Saturday, 12 August 2017

Maintenance Update (spanners, strip, burst, drill)

Wednesday 9th
There was a distinct air of dampness during the morning. Nevertheless, Bruce & Gil stayed dry in the shed; John G stayed dry in the container, and I was dry inside the van. Fred was probably dry, too, but he was at Winchcombe.

Last Saturday, I began putting yellow insulating tape around some of our spanners. This is just an attempt to identify which are ours, as equipment is being “shared” more and more frequently. I completed one drawer of AF spanners. Today, Gilbert began the next drawer - Whitworth spanners.

Which links me to the next photo: We have had need of a spanner to fit the safety valves. Indeed, I strongly suspect that we had one once! Gilbert has been looking out for a second-hand one at car boot sales, but baulked at the price of £12. Well, it was time to bite the bullet, and Bruce gave me the necessary data; I searched the Internet; Bruce verified that I had found the right thing, and £34.90 later, we have a new 7/8” Whitworth ring spanner:

The second item in the photo is the thin strip of steel bought by Bruce for the fire hole door runner. Much debate took place over how to prevent the doors from escaping from their top runner and jamming. Several people added their tuppence worth, but what finally swung it was a comment from John H that he’d fitted a strip inside a bottom runner on Erlestoke Manor six years ago, and it is still working fine!

The strip slid into the bottom runner beautifully. Would it stay in place? Would dust get beneath it, causing it to lift and jam the doors? John said “No” to the latter; and it was decided to bend one end over to prevent the strip from going walkabout, yet retaining the ability to be pulled clear if necessary.

The bending did not go to plan! The strip broke. So, it ended up being welded back together again. 😊

John G applied a top coat to the three chairs in the production line, and then wire-brushed a further three. When the rain stopped, I needle-gunned four chairs. Only four, I hear you say. Ah, well, I was not impressed with the power of the needle gun - it barely tickled against my hand instead of boring a hole in it. After fiddling about with it for a while to no avail, I took the gun apart. The problem then became obvious: The piston inside the gun had bifurcated into a head and a shaft. In effect, the head was going nowhere while the shaft fragment just bounced joyfully around inside on its own. Luckily, I found a spare head and effected a repair. It did occur to me that John T might have been playing with a duff tool for months!

Friday 11th
A quick dash to Todders to paint the lettering on a black rail chair for an emailed order that is to be collected tomorrow!

Saturday 12th
David, John T and I all arrived at the same time. John decided that he would needle-gun more chairs, so I chose to do the wire-brushing thereof. David asked what there was to do on the loco, and the answer was “nothing”.

As far as I could remember, the only outstanding issue on the log is that of the stuck J-cocks.

We had discussed this issue on Wednesday. We believe that their only use is to shut off live steam (at boiler pressure) in the event of a pipe bursting (red arrows) between the manifold and the W-valve (yellow arrow).

Bruce suspects that someone has, in the past, tightened the nuts on the base of these cocks to stop them from leaking. Now they won’t move at all.

We think that the probability of these pipes bursting is extremely low. If the pipe did burst, you may not want to lean over a jet of steam and reach up to these cocks to turn one off. So we decided to take no action.

As is often the case, you can find something to do! David decided that the pillar drill was in need of some attention. The power cable has always been loose - there ought to be some sort of clasp at the point where the cable goes into the drill casing. So David made one! It was impossible to get at the inside of the drill casing, where ideally a nut would secure the fitment, so he devised a plate to bolt onto the outside and clasp the brass bit on the cable end.

Then (wearing his Health & Safety hat … not the one in the photo) he decided that the cover on the top of the drill was worse than useless! After considering how to improve it, David decided to throw it away and make a better one. So he’s taken measurements away with him to tackle it off-site. Finally, of the three handles (that operate the drill) only one has a knob on the end. So, David has taken away one handle (plus knob) to see if he can get two more knobs to fit.

End of play for today!


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