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Sunday, January 27. 2013
Here is another report, heavy on photos, aided and abetted by images taken by Jon Fenciki, and just a whole lot of activity by the volunteers.
This a a very good example of how projects should work in the shop. Four days ago Jon Fenlaciki brought in a window that needed repair, from Indiana Railroad 65. We noted what we thought should be done and supplied info to Jon on purchasing new wood. Jon did exactly that and delivered some new mahogany Saturday morning. Before you knew it the stock had been roughed out and planed, and here - Bob Kutella, Rich Witt, and John Faulhaber are setting a jig for cutting the stop cuts for new tenons. Jon was on the spot, making decisions as needed and helping with the work. A real team effort.
The tenons are being nibbled away by Rich Witt and John Faulhaber on the table saw.
Rich has the new bottom rail complete, ready for final fitting, while Jon displays the original piece, the reason for the work.
It is always good to throw in a quiz question to see if the class is paying attention. What is it? Maybe some peanut butter and a glob of creme filling? See next photo for the surprise answer.
The new bottom rail has been fitted and the window reassembled. Rich Witt is using an epoxy product that is both an effective adhesive and also serves as a wood repair filler. The window is clamped up and will be ready for sanding and refinishing the next visit to the shop by Jon. Our new motto - "One day and done!"
Victor Humphreys is making some final fit checks and careful readying three end fittings for welding to the curved caboose grab iron. A lot of metal grinding and filing, foreign to a sawdust maker like me. It is looking good.
Victor Humphreys and William Peterson are busy completing the gray primer on all eight new windows for Chicago Great Western X 38.. Bill is a relatively new volunteer in the shop and seems intent on completing his 'apprenticeship' and joining the old hands club. Thanks Bill
We finished up a lot of 'small' projects early in the day before quitting time, so went on to the next steps for the two new doors for CGW X 38. That means setting up the mortising machine to plunge many slots in the door stiles and rails. William Peterson is making and installing new wood blocks for the 'hold down' clamps on the mortiser. Basically, almost every job is a different size and set up, and it takes some small time to get it ready. Set up complete, we made two mortises and hung an OUT TO LUNCH sign on the machine.
Now to continue the story of Chicago Rapid Transit 1024, from last weeks report. Tim modified (sacrificed) a carbide router bit and ground it for the custom profile needed for the "UPPER" tack molding on the 1024. That is the piece that finishes the edge of the large flat roof, while a similar but different piece is needed alongside the hip roof areas, that called the "LOWER" tack molding. The best product is very long pieces of stock to minimize joints in this rail. It takes many hands to to this work carefully, here done by John Faulhaber, Fred Zimmerman, and Tim Peters.
Fred then hand sanded many pieces of this, and finished the effort with prime painting all of them.
It can be difficult to visualize how a project's parts need to be made and to go together. Here is a mock up of a key element needed for the next two windows for Boston & Maine 1094. The small heel or haunch on the side stiles will support and anchor the rounded top rail. We used a variety of steps, jigs and tooling to make this part shown by Rich Witt.
Buzz Morisette is slicing thin strips of oak on a bevel cut. These will be replacements for damaged ceiling moldings in the private car ELY.
Dave Fullarton, Greg Kapka, and Richard Schauer were in the Barn 4 pit working on the group switch underneath rapid transit car CTA 2154.
As usual a lot of other work going on in the shop and around the property. I did not catch a pic of this, but we finished running six windows for heavyweight passenger car Illinois Central 3996, working with Roger Kramer, and also completed and surfaced the first of the door panels for the new CGW X 38 doors.
Friday, January 25. 2013
Another chapter in getting better photos for you: These are from the new camera, and getting them this far was not without DRAMA. But things are getting better. Next step is to get better resolution.
So - I was trying to take lots of photos in different situations, and the crew obliged with many projects going on. This report will be heavy on photos, thin on commentary.
We get questions all the time about the status of Chicago & West Towns 141. A lot of progress lately. The brake cylinder under the car floor was removed and new supports fabricated. Here Gerry Dettloff is adding mounting bolts while the weight of the cylinder is resting on a dolly.
