With all the painting done, I can finally install the wood decking. I decided to use scale 2"x6" boards. The first two boards are special, because they need to go under the brass C-shape retainer that holds the brake wheel in place. The shaft of the brake wheel goes all the way through the car body. However, I want to make it look like the boards are embedded. I cut the first board in two pieces after marking off where the brake shaft sits. After some filing I could install the two pieces individually. I used superglue to make sure those stayed in place. The second board only needed to have a bit of material filed off where it just hits the brake shaft. It, too, was installed with superglue.
After I cut all the deck boards, I carefully lined them up and then placed a strip of blue masking tape over them. This is far less tedious than placing one board on the car at a time.
For glue I decided to use Aleene's Tacky Glue. It grabs right away, while still allowing a little bit of play to adjust the boards. I applied a thin layer of glue to three of the length-wise boards only. I didn't want to do it to the outside ones to avoid seeing any glue oozing out.
I then carefully transferred the boards with the masking tape over to the car, placed them against the two boards that were already glued in place by the brake wheel, and placed some metal weights on them. I tried removing the masking tape, but that didn't work. I decided to leave it on until the glue dried. I was afraid of the masking tape glue leaving a residue on the boards. That turned out to not be an issue. I did, however, apply the masking tape to the sheet of glass I use as my construction surface, and then pull it back up. I did that several times to remove as much of the masking tape's glue as possible.
And here is the car with brand new wood decking installed.
I really like the look of the brake wheel brace "wrapped" around the wood.
After I installed the decking on all three cars, I went back and scraped, cut, and marked up the boards so that they don't look so new. The last thing I did was apply a layer of india-ink-and-alcohol mixture to age the boards, and to bring out the cuts and scrapes. Later, after I have applied the decals, I will most likely apply some weathering powders to the decking.
They went for a test drive around my layout. I had a problem with one of the cars. One used the S-Helper Service trucks and the other two used the American Models trucks. The S-Helper Service trucks' bearings are a bit larger than the A.M. ones, and so they actually hit the stirrups. This prevented the car from making some of the sharper curves on my layout and caused it to derail. I replaced them with another pair of A.M. trucks and everything went fine.