Rear Tube Sheet Installation

Jim Connor reports on the installation of the rear tube sheet:

“Most of the job was done by Bob Ristow and welder Jeff Lund. The basic job was to reassemble the plywood template and see if it would fit through the front of the boiler, slide down the barrel and tip in between the throat sheet and fire box sheets. This worked and gave us the close assurance that the real sheet would do the same. It did. Sounds simple. The actual job of getting the sheet into place was NOT simple but went better than we expected. Next a hanger was welded inside the steam dome. A comealong was attached and used to lower the sheet into its final resting place. After some fitting the sheet was tack welded. More fitting is needed and sections of the firebox side sheets that have been cut out replaced. Next will be beveling the sheets and butt welding the tube sheet to the side sheets and crown sheet. The bottom will be riveted to the mud ring.”

Jim Connor photos.

April 22-23, 2006 Work Weekend Report

Bob Ristow writes:

“The work weekend of April 22-23 turn out to be quite successful. It actually started on Thursday (it started several weeks ago) by getting the rented air compressor situated, lining up all the necessary tools and checking them out, cleaning the area so that access would be safe and preparing food for replenishment of the workers.

“The rivet bucker was tried out on Thursday and found to be NOT functional. Pete Deets and Jim Baker spent a couple of hours soaking, cleaning, and re-assembling the bucker and it finally worked as intended. The ‘new’ rivet oven was fired up and proved to work perfectly. It runs on propane and didn’t even use one of the 100 lb bottles we had on hand (much more efficient than the old forge oven).

“Crew size increased as Thursday turned into Friday, 5 or 6 guys from Rollag Minn. Steam Association joined the regulars at NF to help rivet and thereby gain experience.

“Some critical work was performed on the 425 combine through the efforts of ‘Tennessee’ and crew. In addition, some work was performed on the #1’s running gear. The Rollag group removed brake shoe brackets, and the front ‘pony’ truck was rolled out from under the frame to the open area behind for reconditioning. New pins were made and replaced the old worn out ones on the brake shoe brackets.

“I am sure that other activities were completed but are not mentioned here, (old age sometimes alters one’s ability to remember all the details). Oh, over 200 rivets were installed in the three course seams and reinforcing throat sheet. Two belly plugs were installed in the new courses and the front corner washout plugs were welded in along with the blow down coupling.

“A great weekend of progress…thanks to all who were able to help….no matter to what extent…you are appreciated.”This should give everyone a picture of the riveting process.”

Jim Connor writes:

“First step was to get everything set up and in working order. That was done on Thursday April 20.

“Riveting took place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Last rivet about 4pm Sunday.

“Our friends Jerry from Fargo ND and Vern from Winnipeg had a long drive ahead of them. Thanks again guys.

“Rivets have to be cut to length before heating. Length can vary from hole to hole.

“Actual riveting: 1. remove every 5th bolt in the course; 2. Ream the holes, 2 or 3 steps; 3. Countersink both outside and inside the boiler; 4. Preheat the hole to be riveted; 5. Have the rivet at the correct temperature (2300 degrees F) Note……our new rivet forge worked very well; 6. Remove rivet from forge, knock slag off by hitting the side of the boiler two times, pass the rivet to the first man in the boiler; 7. He sets the rivet in the hole; 8. The bucker than sets the rivet to hold it against the rivet hammer; 9. The bucker guy than hammers with the bucker to further set the rivet and remove more slag; 10. The rivet is than hammered into shape by the rivet hammer.

“The time from the removal of the rivet from the forge to the end of hammering is about 20 seconds.

“Things have to move very fast and smooth so we don’t get an abort. Only had 2 aborts all 3 days. Not bad for a bunch of amateurs.

“Crew of seven works well. We had that and more.

“Thanks again for all the folks that made this happen.

“Especially the lunch crew each day.”

Photos by Jim Connor.

Work Weekend of Rivet Holes and Back Plate

Mike Wahl reports:

“It was another great weekend in the shop. This was weekend Four in a row. Great progress has been made since Snow Train. There were many people in the shop throughout the weekend.

