Tag Archives: tugboat red cloud

2009 Week 4 in Review

Work continues on the Catalyst

This week at OTM Inc, we finished fitting the rod bearings on the Catalyst and cleaned out the crankpit really well.

Then, we installed pistons. On most engines, you put the pistons in through the top, which means you have to have the heads off to get at the piston. On Washington diesels, though, you can put the pistons in through the bottom. This is yet another reason that Washingtons are the best engines ever made.

They actually have a recess in the liner on top – right where the top ring stops – so that there is never a ridge going forming that might break rings. This means that if a piston is loaded from the top, the rings will get caught. In other engines, you might need a fancy ring funnel to get around this, but on a Washington that’s unnecessary since the bottom of the liner is a ring funnel itself. Washingtons are build with the base doors big enough to lower the piston and rod right through and sit the piston on the crank throws at a 90-degree angle. You then rig it to be pulled right up into the cylinder. It’s really easy and can be done with the cylinder head still on. Wow. That Adrian Estep sure knew what he was doing.

An update from the Red Cloud

Rick on the Red Cloud is selling its air compressor and the fire pump, which are both very powerful. Contact me if you’re interested, and I’ll put you through to Rick.

A visit to the Maris Pearl

I helped Jay refuel the Maris Pearl and bring her out to Kirkland this week. It was nice to see the Pearl and talk with Jay again, and we talked about the project I’m starting there next month.

A rectifier for the Olympic?

Nobby from New York pointed out that a rectifier might be a good option for the Olympic (talked about in 2008 Week 49 in Review). A rectifier turns AC power into DC power, which would let the owners use the two DC electric air compressors, rather than waiting to for a replacement AC generator. That’s a good recommendation – I hope that the owners are interested in cranking the engine over soon.

Upcoming Engineer for a Day

I talked with John and confirmed the date of this year’s Engineer for a Day field trip for the Ballard Maritime Academy. We’re on for having 25 kids aboard the Arthur Foss, the fireboat Duwamish, and the steamer Virginia V. It’s scheduled for the end of February. This year is going be great, since the fireboat’s air compressor now works at full capacity. We might even get all three engines going for the first time in years.

Ongoing web updates

Here at Old Tacoma Marine Inc, we’re working hard to bring you more content in 2009. We’re adding more content to the website – more engines, more manuals, more photographs, and more articles. This week, we started making some behind-the-scenes changes to support new content, and in two weeks we’ll be meeting with Ed at the Washington State History Museum Archives to get more information on Washington Iron Works.

A disclaimer from Old Tacoma Marine Inc

I received a call this week from a reader who’s a fellow mechanic. We talked for more than an hour about what I do, and how he doesn’t blog and it’s pretty gutsy that I’m putting it all out there for the world to see. I got the feeling all through the conversation, though, that something was eating him, and I finally asked what was bothering him.

He asked me straight up “Did you really put valve lapping compound on your bearings and jam that on the shaft?” See, if you put valve lapping compound into a babbitted bearing, it’ll embed itself into the bearing and will grind away at the crankshaft while the engine is running. I told him that I was using Timesaver, which is a lapping compound specifically for soft metals, which won’t embed itself into a babbitted bearing.

I view this episode as a failure of me as a blogger: I didn’t provide all the information that made the story complete. If someone was trying to follow along at home, they might well have poured regular valve lapping compound onto their bearings and wrecked them. I’m glad that this reader called me on it – I view this blog and everything I do as a conversation. I’m trying to get as much of what I do up onto the web as I can, but it’s not all up there yet.

Until then, I want to warn everyone reading that all information from Old Tacoma Marine Inc – posted to the web, printed, photographic, and spoken – is for the purpose of discussion, not to be the sole source of information concerning rebuilding engines, managing museums, or succeeding at life.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2008 Week 39 in Review

Back to business-as-usual

This week, I’ve gotten back in the shop. I worked on cleaning up an engine control station that I picked up recently. It’s a neat find, perfect for a direct-reversing twin-screw boat. After I finish cleaning it up, I’ll post pictures and put it up on eBay – hopefully by next week.

