Work in April was more of the same on the #18, jacketing, smoke box, and plumbing.
The smoke box was the big push. The first thing was to manufacture and install the baffles. We first cleaned up the old studs on the tube sheet and made two angle iron brackets to bolt above the tube holes. Then, using the 1/4″ plate Forrest had previously roughed into size, we cut the plate into three pieces and bolted it to the new brackets. Finally we made a lower bracket that spanned the width of the smoke box. It took two of us with long arms to reach the lower bolts and tighten them up. With baffles in, Marty began to manufacture a blower ring. Because the original single pipe angled upwards providing the blower was in poor shape, we decided to make a blower ring. A blower ring is effectively a circle of pipe that goes around the exhaust nozzle with – in this application – four small holes directed towards a center point in the exhaust. This is a common thing on locomotives and a big improvement over the single pipe. After all the internal smoke box work was complete we installed the smoke box door and frame. Official videographer Ed did a short fill of its installation which can be viewed here.
While all the smoke box work was going on, it was time to put our new snap track into service and bring the engine out to install the sand dome and air pump. Because of the height of the stack and tent door we couldn’t bring the engine all the way out – this is in process of being remedied with a new door. As in the past, the locomotive easily rolled out, farther than it’s been to date. With the stack almost against the tent door we had enough room to set both the sand dome and air pump. As we had also found in the past, there is a very slight down hill grade and combined with the freshly rebuilt running gear, a half dozen guys can push the engine back inside the tent without too much trouble.
With the sand dome in place, Forrest and Doug spent the rest of the weekend continuing on the jacketing. By quitting time on Sunday the jacketing was starting to really look good. One or two more work weekends should have it complete, except of course for the cab portion.
The final weekends project was to continue to manufacture all of the in cab lube lines and connections, most of which we were able to complete. All of these will ultimately come back out, but at least there will not be any issue doing the final assembly.
Once again it was a productive weekend and we are one step closer to having steam!