9056 Riverside Drive Brighton, Ml 48116
Strike! That's what we did on September 1,1989. This isn't always the best way to start a month, and being a member of United Steelworkers Local 1900, it brings back memories of other strikes I've participated in that lasted from one day to 17 weeks over the last 22 years.
But this time, I had the opportunity to pursue my relatively new hobby-old engines on a full time schedule.
First, we had more shows to attend and not having to be at the mill all the time, we made four and five day trips out of them. I still had to arrange for my 'picket duty' on the off days, but somehow managed! We were having a ball, as long as the money holds out! (We don't get unemployment or anything else when out on strike.)
By the end of September the shows had run out and we had to conserve what money was left! (I got carried away and bought several pieces during September.) We couldn't afford to travel too far for the remaining shows!
So it was time to work on the newest acquisitions. The 6 HP early style Sta-Rite was done in a few days, as was the 4 HP International Famous screen cooled on nine foot skids.
I don't paint original pieces any more, just clean (no scraping), and oil them down. I'm really pleased with the results and get many compliments on them!
Next was the 10 HP Stickney. First was to build some heavy skids, complete with metal bands to protect the underside of the side rails. I opted for skids instead of a cart to lower the center of gravity of the unit because I haul my engines on a flat bed truck.
Then to get it running. The engine was very stiff, even after loosening the bearing caps. I unhooked the connecting rod and removed piston and rod from the head end! Wow! I've worked on 12 HP farm engines, before but this piston was 17' long! I cleaned everything up and freed the rings this helped tremendously!
The intake valve was a bit of a challenge but was soon conquered and everything was reassembled on that end. The cam box on the other end was in need of freeing up and a tad of weld! The old girl took off and ran, and is expecting to see some of you folks this summer at a couple of our regular shows. By now the weather was turning on us, so I decided to warm up the shop and get down to some model building.
I built a pair of 1/3 scale Associated igniter models first, but was looking for something a little more challenging. Now you may recall the article I wrote a while back on restoring a Polo engine for Ken and Wendy Wolf. Well, I still had the photos of the original one worked from on that job, so, why not?
First I chucked up another one of those 200 pound blocks of cast iron and started whittling. I used flywheels from another headless Witte and here is the most glaring difference from the original, which had 5 spokes.
Everything progressed rather well until I had to fabricate the forge blower type fan used for cooling. This one component was the most challenging. I made it from a bar of cast iron, 3?' in diameter, solid. I shaped the outside to suit myself, using two gussets to support the shaft bearings instead of the original's one. Then I split it in half on the band saw and hollowed it out.
I wish I had written down some of the measurements for the original one, but then, that might have complicated things a bit more. This way I just made parts that looked as close to the original's as I could, and said 'good enough!'
The finished product looks pretty good to me, but I guess maybe I'm just biased. We'll have to see what the rest of the engine world has to say about it, but I think they'll agree. They'll get a chance to see it at Portland this summer.
Oh yeah, I'm back to work, strike is over and we were only out for 101 days this time! Too bad it couldn't have happened during the prime show season! I could have really enjoyed that, as long as the money held out!