Steam powered woodworking

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Sit back and enjoy this wonderful example of early American ingenuity to produce wooden boxes.
Somehow, I don’t think OSHA knows about this place...
http://youtube.googleapis.com/v/_mKSKZau9qs
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Not much wondering why that dog doesn't have a tail...
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1) The first comment I would make is that is an obvious historical site. It is fascinating to watch how it was done long ago. And not as a recreation either. It is an actual, working factory. Which is very cool. And probably buys them considerable leeway with safety regulations.
2) Having said that I got nervous looking at that thing. I was hiding my hands, sweating a little and picked up a couple extra heartbeats. That was SCARY. The opportunities for a major injury/accident/death were astronomical! I am a safety freak. I could never work in a place like that.
3) Did you see all those belts?? I just kept think about somebody slipping and taking a tumble into those belts. They would find you smeared all over everything!
4) And steam, lot and lots of steam. Apparently this steam isn't contained all that well. It leaks out everywhere. Looks like lots of burn potential there.
5) There is an obvious constant need for lubrication. You have to stick your hand into that big machinery, while it is operating, and squirt oil into its midst. Presumably to appease the anger of the steam and cast iron gods. It looks like some kind of early industrial religion. And these gods probably are not happy unless they get a human (or canine) sacrifice now and then.
6) And you get to feed the boiler. You take scraps and shovel them into the fire box. Which must be very hot. Hopefully nobody falls into there. Think of it as a nano hell.
7) The ultimate hybrid creation they had there was the "brander" wood burning device. You had a modern branding plate made from magnesium. You had a rat's nest of wiring, looking like it was recycled from 80 years ago. And you had a very modern digital control device to regulate the temperature. All of this hooked up to a bunch of recycled parts to make a machine that stamps a brand into the wood pieces very efficiently. Steam punk meets the digital age.
8) That nailing machine used to assemble the boxes had one very interesting characteristic. You had to stick your fingers into the middle of that thing every time you attached a board. And you do this hundreds, if not thousands of times per job. If somebody worked there for many years he could have done this a million times or so. Just ask yourself, could you do that a 100,000 times without nailing your fingers?
9) One thing I find fascinating is that those old steam factories, like the big water wheel factories before them, had a central power source. Every thing ran off of that through pulleys and geared wheels. I understand that some Amish shops do something similar. It creates a whole different dynamic of design, engineering and safety concerns.
10) And I am glad I live in the modern world. And that safety features are common on modern tools. I can't help but wonder how many people were maimed and killed in such environments. And every thing is so much smaller now. You can just buy a planer. You don't need and acre of cast iron and steam to operate it. Although it is fascinating to look at, give me modern tools any day.
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Lee Michaels wrote:

would be someplace I would want to go to work every day. And the answer is, I don't think so.
Bill

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Without the knowledge of today's society and a family to support? Sure, I would. It sure as hell would beat having to work in a mine everyday with a zillion tons of rock above your head and conditions that would drive many mad.
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snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote:

offering some of the best paying jobs in town. Just like Henry Ford's automotive assembly line (started in 1913) . Men jumped at the opportunity to earn $5 a day. Some of their wives observed that it took an awful toll on them (feeling that perhaps the sacrifice wasn't worth the money).

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On Mon, 6 May 2013 16:37:39 -0400, "Lee Michaels" <leemichaels*nadaspam* at comcast dot net> wrote:

There is a window factory in Ontario cottage country that still has the lineshaft and flat belt drive system, with many tools of the same vintage - converted from steam to gasoline in the forties, I believe - and to electric in the 'fifties.

Not much different than an old threshing machine

Except for the digital temperature control it is exactly the way it was done almost 100 years ago. - and magnesium plates have been in use since the late 1930s. Prior to that cast iron branding plates were common., along with copper and brass alloys

A machine shop I used to frequent in the 'sixties in Elmira Ontario was all line-shaft and flat belt driven. - I think the newest equipment in that shop that was not made in the shop was likely from the very early thirties, if not the twenties.

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Lee Michaels wrote:

similar belt system off a large motor and shafts on each floor. The machines were put in service by manually slipping belts on or off while the drive shaft was turning. the safety factor was covered by not allowing anyong younger than 16 to engage belts.
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On 5/6/2013 1:58 PM, Larry wrote:

Ha!! I thought the same thing. :-)
--
Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Damn! That's exactly what I though too when I saw the dog walk by. :)
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On Monday, May 6, 2013 12:13:13 PM UTC-5, Spalted Walt wrote:

Pretty neat. A good place to pull in to, next time on vacation.

If they ain't got no calendar on the wall, updated regs don't matter. If the dog don't mind, then OSHA don't mind, either.
Sonny
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On 05/06/2013 12:13 PM, Spalted Walt wrote:

See the wiring on that hot plate stamper? wowzer!
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On Monday, May 6, 2013 2:03:37 PM UTC-5, practice wrote:

I wonder if the electrical power was steam generated, also?
Sonny
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On 5/6/2013 12:13 PM, Spalted Walt wrote:

That was very cool! I wonder if the dog's tail was shortened in the factory too? ;~)
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Tell us the truth Leon. Did you get steam engine envy while watching this? :-)
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"Lee Michaels" <leemichaels*nadaspam* at comcast dot net> wrote:

Festool doesn't make one, yet.
--
www.ewoodshop.com (Mobile)

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On 5/6/2013 3:25 PM, Swingman wrote:

Yet, being the key word. LOL
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wrote:

I thought you'd be looking for the SteamStop version.
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On 5/6/2013 1:13 PM, Spalted Walt wrote:

Old style ingenuity.
--
Jeff

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