Building: Car Shop
Machine Power: belt
HAER Map Key: LL
Date Built: ca. 1910's
Manufacturer: J. A. Fay and Egan Company
Model: No. 7
Serail Number: 87184
A surfacer is a machine used to "dress" the face of a piece (in difference to its edges or ends), removing warps, bows, cups, sawing marks and other imperfections, making it flat and striaght. Surfacing is usually applied after the piece is cut to rough dimensions. Surfacing is similar to planing and a planer can be used as a surfacer, but the results are not as precise. Both machines use a revolving drum cutter to remove material from the face of a piece, but where the planer has rigid or heavily spring rollers to draw the piece through the machine, the surfacer has lightly sprung or weighted rollers that allows the board to retain any imperfect shape so it can be milled off. A planer's rigid rollers and to flaten out imperfections which then "spring" back after leaving the machine. Planing is usually done after surfacing to make the two faces parallel and/or reduce the thickness between the faces. Joining is a very similar process to surfacing, but it opeates against the side rather than the face of a piece.
Single Cylinder indicates that this machine has a cutter on only on side of the piece, the top in this case. The piece would need to be flipped and fed through again if both sides were to the sufaced. Endless bed means that, rather than a fixed bed against which the piece slid, a chain-linked bed carries the piece under the cutter. This reduces friction and making feeding of material easier, increasing production. This number 7 Surfacer is capable of working piecees as much as 12" thick and 30" wide. It has material feed speeds of 45 and 65 feet per minute.
At the East Broad Top, woodworking machines like the Surfacer would have been used to to faricate pieces for early wood freight cars and bridges which were later replaced with steel. Parts wood passenger cars and structures would have been made throughout the operation of the railroad. Based on Fay and Egan catalogs, this surfacer likely dates from the 1910s, a time when the shops were freatly expanded.
The surfacer has not ben operated since the shops closed in 1956. As of 2012 no restoration work has yet been done on the machine.
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