side rods

I spent a couple hours yesterday afternoon picking teensy-tiny little pieces of a model train engine out of the dust and dirt on the floor under the work bench, and when I say “teensy-tiny,” I’m talking about pieces as small or smaller than fingernail clippings. And just to complicate things, the dust and dirt was littered with little splashes of solder that froze when they hit the floor into odd shapes that looked a lot like pieces of a model train engine, so just to be safe I picked up all those up, too, and sorted through them after arranging them under the light on the work bench. This is how I relax.

The bad news is that I discovered one of the side rods broke when it hit the floor. Side rods are the long iron arms that connect the driving wheels of steam locomotives together. If you’re a Buster Keaton fan and have seen The General (and if you haven’t, HOW CAN YOU CALL YOURSELF A BUSTER KEATON FAN?), he sat down on the side rod and rode it up and down, up and down as the locomotive began to roll away in the first reel. Love that scene.

The good news is that I managed to find a shop on the internet that sold me a new set of side rods. They didn’t, however, sell valve gear (can’t explain, too nerdy), so I’ll have to figure out how to cobble those together myself, probably many years from now in retirement when I have oodles of free time and a lathe.

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