As members of the Stationary Engine Mailing List in the Northern Hemisphere got their first taste of winter weather, a couple of relevant subjects came under discussion. While winter is generally recognized as being a time to work on engine restoration projects, there are some things which are hampered by the cold weather, such as painting. Also, if your shop is heated by a wood stove, can that be put to use in your efforts?

* I've been wondering what various ways you all use to paint your ol' iron, in the winter? It sure makes a mess in the shed, and that modern paint is pretty nasty. I do wear a respirator. I've got some ideas, but thought I'd ask first.
Right now I'm glazing the Economy 5hp. Could one get the metal warm and shoot it outside, say at 20, 30° above?

* I can't offer much info about whether you can paint at 30° above or not. One option would be to find a body shop with a heated paint booth. If you have everything prepared and ready the good guys will spray your stuff for you for not too much cash outlay. I have done this in the past for some of my projects and it really helps out.

* Personally I like it to be as warm as possible when painting. What we do in winter is to heat up the shed early in the morning to warm up your engine / parts. We then bring it out of the shed where we spray, (just the other side of the door) and give it it's first coat of paint. Then bring it back to the stove to warm up. Repeat this as often as needed and your parts will stay warm enough.


As usual, some comments are more helpful than others!

* No, none of that works. Send it over to Australia, we will paint it in the heat to your liking and you can come and see it any time you like.
It's the only real solution

* Heat is important , but hardener's where its at .

* Funny when you think about it. Winter in Australia is the best time for me to paint. My shed gets to about 20 - 25°C. Try painting here in the summer months. Like the boys say, its 40°C outside, it's not unsual to be 50°C inside my shed. Gotta get up real early to paint before it warms up.
Mind you, you can get your second coat in pretty quick!

* I cheat a little when I'm painting in my shop. I picked up some cheap blue tarps. One goes on the floor. The rest are strung on cables around the area, with one on top like a second ceiling. Makes it easier to keep the place clean. My exhaust fan has a long flexible tube that gets tucked in one corner toward the floor. For heat I use a salamander style rig outside the door under a cover that pipes the heat in through stovepipe. Keeps me warm
and keeps the ignition source outside. I also thought about getting a propane trailer furnace. The ones they are using now do not use any interior air for combustion and you can get ones with slight cosmetic damage cheaply. I figure on putting it up in the attic and hooking it into some ductwork. With a little closet around it and maybe venting the closet to the outside I can use the same heater all the time.

* Thanks gang!
You've given me some good ideas. I now have the base, cylinder and hopper on a roll around cart. I have a small 8' overhead door on one side of the shed. This will give me a fine frame-work for a temporary paint booth using that cheap blue tarp. Fumes can be evacuated using the wood shop dust collector to the outside. You know, the more I think about it, it could be somewhat permanent. Have draw curtains like are used in welding shops. Hmmm ... I like it.
And thanks for the suggestion of using a different hardener. I never paid much attention to that, but I will look into it.
Seeing as I use floor radiant heat, I plan on installing another zone and use a fan driven heat exchanger for quick recovery. This way I don't have to keep the thermostat turned up all the time.

So, if you've got the stove in the shop all fired up to dry paint, might as well find another use for that heat while it's there! How about rust removal?

* I have two rusty engine heads here. Both of them have the valves rusted tight.
I intend on putting them in my wood stove tomorrow and keeping them red hot for the day then let the fire go down over night. The house will be overheated enough that I won't need to build a fire the next morning and I can let them cool slow.
Burning pallets, my ashes are 80% nails and hold heat a long time.
Any suggestions on how long I should keep the heads red hot would be greatly appreciated.

* No need to go to red heat. Merely heat the heads to 800°F or so for 2 hours. I do not know what your stove looks like, but maybe suspending them by coathanger wire from the top? Red heat runs the risk of cracking them on cooldown is my guess.

* I've never done that but I would be cautious about leaving the heads in the fire (especially red hot) for too long because of oxidation.

