Friends of the East Broad Top
A nonprofit society dedicated to the preservation and restoration
of the East Broad Top Railroad National Historic Landmark
Things we do

Rockhill Furnace Work Session: April 17-18, 2011

The fourth restoration weekend of 2011 was held April 17-18. Rain was the order of the day Saturday. Nearly all day rain was coming down, sometimes light, often hard. the rain slacked off Sunday and some outdoor work could be accomplished.

The April 17-18, 2011 crew
The April 17-18, 2011 crew.

Attendees included Mac Dufton, Steve Jacobs, Jim Bacon, Richard Shell, Dave Dietz, Bob Harris, Charlie Wootton, Lee Rainey, Lawrence Biemiller, Aaron Schwartz, Dave Richards, Wade woodcock, Matt Yahner, Chris Coleman, Bill Adams and Andy VanScyoc.

Member Chris Coleman returned the restored gauge for the EBT's Wheel Press


Boiler House

First order of business was to install a temporary rain-catcher to direct water coming in through the old roof section out the south wall and off the volunteers. Saturday was very wet. A convenient hole in the wall provided a path onto the Car Shop roof.

Assembly of the new south wall begins.
Progress on the South wall at the end of the work session.

Demolition was then started on the old burned and rotted framing members of the south wall. Props were erected to support what is left of the south section of the roof. The metal bracket for the new south wall sill plate was attached to the main beam. Some time had to be spent getting the stuck auger bit out of the 14" thick beam. The remaining sheet iron was removed from the lower south wall, and a form was built to create a concrete footer for the center post.

At the same time, the rebuilt main line shaft bearing (the one powered directly by the steam engine) was re-installed. The installation was troublesome as one of the original anchor bolts was seized in the wood support timber and would NOT come out. Instead the bearing base flange was drilled for a relocated bolt hole. The line shaft was again laser-lined and several shims added to adjust it horizontally. It now turns easily by hand.

On Sunday more rotted timbers were removed from the east end of the south wall. The wall's new center support post was cut and set-up, then the wall sill was assembled and bolted to the bracket and post. At the east end there were some problems with the supporting bricks, so some chiseling was needed. In a pinch some ready-mix concrete was sifted to remove the gravel to make "mortar mix", as the hardware store had closed. With the mortar poured on the chiseled brick there was now a level and solid lower sill (still 16 ft. up) on which to rebuild the upper south wall of the Boiler House as soon as the roof is torn off. This will be a simple stud wall and should go together very quickly.


Locomotive Shop

Installing siding
A section of replacement siding is installed on the Locomotive Shop.
Progress on the Locomotive Shop at the end of the session.

The first and second application of epoxy on the dry-rotted lower member of the end truss were applied. The penetration of the epoxy seems good and it is consolidating the wood well.

With clear weather on Sunday the crew returned to siding repairs on the Locomotive Shop west wall. All remaining window side trim was removed from from the windows to access the siding between windows. In four of the siding areas between windows the siding was bevel cut, chiseled, and new siding ripped, bevel cut and installed. The new siding is being sealed to the existing siding with urethane adhesive and the lower back and sides and bottom are being primed as they will not be accessible after installation.


Stone House

The East room, cleaner and more organized.

The process of cleaning out the stone house of 50 years of debris and junk started last month when a railroad crew started cleaning the west room by moving unneeded equipment and sorting through parts stacked on the floor for as high as five feet. With the rainy weather on Saturday preventing siding work, the Glass Rattlers started cleaning the east room. Dozens of donated windows sashes had accumulated in the room and the adjacent entryway. En Mass, the wood frames were cut from all the donated sashes and glass removed from the frames. The the glass was stacked in the glass storage bin and the wood frames hauled to the burn pile. A large number of sashes contained glass too small to be useful and were taken to the dumpster. A huge amount of scrap glass from shops restorations had accumulated in the farmhouse over the past eight years due to a lack of a place to properly dispose of it. All the scrap, broken and too-small glass was hauled to the dumpster. A number of unusable sashes stored between the storehouses and the Hose House were also moved to the dumpster. The original door for the room on the east side was made temporarily functional and four large tires were removed from the entrance-way for later disposal and two 55 gallon drums were moved outside. The door was re-secured at the end of the session.

As some space was made available, some loose ceiling panels were pulled down then sweeping and vacuuming commenced. Large quantities of dirt, dust, broken glass and drywall were swept up and removed and the floor vacuumed. Supplies and parts in the room were swept and sorted out. One complete cast iron stove was assembled from parts scattered around the room.

The room has a long way to go, but at least half of it is now free to walk around with a clean floor and organized parts.


Generator Room

Work continued on the restoration of the shops generator steam engine. The connecting rods were unbolted from the crankshaft and one piston could be moved from the lubricant applied last month. The valve head was unbolted and removed from piston valve and the valve linkage removed from the head. The bands and cylinder covers were removed and the upward head nuts were removed. The head was then separated from the inlet line flange and slid to the side to access the cylinder interiors. Both cylinders interiors were free of rust and were were re-oiled.

During the work on the generator leaks in the Generator Room roof became evident with Saturday's rains coming in on the generator. Sunday morning a new and improved seal was applied around the steam inlet line using aluminum flashing and roof tar and leaking seams in the rolled roofing were resealed. This will hopefully put and end to all leaks in the room.


Restoration of the Wheel press pressure gauge was completed off-site. The gauge was returned to the railroad and reinstalled on the press.

Combine #14

Primed and painted flooring drying outside the Paint Shop.
Installing  the tension rod
One of the window post tension rods is reinstalled in the west wall.

April showers kept the Combine 14 crew together and focused resulting in significant progress. The final window posts were installed along with all but two window post tension rods. The remaining floor support joists were installed. Several new clerestory frames were fabricated and installed.

The newly fabricated safety beams were test fit on the truck in the paint shop. The recently milled lumber for the under sill sound floor was painted for protective purposes. Finally, the first section of the last layer of mahogany side sill was installed.

On Saturday truck work continued with the fit up of wooden replacement parts.


Next Session

The next session will be held May 15-16, 2011. See you there!

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