9313 4th Line, R.R. #5, Milton, Ontario L9T 2X9
Now priming became an issue all of a sudden. Did we want it
primed for acrylic paint or for oil based paint? Up to this point,
I did not know there was a difference. I knew acrylic paint looked
better and stayed better, but also felt it was too expensive for
this big a job. We decided to go with the oil based paint primer.
Bad decision! As time went on, we realized that to go to this much
work, time, effort, and expense, the best was none too good. Well,
not much happened during the summer of 1993. We had steam shows to
go to, and work to be done, and we both got busy doing other
things. Time flew by and all of a sudden, it was fall.
While all this had been happening at home, Boilersmith had
modified their plans for the boiler, sent them to Toronto to
M.C.C.R. and had them approved. The stamped blueprints now in hand,
they could start to order steel, make pieces and put it all
together. One day, I got a call to bring the old boiler home since
they were through with it. The new boiler was well on its way, and
would be ready in a few weeks. Eventually, it was, and once again
we were off to Seaforth (about 100 miles away), to bring home the
shell of the new boiler. It was a pretty looking sight to behold.
It finally looked like one day we would have an engine put together
In Ontario, when you do a boiler job such as this, it has to be
done in stages. That is to say, when the boiler first came to us,
it was only a shell no fire box, no stay bolts, no tubes, no flue
sheets – -just an outside shell, The reason for this is that after
marking, drilling, and tapping all the necessary holes, Ontario
Pressure Vessels Act requires a plug to be put on the inside a
piece of metal about one inch thick and approximately 1 inches in
diameter. Boiler smith would put this on the inside, before
completing the boiler.
We had to set every piece in place where it would eventually go,
before drilling or tapping any holes. The reason for the plugs was
that the studs that hold the castings to the boiler would not go
through into the water, as they used to when it was built
seventy-six years ago. That way there was no possibility of leaks.
These plugs were also drilled and tapped about
3/8 of the way through. The stud then would
be about one inch deep. We had to be very sure that each hole we
drilled was necessary and in exactly the right place. There would
certainly be no chance to move it afterwards. This means that the
gears all had to mesh exactly right and the engine had to be lined
up with everything else. This turned out to be a big job, because
there were no studs to hold anything while we put on the next
piece. We used clamps and chains and bolts in the stay bolt holes
with clamps to put it all together. Bim figured out how to do all
this. I am sure he sat up nights thinking this one through.
However, as time went on he got it all laid out on the new boiler.
I took some pictures of this and he did the work and the
When he figured he was as close as he could possibly be, he
marked all the holes with paint and then with a centre punch. He
must have been very close, because later we were to find out that
everything fit exactly right. He took all those castings and engine
off the new boiler again a lot of heavy lifting and handling, to be
Now, to drill the holes. For this job, he rented a magnetic
drill, since every hole had to be exactly ninety degrees to the
surface. As most of the surface was on the round, we had a piece
made to the curvature of the boiler and the flat of the drill. He
drilled all the holes and tapped them all the same day with the
same drilling machine. It did a great job and turned out just fine.
Now, that we had drilled about 80 – 90 holes in the new boiler, it
was off to Seaforth with it, back to Boilersmith. They would now
put the plugs inside, install the firebox, the flue sheet, and the
stay bolts. They would have it inspected and passed by M.C.C.R. and
A.S.M.E. Then it would have to be sent out to be stress-relieved.
This is a process whereby they put the whole boiler in a furnace.
It takes about 6 hours to bring it up to 1200 F, hold it there for
eight hours, and let it down slowly. I believe this was done in
Stratford. After this, it was all descaled, brushed, and painted
with several coats of black paint. At this point, it was all ready
for the customerme!
About November 1994, we went back to Seaforth to bring home the
finished product. Did it ever look good! I was so happy, I could
have kissed it, maybe I did, I don’t know!!
While all this had been going on in Seaforth, we at home were
trying to decide where, how, and by whom would all these parts get
painted. It was finally decided that Bim would paint them himself.
We purchased a new spray painter for the job – one that uses 4 lbs.
psi, but with lots of air volume, with very little over spray or
spray haze. That proved to be one of the best things we did right.
It saved enough paint to pay for itself on the one job. All the
parts were prime-washed before being primed again.
As you will recall, we had primed them for oil paint. As a
result, we had to prime wash all the parts, and then reprime them,
two coats for acrylic paint. We had finally decided that acrylic
paint was the only way to go, in this day and age. Now, there were
about ten tons of these parts and they had to be brought inside on
pallets by forklift and thawed out. As this was cold weather, all
of the frost had to be out of the pieces before anything happened.
So two or three pallets at a time were brought in, thawed out,
prime washed, and undercoated twice. Then, they had to go outside
again, as we did not have room to keep them inside.
