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Dan Lewis 02-03-2018 11:05 AM

Boiler Maintenance
 
3 Attachment(s)
Since I'm in the mindset of winter projects, here's a few shots of another job we do every few years--replacing feedwater pipe. Specifically, replacing the pipes inside the boiler. This section gets choked down over time as the impurities in the water get "cooked" into scale, even though we introduce a polymer through this section to treat it and the boiler drums. I had trouble getting a good shot of the entire length of pipe inside. You can see, though, where the pipe enters the top of the drum and, then, travels forward nearly 18 ft. It then takes a ninety degree turn down between the tubes and enters near the bottom of the drum, directed aft. As many of you already know, this internal section is the Snowden heater design Alan Bates describes in his "Engine Room Cyclopedium." As you can see, replacing this section is not a job for the claustrophobic. As you can see, you have to crawl along the top row of tubes, so you don't want to wear anything you don't mind getting threadbare as it gets drug across scale. I once made the mistake of wearing a new pair of boots inside and carelessly drug them along the tubes, only to find the stitching worn off one side. It's also a dilemma between wearing enough clothes to stay warm but not too much to not fit inside. In the distance you can also see the skimmer pipe. In the foreground you can also see the bracket threaded into the top of the drum to hold the float and counterweight for the VanDuzen gauge.

R. Dale Flick 02-03-2018 12:09 PM

*Cramped spaces/Dirty job/Claustrophobia*
YIKES! not for me and you can have it! I read a very gristly story from the old days and what happened to a guy inside cleaning boilers. YUK! Alan Bates not only wrote about it but had plenty to say in conversations. Yeah, it's really great "living the wonderful, colorful old time steamboat romantic life with music, whistles, calliopes dancing with the happy crew and jolly old captain," isn't it?

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati

Dan Lewis 02-05-2018 08:10 PM

I do miss Alan's wit and sense of reality when it came to operating a steamboat! Listening to him when he came around the Belle often made me feel a little more "grounded" in what I did and gave a sense of dignity to whatever "dirty" job I would do.


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