T goodhand boiler maker in Kent

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PeteThePen1
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Re: T goodhand boiler maker in Kent

Post by PeteThePen1 » Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:44 pm

Hi Colin

That looks a lovely combination of engine and boiler. However, in terms of getting it certificated I think you need to have a quiet few words with your insurance company. I seem to recall that the Steamboat Museum had a launch that was recovered from the bed of Windermere and the boiler was cleaned up, tested, etc. and seemed to be fine. (Any Forum Members remember the details?) Then the insurers threw a wobbly and said no they would not insure it so they were forced to get a replica built.

It might be worth getting in touch with the team at SBAS and talking to them about it. If you can get them a decent drawing of it and some measurements of the materials they could do the sums and see if it is theoretically safe by today's standards. It probably is as there are plenty of elderly locos still around and in use, not to mention traction engines. They would probably then be willing to deal with it as a 'normal' boiler test. Of course that might reveal thinning material in places but that becomes just an engineering problem. (Thus speaks the paper pushing non-engineer!)

Good luck.

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Re: T goodhand boiler maker in Kent

Post by Colin chandler » Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:48 pm

I think if it stands 160 psi hydraulic test with ease , then what's the problem? It only runs at 75psi
It's built by a professional there is no doubt,

perhaps I should arrange for it to be dropped from the edge of space loaded with plastic explosive into a nuclear reactor and see if the safety valve weeps


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Re: T goodhand boiler maker in Kent

Post by RGSP » Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:27 am

There's no point in trying to 2nd guess the boiler inspectors on something like this, and it is a tricky judgement call. The boiler may stand a hydraulic test to 160 psi this week, but it might fail catastrophically at 170 psi, and long term corrosion cracking may be invisible, but cause catastrophic failure next month. Part of the problem is having no idea of the specification of the steel it's constructed from, or indeed if it had any sort of specification when first used, or was just a bit laying around in the boiler maker's yard. I can think of a whole bank of tests which would yield useful information, but in the end it comes down to the boiler inspector's experience and expertise to decide which will be required, and he is entitled to just condemn the boiler if he thinks that's appropriate. You can appeal against that if you like, but the costs will probably be higher than those of building a new boiler, and insurance companies might not accept the appeal in any case.

Even at 75 psi, escaping steam can make you very dead in seconds: which isn't to say that the boiler won't pass testing with flying colours, and be entirely usable.
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Re: T goodhand boiler maker in Kent

Post by Lopez Mike » Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:18 pm

Just to keep things in perspective, I am unaware of any catastrophic boiler failures in our hobby. I may be mistaken. There was one traction engine disaster in the U.S. and that was completely due to gross failure to do ANY testing or examination and was due to amazing deterioration. The purchaser and almost immediate victim of his own fecklessness had been informed both verbally and in writing that the boiler was unsafe at any pressure. And there was NO system of inspection in place at that time. Since changed, needless to say!

I believe that the main reason for an inspector to ask about the steel in a boiler is to avoid someone building with high tensile steels or horrors like stainless. Any design that depends on increased tensile strength should probably never see pressure. The risks of welding problems and fatigue are just not worth it. We're not building aircraft parts here. Who cares if it is a bit heavier?

I have a locomotive boiler that is mostly made of well casing, a totally forgiving material. I am received of quibbling about the metallurgy. The boiler is being built for maximum weight for traction. The bursting point of the shell is in the thousands of pounds per square inch. Suitable for a scuba tank!

I am much more concerned about home built boilers with poor designs and bad welding as well as poorly executed fittings. Our local rules demand heavy wall piping at least out to the first isolation valve. I am much more concerned about my clumsiness breaking a pipe than I am about boiler shell failure.

As to your old boiler, I would bet a fair bit that if you look about inside with a bore scope, go over it with an ultrasonic thickness measuring device (cheap these days), throw out any half way questionable fittings and hydro test, it will be working well for many a moon.
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Re: T goodhand boiler maker in Kent

Post by PeteThePen1 » Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:44 pm

I do enjoy this forum as folk have lots of good points to make and it is nice to know that there are many ways to solve any given problem.

As a Paper Pusher by training, it has suddenly occurred to me that we are possibly doing way too much speculation. Here we have a vintage boiler installed in a boat that has been working under one or more previous owners. Mr David Hubbard from Cornwall is mentioned, so if he is still with us he might be able to point us to the firm that provided him with insurance or the other possibility is the name of the boiler inspection firm. Both will provide us with a paper trail back to useful documents. Those will be good for the next boiler inspector to help him get a feel for the boiler.

He can add to that all his thickness testing and visuals to make up his mind about certification rather than having to start from scratch.

Thus dare I hazard the statement that the pen is mightier than the spanner on this occasion?

Regards

Pete
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Re: T goodhand boiler maker in Kent

Post by marinesteam » Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:56 pm

Colin chandler wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:48 pm
I think if it stands 160 psi hydraulic test with ease , then what's the problem? It only runs at 75psi
It's built by a professional there is no doubt,

perhaps I should arrange for it to be dropped from the edge of space loaded with plastic explosive into a nuclear reactor and see if the safety valve weeps


You will have to forgive my humour, I can't help it
The problem is you don't know what you don't know. It's a 100 year old boiler of unknown origin (I'm assuming this since you haven't shown paperwork or design calcs or an asme stamp). 100 years use is a lot of stress and strain on the materials. You NEED to have it recertified by a professional before putting it back into service. This would include a thorough inspection, including an ultrasound to find if there has been any plate thinning due to corrosion and potentially recalculation of the MAWP depending on what is found. The professional will also be knowledgeable in the rules for antique boilers for your area including any required de-rating of the MAWP pressure for riveted boilers or for boilers made from steel of unknown formulation. The hydro is only part of the story and is suitable to check boilers that have maintained in service. This is not a case of "better be safe or be sorry" but one of "be safe or you WILL be sorry".

Cheers

Ken
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Re: T goodhand boiler maker in Kent

Post by RNoe » Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:54 am

Based on my 5 decades working with full-sized locomotive boilers and 1/8th scale live steam boilers, I always choose the safe path.
That means if the boiler cannot be fully tested (non-destructive testing) to meet today's pressure vessel certificate requirements, I choose to replace it.

My 55-year-old steam launch restoration project got a new boiler identical to the original Blackstaffe boiler. The old one could not be properly inspected internally, even with small remote camera. All those coiled copper tubes prevented internal inspection.

Because I plan on hauling guests in the steam launch, safety dictated the conservative approach. As did my body.
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Re: T goodhand boiler maker in Kent

Post by Colin chandler » Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:23 pm

Thanks for all the comments,
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