Let’s Keep ‘Em Puffing

7650 Banks St.,Justice, Illinois 60458

This is the time of the year, we all suffer from that old
plague, known as spring fever. We’ve tried everything including
sassafras tea, sulphur, and molasses, but there is still no

As we look out the window, we notice that Indra and mother
nature are offering new life. The trees and plants are promising us
a new years propersity, far better than the last.

We stroll outside like an animal coming out of hibernation,
wandering out to the shed and lo and behold, there’s old Betsy
standing there exactly in the same spot and condition that she was
left in. Walking around, looking her over, pull the flywheel, yep,
she’s free and okay. We open the fire box door and look inside.
We might notice a little bit of cinders that we didn’t quite
clean out, and some scale on the sidewalls, so we take a hammer and
pick around a little. Soon we hear a sound much duller than the
rest of the walls, so we find we have a thin spot. So, we mark the
spot with some chalk. Where else do we check? All of the lower
portions of the boiler, around the fire box, tapping very close,
making sure we cover every square inch of it. Wherever that rust
and mud was laying last fall when we gave her an acid wash job, tap
around all the stay bolts, and make sure they are sound. When you
find one that has a dead or cracked sound, mark it. Check all
around the boiler, at the water and steam line. Sometimes there are
some weak spots there. After you have located all the bad spots,
cut them out with your torch. I like to weld a small rod on the
stop bolt head, so I won’t drop it in the boiler, when I cut it
out. Before you weld in your patch, you should look the inside over
very close with a light and a small mirror, and make sure there are
no more cavities, or else they will get larger in the future. With
your grinder, ‘V’ out your parent metal and patch, so that
you can get full penetration. There is pro and con on which rod to
use or material to use for the patch. There are a lot of good
alloys on the market. Some prefer high carbon, and some like a low
nickel alloy. I sometimes use a low hydrogen rod for some

Perhaps you intend to give her a new set of tubes. After you
remove all the tubes, inspect the inside of the boiler thoroughly.
Make sure it is smooth, and no thin spots. If you should have to
cut out an area you may choose to replace it by rivets to keep the
old fashioned look. In most cases we choose a steel frame
55,000-65,000 pounds per square inch. We do weaken our seams by
rivets. This is true, for example; basing the plate strength as
100%, double rivet joint would be 70%, and the single rivet would
be 56%. So, by this, we soon realize the welding offers a better

Some of you may be building your own boiler and setting up your
engine on your own base or chassis, and you want the proper size
pipe. The steam pipe may be connected at any convenient point of a
boiler, preferably with a dome. If the boiler is to furnish steam
for an engine only, you should make the line diameter that of the
cylinder, and as straight as possible. Long curved bends are much
better than elbows. Perhaps you want one boiler to run several
engines. I will give you an example of what size pipe to use:

1.  1′ will supply 2-‘ pipe.
2.  1′ will supply 2-1′ pipe.
3.  1′ will supply 2-1′ pipe.
4.  2′ will supply 2-1′ pipe.
5.  2′ will supply 2-1′ and 1-1′ pipe.

Men often wonder whether the size of the pipe is measured on the
inside or the outside, while the fact is that it is neither one or
the other. The size given means nothing as an exact measurement,
and is, in fact, not much more than a name by which it may be
known. A 1′ ordinary pipe measures about 1 5/8′ diameter
and 1 9/10′ outside, and is often mistakenly called 2′ pipe
by those who are entirely unfamiliar with such matters. A 2′
pipe is 2 1/16′ inside and 2 3/8′ outside, while a 3′
pipe is exactly 4′ outside.

These expressions are often abbreviated to E.S. and D.E.S., or
they are sometimes written X and XX. You will also find them listed
as Schedule 20, 40, and 80. The outside diameter is always the
same, no matter what the weight of the pipe may be; the inside
becoming smaller as the thickness is increased. This of course is
essential in order that the same taps and dies may be used for all
pipe of a given size regardless of the weight. The internal area of
double extra strong is, for some of the sizes, not much more than
one-half that of ordinary pipe, and this is a fact which must not
be lost sight of when considering their relative discharging
capacities. For sizes below 1′, the area is much less than

The larger sizes of pipe, from 14′ up to 30′, are made
of even dimensions outside diameter, and are known as O.D. pipe
distinction to those above described, which are sometimes called
I.D., or inside diameter pipe, although, as previously observed,
they are none of them made to exact inches or binary fractions of
inches. The O. D. pipe can be had in any thickness from ‘ up to
‘, varying by 1/16’ while the I. D. can only be found in
the peculiar thicknesses given in the tables for standard, extra
strong and double extra strong, unless made to order in large
quantities and at special prices.

Next time, we will talk about horsepower of boilers and fuels.
Now, that should cause some arguments, debating and hair

Good luck to all. Hope to see many of you at the shows.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment