Advice needed

by Doc Turner

Ignorance gap to be filled

I built some 7/8ths wagons from scratch and found they were just the thing for transporting paper rolls. I bought a load of cheap till rolls and wrapped them in brown paper, even managing the crimped ends. I was assisted in this by a few images available online. My problem is that I assume they need to be fixed down in some way for travel. I made some rings from brass wire and sourced a load of cotter pins on ebay, the smallest of which were ideal. They were a bit shiny on arrival and my heart sank until I discovered that Carr's Black was just as effective on these as on the brass.

I wondered if you would hold the loads with rope or chains?

Next, I wondered exactly how such ropes/chains would be arranged to secure a load as oddly shaped as a pair of rolls. In addition, the rolls did not entirely fill the space between the wagon ends. In vain I sought images of similar loads. Then, a thought occurred to me. Why not imagine this was the real world and that I was the engineer whose job it was to work it out? What would I do?

One solution, but is it acceptable?

I messed about with lengths of wood representing the sots of timber you might find knocking about a yard. First I constructed an over-complex set up with spacing timbers held vertically at the ends and the middle but then it became obvious that I'd have to overcome the tendency for them to fall over with cross braces and ropes. It finally dawned that I could have a single A frame between the rolls which would allow the paper to be loaded first and inserted afterwards by a couple of men. I thought it looked reasonable but I was still very unsure how I would arrange the chains.

Therefore, I sought the group's input on the matter.

I knew I could rely on the group to help. First, I am delighted to have discovered an entirely new word to me. Dunnage. Perfect. It has an old world sound to it. Goes along with 'ullage' and 'stevedore'. Best of all, I now realise that my original design had little to do with practicality and far too much to do with what it looked like. 

I found an image of rolls on a lorry which showed how tarped and roped my way round could work.

The problem with this is you can't see the clever ends anyway! There are more important objections.

Thinking logically about what men would have to do in a world before common availability of fork trucks, I now see that you would roll the paper onto the wagon from a level platform or up planks and that two heavy rolls as a load would have to be at right angles to my idea. If positioned as I first thought, you couldn't get the second roll into place without damaging the roll or acquiring a double hernia.

I've indicated the dunnage with a couple of planks but of course if this was a regular load, you'd have custom made pieces, probably one for each roll and of course both sides. There would be some system to fix these in place that did not interfere with the rolling up of the paper. I could use some ideas from the group about how best this might be arranged.

Planks with steel flat hooked ends could drop into slots cut in the wagon floor with presumably, some steel 'letter box' inlaid to protect the wood.

Once loaded, those rings are ideally placed for ropes or chains and I think I'd have them crossed diagonally as well as straight over. A tarp would be held in place that way too.

I thank you.