EDITOR: ED HAAS
WHOOPS!! This is "Revision C", because I made a mistake which was pointed out to me by Jim Tangeman, who telephoned me last week. In the story about the Bohably Steam Engine project, I said that the manifold's internal volume would be kept to a minimum: this is incorrect! In fact the manifold will be as large as possible, in order to provide a "reservoir" of steam, so that the cylinder can "absorb" all that the boiler can deliver, during the time the intake valve is open. What will be kept to a minimum is the "clearance volume" in the steam passages between the manifold and the cylinder; this is to prevent a premature expansion of incoming steam, which would result in a loss in power. Please read the article below with these corrections in mind. The next edition will have a more complete text of Jim's telephone conversation.
--I just spent a month learning HTML and resurrecting my "cob-web" page (first started years ago with a friend's expertise). In conversations with William Gray, who maintains the Metal Web News homepage, he said he's posted so many different newsletters that he is beginning to feel the "bandwidth" pinch. To make his life a little easier, I will start posting Steamboat Notes, my collection of steam-related pictures and all my other crazy ideas on how to build faster steamboats solely to my own webpage, making it the definitive archive for Web-enabled steamboaters. At present I have posted photos of Jim Tangeman's pipe boiler, bending tools he built to make it and the custom 600psi safety valve he built to protect this high-pressure system. I'll post more photos on various steamboat-related subjects over the coming weeks.
--This issue's highlights include information about poppet valve steam engines, boiler firing and methods of insulating their fireboxes, a Hereschoff steam engine, pop-pop boats and a number of sources for more steam-related information. Read on!
--For several years now I have been seeking plans for a well-designed multiple-cylinder single-acting poppet-valve steam engine, equivalent in size and displacement to the venerable Stuart Swan. A recent whine on my part to the model engineer's mailing list turned up great news: I have come to the attention of Mr. Robert Pelfrey, who had the good fortune to be the particular friend of Anton Bohaboy. In the 1920s, Mr. Bohaboy devised a steam engine which was (at that time) equal in performance to that upstart competitor, the internal combustion engine.
Mr. Pelfrey sent me a copy of 1926-vintage plans for a model Bohaboy-type twin-cylinder single-acting poppet valve steam engine of 5/8" bore and stroke. The best news is this model, with some modification, can be scaled up to dimensions suitable to push a people-sized boat at a fair clip!
Since the Stuart Swan's 2-1/4in. bore, 2in. stroke twin-cylinder double-acting D-valve design was set in stone some time in the 19th Century, it has survived substantially unchanged to this day as the "standard" engine for small full-sized steamboats. The appearance of Mr. Bohaboy's "modern" steam engine design, which benefits from thirty or forty additional years' wisdom is a real find. In a flurry of email exchanges Mr. Pelfrey and I have hashed out a design for a 3-cylinder 33cu.in. displacement 2-1/2in. bore, 3in. stroke Bohaboy-type engine which would have slightly more swept volume than the venerable Stuart Swan's 31.8 cu. in. and which is not much larger externally.
Mr. Pelfrey inherited all of Mr. Bohaboy's patterns for the model engine and he is restoring these to pristine condition. Once this is done, he plans to make patterns for the larger engine. He believes that the castings could be made of aluminum or bronze. If aluminum was good enough for Cliff Blackstaffe it should be good enough for me, but as yet I haven't found an aluminum foundry on the West Coast. I have been in contact with the Covert Iron Works in Southern California however. They are able to accommodate loose patterns and small orders. The added weight penalty would be manageable for an engine of this size and for its intended use in a boat (wouldn't want to put it in an airplane!). As for which material is the best, I sent a photocopy of the plans to Jim Tangeman and in subsequent telephone conversations he mentioned that he had made bronze crankshafts of equal heft which worked very well. (If readers have opinions one way or the other, let's hear them!!)
