From the July-August 2008 Headlight

From the Sawhorse of the Restoration Crew
To Work We Don’t Go
By Jeff Millerick
Our February 23 work day was rained out (a little R&R). March 8 – clear skies. Off come the tarps, out come the coffee and donuts. Many tasks to do. Charlie Siebenthal, Skip Ruckert and Gus Campagna go to work on the inside west wall. We are now using new tongue and groove material as all the old T&G has been used up.
Mike Manson and Harold Mentzer have a pile of material primed and ready to go and now prepare to prime the letterboards and upper roof drip edge. Loren Williams takes on the job of fitting the new butt timbers that go between the body and end horn timbers make of oak with a steel face. Scott brings out the end doors and patiently goes to work scraping, filling and sanding – one side at a time. They are looking good.
Don Brewer, John Schwirtz and Joel Allen keep a steady pace scraping paint on the overhead beams. Don Cabrall’s son Bill, who is visiting from Colorado, jumps in also, good clothes and all. He wraps his shiny shoes in rags and starts painting. Thank you, Bill Cabrall. Every little bit helps.
By the end of the day the inside west wall is sheathed except for the miscalculation of four boards. The letterboard and roof edge boards have a heavy coat of primer. Scott is close to getting the first coat of caboose red on his doors and Loren amazingly has the mortises all chiseled into the oak horn timbers (south end), with the tenons fitting perfectly at the body end also. We all go home tired.
March 22: To work we go again. By 10 A.M. everybody is raring to go and already in motion. Mike is setting letter boards and drip edge boards for their first coat of caboose red. Dave Turner moves the window frames out of #1 and sets them up for their second coat of red. Mike and Dave team up to paint. Gus, Charlie and John Schubert go to work on the scaffolding, closing up the roof edge in preparation for the new letter boards and drip edge. Two of the letter boards are being used by me as a straight edge and saw guide to trip the new siding at the bottom edge of the body. The siding was deliberately left one and a half inches long to accommodate a straight trim at the ends, leaving the siding 5/8-inch below the side body timber so that water will drip free at the bottom siding edge.
Loren is back at it with the new south end timbers, treating them with some real bad wood preservative (bad = good). Soon bolt holes are being drilled and steel tie rods are being driven into place. Next comes the good feeling tightening square nuts for the last time. Get them as tight as you can, then give them another half turn. A job well done, Loren! The south end is ready for couplers and decking. Another good day.
April 5: I am out of town but Gus has a full crew on hand. A safety meeting is held and the work begins. Gus, Charlie and Skip begin the long-awaited task of installing the letter boards – a lot of careful fitting to be done. A 45-degree vertical miter joint at the center, then 20 feet each way, the cut-outs at the two roof ends to accommodate the roof end platform overhangs with little wood to spare from the two vertical grain clear 20-foot boards. One more finishing touch.
Dave Turner goes to work with the needle gun, preparing the steel at the north end for straightening and paint. Loren and Harold wrap up the last of the inside west wall sheathing. Scott is back on the end doors. Mike and John Schwirtz are now standing on the new south end platform readying the end wall for primer and paint. We now enter #1 from the south end. A lot was accomplished.
While we all enjoy the hard work and feeling of accomplishment in saving history for posterity, we also enjoy The Headlight with its stories and photos of us taking part in this preservation effort. The person who is almost always there on the job site, making it possible for others to share in our efforts, is never seen – the man behind the camera. We have been very fortunate to have a gifted photographer with us throughout t his project, recording our efforts with such clarity that you can see the sawdust coming from the saws. We all thank Don Cabrall for his time and expert work. You may not appear on camera, Don, but your work is very much appreciated. Don will be taking a little time off for medical reasons. So as soon as you can, Don, put that wide-brimmed hat on and come back soon. [Sadly, Don passed away October 15, 2008.]return to top