You almost have to be a contortionist to get where you need to be. Gerry is on the other side tightening the nuts. His rosy complexion is mostly due to the effort of working under the car while it was about 10 F inside the barn.
In the shop new brake rod assemblies were fabricated, now complete with bushings and pins for installation under the car.
Special order clevises had to be sourced and then the rods made to the correct length. I already mentioned putting hardened bushings (two) in each clevis and one of a kind hardened pins made (four).
John Faulhaber is making stop cuts to define tenons for new door parts destined for Chicago Great Western X 38.
Meanwhile, Dave Rogan cut and fit quarter round molding for eight new windows for the X 38.
Buzz Morisette pitched in and began prime painting some of those windows. The race is on. Will we finish the windows before spring when the hoped for better weather will allow us to install them in the control cupola?
Buzz continues to be the driving force in restoring and rebuilding the ceiling in our private car ELY. Here he is cleaning old finishes from some delicate molding.
Buzz and Tim Peters confer on how to make a repair on one of the damaged pieces of ELY trim molding.
Buzz and Victor Humphreys are wrestling large panels through the table saw to cut them to size for installation.
Tim Peters and Frank Kehoe have set out some long heavy pieces of new hardwood lumber, moving to the next steps on Chicago Rapid Transit 1024. The first thing to be done is to push them though our 100 year old jointer and this machine will make a smooth straight edge on a rough cut side, which may come to us somewhat curvy. Then the stock is ripped to width on the table saw.
Some of the above lumber has been cut to width and now Tim and Frank are running it through the planer. These are LOONG pieces of lumber and must be threaded through the obstacles in the shop. What are they for? These will become new tack molding for the roof area of the car.
Jon Fenlaciki has removed a damaged rear window from our first car, Indiana Railroad 65. New pieces will be made in the shop and then it will fall to Jon to assemble and refinish the sash.
Jeff Brady was taking careful aim with a tricky setup on the table saw. And making test cuts on new wood for the roof of Michigan Electric 28.
So, yes, there was a lot going on and I did not capture some of the project work. There was MORE!
Monday, January 21. 2013
Photo Update: This is becoming my new hobby - BEAT THE CAMERA. I used a new camera this week and hopefully the pics will be better. But the software with the new camera seems not to load properly on my computer with Windows XP OS, in spite of the disc saying it will. Of course no tech support available on a weekend. So, after a three hour workaround I think I have the images out of the camera. I figured there would be a learning curve so my backup plan was to use a USB memory card reader, but even that failed to work with the SDHC card. UGH! On to the NEWS - - -
More progress to report on new windows for the Chicago Great Western X 38 snowplow. Here, Victor Humphreys and John Faulhaber get ready fire up our BERLIN sander and run eight frames through. This is the BEFORE pic, and perhaps you can see some of the glue lines and squeeze out.
As usual there is always drama when using century old wood working machinery. In the end all windows were sanded smooth and finished. But the machine will need some attention in coming weeks. We knew the sandpaper on Drum Three was about at the end of its life, and now that is no longer a question. Time for a change, which is not a trivial investment of time and energy. You do not have to be a cabinet maker or talented woodworker to do this. Any skilled backyard mechanic may help.
Related to shop upkeep was the changing of blades int he planer and a thorough cleanup of the innards. This stuff does not happen by itself.
You may have noticed that the side stiles of the completed frames looked too long, to have had tails on the ends. This is intentional, part of the process. Here Victor and William Peterson have helped to trim them all flush. The final step here was to run a six degree bevel on the bottom member of the frame, to help drain water and to fit the angle of the new sills in the car.
We continued the process with William Peterson doing the fussy work and cleanup of the frames after sanding, and Rich Witt starting to cut and fit the newly made quarter round beading that will be used to retain the glass.
Eric Lorenz has two of the original sign boxes out for restoration and installation in Cleveland Transit System 4223. To get the side windows properly installed, there is a great assembly of parts and pieces that all have to fit in concert before the trim work can be completed. Who would have designed something THIS way?