In terms of "top end", this new Bohaboy engine should be capable of much higher speed than the Swan's 800rpm (and that's scary!). In addition to fewer moving parts and less internal friction, the proposed engine has some interesting features:
--Lately I've been watching some TV shows, including Extreme Machines on TLC and The Great Ships on the History Channel. Between the two I have managed to make some interesting causal links. F'rinstance: the liner Lucitania and its sister ship the Mauratania had steam power plants which produced 68,000hp apiece. This is less than the power produced by the gas turbine engine in the vehicle Craig Breedlove is building in his attempt to break the sound barrier and so become the fastest man on Earth. Breedlove is building his machine in Rio Vista, CA, less than 5 miles from the site of the Great Delta Steamboat Meet and the upcoming Delta Crawdad Festival, held in Isleton. FWIW, I plan to damp the fire for a spell and make a little detour the next time I'm in the neighborhood, just to see what a 90,000hp engine looks like. Anyone care to come along??
Subject: boiler design
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 21:46:05 -0800
From: Karl A. Smith
I am in the throes of designing a small steam tug. I plan to use a 3 x 5.5 x 4.5 Whitney compound engine and need an appropriate boiler design. I plan to build the boiler, preferably WT, myself. Do you know of anyone who has used stainless steel coil tubes (3" dia. coil, 0.5" dia tubing, 10 - 20' lengths [20' of tube becomes coil 28" long]) in a Roberts type boiler (with, i.e., 6 - 8" dia. steam drum)? Am at a quandary as to the best tube length to water volume and steam ratio. Any help in this area would be deeply appreciated!
Thank you in advance,
Rod Teel c/o Karl Smith
(Ed Haas) wrote:
To : "Karl A. Smith"
Subject : Re: boiler design
----- Message Text -----
Ah! The guys to talk to are Ken Kowal down in Los Angeles and Roger McGuire up in Petaluma, CA, i.e. the steam auto folks. Roger is trying to start a new Northern California steam auto club in his neck of the woods and there seem to be a number of motivated folks emerging from the bush. Although Stanleys do not use this kind of system, the "modern" freelance steam autos, i.e. the "Likamobile" and Pete Barrett's VW speedster do use pancake-shaped coils of stainless tubing. For starters, I suggest you look at back issues of Live Steam, to read Pete Barrett's series of articles on the VW conversion. Todd Guldenbrein is trying to set up an all-steam mini-museum in Vallejo and is also heavily into steam autos. Additionally, Bart Smaalders has wound the kind of spring-shaped coils you want, but out of copper for his "Porky" boiler and he may have some insight as to technique for this shape, but in a softer material.
"Steamboat Ed" Haas
From: Ted Whittlesey
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 11:14:59 -0500 (EST)
I have found your "notes" on the web while I was looking for information on steam launches. Would it be possible to make me a regular subscriber? I am also interested in doing some jawing with someone in the Midwest who currently owns a steam launch. Would appreciate a return from someone I might possibly visit with to talk about this interesting hobby.
Rochester Hills, MI.
Tangential Boiler Firing
Date: Mon, 5 May 1997 09:44:03 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bart Smaalders
Hi Ed -
I'm working along on getting the boat ready for this year's steamboating... As you'll remember I blew a boiler tube last year at B & W; that was readily fixed, but the firebrick in the boiler was cracking already, and dumping a boilerful of water onto glowing firebrick doesn't really help matters. I've looked into some replacement materials for a firebox lining, but the problem is that I really need almost 3000 F rating on the lining to handle the oil blast long term - the tangential impingement of the flame tends to cause direct contact. I can't shoot straight in, since the bottom of the boiler is in the way (the firebox is somewhat annular in shape). I could cast a liner out of mizzou (??), but then I end up with a 50 lbs chunk of white hot refractory in the boiler when I come to the dock - fine for a fire tube, but not ideal with a small boiler.
I spent several hours yesterday trying to get a carburetting kerosene burner to work a la the Ofeldt or Stanley style - I can see why they tended to put 10% gasoline in the fuel: kerosene doesn't want to vaporize very easily. I want something in the boat that doesn't drip superheated kerosene into the bilges. I'd start the burner preheating on propane (beautiful blue flame, lots of heat) and then switch over to kerosene (prompt spitting, dripping, etc). Part of the problem is that I don't have the kero under 200 psi like the propane is, I think.
I'm thinking about just converting to propane like a lot of the Canadian steamers have done. Quiet, clean (*no* soot), controllable, and quick lighting. A 20 lb can should last about four or five hours of steady running, and if I was planning a marathon steaming trip I could always take along a spare can lashed on the aft deck. Some folks are concerned about the safety issues, but w/ the current burner I need propane along anyway to start, and with a proper locker, venting, etc, I think it's manageable.