Later on, each piece was brought in again, thawed out, and
painted with two coats, let dry, and then taken back outside. Each
batch of parts we brought in took about 2-4 days to do. Every part
was done like this except for the back wheels. They were too heavy
to handle that many times. Eventually they were primed and painted
outside when the weather got better. Most parts were painted
maroon, but some were green and some were black. Painting turned
out to be as big a job as any other one we did.
Finally, about January 1995, we got the new boiler into the shop
to start reassembly. Bim started with the rear wheel brackets. We
cut plates to put on the outside of the boiler to make the axle
come level, so the wheel would stand straight up and down. We had
to do this because the new boiler was parallel sided, whereas the
old one had been wider at the bottom than at the top. After the
wheel brackets came the big compensating gear with the shaft across
the front of the firebox underneath and the pinion gears. This
proved to be no problem but lots of heavy work and forklift
Next came the intermediate gear, and with the help of a shop
crane, etc, it too slipped into place very easily. Worked into all
this was the steering gear, the brackets for the levers up on top,
and other small parts, but all very important. The engine itself
was put onto the other side and finally the main shaft across the
top. All this came together exceedingly well. We knew there just
had to be a catch somewhere. There was.
After most of the pieces were put on, the piping was next. We
knew that we needed all new piping, so we got pipe for the water
feed, as had been on it before. We got all 3000 lbs. test elbows
and tees, but we did not realize we needed heavy wall seamless
piping as well. Before we went too far, Bim did check with his
boiler inspector, and that’s when we realized our mistake. So,
we took off all the black piping, went back to the supplier, and
got heavy walled, seamless piping. We thought we were away this
The plumbing all went well until we came to the big steam pipe
from the steam dome to the governors. In a distance of about two
feet you have two elbows, two unions, a shut-off valve, a tee for
the whistle, the throttle valve and so on. Now to make all that
come exactly right for that many pieces to be tight and still be
exactly the right length took some doing. Some people who looked at
our problem said it couldn’t be done. But once again
perseverance paid off. It took a week to put that piece of piping
together. Eventually it all came together and hooked up.
Last but not least, we got the back wheels painted and put back
on. Then the back platform, superstructure, the rear deck. I made
new two inch oak planks for the rear deck and took them to
Bim’s shop and put them on. Then the water tank and wood box
were installed on the other side. These had been rebuilt and were
ready. They had been primed and painted and mounted and piped into
the system. After all this was done we masked the boiler and
painted all the pieces once again, two coats. I hired a painter to
do the striping on the engine. He spent a whole day doing all the
wheels, the spokes, in the wheels, the engine, the gearing, and so
on. He put our names on the back of the water tanks and made a good
job of it, too.
Finally in early June of 1994, we were ready to take it outside
for the first time. What a beautiful day that was for me! Bim
hooked his John Deere AR onto the engine and towed it out the door.
We couldn’t put the smokestack on until we got outside, the
door not being high enough .
But our work was not over, as Bim had figured we needed to
repour the babbitt in the main bearing next to the flywheel. We did
not do the one on the engine aide because it was in good shape.
Being a one-piece casting it was all in the right place anyway. But
of course, the other had been apart and moved and had to be
repoured to be lined up. We lit the first fire in the new boiler
just enough to warm it up a bit, because babbitt cannot be poured
into a cold casting. So after filling it with water and lighting
the fire, it seemed as if we were getting some place. It had been a
long slow process. We wrapped the shaft with wax paper and heated
the babbitt on an old kerosene heater and poured the right hand
bearing. We poured in two halves, first the bottom, then the top.
It turned out just fine. A little scraping and some oil holes to
drill and cut out, but not hard to do at all. 1 thought there would
be a lot more to it than that. I was amazed at how simple pouring
babbitt really is.
After we got the right hand main bearing poured, we found out
the intermediate gear did not mesh with the pinion gear. So Bim
took it all off again and took the casting that holds the
intermediate gear. In the drill press he made the holes oblong in
shape by drilling little holes around the stud holes and chipping
out the piece. When it was reassembled and the gear was up to where
it should be, we made little funnels or scopes and poured babbitt
into the enlarged holes. Then we put on a big washer and covered it
up again so that you would never know. This proved to be a
day’s work, but a good way to solve the problem. The gears
meshed right and were quiet when we got running again.
Well, the following Sunday Bim put a fire in the box and brought
it up to pressure. I had bought a new safety valve for it and a new
steam gauge. These had to be certified as being correct and then
had to be certified as being correct with each other, according to
the rules of the boiler inspector and M.C.C.R. The boiler had come
in January of 1994 from Boilersmith in Seaforth. Because of that,
it came with a 1994 boiler certificate. No inspector had to look at
it until the spring of 1995. And that’s another story. I’ll
get to that later.
