Thursday, April 28, 2016

Narcissus Restoration Update - Part 3 - Exterior Poplar Frames 4-22-2016

A complete "half" of one newly built exterior poplar arched frame
for the 1912 Portland-Lewiston Interurban, Narcissus, sits on top of a
few frame segments. The segments will be assembled following the addition of
"fingers", gluing, and planing. Each complete "half" arched frame will then have
turns on three specially-made "jigs" and will make several passes along shaper
where special blades that will then shape the arched frame with contours and
grooves to match the graceful lines of the original poplar arched frames of the

     This Narcissus Blog post is the third in a series that relates to the exemplary woodwork being done with the exterior poplar arched frames by Seashore Trolley Museum member/volunteer, Lary Shaffer. The exterior poplar arched frames hold the mahogany sash/frames that contain the ornate leaded stained glass windows that are above each pair of passenger windows, with the exception of, on the No. 2 end, where there is a single-sash window (The No. 2 end of the Narcissus is affectionately referred to as the "Teddy End". For it is from the open train-door on the No. 2 end, from whence Theodore Roosevelt waved to the assembled crowd of residents of Gray, Maine on August 18, 1914).
Lary is working on the poplar arch frames in his Scarborough Marsh Fine Furniture woodworking shop.

Click Here to view the first post in this series and to see Lary's bio.
                            Click Here to view the second post in this series.

     There are thirteen passenger windows along each side of the Narcissus. Twelve "double-sash" or pairs of windows and one single sash/window. There is an arched wooden frame on the exterior of the Narcissus over each single or each pair of windows. Each of the poplar arched frames is made up of a combination of left and right "half", and a "tail that extends from the top of the frame and runs parallel with the body of the car. These are an extremely complicated design. In addition, the original design had each half of the arches made from one solid piece of poplar board. This use of one single board would prove to be a design flaw that resulted in the tips of the ends of each arched half failing.
The flaw in the design relates to the grain of the poplar wood from a single board. The direction of the grain of the poplar in the final two or three inches at the tips of each arched frame is structurally the "weak link", and virtually every end had broken away from every single poplar arched frame section. Good fortune had two broken end pieces nailed into place. Having these allowed Lary to have one complete set of the two halves intact....although in pieces. with these intact arches, he could then create a wooden pattern to use as he developed the plan to repair the ends of fifty "halves" of arched frames and to rebuild four halves completely. 

The large leaded stained glass "eyebrows" in their mahogany sash over each
pair of passenger windows (double sash) being held by the exterior
arched poplar frames with the "tails" extending left and right from
the top of each arch. STM image edited by PWM
An original arched frame half in need of repair. PWM

The "jig" designed by Lary Shaffer to align each arched half
so that each will be cut on the same line in the arch for a
consistently sized end replacement repair piece made from
vintage poplar. PWM

Lary Shaffer using the shaper table to cut "fingers" into the end of one of the
new vintage poplar arched frame segments that will be used to replace
missing frames of the Narcissus. PWM
Lary Shaffer holding the jig he made to hold an arched frame half segment
to have its "fingers" cut by the knives on the shaper table. Lary had to make
several different jigs to be used on the shaper table for the various segments
made to repair and or build the complicated design of exterior arched frame
of the Narcissus. PWM

Three, of the fifty arched frames with the vintage poplar wood in place. Each
of these arches will have turns on three specially-made shapers prior to
several passes 
along special router blades that will then shape the new
arched frame ends with contours and grooves to match the graceful 
lines of the original poplar arched frames of the Narcissus. PWM

An Original poplar arched frame from Narcissus in a vise waiting for the glued "fingers" that now
connect the original poplar to the new vintage poplar end. PWM

The first video (below) has Lary explaining creating and using a couple of the shapers. And the use of the router table with different blades.

     The second video (below) has Lary assessing the block of vintage poplar for where to make the cut for the new section of the frame, then squaring it up.

The third video (below) has Lary explaining the assembly of the segments.

The fourth video (below) has Lary gluing the fingered segments together, then planing a completed "new" half arches frame.

Click Here - to see Part 1 of the exterior poplar framework
Click Here - to see Part 2 of the exterior poplar framework
Click Here - to see Part 4 of the exterior poplar framework

Click on: "Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride," to learn about the young reader historical fiction chapter book due for release this fall. Proceeds will benefit the Narcissus Project :)

Please Consider a Donation to the Narcissus Project
to help us tell the incredible story of the Narcissus through the interpretation portion of the Narcissus Project.
Thank You

   Inside the Donald G. Curry Town House Restoration Shop, the Narcissus is in the midst of major work as we strive to complete its restoration. With our estimate to have the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Narcissus in the fall of 2021, we are now planning the interpretation portion of the Narcissus Project. Donations to the Narcissus Project may be used in the future to help tell the incredible 100-plus-year-old story of the Narcissus. Your donation to the Narcissus is helping to make the dream of the project's success, a reality.