I also worked on the Duwamish a bit – I checked the cylinder height with a standard gasket and it is too low. The piston goes up past the liner slightly, so next week I’ll put a thicker gasket under it. I’ve got to get this project wrapped up soon, though.

I also cleaned up the shop a bit, and caught up on news from the shop partners. Brian and his shipwright partners are all settled in, John moved out, Grant is moving into John’s old space, and we’re going to be looking for another shop partner soon. My space is right in the center of the shop, so I spend quite a lot of time BSing with everyone who works there. I call this an investment, rather than a waste of time. We may not talk about anything important, but this business requires a lot of social interaction. When I have a question, I can get answer much faster if I am all caught up on the news.

I also worked on taxes and other “business” things. Lame. Stuff like this takes the fun out of running a small business.

Sakarissa moves

We received the following email from Jerry, who works with the Amphibious Forces Memorial Museum, which is thinking about buying the Sakarissa (a WWII “Yard Tug,” sister ship to the Maris Pearl and the Red Cloud):

YTB-269 was built in Tacoma and commissioned 12 April 1944. She served in the Pacific assisting in the operation and transport of ABSD-1 (advance base sectional dry-dock). These large docks were capable of lifting a battleship and were used to repair ships in Eniwetok and Guam during and after the war. The ship returned home to San Francisco on August 22, 1946. She was used for assist duty for the USN until 1974 and was then transferred to MARAD at Suisan Bay tending to the needs of the mothball fleet there. The Sakarissa will join the growing fleet of historic vessels in the Portland/Vancouver WA area. She will become an educational resource attesting to the era when maritime services played a major role in the economy of the Northwest and of the labor that built ships and those few still working to preserve that history.

Jerry also sent a bunch of pictures of the tug, including this engine room shot:

Enterprise DMQ-8 diesel engine powering the ex-Navy tug SAKARISSA

This is the same engine built on the same contract as the Red Cloud and the Maris Pearl, but unlike those two it doesn’t have the clear camshaft view ports on the starboard side. Interesting.

Thanks for the update and the photos, Jerry – I hope that I can make it to the Sakarissa when I’m down in Oregon next month.

Footage from the Quail

Dirk and his friend were treated to a demonstration of the tugboat Quail‘s Atlas-Imperial diesel. Here’s a video of starting her up:

Thanks, Dirk!

What is “original?”

When you’re taking care of engines for which spare parts haven’t been manufactured for 50 years, things tend to get changed around a lot. While I try to stick to the original manufactures’ parts and process, I have had to stray sometimes. If I can’t keep the engine “original”, then the next most important thing is to document the changes that do happen. I’ve been keeping track of the changes I’ve made, but I need to start making better records of the process. I’m going to start a list of variances to the OEM (Original Engine Manufacturer) designs here and on the website. Over time, I hope to document all of the changes I’ve made – and all of the changes that other people have made and told me about.

Here’s a few to start off with:

On the Arthur Foss‘s Washington:

  • the fuel pressure regulator is an Atlas-Imperial fuel pressure regulator
  • numbers two through six cylinder heads are a newer style with two studs and a collar to hold the valve cages, instead of one big castellated nut around the cage
  • the new set of tappet guides have a zerk fitting or 1/8-inch pipe tapped hole in each

On the Catalyst‘s Washington:

  • the injector tips, while Washington-style on the outside, are Atlas-Imperial-style on the inside
  • the fuel pressure regulator has an atlas imperial seat and stem – inferior to the reversible Washington design
  • the new valves are one-piece (this is forgivable)
  • the valve cages have new noses and are not one piece any more
  • the guides are off the shelf (from MAN or something)
  • the rod bearing nuts are nylock and not “large profile”
  • the clutch guide pins are two piece
  • the pneumatic shifting has been replaced with hydraulic

On the Westward‘s Atlas-Imperial:

  • no Manzell

On the Thea Foss‘s Atlas-Imperials:

  • much of the engine room controls have been replaced or altered to allow better remote operation

On the Briana Marin‘s Enterprise:

  • the thrust bearing and carrying portion of the bed plate has been removed to make room for the gear

That’s it for now. Mechanics, owners, enthusiasts: do you know of any other changes to any other heavy-duty boat? Comment here and we’ll start putting together this record.

