Stationary Engine List


| March/April 2001



Stationary Engine

The ATIS Stationary Engine Mailing List has been busy discussing our recent New Year's Crank Up, an annual event which has to be geographically the largest engine show in the world. It begins at midnight in New Zealand and Australia, and spreads across the world throughout the day until the last engine in California is shut down, and it is a time when everyone remembers engine buddies who have passed away, reflects on the year past, the new year to come and the great friendships created via the internet.

Among these enthusiastic mails and the usual collection of identification assistance, advice and tips offered and sought, I found a thread of discussion about the care of flat belting, which I thought would interest the readers of GEM.

I apologize in advance for asking a question that I know we've already addressed, but I'm guilty of the 'I didn't need to know then' syndrome. Anyway, I've recently been searching for a source of belt dressing (belt compound) in my area and have had trouble finding someone who carries it. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I might look?

I thought I read on the List one time that to soften old belting up you can boil it in water.

Having spent 20 years as a shoe cobbler I can tell you that few oils or greases will soften really dry leather well, even though most are great at keeping it soft. If you get a dry piece of leather, soak it in water first, then while it is still soft, apply the oils or greases. Neatsfoot oil is good, but you have to be careful of the name when buying it. If it says 'neatsfoot oil compound' on the label, it may have two drops of actual neatsfoot oil per each thousand gallons of carrier. I used a lot of leather belts, but since use was regular and they were never in the weather, they never got hard or dry, so all I ever used was belt dressing. My favorite was a light brown rosin-based stick dressing. It was much better than the black tar-based dressing. Gee, typing this has almost made me miss those days of slapping flat belts and clicking splicers. The chirping under heavy load or when throwing a clutch in ... Well, almost. ..

I've got a gallon of 'Track-Bite' languishing on the shelf; maybe I should repackage it in wee bottles? It's like stepping in gum.