283 Abbeyfeale Rd. Mansfield, Ohio 44907
It all started when I decided to sell my motorcycle and buy a
steam engine of my own. I made this decision because I had run my
father’s steam engine and really enjoyed it. I always liked to
help Dad run his engine at the Dover Steam Show and the Richland
County Steam Thresher’s Show. My father is Tom Woodard of
Mansfield, Ohio. He owns a 1920,18 HP Advance Rumely #15278; it is
in excellent condition. Because I value my father’s knowledge
of engines, I asked him to help me in my hunt for a steam engine.
Word got around and Dad received a call from Bill Kennedy in
Elizabeth, West Virginia. Bill said that he had an engine he would
be willing to sell from his collection. A 1911 or 1912, 13 HP
Gaar-Scott engine #14368. After a trip to Bill’s place to check
out the engine, I decided this engine would be the perfect one for
me. It was an engine that looked easy to operate and would be the
perfect engine to teach my two sons, Bret and Zachery, to run.
Dad and I received the engine the second week of November, 1984
and immediately started to take it apart. As you can see by the
picture, it was in pretty bad shape with the exception of the
boiler and stay bolts. You could still see thread down to the crown
sheet on the stay bolts. The boiler and stays were the deciding
factors of the purchase.
What you see is what we got. The only things not shown in the
picture were the governor, whistle, stack bell, doors and coal
boxes. The following will be a list of things we did to the engine
in a ten month period. We had the engine ready for the 31st reunion
of the Richland County Steam Thresher Association’s show at
Malabar Farm on September 28-29, 1985.
I started by taking everything off the engine that I could get
in my basement workshop. The first things cleaned and painted were
the head, steam chest cover, clutch and reverse levers, all valve
linkage, connecting rod, crosshead, fire and draft doors.
Next were the governors. After dismantling and replacing the
worn shaft and ball bearings, I reblued the spring steel bands,
polished the brass, painted and pin stripped all component parts.
It was then assembled and set aside for later.
I then turned my attention to the link reverse. I made all new
bushings and turned the pins to fit. This took care of all the lost
motion from the reverse lever to the eccentrics.
While the snow was flying during winter I was polishing brass.
This included filing all the rough castings, then sanding with 400
grit wet-dry and polishing it on a wheel. The throttle was
completely rebuilt at this time to make a good tight seal because
this is the only valve between the boiler and engine.
The engine has a Baker piston valve and was in bad need of
repair. We had to drive the piston out of the valve cage with a
hammer and wood block as it was rusted fast. Dad honed the valve
cage with a cylinder hone to remove the rust, then disassembled the
spool portion of the valve and carefully cleaned all the rings. The
valve was then oiled and assembled. The piston, rings and cylinder
were all O.K.
We had a very difficult time getting the flywheel off but
perseverance paid off and we won the battle.
The intermediate gear had all but five teeth with the corners
broken off. Closer inspection showed the main bearing bracket on
the flywheel side was broken at the bearing cap studs. I purchased
the best cast rod I could find and welded both the bracket and
teeth on the gear. I then made a pair of bearing sleeves to make up
for wear in the intermediate and differential gear hubs. This made
the gears run true and straight once again.
By now the engine was down to the bare boiler and was setting on
cribbing. An air needle scaler was used on the boiler, wheels,
flywheel and all other parts in order to clean them down to bare
metal. They were then given a good coat of primer.
A complete smoke box was put on sometime before I purchased the
engine and was already starting to rust from neglect. The front
flue sheet from the top stays down was removed, as this was the
only thin place on the whole boiler. While the flue sheet was out,
I crawled inside the boiler and gave it a real thorough inspection.
Everything passed inspection so we had the new flue sheet and
flange welded in place. Now it was time to replace the rivets that
were removed with the old sheet. A visit to the local structural
steel company proved lucrative; they still had rivet guns, bucking
bars, and tons of rivets left over from the days when all
structures were riveted. We purchased two air hammers, rivet snaps,
a bucking bar, and ‘ rivets. We replaced all the rivets plus
put two rows of rivets in the smoke box to match the barrel.
It was now time for the flues. There were forty-one new 2′
flues which came with the engine. With the new flues in the boiler
it was back in shape to be tested.
By now the engine bed, boiler and all component parts were
primed, painted with two coats of paint, and pinstriped. It was now
time to put everything back together. Everything seemed to fall
right in place and soon we were ready to set the valve. We made
lots of inquiries about how to set the valve, but had little luck
as no one seemed to know how to set the valve on a link reverse
with a piston valve. I read through some old books Dad had on
setting valves and we were able to get it set with the proper
amount of lead on both ends. With the valve set, we put the steam
chest cover on and completed assembly of the engine.
Next came the smoke stack. Once we had the metal rolled and cut
to size, a row of rivets were put up the back. The stack flanges
were gone so we made a pair out of ‘ steel plate and strip
stock. I obtained all the necessary measurements from a 13 HP
Gaar-Scott #14162 owned by Howard Miller. I took photographs and
measurements of the stack, head tank and brackets, footboard, and
footboard support rods.
We began work on the head tank soon after we had all the
measurements we needed. The tank was made from a water softener
tank Dad salvaged some years ago. It is only 1′ in diameter
smaller than the original, but not noticeable. We cut it to size
and welded in a top and bottom. We put a row of rivets around the
top, bottom, and up the back seam in order to match the original.
We added a site glass which was visible from the footboards in
order to tell how much water was in the tank. (This proved to be
very handy at the show.) Once the water tank was done, I spray
painted it and delivered it to Don Snyder, the carpenter where I
work. He painted the Gaar-Scott tiger emblem on the tank. As you
can see by the photographs, he did an excellent job.
The engine at this point was complete except for footboards and
plumbing. I took rough sawn oak and planed the boards down to a
full 2′ thickness. They were then sawed to an appropriate
length. Next we proceeded to heat and bend the rods for the
footboard supports and brackets. With completion of the footboards
all we had to do was mount the new coal boxes and run the plumbing.
All new pipe and couplings were used to plumb the engine and it
gave a nice, neat appearance.
Time was closing in, as the Rich-land County Steam Show was only
two weeks away and we had to test the engine and work out any bugs
before the show.
We put the hand plates in the boiler, grates in the firebox and
filled the boiler with water to the top of the steam dome. We put a
hydrostatic test of two-hundred pounds on the boiler and it held
with no leaks.
With the test over, we drained the water down and proceeded to
fire it up. Once one-hundred and fifteen pounds working pressure
was reached, we belted it to the Baker fan. We let it run all
afternoon trying to get a little time on it and to get the new
bushings run in. The first time it was fired up we spent most of
the day tightening, adjusting and working out the bugs. The second
time it ran as quiet as a mouse. It sure was a pleasure to watch
the link reverse run and not hear a single bit of noise.
The head tank was still off the engine when we started it. In
order to get water into the engine we used three, five gallon
buckets and a garden hose first filling the buckets, then turning
on the injector.
Five days before the show the head tank was finally ready. With
the tank on, the engine was now complete and ready to be
The engine ran great both days of the show with no trouble at
With the show over and cold weather coming on, it was time to
drain the engine and put it away for the winter. Before I put it
away I belted it up to Dad’s sawmill and sawed wood for a cab.
Next spring my engine will be sporting a brand new short cab. The
engine originally had a full length cab.
I would like to pay special thanks to the following people who
helped make my dream come true: Tim Flood, C. E. Christian, Jr.,
Don Snyder, and most of all my father, Tom J. Woodard.