Restoring the past and creating futures

Our mission: Restoring the past and creating futures

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Handy Steam tricks

One of the mysteries and frustrations of the heating system in the mill has been learing the wyles of the low pressure steam heating system. We have a "two pipe system" which means steam goes out to the rads and heaters through the steam pipe system and as it releases it's latent energy it condenses and runs back to the boiler through the condensate return pipe system. Simple eh?

Catch is that the return system in particular is self destructive on a continuous basis. Apparently the condensate turns into carbolic acid (I think) at the steam traps and basically eats its way back to the boiler. It's not very friendly to the boiler either but at least we can add chemicals to neutralize it there.

So, things go wrong, unexpectedly, especially at the steam traps. If one begins to leak that means it is passing steam into the return system - then more bad things can happen - kills more traps for example. Our great steam guy (Jim Cocheran of Canadian Boilers) showed up with a neat heat camera that takes thermographic pictures of the traps and you can see in colour what needs to be done! Great! Perfect solution - except the camera is his and it's $5000!

The inventor got to work using a solution we came up with to turn the uniut heaters and fans on and off with the steam - other wise fans are blowing cold air when the steam is not on. Here's this one first...

the box fan is used to throw the heat from the rad into the room -
this dramatically speeds up warming the room.
the thrmostatic switch in the back of the receptical presses
on the steam pipe and turns the receptical on when there is steam present.

this one in the living room controls two fans on two rads from
one thermostaticaly controlled recepticle
Once this system was debugged and working flawlessly, the question still remained about being able to troubleshoot the steam traps from time to time. Eventually when the problem actually presented itself, the solution jumped right up at the same time...

Malcolm's Steam Testing Wand!
The tube is a shipping container that was lying around, the battery box was carved off on an obsolete Blackbox transmitter, the light is what remains of a damaged boat trailer light and up front....

is the same steam sensor I used for the rad controls. I just touch the steam pipe and if it is at 212 or above - the light comes
on. If the pipe is below steam temperature it does not come on. This allows me to test the traps quickly!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Our Grove 86' manlift is for sale!

You can see from the pictures below that this 86' manlift made a daunting job a breeze - well sort of. The machine avoided the costs of scaffolding rental which moved the completion of work up a year or more. As it happens we have another 86' machine which is older and doesn't have all the nifty features of this machine - but it will do the future jobs.

The Grove has a few minor issues that didn't matter for me working around my own place and could be fixed easily. It has one major issue in that it will only travel in slow speed - no good in a rental environment but no problem for an owner/operator the way I use it.

We are asking $19,500 FOB Glen Williams for a 1999 Grove AMZ86 Articulated Manlift.

view of Beaumont Mill from Grove 86

view of Credit River in our back yard!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

If you love the outside of our mill....

Check out the inside at the Beaumont Mill Antiques & Collectibles Facebook page! You will find up to date stories and pictures of what's for sale, the hours, how to get there and Peter's number for more information. Hint - number is 905 873-4407....!/pages/Beaumont-Mill-Antiques-and-Collectibles/179923248763502

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dormer windows let in the light at last!

The third floor dormer windows have been boarded up from long before our moving in (1988). Their restoration less important than getting the main building functional and by the daunting cost of doing work about 40' off the ground. This past year the aquisition of an 80' manlift changed all that and work could finally get under way. A side benefit is that we have the highest flag pole in the Glen!
South side - before
typical before condition

There were no sash left behind so they all had to be created from scratch by Paisley Architectural Millwork Ltd who also created the sash for the windows along the road in 1989, the first year of restoration work.

Sash painted and glazed in background, assembly jig in foireground
First finished sample

It was determined that the best way to do the dormers would be to create complete replacement frames in the boatshop then install them from the outside with the manlift. The originals were all rotted out at the bottoms and the sills. We purchased the lumber and machined the parts before painting and assembling them.

from this...
to this! Let there be light!

My nephew Lucas Black came over to assist withthe installation of the first sample assembly - we found a few little things needed modificatioin before assembling the rest. This was done the following week.
The first dormer done...
Cousin Hugh drops in with Peter Wilson

The following weekend we installed the first 9 sets all down the north side and 2 on the south side.

two to go on north side
What a difference!

The last 6 sets were installed by local carpenters as we thought bad weather was coming momentarily.

South side nearly done
preparing for new frame assembly

It was amazing to have this space converted from a "dungeon" to a bright new possibility!