an experienced paddler, and I never found a manmade material that could match it. Now weight is an entirely different subject of course.

    The Nautical Magazine, Volume 35, Number 7 (July 1866) reprinted an article describing the results of tests conducted on around 35 species of wood used as oars.

    The Nautical Magazine - Google Books

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    When I read the title of this thread, I thought you meant something like this Wooden Brake.

    Its a Wooden Brake I used to own.
    It did have a few metal parts, but it was about 90% wood. 18gage x 4 foot capacity, from the late 1800s.

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    Ries-

    When Richard Newman moved out of the top floor aerie he used to have in Rochester, he tried to give me an 8' version of that same break. Beautifully made, beautiful condition! I had passed it in the hallway a few times and never looked closely. When he offered it to me, I looked more closely and was astonished that almost all of it (as you also describe) was made of heavy wooden parts, trussed with steel rods. Wish I had a place to store some of the neat things that have crossed paths over the years. I kind of imagine that one was left behind & went to the landfill. Maybe Richard can comment otherwise?

    Sea Farmer: as far as paddling sports I'm barely a duffer. But about 25 years ago i made a set of canoe paddles with the WEST plan: (my shapes, their technology) A layer of WRC just thick enough to shape the very thin blade out of (5/16"), laminated between two layers of 5/16" ash at shaft & handle. The blades are shaped/feathered out to barely 1/8" thick near the edges. The blade is fiberglassed with one layer of 6oz cloth over a braided nylon cord around the tip & lower edges. The shaft is shaped and left bare.

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    Stephen - I'd completely forgotten about that old brake, it was a cool old piece. Can't remember what happened to it..sigh

    This thread got me thinking about the worn out foot brake shoe on my Powermatic 81 bandsaw, maybe I'll replace it in wood. But wondering if is any chance of starting a fire with it?

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    Richard - dogwood used to be the preferred material for brake shoes on equipment before the modern era because it was supposed to be the most durable & char resistant. After reading that, i tried it on a go-cart, as a kid. (go kart also being mostly made of lawn mower parts and wood frame) With a snortin' 2HP on tap, I don't think it ever went fast enough to worry much about using the brakes.

    smt

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    I have been told that oak is the preferred wood for wagon brakes that act against the iron tire of a wooden wheel.

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    On the windmill at the house I grew up in the story is the bearings are maple and so are the brake shoes! The pump was made around 1912 no idea on the windmill but no newer then 1920.
    Bill D

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    I have made wooden brake shoes in the last 10 years. I cannot remember what they were for as I made them as a sub for another pattern shop.

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    Growing up on a NW Iowa farm, we had a four row IH go-devil cultivator that was equipped with cast iron drums for row guides and disks set on an angle to either "throw out" or "throw in" depending on what we were doing with the cultivator. The bearings on the drums and disks were made of hard rock maple. Greased every day of use and I can't remember one ever wearing out.

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    For many applications wood and other natural materials are still the best. Lignum vitae makes wonderful self lubricating bearings that are much less sensitive to dirt and dust. Some bamboo species have the strength of steel with almost 1/10 of the weight. In neutron therapy (and in some cases proton therapy) where the tumour is irradiated the patient bed and other accessories cannot have any metal (as this will get activated) and wood is commonly used. The same is true for structures where high power electromagnetic fluxes are tested or present.

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    Quote Originally Posted by billzweig View Post
    For many applications wood and other natural materials are still the best. The same is true for structures where high power electromagnetic fluxes are tested or present.
    Bill -

    Your comment brought to mind something I worked on back in the late 70s. Picture is of a B-52 sitting on a wooden trestle for EMP (electromagnetic pulse) testing at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque. If I remember correctly a similar picture was the cover photo for Aviation Week during the same time period. More details at ATLAS-I - Wikipedia Structure entirely wooden as any metal would have loused up the testing.

    During this same time I was working on the upgrade of the OAS (Offensive Avionics System) for the B-52 G/H - the navigation and weapons delivery computer. Boeing was the prime on the contract. They came to us and wanted a change made. They would detect an incoming EMP event and wanted us to 'axe' the computer at that point - then recover and restart the system right where it left off. All that was possible. But two of us (at that time rather junior guys) look at each other and tell the boss they are nuts. Our rationale was that the event that required these gymnastics to recover the computer would have rendered a restart moot as any human was no longer alive if in the same place. He and I based that on our military backgrounds - my friend an AF pilot and me being a dumb grunt; both of us trained in radiation along the way. We lost the argument and were told to start implementing it. Few weeks later they came back and canceled the effort. Insinuated we were right but would not admit it. Still chuckle over that one.

    Dale

    b52-trestle.jpg

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