"God Bless, and Save America"
Building Lincoln's Funeral Car
The summer has been busy but progress goes forward. Work has been focused on trucks and some essential details to the car body. The brake shoes and brake beams have been cut out, carved and assembled. The journal blanks are being carved and installed on the trucks and the end railings for one end of the car are being carved. Also assembled is the coffin model for Abraham Lincoln.
There are eight brake beams for the Lincoln funeral car. This view shows the components in various stages of preparation. The wooden beams are white oak, carved then stained with an old furniture makers formula of vinegar and dissolved steel shaving. It reacts with the oak to turn it a deep brown. The brake shoes are carved from ivory scraps. They are drilled to accept the studs in the brake beam. At the top is an assembled brake beam.
The journal box blanks were carved over the summer and installation begun. Some journals are carved from bone and others are carved from scrap ivory. Sixteen journals were carved. Bone can be used for some smaller pieces but it has to be carefully selected. The carved pedestal on the left is a piece of deer antler. Note the ivory spikes on the display track. The base is cherry, the ties are walnut and the rail is oak.
LEFT - This is a model of the Lincoln coffin, it was built to scale with measurements from a replica coffin, one of I believe six made from a duplicate of the original coffin. It is made from walnut and stained with a different process from that applied to the truck components. RIGHT- Carving the ivory end railings has begun. On the top is a partially carved one-piece railing. It is being carved from ivory. Below it is another plank with the carving lines laid on. To the right is a step brace, also carved in ivory. Ivory is brittle and though so it takes a great deal of time and patience to achieve successful results.
The link-and-pin coupler and carrier. The link, pin and carrier iron were all carved from ivory. The coupler body is stained oak. The roller bar is carved ivory along with the six posts.
The ledger boards and window headers were assembled and carved from black walnut. End posts (corner posts) are the next on the project list. When the drip sill is installed on the windows, they will all be trimmed out with finish frames. Note the roof hardware such as stacks vents and water cans are in place. They are made from androba, cherry, walnut and trimmed in ivory.
The painting of the UNITED STATES, the presidential funeral car used to carry the body of Abraham Lincoln from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Illinois in April and May 1865. Water color painting by Scott D. Trostel
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