The bigger boat (someday) will have a nice large firebox built of proper heavy firebrick and a 12V burner w/ fan.
I'm also working on the engine....
Subject: Water Storage
Date: Wed, 07 May 1997
From: Terry A. Hull
Saw your newsletter work in conjunction with a technical question we were seeking to answer. My father wondered where ocean going steamships on long voyages stored water, or what water they used in their boilers? How much storage space did this take up? Did they use ocean water, or is ocean water to corrosive? etc. Thanks for any help you can give.
Al Lambers (Cincinnati, OH) and Terry Hull (Carmel, CA)
Subject: (fwd) My Steamboat
From: Ron Ginger
Date: Sun, 09 Mar 1997 19:53:55 -0500
I have mentioned here a few times that I finished up a steamboat project last summer. Well, I finally got a color scanner and the time to scan a couple photos, so I have added them to my web page.
This is a fiberglass hull from Jim Thayer, finished out with a wood deck coamings and cockpit sole.
The boiler is a wood fired Roberts type all fabricated of copper tube and silver soldered. The engine is a 2 cylinder design by Ray Hasbrouck, fabricated entirely from bar stock, no castings.
The boat is called NORMAN D. in honor of Norman Dan Fay, our mentor, friend and great inspiration. Norm advised us on all aspects of engine and boiler construction, but sadly, died before we finished this boat.
http://www.ultranet.com/~ginger for the home page, or direct to
Firebox Liners & Engine Modifications....
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 1997 10:21:47 -0800
From: Bart Smaalders
I have some unobtainum (347), but 310 is supposed to be better yet. I may make this w/ a replaceable target and try the 347 and order the 310.
I'm also rebuilding the slide valve; the leaky valve is what caused me to run the boiler so hard that the water got low. I'm using better materials, and everything is beefier as well. This valve will be balanced; the old one did not like the high steam pressure. This also lets me make the separation between the ports larger, so we get more surface area to reduce wear and increase sealing.
Maybe we'll hit 7 knots :-)
Re: the Pop-pop Pages are on the air!
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 08:54:51 +0100
From: Rainer Radow
I have found another pop-pop page. Try: http://www.ilinks.net/~frbo/boat.html
Rainer from Hannover, Germany
Also try my new page with pictures of 13 steam launches from British Columbia, Washington State and Oregon. Two versions of the page are available:
Text and thumbnails: http://www.ifa.uni-hannover.de/~para/nw-boats.t.html
same text and larger photos: http://www.ifa.uni-hannover.de/~para/nw-boats.html
Historic Vessels - UPDATED PAGES
Date: Sun, 09 Mar 1997 01:23:15 -0800
Please visit my 5 pages of Historic Vessels at: http://members.tripod.com/~Lanoline/index.html
Subject: Re: Latest Issue
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 20:54:13 +0000
From: William Gray
I notice you are considering a web page. Would you like to move all the past Steamboat Notes to your page and just let me link the MWN page to yours? That would be fine with me if it suits you.
I am always looking for places to ease my KBs of storage.
(Ed Note: sounds good to me! I've got a few extra Megabytes of storage space)
Subject: Re: Boiler firebox, take 2
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 10:08:56 -0800 (PST)
From: Bart Smaalders
Hi Ed -
I've looked for some 310 stainless which seems to be the stuff to use, but sources for that are few and far between. I'll do some more looking; the stainless seems to be a nice way to go.
(Ed. Note: the information below should get all and sundry pointed true. It's also reprinted in the Sources section, further on)
Stainless Firebox Liners
From: Christopher W. Roberts
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 21:15:45 EST
It is 301S and will not oxidize until 2,000 deg.F. Art lists it as 0.025" thick at a cost of $10.50 for a 6'X3' sheet.
The source for the stainless steel is:
Attn: Art Hart
c/o: Vintage steam Products
Chester N.J. 07930
Phone: (201) 584-3319
I hope this helps
Christopher W. Roberts
Subject: Re: Firebox Liners: Need help as soon as possible please.
Date: Mon, 5 May 1997 11:02:57 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bart Smaalders
Hi Ed -
Thanks for the reply. I checked on 310 stainless - it's good for 2000 F, which is enough if the flames don't hit it directly. However, in my case...
