Searching For Vintage Boiler West Coast US

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Jim Alexander
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Searching For Vintage Boiler West Coast US

Post by Jim Alexander » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:57 pm

Greetings all. I recently picked up a St. Louis Steam Engine, circa 1898! It's still fully operational to my delight.
I've not calced out the HP as of yet, only has a 4" bore and 4" stroke. I would like to locate a vertical boiler that's a bit on the vintage side but still operational. Prefer wood or coal fires, conversion to LP would be okay.
If anyone knows of one, I'd deeply appreciate a holler. Located in N CA, the Sacramento Area.
Thank you.
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Re: Searching For Vintage Boiler West Coast US

Post by TahoeSteam » Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:15 am

Welcome to the forum Jim,

That's a nice engine you've got there!

On my travels with Cal Fire I've seen a few single-lap riveted VFT's in the foothills around Jackson, etc. Usually they're yard art. Probably would have to be re-tubed at a minimum, if they can be safely revived at all. Next time I see one, I'll try to get their contact info.

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Re: Searching For Vintage Boiler West Coast US

Post by RGSP » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:38 am

Welcome to the forum from me too Jim, and it is indeed a pretty looking engine you have there.

Do you want the engine to do serious work, or just get it to turn over under steam? It makes quite a difference, because by steam launch standards 4" x 4" is a medium rather than small engine, and it will need quite a lot of steam to run it properly. I would suggest something with only maybe 10 square feet of heating area, with 1 or 2 square feet of grate, would be enough just for a demonstrator, but 60 square feet might be more like it for serious work (less if you employ forced draught).

Either way, as said above, any elderly boiler will almost certainly need re-tubing, which if you're lucky is quick and easy, but in general is quite a demanding (and expensive) exercise. I would also be extremely dubious about a boiler shell more than 2 or 3 decades old, and with unknown pedigree - though you might be lucky. A new-built boiler could well be a better bet. The good news here is that many of the available designs resemble closely those from 100 years ago, and certainly wouldn't look out-of-place with your engine.

I'm in the UK, and so can't help with recommended small boiler makers in your area, but I expect someone else can.
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Re: Searching For Vintage Boiler West Coast US

Post by Jim Alexander » Mon Feb 20, 2017 3:50 pm

TahoeSteam wrote:Welcome to the forum Jim,

That's a nice engine you've got there!

On my travels with Cal Fire I've seen a few single-lap riveted VFT's in the foothills around Jackson, etc. Usually they're yard art. Probably would have to be re-tubed at a minimum, if they can be safely revived at all. Next time I see one, I'll try to get their contact info.

~Wes
Thank you Wes. Small world, i was with Cal Fire in another life, many many years ago. Worked out of the Santa Rosa headquarter, first two summers of college life. I love the job, very rewarding.
That would be great if you could locate a relic, I would definitely be interested.
Deeply appreciate.
Jim
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Re: Searching For Vintage Boiler West Coast US

Post by DetroiTug » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:52 pm

Quote: "I've seen a few single-lap riveted VFT's in the foothills around Jackson, etc. Usually they're yard art."

It would be pretty slick to use one of those old riveted out of service boilers as an enclosure for an Ofleldt. The looks of an antique with the innards removed and a hot rod contained therein.

-Ron
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Re: Searching For Vintage Boiler West Coast US

Post by cyberbadger » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:52 pm

DetroiTug wrote:It would be pretty slick to use one of those old riveted out of service boilers as an enclosure for an Ofleldt. The looks of an antique with the innards removed and a hot rod contained therein.
That's a pretty heavy enclosure! :) -CB
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Re: Searching For Vintage Boiler West Coast US

Post by Jim Alexander » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:18 am

Could be a good thought, have to think that one out! Stick an air compressor in it??
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Re: Searching For Vintage Boiler West Coast US

Post by Jim Alexander » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:28 am

Lets have a bit of fun, I must set the record straight, I do have a steam boat.
Only difference is mines in inches, not feet!
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Re: Searching For Vintage Boiler West Coast US

Post by DetroiTug » Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:33 pm

With the tubes and tube sheets removed it wouldn't be all that heavy, could use just the upper section and build a new lighter insulated firebox. The one I built weighs 99 pounds and it's over-built. Schedule 80 centerdrum, schedule 40 would have been ample strength and lighter.

An Olfeldt like this:

Image

Image

-Ron
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Re: Searching For Vintage Boiler West Coast US

Post by Lopez Mike » Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:25 am

One of the seldom discussed topics (at least in polite company!) is that boilers are a consumable item. Like tires on a car. Yes, they can last a long time but not a hundred years in a launch. I have a 1930 car and it does not have the original tires.

I would build or have built a new boiler but copy an old design (maybe not riveted though). Or build a modern design and let the casing or lagging look like it matches your engine.

You can have the best of both eras.
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