Autumn Programs at Northwest Seaport

Old Tacoma Marine Inc has a very good relationship with the Northwest Seaport and I try to help them out when I can. I’m of course most interested in the programs involving the Arthur Foss. I teach all the engine classes held aboard, and last year I not only directed (instigated) the Classic Workboat Show, but I was also the largest sponsor of time and money. Autumn is planning season for Northwest Seaport, so I’ve gotten more involved again by helping them plan next year’s programming and raise funds to make it all happen.

As a start, I went the Lake Union Park Working Group meeting, held every other Friday. All the groups with a stake at South Lake Union send representatives to discuss everything going on, from individual projects to giant joint programs. A major item on the agenda this week was planning joint programs for 2009, but we ended up pushing that back to the next meeting to give all the groups a little more time to recover from the summer. I’m going to meet with Northwest Seaport before that next meeting to commit to expanding the programming schedule just a little more, like we’ve done for the past few years.

I have a few programs that I try to put on every year with the Seaport and the Center for Wooden Boats: Engineer for a Day, Diesel Engine Theory, and the new Tugboat night. These are each engine-centric, mostly on the Arthur, but Engineer for a Day uses all four boats on the wharf (I wrote about it way way back in February). The biggest (and most expensive) single class is Diesel Engine Theory, which is our take-it-apart-and-fix-it class that we’re using to restore the Arthur‘s big Washington:

Diesel Engine Theory 2006 aboard the tugboat Arthur Foss

We’re planning out next year’s programs and finishing this year’s, and finding (as usual) that the main need for each class is participants and funding. For this year’s Diesel Engine Theory class (the only remaining 2008 program), we’ve already got two or three people signed up, and Northwest Seaport is already a third of the way towards raising the total cost of the program (thanks to a 4Culture Special Projects grant), but we really need to fill the class and get the other two-thirds of the money in hand before we start this year’s work.

Northwest Seaport’s staff and board are very busy, so I usually take on a lot of the behind-the-scenes program management. This includes advertising the class and fundraising, on top of the mechanic stuff I need to do to get ready (we really need to order rings soon). This work is essential, since without the organizing, advertising, fundraising, and paper trail, we are spinning our wheels as opposed to building something solid and sustainable that transcends the boat itself.

This gets back to one of my major philosophies. To lift up a boat (or a maritime organization) you need something bigger than that boat (or maritime organization). I think that the best “something bigger” is education. Engine room education is important (the YMTA can tell you why better than I can) and the Arthur Foss just happens to be the best platform for this type of training. She’s a really neat boat, owned by a museum that’s dedicated to keeping her around to teach the public about boats, and she’s moored in the middle of Seattle. The classes and programs we run aboard her for the benefit of the general public can lift the Arthur Foss up and make something more of her than just an old boat.

Of course, last year a program literally lifted the Arthur Foss right out of the water:

the tugboat Arthur Foss in dry-dock, October 2007

That was a great feeling.

Getting back to the upcoming Diesel Engine Theory course, we need behind-the-scenes funding to get it off the ground. If you can help out, contact me now.

The wish list as it stands for the upcoming Arthur Foss programming includes:

  • cash
  • diesel fuel and lubricating oils
  • program participants
  • time on a dry dock
  • (1) 18-to-one torque multiplier
  • volunteers to do behind the scenes work (advertising, fundraising, setup, etc) – sign up for one or more positions now!


Filed under museums, programs, tugboats, week in review

2008 Week 14 In Review

An Update from the Maris Pearl

We are still cleaning up the Maris Pearl’s tool room and parts container. It’s a really big job, but I can totally see that I’m making progress. I also found the pipe fittings I removed from the jacket heat exchanger three years ago when I started the project. I finally need them again and I’m really glad that they were still around.

OTM Inc Summer Sticker Photo Competition

Old Tacoma Marine Inc. is holding a sticker photo competition this summer, using the stickers we ordered and your own creativity. We posted the details over here. Now go request your stickers and start taking photographs.

Visit to the Red Cloud
On Saturday morning we visited the Red Cloud, a neat ex-Navy tug powered by an Enterprise diesel:

This is neat enough on its own (as you’ve probably noticed), but it also is the exact same class vessel as the Maris Pearl (ex-Sea Fox, for those of you paying attention). The Red Cloud looks just like the Pearl did ten years ago, before an extensive conversion to cruising tugboat yacht.