We were all happy to see Lorne Tweed back in town and that he has his priorities right. Early after his return to the midwest, he was on site and working on the 4223. He is priming one of the special trim pieces, a one of a kind item to cap the window post immediately behind the motorman's position.
Victor explains the steps to make new caboose grab irons to William Peterson. We made a plywood template to get the round bars bent correctly, and now will use that to add blocks for it to serve as a welding jig. It as all part of the game, plan the work and you are seldom disappointed.
Keith Leitsch and Randy Hicks were caught in the act of working on new third rail beams for Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 36. The first task of getting the new wood and preparing the blanks for the beams is done. Now, comes many hours of sawing away parts of them, drilling many holes, cleaning and painting the hardware items, and installing them. Stay tuned.
Rich Witt is at the new and improved, better equipped Engineering work station. He is preparing working drawings for two new windows for the B&M cafe car, and it almost looks like a real engineer from the 1920's. All he needs is a green eyeshade and gaiters for the shirt sleeves.
And of course lots of other work and activity including three new window sash fitted and glued for Chicago Rapid Transit 1024 (by Tim Peters).
Sunday, January 13. 2013
The first order of business is to thank all of you for support in my ongoing camera 'crisis'. At least it is a crisis to me. Seven days from now I should be receiving my second new camera; the first is being returned with several problems. Do not buy a camera at discount with a REFURBISHED sticker on the box. Meanwhile thanks for your patience as we both suffer along.
The second order of business is to reply to a comment about the electric motor on a tablesaw we are restoring for the shop.
If I was able to produce a good photo I would leave it at that. Here is the info from the badge. I read a patent date of March 20, 1894. Since patent rights typically run 14 years, we can be pretty confident this machine is over 100 years old. (There would be little reason to post a patent number which had expired.) General Electric Induction Motor, Type KT 4-5A, 3 Phase, 60 cycle, 220 Volts, 5 HP, 1800 rpm, 13 Amps, Form C.
There can be few who do not recognize Randy Hicks. He labors continually for the betterment of our Chicago Aurora and Elgin collection; he is shown here applying the first blue paint to a window of CA&E 36. But he also is a big 'booster' for IRM and works behind the scenes in areas to benefit IRM as a whole. Thanks, Randy.
Victor Humphreys makes the final touches in cleaning up three completed NEW windows for our Chicago Great Western X 38. Now, if only the weather were better we could install them at once.
We did a lot of 'shop maintenance' tasks in the morning but moved ahead on the project to make two new doors for the CGW X 38. We did the final ripping and sizing of the parts that were rough cut a week or two ago. Rich Witt and Victor are checking how it will look, as we laid the parts in their orientation on the shop floor.
These two doors will have wood panels in the bottom half of each one. So, we sized the wood for those, here Victor is stacking and bundling enough parts for four panels. Then we moved on to make more sawdust. In this case we need to make about 60 feet of one half inch radius quarter round molding out of poplar. This is not commercially available so we make our own. We took the cutoffs from previously sized parts, and sawed and planed that to be ready to do the molding profile next.
Eric Lorenz is checking rows of interior metal trim parts for the Cleveland Transit System 4223. Finding them would be a great accomplishment in my book. But did we have them all, and how do they fit in the car? We have builders drawings but the parts did not match up. It was sort of like doing a jigsaw puzzle without using the picture on the box. He (and I) were quite pleased when Eric solved the "Mystery at the Museum" and determined that all pieces needed are present and accounted for. Next - help wanted to clean off old paint and rust and get them primed and ready to install.
Tim Peters is cleaning out one of the 144 mortises he made this week. Wait I lied, there are really 288 slots that were cut. Four per window times 72 windows, for Chicago Rapid Transit 1024.
Meanwhile the Passenger Coach Department continues with work in the shop area. Shelley Vanderschagen is sanding new ceiling panels for the Private Car ELY.
