CONSTRUCTIVE DETAILS OF BOILERS.
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369. Q.—Will you explain the course of procedure in the construction and setting of wagon boilers?
A.—Most boilers are made of plates three eighths of an inch thick, and the rivets are from three eighths to three fourths of an inch in diameter. In the bottom and sides of a wagon boiler the heads of the rivets, or the ends formed on the rivets before they are inserted, should be large and placed next the fire, or on the outside; whereas on the top of the boiler the heads should be on the inside. The rivets should be placed about two inches distant from centre to centre, and the centre of the row of rivets should be about one inch from the edge of the plate. The edges of the plates should be truly cut, both inside and outside, and after the parts of the boiler have been riveted together, the edges of the plates should be set up or caulked with a blunt chisel about a quarter of an inch thick in the point, and struck by a hammer of about three or four pounds weight, one man holding the caulking tool while another strikes.
370. Q.—Is this the usual mode of caulking?
A.—No, it is not the usual mode; but it is the best mode, and is the mode adopted by Mr. Watt. The usual mode now is for one man to caulk the seams with a hammer in one hand and a caulking chisel in the other, and in some of the difficult corners of marine flue boilers it is not easy for two men to get in. A good deal of the caulking has also sometimes to be done with the left hand.
371. Q.—Should the boiler be proved after caulking?
A.—The boiler should be filled with water and caulked afresh in any leaky part. When emptied again, all the joints should be painted with a solution of sal ammoniac in urine, and so soon as the seams are well rusted they should be dried with a gentle fire, and then be painted over with a thin putty formed of whiting and linseed oil, the heat being continued until the putty becomes so hard that it cannot be readily scratched with the nail, and care must be taken neither to burn the putty nor to discontinue the fire until it has become quite dry.