FIRING A BOILER
I really hate to come crying on your shoulder so soon, but here it is January 15th (1955) and I am still looking for my issue of the IRON-MEN ALBUM for Jan.-Feb. I am getting anxious and of course, beginning to think it has been lost in the mail. I know some of the fellows have had their Jan.-Feb. issue for some time. That is the reason I am writing and having hopes of you sending another copy if you have extras available. If you do send me another issue and I do receve the one that I feel sure you have mailed, I will give the extra issue to some one who is interested in steam and will try to get another sub. on your list. I think I added two names in the last month, however, they do not live in this part of the country.
I went to Alva, Oklahoma last Sunday and saw Mr. Roscoe Elliott's steam engine. I believe he mentioned that he had sent you a picture of it. It is a small one -however, it is large enough to ride on. Mounted on rubber tired wheels and using a twin cylinder Locomobile engine. He fires it with Butane and it is really nice. He didn't have it fired up when I was there though I would really liked to have seen it run. My little engine that I sent you a couple of pictures of a good while ago, really works swell. I have the boiler insulated and a real nice job on it. I have also made a new, more appropriate water tank and some other improvements on it. I also have made up a valve reverse gear consisting of two gears and a single eccentric that is as efficient as the Wolf or some other types but on a small engine where one is trying to stay away from all the wear by excessive moving parts, this type is, 1 believe, hard to beat. I might some time send you a drawing of it if you would care to show it in the hobby section of the ALBUM. You might let me know if you care to have one as to how best to draw it so as to show up good after protographing it.
Mr. Elliott had a lot of swell photos that he had taken at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa last September. I really enjoyed looking at them. I want to be at one of the 'Get-Togethers' this year if at all possible and I would love 1o take my little engine along as that is what makes a good show-to have plenty there. My engine is not modeled after any certain make but I believe it would prove interesting as it is quite like the general principal of the old threshing engines were. I get a big kick out of it and am sure will always enjoy running it. I am thinking of building another of larger size so as to ride it but I am still dreaming. Ha!
I want to compliment you and your wife on the fine magazine -THE IRON-MEN ALBUM. I think it is really tops and I am sure as time goes on it will be the largest. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it doesn't turn out to be a monthly before too long, even though the cost would probably be slightly higher, it will be well worth it I am sure. Please do not feel that this is another guy with a line he is handing out as it is not. I mean every word that I have said, in congratulations.
I may be sticking my neck out but I am going to enclose some 'Causes Why a Small Boiler will Not Heat', just for the fellows who are planning or have built one and are having troubles with it. You know, there are lots of fellows 30 years or more old who have never seen one of the old 'timer's in operation, know nothing about firing one or not very much pertaining to steam engines but still they are interested and would like to have information and experience. If you think this worthwhile to pass along you may go ahead as you feel.
I certainly want to wish you and yours a very prosperous New Year with lots of good material for the ALBUM and I hope to see it grow in size too.
BURL F. BOHLING, Gray, Oklahoma
Firing a Small Boiler-Some Reasons For Not Heating, Low Steam Pressure Etc. From Actual Experience
1. Not enough draft through the fire box-add extension to smoke stack 6' and up, stack or smoke box clogged. Low water level. Always start with plenty of water in boiler so as to have enough to last till steam pressure is high enough to operate pump or injector. However, if hand water pump is used, they can be relied upon for additional water supply.
2. Dirty flues; clean before each firing, also some times it is necessary to clean again after firing up due to sweating inside of boiler and collecting of soot, causing sticky deposit and causing insulation effect, more noticeable in cold weather. Also can be caused by some fuels such as oil. Wood will do it too in cold weather -Watch for this condition.
3. Fire box door left open too long causing cold air to flow over fire. Leave fire box door shut. Do not make draft through fire box door. Stir fire frequently before blower starts due to small space and poor draft the fuel will tend to char because of the oxygen being burned out. After blower starts this cause usually ceases as the steam pressure comes up and blower action is greater the fire will get hotter as the draft is pulled up through the fire.
4. Do not have too great an opening below the grates for the draft. This will cause a back-lash and really a hindrance at times. Always have the draft coming in below the grates though, so as to not have cold air traveling in above the fire.
5. Down draft; caused by air currents being deflected by a building or some obstruction. Fire up in the open as far as possible to avoid this condition.
6. Water leaking from flues or some pin hole, or blower carrying water over and running back to fire box. Have drain hole in bottom of smoke box and KEEP OPEN. If flues or pin hole leaks let steam pressure go down and add some cinnamon through filler plug in boiler-NOT through pump or injector as this will clog jets and valves.
7. Too small of flues; when very small flues are used two or more larger flues should be fitted for draft purposes.
These causes are more from experiences found when using solid fuels such as coal or wood.