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-  Building the boat hull 1


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On this new page we'll see how I finished, trimmed out and piped my new BOILER

I went to the local lumber yard and picked up some mahogany 1X4 tongue and groove decking. I knew that the pieces would be too wide to fit the small diameter of the boiler and look right so out came the saws and jointer. What I did was cut the boards to length. The price wasn't to bad. About 60 dollars to cover my boiler and insulate it.

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The next step involved cutting these pieces lengthwise. I now have 40 pieces  about 1-5/8" wide. Once the sides were cut I set my jointer up to put a bevel on the edge.

 

 

 

       The bevels were done so when I glued the 2 pieces together they would follow a 10" radius to go around the boiler. I also chamfered the 2 edges   to simulate a vee into the wood like what was on the tongue and groove joint. I glued up enough to get 1/2 way around the boiler. I didn't do them all as I might have to make some of them narrower so when I get to the last piece it will fit in the bottom ring tightly. More on this later.

                  

I made a ring around the bottom of the waterleg to hold the woodlagging in place. It was made from 11ga. metal and welded on to the boiler. The boilers been sitting outside for a week or so and is starting to rust up a little.

 

 


Now for the HYDRO TEST


 


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I borrowed a test pump from a good friend I used to work for 25 years ago. I still remember building the test pump from back then. Never did I think I would be testing my own boiler with it 25 years later. Its capable of pumping to over a thousand pounds. I set it up for lower pressure using a built-in bypass regulator. It still works fine after all these years. I was surprised to find 115 lbs. of city water pressure.

 

I filled the boiler with water making sure to get all the air out as this will affect a proper hydro test. We all know that water will not compress so if there is a small leak it will show up instantly. The boiler showed no signs of leakage at city pressure So I brought it up to double the working pressure. It wound up just slightly above 250 lbs. Generally when doing a hydro you go 1-1/2 times the working pressure. Since this is all new and I'm not worried about bringing the pressure up a little higher. If this was a used vessel I would only have gone 1-1/2 the working pressure which would be about 190 lbs. per square inch.

After checking it for leaks I decided to leave the test on for 4 hours. I checked the gauge a couple of times in the next half hour and it looked good. I then started to work on the firebox door and got involved for about an hour cutting parts. I then remembered to check and see how the hydro was coming. I couldn't believe my eyes when the gauge was at 325 lbs. I opened a cock on the boiler and the pressure dropped back down to 250 losing only an ounce or so of water. It seems I filled it with fairly cold water at 10:00 AM and at noon the sun was beating down. It expanded the water to bring the pressure up over 300 lbs. I learned a valuable lesson to keep a careful eye on everything while doing a test. I'm just wondering how high this would have gone to if I hadn't noticed it and reduced the pressure. Well I guess it passed its hydro with flying colors. Well I guess its been tested for a working pressure of 200 lbs. if needs to be.


Back to finishing the boiler



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While The testing was being done I started making a firebox door. It was all done with 11ga. steel and the hinges were welded directly to the Boiler. This should be the last weld needed on the boiler itself. A brass latch and wooden handle was also fabricated. It was a change of pace doing a little wood turning for a change.

 

 

 

A catch was made and fastened to the firebox opening using a couple of 1/4 inch stainless steel machine screws. Slots were cut into the catch to allow the door to be held tightly closed. If the door gets too hot I can add a deflector on the inside of it at a later date.

 

 

 

 

The new handle was fastened to the door using a brass bolt and a captive nut on the backside. Next I will paint all the exposed metal parts of the boiler using a 1200 degree green paint made by Rust-o-leum. Now for the FUN part, the woodlagging!

 

 

The wood that I previously cut was stained with the same stain as the decks of my boat. Boy I've got a lot of holes to drill for all the inlets and outlets on the boiler. Well here goes the first one. The hole came in a joint so I clamped the two pieces together and drilled it on my drill press.

 

 

It appears that there is six pieces installed but in reality there are only three pieces. If you remember I had cut the boards down the middle and glued them back together at the same radius as the boiler. The fake vee looks great and is hard to tell from the tongue and groove joint. When I glued them back together I used random strips so the grain would look different in each piece. The effect worked well and they all look like separate pieces, In fact they are all separate pieces. I tried some of the hardware to make sure everything fit right and the wood was not out too far for the sight glass and the tri-cocks. I can just barely get a wrench on the tri-cocks to tighten them up properly.