Rick Hamborg, the proud new owner, is very excited about converting the Red Cloud into a comfortable cruising tug as well:

He showed us the plans he’s drawn up to remodel the main deck into a swanky lounge space surrounding the galley and even has the furniture picked out. We’re looking forward to seeing the process unfold in the future. More importantly, though, the engine:

The Red Cloud‘s engine and engine rooms look almost exactly like the Maris Pearl‘s, too. Walking around as Rick showed us through the boat was like walking through a ghost-twin of the Pearl – all of the major equipment was in the same place, the rooms were the same shape, and it “felt” the same, minus ten years of conversion. The main difference is the color and the round cam windows (rather than the Pearl‘s square windows) — and how the Red Cloud really isn’t ready for cruising yet:

Nothing a little clean-up won’t fix, though.

There is one big barrier to getting the engine going again, though: Cosmoline.

Cosmoline is the trade name for a specific petroleum distillate that’s used as a rust-preventer. It’s sort of like vasoline, except that it has long-chain hydrocarbons that make it waxy as well as greasy. The military and plenty of other people smear it on metal things – guns, jeeps, engines – to keep them preserved for years or even decades. It works really well to keep the rust from eating a mothballed engine long before the boat is activated again.

The problem is that cosmoline is very hard to remove when the boat is reactivated — and it’s hard to know where it is and where it isn’t on an engine. It’s hard to remove from any engine, but the Red Cloud‘s engine is covered in cosmoline. I think that the Navy workers on cosmoline duty hated their jobs and they sprayed it everywhere out of spite while they were mothballing the boat (here‘s a dark blurry picture of the cylinder heads; the dark yellow greasy stuff is the cosmoline). It’s going to be really, really hard to get it out of the engine, since every little bit has to be removed before starting up the engine. I know of cases of cosmoline-filled oil lines that prevented oil from getting to the bearings that in turn destroyed the engine.

The only way to recondition the engine safely is to completely disassemble the engine, clean out all the cosmoline, and reassemble it once you’re sure it’s all out. The stuff doesn’t disolve in oil, so it’s really easy for chunks of it to come off, circulate through the engine, get stuck in the oil lines, and destroy the bearings. One of the only chemicals it’s soluable in is laquer thinner, which makes it hard to clean out of a system. There’s a few tricks to make it a little faster (I might circulate laquer thinner through the engine using the prelube pump), but it’ll still be a nightmare and you have to ventilate the entire engine room with explosion-proof pumps.

Bringing the Red Cloud‘s engine room back to life is going to be a big job what with all that cleaning up after the Navy, but just think how great it’ll be to hear that DMQ-8 rumble back to life. Make sure to invite us to the party, Rick!

1 Comment

Filed under enterprise, sticker contest, week in review

2008 Week Seven in Review

This has been a busy week for Old Tacoma Marine Inc. In addition to our usual winter maintenance load, the museum program schedule is picking up and we’re getting a lot of interest in old diesels following our increased web presence.

First, a variety of engine and vessel news:

Maris Pearl Updates
Jay, Charlie, and I started the week by moving the Maris Pearl from Lake Union Dry Dock back to Shilshole Marina. It was a pretty uneventful trip.

OTM Inc checked in with Alaska Copper and Brass again about the cooler for the tug’s Enterprise diesel. Wayne reported no progress, so I threatened to go down there and roll the tubes myself. Next Monday, I think I’ll show up at their plant with my work boots and hard hat.

I also talked with Rick Hamborg, new owner of the Red Cloud, about the extra control head that I’d like to purchase for the Maris Pearl. I think we might be able to reach a deal soon.

