My previous posting generated more than the normal feedback from readers. It seems that many folks have discovered that buying a large box of coffee stirrers can provide and excellent source of material of loads and other uses around the shop. I had started down that path some time ago and bought a box of 1000 stirrers on Amazon for less than $8.00 They appear to made from a wood like basswood.
Building a lumber load that does not consume as much wood if you create a void on the underside. It also allows for space to add weight. Another approach is to build the load around a block of balsa or pine. This save a ton of scale lumber. Lee Turner used balsa to build his load around.
He used stirrers for the wood on this Chooch Ultra Scale II AAR war emergency flat car. I think this is proof that coffee stirrers can create a realistic load at not a lot of money. Lee also pointed out that his uncle suggested stirrers years ago as a way to save money modeling.
Here is my approach to creating a void. The basswood used in this load came from the Napa Orchard Supply Hardware store. OSH was a regional favorite of mine. Sadly, the big box stores killed a business that started in the 1930s in San Jose, California.
The flat car load shown below dates back over twenty years ago. The loads were built around pine blocks.
So that is all for now on flat and gondola loads. Thanks to everyone for the feedback.