About this project

The state of California contracted B.R. Howard to perform a conservation and restoration to the steam tractor belonging to Shasta State Historic Park. The tractor is self-propelled and powered by a single piston connected to a vertically oriented riveted steel boiler with integral firebox and stack. It’s believed that the tractor had originally been constructed as a steam powered core driller used in the mining of ore and coal. The wooden components had substantial rot and eventually collapsed which caused additional damage and bending of metal components.


What we did

The Shasta steam tractor (Keystone Driller) was photographed, examined, and all wooden components were measured and working drawings prepared prior to beginning conservation and disassembly of the driller.


All wooden elements were locally milled and shipped to the BRH conservation facility where they were rough shaped before shipping.

Timbers were sawn and drilled to match the original's contour and bolt location. Areas of active corrosion and scaling found on the metal components, fittings, and hardware were mechanically cleaned chemically stabilized, straighten and given a protective coating. Adjustable jack stands were fabricated and installed under the boiler, piston, and fly wheel to help support the areas of greatest weight, thereby reducing the stress exerted upon the wooden frame rails.