Arthur Foss’s Bearing

OTM Inc picked up the throw-out bearing for the Washington diesel in the Arthur Foss:

tugboat ARTHUR FOSS's throw-out bearing, re-babbitted and ready for installation

Everett Engineering did a great job, although Dan Martin overrode my request for more fore-and-aft thrust clearance so that the tight fit will hold oil better. I’m afraid that it will be much harder to center the bearing every time the propeller shaft is engaged. The clutch on the Arthur Foss uses a set of links that flop over-center in a way that maintains pressure on the clutch without force from the throw-out bearing. When the throw-out bearing is backed off a little, there is no thrust pressure at all. The centering is sometimes hard, as the big wheel that moves the bearing is touchy. We’ll probably want to engineer a clamp or holder of some type to maintain the bearing position while underway. The collar and bearing were installed on Thursday, but the links need to be cleaned. They’ll be installed early next week.

David B Propeller Work
I talked with Jeffrey on the David B, which is hauled-out in preparation for propeller work. They also want to replace the stern bearing due to the 1/4 inch clearance recorded, but the rudder is in the way of the bearing housing. It looks like Jeffrey will need to remove the short intermediate shaft in order to remove the bearing housing, but the tail shaft will be even harder to remove. I’m wondering if they’ll replace the bearing without cleaning the shaft lining. Jeffrey’s frustration makes me think so.

Update on the Catalyst’s Cylinder Heads
The Catalyst’s owners have reached an agreement with Empire Motors to purchase the three new cylinder heads (previously mentioned here) as well as the patterns. I’m really looking forward to seeing them and I hope they work. I’m also really, really excited to see the patterns. I’ll post lots of pictures when they get here.

Fairbanks-Morse Parts
Steve from Striegel Supply is looking for some Fairbanks-Morse parts for a blower on a 16”-bore engine. I don’t know who would have these parts—does anyone reading this have any ideas? Leave a comment – or better yet, post on our discussion board!

A Fairbanks-Morse in Maryland
I talked with John in Maryland this week. He has a Fairbanks-Morse FM–A—6 engine, like the one on the John N Cobb. He’ll be sending us photographs and information soon. He’s also trying to locate spare parts just in case; I recommended Hatch and Kirk overhaul the injectors and pumps for him.

An Atlas-Imperial in Astoria
OTM Inc received an email from the Columbia River Maritime Museum in response to a letter we sent informing the museum of some small problems with their Atlas-Imperial on display. They don’t want to work on the engine right now (especially since it’s on display in the main lobby – though I think that working on it right there would be very interesting for visitors), but they do want a list of what to do and how to do it for future planning. I’ll come up with a detailed list and maybe make a copy of one of our manuals to hand-deliver in March.

An Enterprise in Astoria
I received an email from John Gillon of Portland, Oregon:

I am a volunteer with the amphibious forces memorial museum. Last October we sailed the Sakarissa from San Francisco to Portland Or. She is moored on the Columbia River next to our Landing Craft Infantry 713.

I was looking on your web site and we have a Enterprise engine on the Sakarissa and it is a beautiful engine. You can visit our web site and see more, or contact them for some good pictures of the engine.

I enjoyed your web site,


The Amphibious Forces Memorial Museum has hidden the pictures of its Enterprise too well for me to find, so I’ll have to see if I can visit the Sakarissa while I’m Astoria for the Columbia River Maritime Museum errand:

the SAKARISSA at dock

The Ballard Maritime Academy Engineer for a Day Program

Preparing for a course like this is a hectic process, as the boats always require some head-scratching and jury-rigging to get them running after a long idle period. The biggest puzzle we faced this time was getting enough air pressure to start the fireboat Duwamish’s diesel-electric system. The fireboat’s air compressors need a little work; one of them really doesn’t pump air at all, and the other one’s efficiency is suffering. It takes a long time for it to fill the tanks up to the minimum level needed to turn the main over, so for past Engineer for a Day programs we’ve run an air hose from the Arthur Foss to the fireboat to fill up the tanks.

This past autumn, though, we moved the boats on the Historic Ships Wharf around so that the Arthur and the Duwamish are separated by a big old Lightship (number 83). If we use a long enough hose to stretch up and over the lightship and down into the fireboat, it doesn’t effectively fill up the tanks. Grant and I spend most of Thursday running the air compressor on auxiliary generator, wondering if we’d get enough pressure to turn on the main. We thought about renting an air compressor, but couldn’t find a large enough one on short-notice.

