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A warm job on a Cold Steamboat

 
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:59 PM
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 153
Default A warm job on a Cold Steamboat

No matter how many winters have gone by that I have learned different ways to adapt to the cold, Alan Bates' saying, "There's nothing more cold and forlorn than a steamboat in the winter." still resonates in the back of my mind and will send shivers down my spine at the mere image of a snow covered paddlewheeler. Even though we've had a mild winter on this stretch of the Ohio river and there will be mornings when I walk out of my house and wonder I should dress so heavily, stepping inside the Belle will remind me. If you can't be in a warm place, then you try to find a job to keep you warm. Fortunately, one of those jobs is lapping the main engines' valves, so I've posted a few pictures not often seen and, sometimes, frustrating to explain in an age when valves are often expected to be tossed out for new. During my first searches for lapping compound, I would get perplexed salesmen from our plumbing vendors asking what one does with lapping compound--really? Why don't you just toss the old valve out for a new one? Granted, there are some situations where time is not on your side and replacing a valve is the best solution. In addition, valve lapping doesn't really lend much to the imagination. Although, grinding these big valves in a, seemingly, endless repetition can give rise to a few contemplative moments. These double poppet valves, though, do present the challenge of lapping two valves at once. I've managed to come across a few texts describing the strengths and weaknesses of these valves in these steam engines. While they were great for providing power quickly to the engine, their weakness was in not maintaining a good seat for long. How long? They were lapped in last winter and I remember being told this was often a routine activity for engineers on these boats when sitting idle for a significant period of time, so why not see what a season of cruising has done to them, eh? Anyway, it will keep me warm in the process. This is the aft exhaust on the stbd. engine.
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