The First Summer of Shows
The first show to which we took the engine was at the Ontario
Agricultural Museum. It performed reasonably well. We did not work
it on anything, but had a good time admiring it and driving it
around. I did not get much time to play with it, as I had other
things to do. My nephew Brian had a good time with it.
Then we took it to Caledonia, Ontario, for the first weekend in
August and had a good time. We finally got the governor belt in
line, so it would stay on.
The Milton Steam-Era was next, on Labour Day Weekend, the first
of September, 1994. It was at the conclusion of this show that they
saw fit to present us with the Johnson & Holt Trophy for the
best restored engine at the show. It was a thrill to receive it,
and we were grateful to all concerned.
After Steam-Era, the engine came home to our own shop at the
farm. We decided to do it up right and put a jacket on it. Now, a
jacket is just that. It is a coat to keep it warm. It had had a
jacket in its former years. I always like the engine with a jacket,
so we thought we would put one on again.
First, we put on band iron, half inch wide by quarter inch
thick, about five places down the length of the boiler. We tied it
at the bottom so it would be tight on the boiler. Then we cut
wooden stays about two inches wide with a 7 degree bevel on both
edges. We laid them on the boiler starting at the top and working
down both sides, making all the little cut outs for pipes, etc. We
fastened these together with a large stapler, putting in a staple
about every foot to hold them altogether. When we got to the
bottom, we left them about two inches apart, right down the centre
at the bottom, so as to let any drip from the boiler drain out.
Then we fastened this all together with strapping, like on a wooden
box, using strapping about inch wide and quite thin. We drew that
together at the bottom to make it all come together. We did the
steam dome the same way, only we used one inch pieces of wood
there. It all looked quite good when it was done.
At this point, I got a fellow by the name of Gordon Tuck from
St. Thomas, Ontario, to bring us some sheeting. He had had it
rolled to fit around the boiler and made it so it would hook
together at the top. We made all the sheeting to fit in one day. It
was amazing to see this man work with that sheeting. He had done it
before on his own engine, and it was joy to see how he could make
those pieces so that they fit exactly. Then I took the sheeting off
again so that I could take it to Bim’s workshop. We painted it
a dark blue. We prime washed it, primed it, and put two coats of
paint on it in one day. We went back a couple of days later and
brought it home again. Then we had to put it all on again, without
scratching it. That was quite a job. In a couple of days, I had it
all installed and held in place with some sheet metal screws. Then
we used brass bands, I had obtained a roll of two inch wide brass
banding. It was made up and put on at every joint in the sheeting.
It looked good. Rollie, the painter, came at that point to put the
name back on the side again, as well as a few touch-up spots.
The Final Product
Well, it was now January 1995, and plans were under way to put
on a display at the International Farm Show in the International
Centre in Toronto. One day I got a call from Charles Batt from
Barrie, Ontario, to see if I would bring the engine to the show. I
had a sign painted up detailing the history as far as I knew it.
‘From 1913 to 1994’ the sign read, and if I do say so
myself, it looked pretty good. The engine was trucked to and from
the farm show by Neill Transportation of Milton, free of charge. We
used a hang-up sign at the show.
I think the first and foremost thank you should go to my good
friend William (Bim) Watson for all the hard work, thought, and
perseverance he put into it. Without him I could not, and would
not, have attempted to do the restoration. Thanks, Bim.
To Bob Clarke who rebuilt the governors.
To Roger Coulson who helped with his backhoe, lifting and moving
To Denise Coulson.
To Jack Layman who did machine work for us.
To Jamie McBay for trucking the engine with care.
To Charlie Smith at Boilersmith for doing a fine job on the boiler
To a host of others who helped, a little here and there.
Gladys Hume, William ‘Bim’ Watson and Sherwood Hume,
with the best restored steam engine trophy, at Milton Steam Era
Show in September 1994, at Milton, Ontario, Canada.
Sawyer Massey Steam Traction Engine No. 3368, manufactured in
1913, and painstakingly restored by Sherwood W. Hume, 9313 4th
Line, R. R. #5, Milton, Ontario, Canada L9T 2X9.
Last, but not least, to my wife, Gladys, who put up with me, who
gave me moral support and supported the project from start to
I had a great time with the restoration, but I don’t think I
would ever do another, partly because of the expense. I won’t
say how much enough to say the boiler cost about $30,000 and then
we had to put it all together after that. It was fun and I loved
every minute of it. But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
As to future shows, etc, I would like to take the engine to some
American shows, as it has an A.S.M.E.’s stamp on the boiler, It
should pass A.S.M.E. inspection with no problem. Here again,
transportation is expensive but if I were to get invited to go the
U.S.A. with it some day, I guess we would find a way to get it
To all you out there in Steam Engine Land, I hope you all have
as much fun with your engine as I have with mine!