Another Engine Saved FROM THE GRAVEYARD


Pouring the large bull gear and pinions for the engine.

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RR 3, Shawville, Quebec JOX 2Y0

In the fall of 1991 my good friend Ken Barber of Renfrew, Ontario, said he was going to the steam show at Milton, Ontario, and I said to him, 'Bring me back some brass grease cups and some drip oilers when you are up there.' Well, Ken's always scouting around at some of the shows and he met Mr. W. R. Scott from Owen Sound, Ontario, who said he had a steam boiler for sale. He said it was a small boiler and was off a Sawyer-Massey portable steam engine. All he had was the boiler. Well, Ken came home and told me and I phoned Mr. Scott. As it turned out, I bought the boiler from him; Dr. Bill Burwell from Renfrew, Ontario, and I went for it in December.

At the Imbleau foundry in Renfrew, Ontario, one of the oldest businesses in Renfrew. Owner Bob Imbleau, right and Eric Campbell, left, discussing pouring the large bull gear.

We brought it back to Shawville, Quebec, a distance of 350 miles. I cleaned it up and he tubed it that winter, and made it ready to put on my traction engine. The next fall I took the old boiler off my Sawyer-Massey traction engine, and all the castings, shafts, levers, and all the gearing, wheels and platform. Then we had to take out the stubs of bolts from the other boiler. The engine had been removed from it years ago. Here is a little tip for you fellows removing bolts from a boiler: Never screw them out of the boiler, for you will spoil the thread in the boiler. Instead screw them into the boiler. Cut them off tight on the outside and drill a hole in the center of the bolt. Then put in a square easy out and turn the bolts into the boiler. This will leave a clean hole for the next bolt to go in and it will make a steam-tight-fit. Well, we leveled up the boiler every way and started to put on the castings. There were a lot of bolt holes that had to be drilled and taped for new bolts.

This being a boiler of a portable engine it was short of a lot of bolt holes. The gears were in bad shape, too, so I had to clean them up and make patterns out of them; then take them to the foundry in Renfrew and have them poured. It took two new differential gears, two new bull pinion gears, one new bull gear 33 x 3' face, and a new stub axle for side gear on the boiler. I also rebored the rear road wheels and made new oversize axles for the rear wheels. I also rebuilt the water tank and tool box. Also new shafts main and bottom and a new smoke stack were needed and a new platform and frame for it. Another little tip for you fellows is: the big jib keys like in the belt wheel and lower main shaft. I drilled the ends of the keys and threaded the hole. Now to take the keys out all you have to do is screw a stud in with thread on each end and pull out the key without damaging the key any. You can do this at the pinion shaft, as well.

It sure makes for a lot of work to put a portable boiler on a traction engine, but we were lucky in everything. Reach rods all turned out the same length, too. So the engine was easy to get in time again and that helps a lot, too. The foundry that I am close to is a very old plant founded in about 1845, so they did not have too much trouble to pour the gears for me and they used me very well also. I have now got my engine running again. I fired it up on the second of July, and I am planning to thresh with it this fall. If I do, I will have three engines and three threshing mills all going at the same time. I will let you know how it all turned out after the threshing is over.

Reboring rear road wheels. Note special shop-built boring machine which I made to do this job. There was no lathe required to bore these wheels.

As I said earlier in the story, I had rebored the rear road wheels. Now this can be quite a job, if you do not have a boring mill, or a big lathe to do it on. I made a boring machine to do the job and it worked very well. I was able to bore the wheels standing up against the shop wall. Also, I had to make a taller hydraulic press to put the disc wheel on the new shaft. With twenty ton press fit that took an extra day's work to make the press.

Robert Smith and I started work on this engine in November, 1992. We worked all winter on it and finished up most of it by the first of May. Anything that was broken or worn out we repaired or made new. Nothing was put back without being fixed like new, so now I have a like-new engine. It was quite a program to get it all finished. This is the 83rd engine that Sawyer-Massey made in 1895 or 1896. The serial number is 1083 and it is model L3. So with complete overhaul it should be around for a long time to come.

My Sawyer-Massey portable with wooden wheels is about one year newer than the traction engine. The portable serial number is 2104, made in 1896 or 1897. They are a matched pair.

I guess I will close this story for now, but before I go I would like to say this: Over the years I have read in IMA about engines with small fire boxes and about boilers on big engines all hard to fire. But I can say these engines have 13 HP boilers and 17 HP engines and they are easy to fire. In the summertime from cold, in 45 minutes you can have forty lbs. on the gauge. And I am working with good wood. You can shut the damper and put in water and never lose a minute's time. Sawyer-Massey really knew how to build a boiler, as far as I can see. Sawyer-Massey was the best in Canadian-built engines. These two engines are compound cylinders and very easy on steam. So you fellows looking for an engine to rebuild, get a Sawyer-Massey and you will never be sorry.

This is a tip about pouring babbitt bearings. If you don't want the babbitt to stick to the shaft, or the babbitt bearing to come out wrinkled up, take your acetylene torch and light it up but don't turn on the oxygen, just the acetylene. Get acetylene regulator to 10 or 12 lbs. and light, blow the black carbon fire onto the shaft, and blacken it. Then the babbitt won't stick to the blackened shaft, and the babbitt will come out smooth. This is a carbon coating we are putting on.

The engine fired up on July 2, 1993. The threshing mill was restored in 1992 and it is a 24 42 Favourite, built in Mt. Forest, Ontario.