The 2015 publication of, The Illustrated Atlas
of Maine's Street & Electric Railways
1863-1946, was published by the Library
at Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport.
Copies are available for purchase from the

Seashore Trolley Museum, - Museum of Mass Transit, is celebrating its 80th Birthday year in 2019! 
Special Events are scheduled  - Public operations start on May 4, 2019. 
Click Here for the 2019 Events & Special Activities for the 80th Anniversary Season, with hot links

Click Here for 2019 Special Events 

Click Here for 80th Anniversary Year - Seashore Trolley Museum 1939-2019 post
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year -A Look Back at the 50s - Seashore Trolley Mus.
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year - A Look Back at the 60s  - Seashore Trolley Mus.
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year -A Look Back at the '70s - Seashore Trolley Mus.
Click Here for The Birth of Seashore Trolley Museum Blog Post
Click Here for STM's Ten National Register of Historic Places Electric Railway Vehicles post
Click Here for 1901 Tower C Boston Elevated Railway to STM in 1975
Click Here for No. 38 - 1906 Manchester & Nashua Street Railway - Acquired March 21, 1940
Click Here for No. 60 - 1895 Manchester Street Railway - Acquired April 11, 1941
Click Here for No. 4387 - 1918 Eastern Mass. Street Railway - Acquired August 29, 1946
Click Here for No. 100 - 1906 Atlantic Shore Line Railway - Acquired 1949
Click Here for No. 108 - 1904 Portsmouth, Dover & York Street Railway - Acquired 1949
Click Here for No. 14 Narcissus 1912 Portland-Lewiston Interurban - Acquired 1969

See below for Donation options -

It starts with YOU
Your Donation Matters
Make a Donation TODAY

Please Help the Narcissus. 

Donation Options to Help the Narcissus Project:

The New England Electric Railway Historical Society (NEERHS)
is the 501c3 organization that owns and operates the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, ME and the National Streetcar
The NEERHS is registered with the IRS (EIN# 01-0244457) and was incorporated in Maine in 1941.

Check or Money Order ***** should be made payable to:
New England Electric Railway Historical Society (NEERHS)
In the memo please write: Narcissus Fund 816-A
Mail to: Seashore Trolley Museum
              P. O. Box A
              Kennebunkport, ME 04046

Credit Card ***** donations can be a one-time donation or you
may choose to have a specific amount charged to your card
automatically on a monthly basis. Please contact the Museum bookkeeper, Connie, via email at or by phone, 207-967-2712 ext. 5.

Online Donations - may be made by using a Credit Card: 
Click Here to make an online donation through the Museum's website - When at the Donation page: Fill in donor info, etc., when at "To which fund are you donating? Scroll down to "Other" and type in: 816-A Narcissus, then continue on filling in the required information.

Click Here for PayPal - to make an online donation: you can use email: and in the message box write:
For Narcissus fund 816-A

Donation of Securities ***** We also accept donations of
securities. You can contact the Museum bookkeeper, Connie, via email at or by phone, 207-967-2712 ext. 5,
for brokerage account information for accepting donated securities.

BONUS ***** If you work for a company/corporation that will
"match" an employee's donation to an approved 501c3 non-profit
educational organization, please be sure to complete the necessary paperwork with your employer so that your donation is matched :)

Questions? ***** Please contact Narcissus project manager:
Phil Morse, or call 207-985-9723 - cell.

Thank You :)

Thank You for our Current Funding Partners
20th Century Electric Railway Foundation - 2018 - Major Gift, 2017/2014 Matching Grants
Mass Bay RRE - 2018 Railroad Preservation Grant 
Thornton Academy (Saco, ME) - Staff & Alumni - Matching Grant Challenge 2014
New England Electric Railway Historical Society (Kennebunkport, ME) - Member Donations
Amherst Railway Society - 2015 Heritage Grant
National Railway Historical Society - 2016 & 2015 Heritage Preservation Grants
Enterprise Holding Foundation - 2015 Community Grant
Theodore Roosevelt Association - Member Donations
John Libby Family Association and Member Donations
* The Conley Family - In Memory of Scott Libbey 2018/2017/2016/2015
* The W. S. Libbey Family - Awalt, Conley, Graf, Holman, Libbey, McAvoy, McLaughlin, Meldrum, O'Halloran, Salto, - 2018/2017
* The Hughes Family 2017/2016/2010
New Gloucester Historical Society and Member Donations
Gray Historical Society and Member Donations
Gray Public Library Association - Pat Barter Speaker Series
* LogMein - Matching Employee Donation
* IBM - Matching Employee/Retiree Donations
* Fidelity Charitable Grant - Matching Employee Donations
* Richard E. Erwin Grant - 2017/2016

The Narcissus, with interior back-lit, stained glass windows are majestic.
Make a donation today to help restore the interior of this Maine gem.
Help Theodore Roosevelt's Maine Ride get back on track! Once restored,
you will be able to ride in luxury on this National Register Treasure at
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.
PWM photo

Please Consider Making a Donation to the project of the National Register of Historic Places member, Narcissus. We are currently raising funds to tell the incredible story of this Maine gem.

Various News stories during the summer of 2015 about the
Narcissus and its connection to Theodore Roosevelt. TR
was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914.

Click Here to See the list of All Previous Blog Posts - Index

The Narcissus - July 31, 2015. Make a donation today.
Help Theodore Roosevelt's Maine Ride get back on track!
Once restored, you will be able to ride in luxury on this
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.

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