A Firefighter’s Steamer
(Page 7 of 10)
When I was actually able to grasp the flywheel for the first time and rotate it, I was thrilled to hear the air hissing out of the open cylinder cocks. The Case was almost breathing again! It was time to look at all the plumbing and associated valves, but before I got started there was one other big project to tackle.
When I purchased the engine from George it did not have any fuel bunkers attached. There had been bunkers at some point, but once it was parked in the woods they had become a nuisance, and were removed and discarded. George did have a really rusty set of bones I was able to pick through to get some original parts to begin the reconstruction of a new set.
I was just getting started on the restoration when I came across Duane Woods in Wallace, Neb. We got to talking and I realized Duane could supply me with a set of bunkers for about what it would cost to build them myself. So I sent my old parts to Nebraska, and a couple months later Duane’s bunkers showed up. Duane will send bunkers in any stage of completion and I got the semi-kit style with plenty of detail work still needed, because I wanted to use as much of the old bunker steel as possible. In some areas I actually removed Duane’s work so I could install old steel. In others, it was removing modern bolt fasteners and replacing them with rivets. In the end, between the two of us, I got a set of bunkers I was really happy with. After a week or so of painting I had them just where I wanted them – on the back of the steamer. Best of all, Duane supplied me with a wonderful water transfer factory scene and this completed the job.
Now that I could easily step up to the quadrant shelf, it was time to duplicate, fit and replace all the steam pipes I had removed earlier. Aside from dozens of trial fits and some really stubborn ends that fit into the boiler, this part was routine work. At one point I even hooked the engine to my air compressor and marveled at how, for a few short moments, the beautiful running gears would all silently move. After two years of work the Case was looking like it was ready to move with steam. But was I?
Rebuilding the fuel bunkers
This Case engine was built in 1912. At that time an engine like this often had to travel from job to job to do the threshing on many farms. On the rear of the engine was a platform the driver and fireman could stand. Additionally, a set of contractors bunkers were mounted to carry enough fuel, usually coal or wood, and water to last at least an hour. This engine originally had bunkers, but when it was parked as a stationary power plant for a sawmill the narrow platform and step made it difficult to fire, so they were removed. When I purchased the engine there was a set of bunkers included, but they fit a 65 HP Case and were in such poor condition that they could only be used for patterns and small castings.
The new bunkers were constructed by Duane Wood of Wallace, Neb. Duane built the coal tenders, and he did it quickly and at a reasonable cost. He integrated the new and old parts and made them look as original as possible. I took what he sent and reworked many of the new parts to include the parts from the older, original bunkers. This involved removing screws and bolts, and replacing them with hot set rivets wherever possible utilizing the original metal to make the toolboxes, coal doors and rounded corners. [Back to the section menu.]
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