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