PO Box 146 Three Mile Bay, New York 13693-0146
I enjoy reading about other people’s experiences I restoring
engines. I would like to share one of my projects with you.
I have restored several small engines over the past years but
this time, it was somewhat more substantial. I came across a 6 HP
United hit and miss on its original cart and just had to go at it.
The engine was all there and would run as-is. Just to let you in
the logistics, instead of just heaving it into my pick-up, I found
it necessary to hire a roll-back wrecker to deliver it to my home.
The only place to off-load the engine was in a flower bed that was
dormant at that time. This maybe was not the best decision but it
would be moved before flower-time, right? I started and ran it
several times and got a rush every time I heard it. It really had
‘authority’ and I thoroughly enjoyed the sound. As time
went on I decided that a complete restoration was the only way to
go. Still in the flower bed, I dismantled it completely, wagon and
all, leaving the frame in the flower bed, now complete with
flowers. Wife not happy!
I found that by spraying the water hopper and wagon rails with
water, the original pinstripes and flower-type decoration would
show up. By marking and measuring some of the decorations and then
photographing them while still wet, you could duplicate the size
and color after painting the main parts of the engine. This system
has worked quite well. I removed all the original wood and
driver’s seat and replaced it with cherry that was sealed with
several coats of polyurethane varnish. I even refinished the
two-pole used for the horses. I discovered that for pinstripes,
there are paint pens available from any artist-supply store in any
color you may need. The price is very reasonable. If you use a
guide or ruler with a strip or two of masking tape just back from
the edge to prevent run-in it will give a nice sharp line. With a
little luck I was able to do a fairly good job of the other
decoration. Wife helped, to get it out of flowers, now???
I reassembled the whole engine, still in the flowers, and
proceeded to run/adjust it. I will admit it was a real nice job and
thought the flowers added to the overall scene. Wife had varying
opinion. About now show time was very close for Stone Mills up here
in Northern New York and it seemed a good idea for a little
This story has a happy ending as the engine ran flawlessly and
drew quite a lot of attention at Stone Mills. My grandson and I had
a great two days at Stone Mills and my wife is real happy to have
her flower bed back.
My real enjoyment is finding and restoring an old engine and
letting it go, only to look for the next one. Once they are done,
the search starts all over. Our whole family enjoys going to
several local shows each year because there is always something for
everyone. This engine has since been sold, and I hope the new owner
enjoys it as much as I did. I am already working on a couple of
other engines. I will admit that they are smaller than 6 horse!!
The flower bed and wife can’t handle another project that