1902 New Giant Undergoes Total Restoration
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With the work that Wayne figured the engine could possibly need, the job is anything but typical. Before starting steam engine repair, a restorer estimates the condition of two things: the boiler, and the gears. According to Wayne, the New Giant's gearing and wheels are in very good condition.
"For an engine as old as it is, that's really unheard of," he says.
He thinks that it probably spent very little of its life on the road. It was probably used as a stationary engine, such as a sawmill would use.
But when he looked at the boiler, Wayne discovered it needed significant repair.
"This is about as major a restoration project as anyone gets into, because of the work required," he admits.
This winter, a local welding company rolled new boiler plates for the engine. As of the first week of January, Wayne had them prepped to go back into the boiler. He cautions, though, that the boiler will never be "like new." It will still bear some unavoidable deterioration.
The gearing work may vary from the cosmetic – removing years of built-up scale, paint and grease – to fairly extensive machine work to recondition hubs. No matter: When Wayne, a tool-and-die maker at Tuthill Corporation, enters his shop at home, he tackles the work like it's all part of a day's routine.
How does Wayne sum up the project?
"It's going to take a lot of time, work and some dollars thrown at it," he says with a smile. FC
Follow along with the restoration of the 1902 New Giant as it progresses. In the next installment, Wayne hopes to have the boiler work and all four wheels done, read it here.
Karen Bates Chabal works in public relations (features and photography) for the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and has a growing interest in steam engines.
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