* You'll only need to heat the heads long enough to ensure that the metal is hot all the way through. It doesn't take long to break down the rust. By the time the metal gets almost red hot the rust will turn to powder.

* Whenever I use my stove for this kind of thing, I put it in when I go to bed in the evening and let the fire burn itself out. When the part has cooled down a reasonable amount, I'll pull it out. I'd let a head cool down quite a bit before pulling it out.

* I have a two cylinder Cushman that had been sitting in the weather for about a half-century with one spark plug removed. The pistons and valves were stuck, solid. The valves were a fright! I build a firebrick enclosure around the engine, brought it up to just-barely red heat with a propane weed burner, and let it soak at that temperature for around 3-4 hours. At that point turned off the fire, closed off all openings in the "oven" and let it cool until morning. The valves came out with a few gentle taps with a small hammer. Using a home-built all-thread puller, the pistons came out without any trouble, at all.

* I've never had much problem with excessive burning or corrosion of the metal. All day long in the stove might be overkill.
Of course you already know it, but for this technique to work you'll need to let the fire develop a good bed of hot, glowing coals. I find that a good load of smallish chunks of wood with a good air supply works better than one or two big chunks that just smoulder with the air damped off.

* All I did to the last head I had with stuck valves was heat the guides up to a nice red color with the torch and after cooling, they easily punched right out. It was quite rusted with one valve stem completely rusted off on the outside.

* I'll go get the heads now and set them by the stove for tomorrow. I can put them in in the morning and watch until they start getting red. Then I can just let the stove go out. Who cares how cold the house gets if I get these heads freed up?!


It's always constructive to hear the results of a particular experiment which has been under discussion, and, via the internet, those can be shared almost as they happen, and in this case, we heard the following day how things had gone.

* Well, I had a limited success with cooking the heads.
The stuck valves came out of the unknown head nicely.
The valves and rocker arm came off the Witte head and the needle valve came out of the mixer. I got the butterfly valve loosened up to. What didn't come loose for me is the mixer, it's still rusted in the head. I am going to build a mixer to use with this head so I have to get it loosened up.
I guess I will mount some bolts in something and heat the head up without getting the mixer as hot. Then I'll cool it a bit and bolt the head down so I can put some muscle to it.


Several days later, another list member was inspired by the suggestions and had a go with the same technique.

* A few days ago someone mentioned placing parts in a stove to un-stick them. The weekend of the Asheville show I picked up an ignitor mag bracket for my 8HP Famous. Looked nice on the outside, but the inside had been exposed to a cylinder full of water for many decades.
Needless to say the moving contact was completely frozen in the ignitor body. For a month I have squirted Gibbs on it and lightly tapped on the moving contact every day for about 20 minutes. No movement at all. So last night I placed in it the wood stove that we heat the house with and cooked it for 12+ hours. It was glowing red by 8:00 and I'd guess stayed that way until 2:00 this morning. This morning I dragged it out of the
ashes and I'm happy to report that the moving contact is just that, MOVING!!!
Someone speculated that the reason parts stuck was due to "something" of hydration (I forget the fancy term), and that the heat drove the water back out allowing the clearance to return. Whatever is going on at a microscopic level, I'm just happy the part is loose. This saves me a lot of tedious Bridgeport work drilling the moving contact out.
I've got a Hercules piston/rod/pin to try next in the stove. They've been soaking for a couple of years in mineral oil and are still stuck. So give the wood stove a try guys!


* I often loosen up small parts by boiling them in distilled water. Things like that cylinder head would get to sit in the toaster oven for a while at 450 °F. My personal
experience has been that castings grow the most from ambient temp up to about 400 ° , after that it is not so noticeable. Toaster ovens are great for this sort of work, and you can often get one that is a little nasty and a lot cheap at St. Vincent DePaul or Goodwill stores.


This should have provided you with two good reasons to get out into the shop to do a little restoration work. Or maybe, you could just bring those stuck parts inside to the fire and sit in the warm, reading your GEM with your feet up, content in the knowledge that you are working hard to free off some long-stuck parts.

stationary-engine@atis.net

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