Thursday, December 5, 2013

New tools of the trade

The Museum's "new" Northfield model 4
Many skilled professionals will agree: having the right tool for the task is worth at least half the effort.  And so it applies to railroad cars and locomotives, but the tools are a little bigger than most people are accustomed to. 

Recently, with funding from a heritage 4Culture fixed asset grant, the Northwest Railway Museum added a power feeder and large table saw to the tool inventory. These acquisitions improve safety and efficiency for collections care efforts performed in the Conservation and Restoration Center

The Museum purchased a Northfield model 4 table saw complete with a 7.5 HP motor.  The 1990s-vintage saw tips the scales at nearly 2,000 pounds and will accommodate a blade diameter up to 20 inches.  It was located in Kentucky and shipped to the Museum in November.

Bob models the new 1 HP power feeder

The Northfield model 4 remains in production today in their factory in Minnesota.  Parts are available and so is technical support.  A new model 4 retails today for more than $16,000; the Museum paid less than 1/3 of the new cost for its lightly-used model 4.  This newer and larger saw is more stable and will allow workers to rip thicker and harder wood than the saw is replaces, which was built in 1926 and weighs "only" a few hundred pounds.

A new Grizzly-brand power feeder now graces the spindle shaper table too.  The Museum’s Oliver shaper features a 5 HP motor and hand feeding of stock is incredibly dangerous.  The new power feeder has been sized for this application and is used to slowly feed wood into the cutter head.  It was recently used to shape the rails and stiles for new coach 218 windows.  The shaper is also used to shape the moldings used both inside and outside the coaches.

4Culture offers the fixed asset equipment program to arts and heritage organizations located in King County, and funds the awards with lodging tax revenue.  Sound systems, stage lighting, instruments, shelving, and image scanners are other examples of purchases funded by the program in King County-based museums and arts organizations. This recent award is the Northwest Railway Museum's first fixed asset grant.

Thank you 4Culture!

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