Tag Archives: Steam Boat Association

Steamboat Crankshafts – Lessons & Manufacture Pt#1

Introduction

Those of you who have been following Befur’s progress will know that our first year in the water was marred by the failure of the crankshaft in the Leak Compound engine I built.

This post deals with the manufacture of a replacement, and the results of my research/experience into the approaches to building cranks for “small” (<20HP) marine steam plants.

Methods of Manufacture

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Launching & Initial Sea Trials

 “The Day” arrived!

There was no more putting off to be done – we had to launch her. We had agreed the rental of a swinging mooring on Ullswater with Ullswater Marine.  So on the 27th June (just over 7 years and 2 weeks since the first post here) we hitched the Landy to the trailer, and with our hearts in our mouth we set off. Actually, as neither of us slept much, and recognising it was “bin day” and aside from the normal, farm/post/school traffic down the 2 miles of single track lane, we also needed to dodge the refuse truck so we decided to set off at 7:30am. Continue reading

Boiler tubes (in profusion)!

The tubes are ready to fit…!

After what must have been an epic session, Nigel and his assistants in the southern group of the “Boiler Collective” have now cut, deburred and bent the 600+ tubes for the three boilers we are building.

The pictures below show the extent of this activity, and the bending jigs they made…. (thank you men)!

We first made a trial set by measurement from and comparison to the drawings (yes, yes, I know “never scale from drawings“), we then test fitted these and they were good. So then the team cut the rest using an angle grinder in an adjustable jig. Then cleaned up the ends with a bench-mounted wire wheel, and finally bent them to the appropriate angles using the bender we “pre-calibrated” in the trial run.

EPIC….

Turning it over!!!!!

Well, yesterday was a momentous day! As noted in the previous post, I was totally ready to move on and stop filling/preparing the hull and see the inside!

More assistance from Nigel Thomson from the SBA produced an excellent result.

We propped the workshop roof with some Acroprops, fitted up a selection of chain hoists (thank you Graham for loaning yours) and supported the boat in slings. We then got inside and removed a remarkable quantity of ironmongery and stripped out all the molds…. Thank you Nigel for doing the majority of this work! Continue reading

A hull with no holes in – oh wait!

Well this months thanks go to Nigel Thompson from the SBA who noticed signs of wavering and  procrastination in my questioning about the sequence of build operations, and stepped in to put me back on the right track….

To go back a bit; you might recall that the game plan is to clad the hull outside and in with epoxy/cloth skins. Also we need to add the “keel” (aka “deadwood”) to the bottom of the boat after cladding, and the question was do we clad the out side, then fit the keel/propshaft/rudder etc.  then turn her over and clad the inside? or do we clad the outside, turn her over and clad the inside then turn her over and fit the keel and then turn her a third time or some other combination of things…. In the middle of this agonising it was suggested by others that the internal and external cladding need to be done in one season to stop the timber “shrinking away from the cladding” due to changes of humidity in the (half-clad) timber…. and then there is a land-rover chassis sitting waiting to be mated to my winter transport and then there are holidays and bike tours in France and then…… At this point the aforementioned Nigel stepped in and said “common lets get moving I’ll come next week and help with the cladding”. and so it was to be….. Continue reading

Planking the hull (not the fad)…

I see that we have written nothing since June to indicate progress… Well that’s partly holidays, partly a dose of shingles, and partly because I have been more focussed on building than writing (no bad thing I guess).

Planking at last

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Spring Progress & A Find

The clocks moved today, and the weather is amazing – must be close to 20c.

Last weekend Louise and I went to the AGM of the SteamBoat Association in Cleavdon (near Bristol) and had a really nice weekend – a very friendly and informed group of people. Also there was an auction (dangerous things auctions), but fortunately we forgot a cheque book, so I was unable to take advantage of many of the incredible bargains… 😉

However I did purchase the core of a condenser, which while quite large might make the basis of the one I need to build – 30lbs of Brass, and about 100 tubes for £10!!!

(pictures to follow!)