Progress July 2022

Final Week

More realistic temperatures this week so a full three days as usual.  4253 had more work done on the underpinnings by way of fitting castellated nuts and split pins and carefully checking everything from front to rear.  The machining of the big end bushes for the con rods has been started and there’s not too much material to take off.

The new project is progressing well with the two large panels that were welded together last week having the join carefully dressed back

before receiving another coat of paint – spot the join.

Many pieces of angle were measured, cut, drilled and welded up as necessary to form framework and, on one day, this involved three mag drills in operation at once.

This enabled more of the platework to be hoisted into position and clamped up

prior to being drilled and then bolted up.

And here’s a shot of the inside showing the growing complexity.

On top of that we’ve made and painted more egg timer bodies and increased our stock of completed clocks ready for the Weald of Kent Steam Rally next weekend 6th and 7th August.  Come and visit us at this great event.  The post code is TN26 3QY and here’s a link to their website

Week Four

On 4253’s boiler front, the tapping of the new washout plug holes is almost complete as is the overhaul of the mudhole doors and their openings.  The other on-going job is work on the new bushes for the side rods.

Much of the activity this week was centred on all the new platework and angle received last week although work on Tuesday was cut short due to the extremely high temperature.  However, by Friday, most of it had been given a protective green undercoat which, thanks to the temperatures, took very little time to dry.

On Sunday, we started to piece the jigsaw together

after which it was a case of bolting some of it together

prior to fixing the alignment of the two main plates together

so they could be welded together after it was all stood upright again.

This was followed by cutting and shaping some more angle pieces to be drilled

so that even more bits could be joined together,

We’re getting quite good at this now with everyone tackling their individual set tasks before it all suddenly starts coming together.

Week Three

Three work days and one sales day this week.  The final odds and ends were completed on 5668’s tank after which it is placed on skids

then the door and part of the wall were taken down and the tank manhandled outside

until it could be lifted by the digger and moved to sit next to the first tank.

After that, the boiler house was swept out and tidied given this is the first time it’s been empty for some considerable time.  

However, almost immediately, the platework for the next project arrived, was checked off and then moved in.

Other jobs included transporting our first connecting rod to Automation Technologies to have the big end hole slightly modified (which was completed and back with us in a couple of days) and continuing with making more clocks and egg timers for the sales team.  That sales team was back in action on Saturday when we attended the Dartford Best of British Show to raise some much needed funds – a hot but successful day.

On Sunday, a couple of old, abandoned storage cabinets were rescued, new shelves made and fitted and pressed into service.  Also, the new platework was sorted, rough edges smoothed off and some of it painted which, given the temperature, took no time at all to dry enabling us to flip the plates and paint the other side as well.

The boiler has had the mud hole doors cut in the new platework

After which they were trial fitted.

Week Two

Following the last couple of events attended by our sales team, the stock of egg timers and clocks made from the old boiler tubes have almost been exhausted.  Accordingly, Tuesday saw most of the team on production duty with fire tube sections cut to length, 

slots milled, cleaned up and then painted ready to receive their inserts.

We already had a supply of clock bodies that had been cut some time ago so these had legs made and welded on and, again, were painted ready for assembly.

On Friday, work resumed on 5668’s tank with the baffle panels being bolted into place requiring someone to get inside the tank through the narrow gap in the rear panels – no longer an easy task given the average age of our volunteers!

The last couple of dozen rivet holes in the bottom of the rear panel were also reamed out ready for riveting and the inspection holes had studs installed and the covers fitted.  Some more new bits for the boiler (a mud hole door and a quantity of large washers in copper or wedged shaped steel ones) were packaged up for sending to HBSS.

On Sunday the last of the rivets were installed in 5668’s tank followed by the baffle plates which involved two people having to get inside the tank.

After that was completed, the bottom section of joining plate was welded into position.

4253’s connecting rods were measured up in preparation for machining and fitting the bushes, one of which can be seen sitting on the rod.

Also, the oil holes for the big and little ends were countersunk to remove any stress points,

At HBSS, all the stays have now been fitted to the firebox and the boiler has also been turned so that, for the first time in quite a while, it is sitting the right way up.

Week One

This week, all the new running plates at the front end of 4253 were bolted up for, hopefully, the final time after a degree of fettling to get it all to fit together properly.

Additionally, the insulation and cladding covers we made some time ago have been fitted to the valve covers.

Work has continued on polishing the machining marks out of the new rods and a start made on cleaning up the front buffers.

On Sunday, it was back to 5668’s tank with the rear back panel being riveted on which, given the weather, resulted in an extremely hot working environment. 

At HBSS, all the new studs have now been fitted to the welded-on pads on the backhead.

On top of all that, the sales team attended the Spirit of Tenterden Festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to raise much needed funds to finish the boiler.  On the Saturday this involved manning the stand from 10am to 10pm and required two shifts so thanks to the many people who volunteered their time to help us out for this important task.