Saturday, March 29, 2014

Penance II

Some folks wanted to see beading in action.  I'm taking a break this morning - I'm not as fast as I once was - so I thought I'd post a short video of flaring and then beading ...


And beading:

When I was younger, I could do an entire array of tubes, 250 or so, in a shift.  Now, I'll be fortunate to wrap up this small array in a Saturday ...

Saturday, March 22, 2014


This is Lent, when popularly, it is thought that one should be giving something up, as in, "I gave up peanut butter for Lent."  As I understand it from the ancients, though, it was about cultivating a deeper desire for Christ, not necessarily giving something up.  Appended to this was the idea of penance ...

Now anyone who has undertaken to build a boat is familiar with penance and suffering ...

The winter was long and deep.  In addition, a trip was made to South America, other responsibilities and vocations were attended to.  Time in the boiler shop was scarce.  I could not spend as much time on the launch as I desired.  The spouse became worried as neurosis set in.  But today dawned warmer with a hint of Spring, and I was free to work in the shop.

As you may recall, faithful reader, I am building three boilers - one for myself and two for friends.  The one was just ninety some tube-beadings away from its hydro-static test.  And so, thinking about my sins and shortcomings, I picked out a flaring and beading tool, hefted Cletus from the air gun rack and made penance on the tube sheet.

Cletus and I are old friends.  He is thirty-five years old.  Together, we must have beaded over hundreds of tubes in six different locomotives; some repeated re-tubings.  Cletus has a slow, long stroke that when throttled is gentle when starting the tube roll, but can build to a chain-gun crescendo when putting the final polish on the roll.

To illustrate all of this for the uninitiated, here are some illustrations:

An array of tubes (not mine); some flared and some beaded:

The beading tool:

A boilermaker (no acquaintance), beading tubes with an air gun (not Cletus):

So, after a slow, thunderous morning and afternoon, I finished the one boiler.  I ache and there are few busted knuckles, but my soul is purged and free.  The result from the camera-phone, still flecked with bits of Crisco.

Quiéscite ágere pervérse, díscite benefácere: quærite iudícium, subveníte opprésso, iudicáte pupíllo, deféndite víduam. Et veníte et iudício contendámus, dicit Dóminus.