MLS&W Restoration Report #6
by Don Ginter, Curator, ©2002 MCRHS
ACCORDING TO THE CALENDAR, spring arrived March 20, however, it arrived a few days later at the museum's Car Shop. On Saturday, March 23, a semi-truck backed up to the Car Shop and disgorged its contents of material for the Lake Shore project. The load represented our Project Manger, Glenn Guerra's work effort over the winter months from his own shop and other sub-contractors. The arrival of spring signaled Glenn's return to work in the museum's Car Shop.
The truckload of material contained all the wood frames for the seats, milled southern yellow pine for restoration of the Lake Shore's interior floor, surplus veneer material from the formed head lining and clerestory ceiling plywood panels, surplus ash and poplar wood now available for other museum restoration projects, and two beautifully-replicated Spear heaters, identical to the ones which originally warmed passengers on their trips to Ashland during the winter months.
Not part of the material arriving in the truck, but just as important, has been the small brass, window, and seat hardware castings that have been produced. These hardware items were reproduced in car lots (enough to equip a complete coach) as the available original hardware from the car was often not enough to complete the restoration. The brass seat hardware all had to be made new, even the patterns, as the coach contained no original seats when we obtained it. All brass hardware has been cast with the lost-wax process, a process that yields a very fine finish requiring minimal machining and reproduces exceptional detail transferred from whatever is used as the original pattern. In some of our cast parts, the manufacturer's name, stamped into the original piece, has been captured in our castings. The lost wax process is widely used in producing some of the very detailed castings used in the model railroad industry today.
Also reproduced over the winter were eight spun brass canopies. These canopies, located over each side lamp, vent the lamps' smoke and fumes out the roof through the head lining panels.
Crimson mohair upholstery material has been purchased and the 26 seat cushions and backs are now being assembled and upholstered. Oak veneer plywood head lining and clerestory ceiling panels were formed up over the winter and are now at the shops of Affiliated Artists in the Milwaukee area for stenciling. Affiliated Artists is a decorative painting firm specializing in the restoration of murals, frescos, and stenciled walls and ceilings in old churches and Victorian mansions. In consultation with a Chicago-based Victorian paint specialist, the panel colors and stencil method of our panels were determined. This information is now being used by Affiliated Artists in the replication of the decorative stenciling on the panels. It is hoped that several completed panels may be available for our guests to view during the May open house.
Since returning to the Lake Shore Project this spring, Glenn has completed patching the unwanted holes previously made in the roof over its last century of various uses, rebuilt the north end roof drop and hood ceiling and started applying the new tin roof. Many of the brake rods and levers have been made up and the air brake system will be applied to the coach in the near future. The Miller hook coupling device was assembled to the north end of the coach.
The weather was less than cooperative for our May 2002 open house. Both days were partly cloudy with strong north winds keeping the temperatures in the low 50's. Visitor attendance for the weekend was under 200, probably affected by the weather and other local community celebrations going on in conjunction with the Wisconsin Historical Society's Wisconsin Historical Preservation Week. All our guests were impressed with the restoration progress and many asked to be notified of the next open house dates.
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