Buzz Morisette also makes blocking for the new ceiling in the ELY in the shop. Then hikes to Barn 3 and installs them. So, just yesterday three of our major equipment departments had work going on in the wood shop, at the same time on six projects. Want to help??:
Thursday, January 10. 2013
PHOTO BLUES: I resorted to a factory reset of all functions on my camera and there is some improvement in some of the images. (I tried to take a lot of photos in differing situations to get a better handle on the problem.) Seemingly there is better focus in the foreground of these frames but not good elsewhere. The autofocus frames are displayed in the viewfinder before snapping the shutter, but the software does not seem to be tracking those and instead setting focus elsewhere. HMPHH!! So put on your Mr. Magoo glasses and suffer the poor images. The glasses will not help the images, but with EVERYTHING fuzzy you may not notice the difference.
The largest effort in the shop today was to produce new interior window sills for the Spaulding Tower. Buildings and Grounds, under the leadership of Dave Diamond, continues to invest in the maintenance and repair of this historic structure. In recent months the badly deteriorated double hung windows on the second floor have been replaced. The job started with Dave Rogan, Rich Witt and John Faulhaber running large planks of untreated southern yellow pine through the jointer.
The jointed planks were ripped to the correct width and then planed to thickness - John Faulhaber, Dave Rogan and Rich Witt on the job.
The next steps involved squaring up the ends and cutting to length; Rich, Dave, and John wrestling the long boards extending between some of other machines. Then it was on to the router, four cuts with three different bits on each of the eight new sills.
The last operation was to make a relief on the bottom side and trust me, it was getting late in the day and the workers were 'relieved' to complete the job. A lot of the crew rotated in and out for different parts of the job, some required more hands than others. At the end we still had Henry Vincent, Rich Witt, Dave Rogan and Simon Harrison here posing in front of a pile of the completed sills.
Here is an end view of one of them, so you may see the old time profile we reproduced and some of the other details, seemingly simple, but not so simple in the fact of doing it.
Other work was ongoing on almost every benchtop. Jim Leonard sanded and primed more than a fistful of quarter round molding destined for the Chicago Great Western X 38. And we assembled and glued the last two of the eight new cupola windows for the plow.
Victor Humphreys completed glazing the first three new windows for the X 38, and later was seen working on new curved grab irons for our Pennsylvania 'bobber' caboose.
Henry Vincent was working on the very stiff motor for the 'next' tablesaw needed in the shop. Anyone here know much about one hundred year old three phase motors and how to disassemble then without breaking anything? This one has sleeve bearings for the rotor ends, and it is clear that many decades of old oil and grease has mostly solidifed in place.
Buzz Morisette has been showing up extra days in the shop and earlier this week completed the first painting of three large sheets of solid core birch plywood. These will be used for new ceilings in the private car ELY.
Not the child toy building blocks, but Buzz continued making new blocking for the ceiling in the ELY. Not exactly square, most one of kind different length, and tricky to install and fasten in place.
Monday, January 7. 2013
Picture quality remains poor, more on this at the end of this entry. For now, please be satisfied with viewing the thumbnails where your eyes sharpen them up.
We continue to work and make good progress on wood parts for the Chicago Great Western X 38 snowplow. John Faulhaber is standing behind a host of new stock that has been roughed out to construct two new doors for the plow. When starting with rough lumber, in this case heavy planks, there is as much brain work to lay out the parts, as physical work of sawing them up.
The crew assembled and glued two more windows for the X 38 cab cupola. Victor Humphreys is making the final tweaks with the frames in the glue press. That involves squaring them up, making them flat, and checking the pressure on the frames. When you first tighten up the clamp, some liquid glue will squeeze out and you need to tighten it up a bit after ten minutes.
Victor is working on three of the smaller windows for the plow. Painting is complete and here new glass has been cut to size and dropped into place. Well, not exactly "dropped'!
Tim Peters is moving fast on constructing SEVENTY TWO new windows for Chicago Rapid Transit 1024. These are being made of quarter sawn white oak and will see stain and varnish in the finishing steps.
Here is a pic of Tim Peters, Eric Lorenz, Victor (behind me) and Bob Kutella wrestling with large sheets of tempered masonite. They are being sliced into 15 inch wide panels for new ceilings in the Cleveland Transit System PCC 4223. My initial thought was that my feeble hands could not hold the camera still, and that contributed to the blurring. Here, another younger member took the pic and no improvement. On all of these, you will find good focus in some small part of the image, usually in the foreground.