“The number one priority for the weekend was to finish the rivet holes between the barrel courses. Jim Connors started with a crew on Friday boring holes. On Friday, Jim, Doug Klitzkie, and Bryon Schumacher completed the second course. This work continued Saturday with the same crew working on the first course. We worked late into the evening to complete the boring but when we quit on Saturday the holes were all bored.

“The second priority was to make a new backer plate for the throat sheet. This work started on Friday evening with Pete Deets and Tennessee cutting the piece of material. On Saturday Pete, Mike Flood, Jim Gaiser, and Ed Ripp continued work on this. By the end of the day the backer was fitted and the rivet holes were drilled.

“While this transpired, Al Joyce and Dave Wantz were busy in the machine shop making studs for the throat sheet.

“On Saturday Mike Flood and I went out and measured up the tender. With the nice weather we were able to spend a good deal of time looking the tender over and also looking at how the 22’s tender was repaired. From this information a repair plan and drawings will be completed.

“Chris completed seal welding smokebox seams. There is a little welding left to complete on the front ring and a few bolt holes to weld-up that are misplaced.

“Saturday we were able to complete another task on the list. Ron Kokemuller was able to loan an auto feed magnetic drill to complete the boring of all 196 tube holes. Ron thank you for finding this equipment, it has sure made short work of the tube holes.

“On Saturday Jeff Bloohm and Kelly Bauman gave me a hand measuring the driver tires and lead truck wheels.

“On Sunday the work on the backer plate continued with Doug Crary drilling the pilot holes in the sheet for the staybolts and marking the centers of the holes for the backers. When I left on Sunday he was busy drilling the clearance holes for the staybolts and the stud holes for tapping. Doug how far did you get?

“Doug and I also went on a scouting mission looking for the inlet check so a new mounting plate to the boiler can be designed. After some looking we have found it.

“Bryon and Ed on Sunday worked on tightening the course seam bolts. The third course is tightened up. We need to finish the second and first.

“As you can see it was a great weekend with the highlight being Jim Busse and his family putting together a cook-out on Saturday night. It was beautiful evening and great food. Thanks to Jim and his family.

“Thanks to all!”

Pete Deets adds:

“At one point in time we had three magnetic base drills working at the same time. One was the demonstration machine obtained & operated by Ron K. drilling the front tubesheet. The second was the Fein drill inside the boiler barrel that Jim C. and company were using to core rivet holes. The third machine was the BIG drill on loan from Jim Baker that Ed, Goz and I were using to drill the rivet holes in the throat sheet backer plate. With the stud work, welding on the smokebox and work on coach 425 going on at the same time it was a real happening place! Smoke, metal chips and excitement were in the air.”

Jim Connor photos.

Hole Boring Continues in Preparation of Riveting

Mike Wahl reports:

“For the third weekend in a row work has been happening in the shop. With the stress relieving completed back in January, we are able to move forward to complete the barrel seams. This is the number one priority on the boiler for us. The goal is to rivet all of the barrel seams during Spring Fling weekend. This ‘seams’ like a big goal, but there are only 175 holes to bore, bolt up tight, ream, and rivet.

“We made great progress on the rivet seams. The seam between the throat sheet and third course was completed. We were also able to complete approximately 50% of the seam between the second course and third course. This means we are approximately 50% completed with hole boring and bolt up.

“Next weekend we need to make a new throat sheet backer. This is number two priority. I would like to have this riveted in during Spring Fling or before so that the stud hole can be completed in it and this area ready for rear tube sheet installation. We have the code material at the shop and the old one for a pattern.

“Plans have been progressing in preparation for Spring Fling weekend. A new rivet forge has been purchased. Jim Connor picked it up and delivered it to the museum. We have a local source located for LP so we can rivet like mad and not run out of fuel. The required rivets for this task have been ordered and will be shipped in time for Spring Fling. We are compiling a list of other requirements and are working on procuring these items so we are prepared for riveting.

“The rear tube sheet template was shipped to the sub-contractor and a P.O. issued to make the rear tube sheet. The hope is to have this back by Spring Fling so tube holes can be bored in and it shipped out for heat treatment.