 

Here's a closeup of two pieces together. I made up just over half of them and cut and installed them in place. I then cut 9 more pieces only a few inches long and set them in place around the ring at the base. I found that I had a 7/8" gap to fill for the end piece. One board is 1-1/2" wide so I needed to make up about 5/8 of an inch. I still had 8 more pieces to make at an angle so I planned about a 1/32 off each of the remaining boards before gluing them together as show in the picture. Now to see how they fit.

Last Piece

I missed by a little as the last piece wound up being 1-5/8" instead of an 1-1/2". Thats fine as when I get the varnish on I would imagine that I will be taking a little of the last piece. Since the last piece was only an 1-5/8 wide I had to take and cut my own groove and put a bevel on it. I did this on my table saw in just a few minutes.

 


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All of the pieces were then given the first coat of varnish thinned down about 25 percent. I numbered the backside so I wouldn't wind up with a jigsaw puzzle to put together. This will be the first of 6-8 coats to give a nice finish to my boiler. I then went out scrounging for insulating rope for the boiler door and some other items

 

 

I wound up with a couple of freebies from a couple of places I used to do business with. One was a piece of 1/2 insulating door rope that was given out freely. The other item from another company was a nice high density piece of 1/2 thick high temp insulating board used to cover breeching on large boilers. I will find out more at a later date on what it is called. Its rated for 1000 degrees and I will install this under the boiler with a piece of 1/8" steel over it for the floor of the ashpit. This will set directly on my plywood floor. I was trying to buy some light weight insulating fire-brick and cut them down to 3/4" thick. (You can cut the light weight bricks with a hand saw or on a table saw using a regular blade.) When I told my friend what I was doing he showed me the insulating board and I decided to go with that as I would be afraid the bricks would be prone to crumbling at some time as they are soft. He had a scrap piece just the size I needed. Its going to cost me breakfast someday but it was worth it as it sells for $5.00 a square foot or so he claims. More on this when I build the floor.

 

As I have some more varnishing to do I went to the local paddle store and bought 2 small paddles that needed to  be varnished. New York State law states that you must have one in your boat. I wonder if this holds true for a 75 or 80 footer?


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Well its about time! I've finally finished it and getting ready to do its first firing setting in my driveway. Its a nice sunny day and about 4 months after I started building it. The day I started cutting parts was in January and was warm and sunny, about 60 degrees which was quite warm for Northern New York.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I held the wood lagging in place with brass bands. Last week I built the floor for the boiler and it seems to work out just fine. It was made from 1/8" plate steel and 1/2" angle iron. If I find the time I will also include the building of it at a later date but the summers coming and I want to get steamming.

 

 

 

The fire started right up and everything seemed to be going just fine. I slowly added more wood as I didn't quite know what to expect from the new boiler. I was suprised that there wasn't a lot of smoking from the boiler and all the new paint on it.

 

 

I opened the damper full and sat back and watched. After about 20 minutes I was boiling the water and just starting to make steam. The flue pipe size seemed about right and I had a good draft using just 4 foot of smoke pipe for a chimney. I had visions of making a draft blower and all sorts of other problems but after 30 minutes I had a head of 40 lbs. of steam.

 

 

 

 

Just then one of my friends stopped by to see how I was coming with the boiler project. I quick handed him my camera and got a shot of the first whistle blowing. Boy, if I get any fatter I'll have to build a bigger boat to hold me. The boiler was still climbing in pressure and I found a couple of small leaks on the bonnets of gauge glass valves and the 1/4" cock on the gauge itself. It looks like I have to replace the 1/4" cock as has a spring on the backside and it won't tighen any more.

 

 

 

I  closed the damper down as the steam pressure was starting to climb over the 90 lb. mark on the gauge. It was still climbing a little with my damper closed but I guess thats normal. I let it go a tad over 100 lbs. for the first firing. The relief thats on it now is set for 135 lbs. but I will bee adding a second one thats set for 125. I personally think its safer to have two separate reliefs on a boiler. The chances are slim that both of them would fail. I do notice that most steamboaters use just 1 relief valve and have no problems at all. I guess its a matter of personal preference

 

Now that the boiler project is complete I'll guess its time to

"BLOW OFF A LITTLE STEAM"

Watch for istalling and piping the boiler in the boat but first I have to make 2 make-up water pumps


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