6 HP United Hit & Miss

| September/October 2000

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 show-and-tell time.

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.