I'm still thinking on the fueling issues... no easy answers, it seems.
Allen uses a castable refractory and a atomizing burner w/ steam pressure regulator. Nice setup - maybe I'll just do that and live w/ the heat... I just hope it doesn't crack during trailering like the light firebrick. We'll see - I need to make up my mind soon.
Propane definitely does have some safety issues...
As far as the bigger boat goes, it's on the someday plan... my brother (cruising the South Pacific on his 35' boat) is working on the hull design. 30' x 8' and 7000 lbs displacement (trailerable w/ my truck)... berths and head, wheelhouse - something that can take some rougher water. When I get the next draft of the plans I'll scan 'em in and send them along. I have a 3.25 x 3.25 twin Wisconsin industrial engine (built like a tank) that I'll use as a starting point for the engine... I want to put a pair of double acting uniflow cylinders above the existing ones and use the current pistons as cross-heads... w/ a gland and distance pieces I won't get any water in the oil. Since it's reasonably well balanced, I'll let it turn to 700 rpm or so, which actually works better w/ the prop in this case. I figure 12 hp at 200 psi and 57 psi BMEP, with 20 hp on tap w/ a bigger cut-off.
The current engine's slide valve didn't appreciate the 180 psi steam from the new boiler, which led to rapid wear, steam leaks and an inability to pump enough water into the boiler to compensate, which is how the tube came adrift, aided by a plumbing error on my part...
Subject: (fwd) Re: Boiler firebox, take 2
From: Ron Ginger
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 20:09:05 -0500
Our boiler is lined with a board product about 1/2" thick. Roland bought it at a furnace repair shop. It is made for lining the inside of oil fired furnaces. I don't know the trade name of the stuff, but I can get it. Ours has held up fine, but we have just one short season and only a few hundred miles over the road. We are also wood burning. You can put your hand on the outside of the boiler while underway- its very warm, but touchable.
Subject: (fwd) Re: Boiler firebox, take 2
From: Alfred Kimmel
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 22:04:45 -0600
Bart Smaalders wrote:
> Well, last year I finished the new water tube boiler for the Otter,
Take some advice from a boilermaker. You can just about forget the Fiberfrax due to flame impingement. Try using Plybircko or if you got the bucks use stainless shingles over the fiberfrax. The shingles must be mounted so they will move. Of course you can use Hastalloy-X it works in gas turbine combusters.
You also may have a flame problem. Take the burner out mount it on something solid stand back light it off and see how far the flame shoots out. If the flame hits the firebrick then you will have thermal spalling. Cracks in refractory are common as the firebrick must expand and contract when you light off. Look at the cracks:
-If the inside of the crack is light in color that means when the boiler is lit off the crack in the firebrick is closed.
-If the crack is dark inside then the refractory is not working correctly. With the design you are using you will most likely have cracks regardless what type of refractory you use. Refractory is heavy regardless of the type. This is usually due to it being made of chrome ore.
If you would like the stainless shingle route "used in most modern boilers" then send me a message and I will try to help. It would require more information than I have given here.
I Hope I have helped.
Subject: Herreshoff engine
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 21:38:31 -0500 (EST)
From: N. David
The engine on page 261 of Dick Mitchell's book "The Steam Launch" is now in the Herreshoff Museum on the site of the boatyard in Bristol, RI. The photo does not do justice to the engine/boiler as the whole casing is in brass! The Herreshoff yard is most known for the racing yachts they built especially for the America's Cup defense. The brothers Herreshoff also built many steamers for private and commercial use. The museum is a must see if you are in the Providence/Boston area. Also on display are steam and sail hulls. One other engine is one of the two large compound engines Herreshoff built for JP Morgan's steam commuter Narvette. Morgan used the boat for his daily trip from Long Island to NYC. One of the compounds is at the Herreshoff museum and the other is at Mystic Seaport Museum.
All parts on both of the engines are numbered then lettered with a P for the port engine and an S for the starboard. Hereshoff built many other engines some of then large enough for commercial applications. Two of his big engines were installed in the present Mount Washington hull that still operates as a diesel powered tourist vessel on Lake Winnipesaukee, NH. The vessel originally was a walking beam powered side-wheeler built for Lake Champlain VT/NY. In 1940 it was cut into 20 sections, was railroaded to NH and the hull rebuilt. Two Hereshoff compounds were installed using screw propellers. I have photos of the crews installing the screws through a hull designed for side-wheels.
