A banal story question

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cyberbadger
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Re: A banal story question

Post by cyberbadger » Sat May 26, 2018 2:18 pm

A good thing to do when waiting is improve the current state of the boiler. Primarily this is by adding water (Engine Driven Pump, Steam pump, Steam Injector, etc), and fire management is important and you often need to estimate 5-10 minutes into the future - there being a time lag between adding fuel to the fire and actually see the pressure increase.

One thing that I do out of habit is cross check my sight glass to my tricocks. Tricocks don't lie, but a sight glass can read incorrectly.

Water is so important be it boat, traction engine, stationary, or railway - all steamers need to know their water level or they will have a very bad day.

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Finley
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Re: A banal story question

Post by Finley » Sat May 26, 2018 8:35 pm

Got it! And thanks! Can you tell me something about fuel? This is a futuristic scenario, and as he makes his way between archipelagos, he can stop to forage for fuel, but he doesn't now have any kind of purchased fuel. Any technical problems associated?
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DetroiTug
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Re: A banal story question

Post by DetroiTug » Sat May 26, 2018 8:54 pm

He would be looking for deadwood and bits of driftwood along the shore that has been out of the water for some time and dried out very well. But not rotten wood as it doesn't burn well.

Depending on his persuasions, he may even borrow firewood without permission from a woodpile at a house along the waterway.

He would refrain and complain about burning freshly cut wood as it is "green" wood with the sap, and although it will burn it has to be introduced to an already hot fire to have the sap cooked out before burning. Which equates to creosote collecting in the boiler and makes steaming very slow.

To start the boiler he would look for small dry kindling, again driftwood or sage grass, even dry leaves to get the fire going. It has to be done in stages.

One trick when no kindling is available and how I start fires, is take good sharp pocket knife and get a board of soft wood (white pine) and whittle long shavings or splits from the board, then bundle them up. I have made these in advance and tied string around about wrist-sized, they ignite easy and burn very hot. That would be something he could do while waiting.

The sight glass as Andy points out is priority number 1, but really only needs to be observed and maintained under way, if there is no steam consumption i.e. no engine or steam driven anything running, the sight glass would not change so it would not be necessary to keep checking it.

In an emergency situation anything that burns can be used, wood furniture, paper, rags, cardboard. I heard or read a comical story about a guy running a steamboat out away from shore and ran out of firewood and he had to burn his shoes to get home :) I've been close to that a few times.

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Re: A banal story question

Post by TahoeSteam » Sun May 27, 2018 12:06 am

Another fuel source can be crankcase oil from abandoned vessels on the beaches or vehicles on shore... Tainted fuel from said vessels and vehicles that won't work for internal combustion engines as well....

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Re: A banal story question

Post by Lopez Mike » Sun May 27, 2018 12:54 am

I misjudged my fuel situation so profoundly once as to limp home on the heat from a tube of 5200 caulk. Terrible smell though with all wildlife downwind dying forthwith.
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Re: A banal story question

Post by cyberbadger » Sun May 27, 2018 1:25 am

Finley wrote:This is a futuristic scenario, and as he makes his way between archipelagos, he can stop to forage for fuel, but he doesn't now have any kind of purchased fuel. Any technical problems associated?
So what a poor fuel can mean...

1) Very annoying is pieces of wood/fuel too long to fit in the firebox. This is a real pain in the butt because you really shouldn't run with the boiler firebox door open. So hopefully you have some good way to snap or cut the fuel so it is short enough to fit in and close the firebox door. Otherwise the fuel does you very little good!

2) Poor fuel can affect performance significantly. Specifically, trouble reaching the desired operating pressure and keeping pressure up. This can mean having to slow down or even stop and wait for steam pressure to develop.

3) Poor fuel can cause excess soot to build up on the boiler fireside surfaces which further limits effective efficiency and power.

-CB
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