Finally, late in the day, the Duwamish’s own air compressor filled up the tanks to the needed psi and Grant was able to start up the number one main generator:

We ran it and the generator for a while after that to ensure that we had enough air built up to start the engine several times, since that’s a key part of the Engineer for a Day program.

While Grant was working on the Duwamish, cleaning and oiling and turning over the three big Bessemer generators, I was doing some work on the Arthur Foss. We’d removed the base doors during the autumn 2007 Diesel Engine Theory course (pictures at Northwest Seaport’s Flickr account), and I needed to re-seal them using my own patented “goo” method. Five of these doors are the original aluminum with “Washington Iron Works” cast into them, but one is a replacement made of plywood. Northwest Seaport’s museum specialist is hoping to replace this replacement door with a piece of thick plexiglass so that we can see into the engine while it’s running, but they weren’t able to get it purchased and cut in time for this class. They’re aiming to get it installed in time for the summer tour season, though. I doubt that they’ll be able to see much through all the oil that’ll get splashed against the door while the engine is operating, but it’s a neat idea and no harm in implementing it (at least until I have a new door cast in aluminum).

The Virginia V at least was ready to go — though this is only because we don’t start up her steam plant during the Engineer for a Day program (it would double the cost of the class). Her power plant is currently disassembled for winter maintenance, but that actually makes it even more interesting to observe.

After all that preparation, the Engineer for a Day program went great. John Foster, the instructor for the Ballard Maritime Academy, brought 16 kids down for one of the program’s annual field trips. He spends several classes before the field trip teaching the kids about marine engineering and engine theory so that they have a good understanding of it in their heads before they step aboard. When we have them actually start up an engine – either the Arthur’s Washington or the Duwamish’s Bessemers – they suddenly understand what the diagrams and explanations mean:

more photos of the Engineer for a Day program on Northwest Seaport's Flickr account

Despite this, I’m always a little nervous thinking about a big group of kids storming the boat. Once they arrive and we break them into three groups to cycle through the Arthur, the Duwamish, and the Virginia V, I usually calm down. They may be high schoolers, but they want to be there and are way smarter than I give them credit for — even if they play games and whisper and text message while they’re supposed to be listening. I had a great time leading them through the Arthur’s start-up and shut-down procedures, and both Grant and Gary say the same thing about their sections. I’m looking forward to doing as many of these as we can, and not just for Ballard Maritime Academy.

Inaugural Tugboat Night!
The week finally ended with OTM Inc helping run a new program with Northwest Seaport and the Center for Wooden Boats. Tugboat Night was designed to serve three different purposes: to provide a regular, low-cost program on the Arthur Foss, to exercise all of the tug’s equipment more often, and to get more people onboard and involved with the boat and the organizations.

On Saturday night, twelve people showed up for the program, all really excited. Several had never been onboard before, though they’d seen the tug at the dock. My original plan for the evening had been to lead all the participants through the boat starting in the engine room, turning on everything and then turning off everything. After running the auxiliary generator and the AC generator, though, we ended up getting distracted by the main engine and not going on to the steering equipment and other systems. Everyone loves watching the Washington Iron Works diesels, since they have so many exposed moving parts and ways to see into the engine. We played with the controls, trying to get the engine to idle as slow as possible before stalling, and I answered a lot of questions from both beginners and the professional electrical engineer who had run hydroelectric generators in Montana:

Tugboat Night at Northwest Seaport

This, however, is the great thing about Tugboat Night. Next time, we’ll do it differently; we could have other instructors up in the fo’c’sle or the wheelhouse while I stay in the engine room and let participants choose where they go, or we could spend less time on the pre-start checklists and just turn things on and off. We could have a “plumbing night” or a “wiring night” or a “steering and telegraph night,” as well as a “deck department” or an “engine department” night.

I’m really excited by the turn-out of this first session, since it shows that people are interested in learning about the gritty details of old boats. I think that it’s a great way to start building a volunteer engine crew for the Arthur, both to help keep up with maintenance and repair, and for in the future when the tug starts cruising again (though that’s barely on the horizon). I hope that see all the same people at the next Tugboat Night, plus more who hear about it from them.

NWS and the CWB have scheduled four more sessions of Tugboat Night, on April 19, June 21, August 16, and December 20. Depending on the popularity of the class, they may hold more this year, and they’re planning to hold one every month of 2009. Call the CWB at (206) 382-2628 to register now.