Unfortunately WWII took the two compounds and the ship they powered was lost. The present diesels were installed in 1946.
Subject: pop pop boats
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 97
From: Buzz McMillian
Greetings! I ran across your name while searching the web for information related to "pop pop" boats. This was a response you posted on email@example.com (the e-zine of the Society for Amateur Science) where you indicated you had made pop pop boat hulls with a vacuform tool. Can you give me more information on how you set this up? I collect these little boats and I'm always interested in any info I can locate. I also build my own, with a copper tubing coil.... but the hulls are the biggest problem to build/find. Please let me know of any information you care to part with. Thanks...
Daytona Beach, FL
Cyberspace Model Yacht Club expands
From: David L. Mainwaring
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 12:54:58 -0500
Cyberspace Model Yacht Club, Book Store and ForumBooks (boats, ships, building, model building, model ships) and a forum to discuss: Operational Models powered by Sail, Steam or Electric power, Marine Models, Scale and Semi-scale Model Boat Building, Radio Control Yachting and other marine modeling interests. http://www.cybercom.net/~mainwaring/modelboat.html
Now you can obtain your favorite hobby related books online or talk about the hobby on the model boating forum.
--David L. Mainwaring
Subject: Re: pop pop boats
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 19:24:13 -0800 (PST)
From: Buzz McMillian
At 05:58 PM 3/20/97 -0800, you wrote:
>--For vacuforming the hulls I used a skin-packaging machine that is in the "factory", which is normally used to package my products on cards for placement in stores where theft is a problem. All I did was get some sheets of styrene (I think) plastic, cut to fit the platen (12"x15"), instead of using the shrink film that is normally used with the machine. I made the pattern for the hull from an old 2x4. For mold release I use PAM. Nothin' to it!<
Hi, and thanks for the info. I don't know if you've tried building your own engines, but I scaled up a pop pop type boiler of my own design. I finished it today and fired it up tonight. God, is it ever LOUD! It is about 3" in diameter with two 1/4" exhausts. I trial ran it in a pan of water with the engine mounted on a makeshift stand. It nearly blew the water out of the pan. After running for nearly an hour on the bench it blew some of the solder loose and lost compression. Guess I need a better grade of silver solder. Believe it or not, it ran for that long on one small votive candle mounted about 3" below the boiler. My small boats don't run that well on a candle. Unbelievable! I can't wait to build the bigger boat to mount it in... that is why I was interested in how you were making your hulls. This boat will have to be at least a foot long if not larger. Guess I should stick to wood, or metal.
Daytona Beach, FL
Subject: Re: What's up
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 22:08:00 -0600
From: Alfred Kimmel
I have never built myself a boiler yet but am working on making one. I have bought myself a small engine lathe and am in the process of building a small tube bender. I plan on using part of a power steering unit from a car and make the dies on the lathe. I am thinking of building a small boiler with 3/8 tubes. By the way sent you some e-mail on refractory and burner sprayer plate flow rates.
Oh yes - do you know where I might obtain some prints of the boiler in a Stanley Steamer? I have some pictures of the boiler but would like more information.
Thanks, Al Kimmel
From: John Woodson
Date: Sat, 3 May 1997
Yes, you and a few friends can "kick the tires and light the fires" shovel in the coal, and ease open the throttle on a 4-6-2 steam locomotive # 2472 thru the Golden Gate Railroad Museum locomotive rental program. This piston valve 6 driver is similar to the one I helped pour crosshead babbit on at the San Diego RR Museum in Campo. Now this grand old lady is hisssing and a'chuffing and a puffin' like a whore cause anybody with $300 per hr. can have their way with her.
email for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
a robust home page: http://www.ggrm.org
for a great story on how the museum began, click the link "story of project 2472"
Event:Delta Crawdad Festival
Location:Isleton, Ca, near the Mokelumne River
Contact:Isleton Chamber of Commerce, or Ed Haas
Event:YOU TELL ME!!!
--Well, gang, that's enough for this issue. Keep those cards and letters coming and don't forget to send some pictures, too!
"Steamboat Ed" Haas