“Once the riveting is completed, the throat sheet backer is installed and stud hole drilled in the throat sheet backer we can start to fit the rear tube sheet.

“While this work progressed I spent some time looking over the tender tank. Discussion and ideas for repair were discussed so a plan of attack can be put fourth.

“All for now, hope to see you next weekend. There are many things to do.”

Jim Connor photos.

Tools of the Trade Explained

Momentum is a wonderful thing and we have it going here at MCRY! March 5 and 6 have been no exception with the help of Jeff Bloohm, Dave Bierman, Jason Sobcyznski, Jim Connor, Kevin Reihl, Tye Hasheider, Doug Klitzke, Dave Lee, Jeff Bloemers, Doug Crary, Steve Seibel, Mike Flood, Mike Wahl, Kelly Bauman and Skip Lichter.

A whole list of things were accomplished starting Friday evening as Steve came in then and prepped an air jam to be used for riveting. The air jam takes the place of one of the rivet guns by holding the rivet in place by means of an air cylinder that extends when the throttle is opened. The rivet is then “jammed” into place and held tightly enough that the other end can be riveted over and the head formed. This is a much safer approach as you don’t have two air guns pointed at each other near the edge of the work. It is also much easier on the crew as you don’t have to hold the rivet gun against the blows of the other gun.

Saturday Steve then finished a staybolt buck that had been started a while ago. The bucking bar is a heavy, solid cylinder of steel about the size of a rivet gun that has had the end machined just like a rivet gun to be able to accept the rivet snaps or forming tools. The end was case hardened to withstand the hammering it will receive and a handle was fabricated. The purpose of the buck is to be held against one end of a staybolt to counter the blows of the rivet gun applied to the other end.

The staybolt is a threaded rod (in our case 7/8” in diameter) that is screwed into threaded holes in the firebox walls in order to counteract the force of the steam pushing the sheets apart. The process of driving the staybolt is to hammer one end enough to cause the metal of the staybolt to swell into the threads which will ensure a strong and steam-tight joint. The buck is held against the other end of the bolt to keep the hammering from just pushing the bolt through the threads. In blacksmith terms this shortening and swelling of the bolt is also called upsetting.

While this was going on, the final length of the undriven staybolts was determined and the threads of the bolts were staked with a punch so they wouldn’t turn while being driven.

Another task undertaken was to drill the countersink portion of the rivet holes in the smokebox. As no magnetic base drill was immediately available some of the crew were introduced to an old fashioned approach–using an air motor and the “old man.” The air motor is an air-driven drill motor which can handle drilling, reaming, countersinking, tube rolling, or most any other job an electric motor can do. The old man is a bracket that is bolted to the work piece such that its arm will extend over the hole to be drilled, reamed, etc. Built into the back of the drill motor is a lead screw with a point on it exactly opposite the drill point. As the lead screw is turned it will extend away from the drill motor. If it is properly captured by the old man, it can be used to keep constant pressure on the drill bit and hold the drill motor straight and square to the work.

Mike Wahl went on an expedition and found the tubes that were purchased to go into the boiler of the #1.

Lunch was provided by Jeff Bloohm and was delicious bratwurst fresh from a butcher shop in Brownsville. What a treat!

After lunch work continued on the countersinking and then the ashpan was brought inside. After laying out the new pieces and examining the old much head scratching was employed to come up with an initial plan of attack. Mike Flood headed up putting the new pieces together. The pans themselves are now welded together and we must now come up with the best approach to either repair or rebuild the frames.

The Sunday crew of Bloohm, Bierman, Connor, Crary, Bauman, Klitzkie, Reihl and Sobczynski were up and ready to drive rivets. The air jam was employed and between 9 am and early afternoon the job was finished. Skip repaired the unloader of one of the air compressors to help speed the job.

The smokebox is finished until it is time to first fit it to and then attach it to the boiler and then fit it and the boiler to the cylinder saddle and the frame.

And as a side note, as of the end of the day on March 8, the third course patch in the boiler barrel is ready for inspection and then welding can begin on it.

A great many things have been accomplished in a short time by the willingness and giving of the volunteers. THANK YOU!

Photos by Jason Sobczynski