Rich Witt continues to be our Engineering resource, working diligently to plan the work, make good drawings, and assure the wood parts will fit as intended. He continues here for us needing two round top windows for one of the Boston & Maine passenger cars. One of the badly deteriorated examples is lying on the drafting table for measurements and examination.
PHOTOS: As mentioned above I now think the problem may not be with my shaky hands. I spent considerable time at home yesterday fiddling with the settings and maybe made some progress. I greatly resist loaning the camera for others to take pics, but as my legs also do not work very well, I have done this three times in recent months. I tell them the only button to press is the shutter. So, I am thinking the original 'point and click' settings have been compromised and I struggle to set them back to what worked. (I lied in my comment reply to Randy Stahl since the small print instruction book has 209 pages.) It is cumbersome at best, poor illustrations and directions, poor troubleshooting. Gone are the days of the corner photo shop where you could actually talk to someone and get help with such setup. If you are getting as frustrated as I and want me to suspend these news entries, feel free to cast your vote.
Thursday, January 3. 2013
This was another busy day in the shop.
Paul Cronin and John Faulhaber are doing the fussy work of fitting window parts for our Chicago Great Western X 38 snowplow. I managed to get one more to fit, and so did Buzz Morisette after he did some more work on roof parts for our Private Car ELY. We now have four more windows ready for the glue press and this will mark eight new ones made this season for the cab cupola, in addition to the three already done and being painted. Victor Humphrey did some work on those.
A worker is only as good as his tools. After the other work was completed, Buzz Morisette did some sharpening and honing of chisel blades. He achieved a quality edge that could literally shave the hair off your face. There were no volunteers to take that test.
John Faulhaver was running new stock through our planer to make the last two pieces needed for tack molding for the Lake Shore Electric 810 traction freight trailer. These are two larger pieces, of a slightly more complicated profile that are to be used for the curved ends of the car.
Dave Rogan and Jim Leonard were sanding, and then prime painting the many new tongue and groove roof boards produced over the last two weeks. These also are for the Lake Shore Electric 810.
Jeff Brady was at the mortiser making many many wood blocks for the Michigan Electric 28 roof project. These are fairly complicated wood blocks which cap other metal bolt ends on the roof and serve to insulate or protect anyone working up there form a potential ground and hair raising shock.
Rich Witt was on station in the engineering department. Much progress was made on a service project to Dave Diamond and the Buildings and Grounds Department. New double hung windows have been installed recently in the Spaulding Tower, and now we hope to make some custom profile interior wood window sills. A small sample is on the work table at his right elbow. New router bits for the profile have been ordered so look for sawdust to be made in the next few weeks on these items.
Rich also spent some time on a future task, this one of making two new windows for the B&M car in Barn 3. One old rounded top window was removed from the car, the other is missing. If you look behind Rich, back and above his right elbow, a sharp eyed reader may discern the old sash. This one we will use as a sample but it has been extensively repaired and reworked at some time in its life and is in VERY POOR condition. This is a complicated wood working task and will involve many specialized techniques and wood working setups and jigs. For now it remains a coming attraction, pending the engineering drawings and getting some increasingly rare mahogany.
Another coming attraction is a request from the folks working on the MILW X 5000 dynamometer car, a 1929 product built by the railroad in their shops. This work is for specialized tongue and groove ceiling lining boards.
Other work in the shop saw Henry VIncent working on the new table saw, Pete Galayda and John Nelligan working on the seemingly endless task of restoring seven electrical grid boxes for Charles City Western 300, Randy Hicks warming up and working on CA&E strap hanger restoration, a visit by Ted Anderson of the Pullman Library, and Cheryl Lint stopped by. We noticed a massive stack of new window parts on a rolling cart, these made by Tim Peters for Chicago Rapid Transit 1024.
HELP WANTED: This is in the way of an apology for the recent poor picture quality by me. With recent eye surgery and old man's shaking hands disease, most of these are unacceptably blurred. So if there is a cub reporter out there wanting to take over this job, or to merely help out, there is an opening,. You readers deserve better.
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