That experience came in handy recently when Earnest decided to use wood to create a detailed model of the machine.
It took about three months for Earnest to finish his project. "I worked on it off and on," he said.
Recently, the 65-year-old Parrish resident showed his labor of love to some other former miners who gathered for breakfast at Ryan's Family Steakhouse in Jasper.
Every time he brings it out, those old retired coal miners have a fit over it," said Earnest's friend, Paul Graves, who also once worked as a mine electrician.
Earnest, who worked in the mines for 32 years, said when he began making the model, the only blueprint he had was in his memory.
"He hadn't seen one of these things in 10 years," Graves commented, adding that it appears Earnest didn't miss a single detail.
Earnest said the most difficult part of this project was getting the proportions right.
"I didn't have any idea when I started it would turn out like this," he said about the model made using trial and error.
Earnest, who enjoys wood sculpting in his free time, said he has given some thought to painting his latest work the same color of orange used by its manufacturer, Joy Mining Machinery.
Earnest said most of his sculptures have been passed down to his grandsons.