Finally, Tape versus No Tape: A Viewer Poll

Kirtland (a boat guy living aboard the Arthur Foss these days in a work-exchange arrangement with Northwest Seaport) and I had a “discussion” the other day about paint on boats. It went sort of like the Bud Light “great tastes” versus “less filling” commercials.

It is my philosophy that paint is an impermeable barrier that protects the ship from rot, rust, and other elemental damage. It is Kirtland’s philosophy that paint is a cosmetic that keeps the boat looking sharp and shipshape. Of course, what we actually said was something like “Next time, use tape, [censored]!” “You want tape? Beat me to it, [censored]!” and back and forth several times.

Now, I’m a big proponent of keeping the boats looking sharp so that the maritime groups have good “dock presence,” but before worrying about making them look good we should worry about keeping them protected from the rain and other agents of deterioration. If Kirtland wants to spend a lot of time fussing over masking and detailing and what should be painted green versus white, then that’s fine – as long as the boat is already protected.

Readers, what do you think? Paint as protective barrier or paint as a cosmetic detail? Please comment with your opinion.


Filed under atlas-imperial, enterprise, museums, programs, washington iron works, week in review

2008 Week Four In Review

Maris Pearl Work

The retired tugboat Maris Pearl and its Enterprise diesel engine is a long-time customer of OTM Inc. This week, I resealed the oil tube in the No 1 cylinder on the starboard side. Water is still dripping into the crank pit on No 1, and the easiest and most likely way to fix it is to reseal the oil tube. Let’s hope it works. Here’s the Maris Pearl’s engine with the starboard access panel removed from No 1 cylinder:

Later in the week, I met with Bob Shildwalker to see about replacing the control head in the Maris Pearl’s Enterprise. It currently has an Ingersoll-Rand control head, which uses a teeny little air control motor to shift the camshaft. Since it’s so small, there’s a small possibility that it could hang up and cause the tug to get stuck in forward or reverse. It probably won’t, but I want the engine to be as perfect as it can be. I heard that Bob has a spare control head manufactured by Westinghouse that uses a big air ram to shift the cam:

Westinghouse control head suitable for Enterprise diesels

This makes it more reliable, as well as easy to use. I met with Bob to ask first if all the control head pieces are there and second if he would sell it.

The answer to both questions was no. Not only is the control head missing many pieces, but Bob said that he already sold the Red Cloud and everything on it to Rick Hamborg. This is unfortunate, since I think that with a little research I can make the missing parts and get the control head working again. Last year I installed the same device on a DMG-6 Enterprise and had a lot of fun learning about it while restoring it. I’ll try again soon. For now, though, it remains with the Red Cloud in Everett.

Cylinder head for Arcturus

Dan and I were cleaning out the storage locker and came across a 9″ x 12″ cylinder head, which would fit the yacht Arcturus‘s Atlas-Imperial. Since his engine is still sea-water cooled (and subject to the corrosion damage that can destroy an engine if not kept under control) we thought we’ll offer the head for sale to him first.

Cylinder heads for Catalyst

I’ve been meaning to hunt down the extra cylinder heads for the Washington in the Catalyst for a while now, as I know that the former owners had some made a few years back. This week, I spotted an advertisement in the Boats and Harbors rag for “Washington Engine Parts”. I immediately thought “Wait, there’s Washington parts out there that I don’t know about?” Since Washington Iron Works stopped manufacturing parts around 1980, they are hard to find and most of the collectors have already contacted Dan or I.

I called the foundry and machine shop at Texas Empire Motors Inc that placed the ad, which was for 8″ x 10″ cylinder heads. He said he has one old head, three new ones, and all the patterns needed for casting more. He was very anxious to sell the whole lot and sounded disappointed when I told him that there is only one potential customer in the world (as the Catalyst is the last remaining 8″ x 10″ Washington engine that we know of) and they may never need the spare heads. But, I wanted to see what he would let them go for, so I should see an offer in the mail soon.

Meanwhile, the Catalyst‘s current cylinder heads are looking great:

Leave a comment

Filed under enterprise, washington iron works, week in review