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upcoming cast iron light pole repair

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  • #31
    I didn't have much time to work on it today, but I got all the burr work done at least. I still think I have some pockets of hard castnickelhardashellsomethingorother still in there, but by and large it's gone. At some point, when you start mixing all sorts of different metals, you end up with an alloy only the toxic avenger will understand.
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    • #32
      Looking real nice. Great prep work, that will make all the difference on the finished product.

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      • #33
        Out here working on this pole...all day so far...and it's going pretty well. But Friday I called the lady in charge of our museum, she told me that the city of Beaumont bought the gamewell fire alarm system in 1901. So this pole could be that old. If the call box that was on this pole is the original one that was on it, she can even pin point where the pole was installed in the city and still has the index cards for the code this thing would send into the receiver. Pretty cool.

        I should have it filled up with weld wire here in a bit. When I get done, I'll snap a few pictures. I don't think I'll start dressing the weld metal back down today. That part should go fairly fast.

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        • #34
          The inside was a challenge. Obviously tight, but I wanted to use 1/8" tungsten. I needed a stubby gas lense to fit the torch into the hole. I guess I lost my 1/8" stubby bits, so I ended up using 3/32, so it took longer and I ate up some tungsten in the process.

          Nothing to write home about, but it should dress down without a bunch of holes and pits.
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          • #35
            Ryan, looking forward to seeing your historical work!

            Remind me again, what filler you're using?
            Richard

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            • #36
              Aluminum bronze.

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              • #37
                Just have to drill some holes.
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                • #38
                  Bob's your uncle.
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                  • #39
                    Something I learned, and maybe it'll help someone if they try a job like this...

                    When I got to the edge when welding, and by edge I mean when I needed to flow the aluminum bronze onto the cast iron, I found that if I switch to a 1/16" rod, things went WAY better. It just flowed onto the cast better and honestly didn't take a whole lot of heat to flow it. Now when you get into the build up areas, that took a lot more heat, almost full pedal. That 1/16" rod would just ball up and blob off, so I switched to a 3/32 and even a 1/8 sometimes.

                    I don't thing I've ever drilled and tapped aluminum bronze before, but it feels very "gummy" when you're cutting the threads. They came out perfect at the end, but it just feels different than cutting threads on steel or aluminum.

                    That's my sad story.

                    The end.

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                    • #40
                      A time machine would be handy in this case. Then you could have gone back and fixed it correctly the first time!!!
                      Great work

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                      • #41
                        I've said before that about half my repair work is fixing stuff that someone else has already "fixed". This is, without a doubt, the oldest fix I've had to re-fix. It's hard to believe that repair has held through as many hurricanes as it has. Four since I've been a fireman here.

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                        • #42
                          A little late maybe, but well done. Now don't ask where I picked this up, but did you ever think to call the local news and see if they were interested in picking up the story/history and reporting on it? A little bit of fame isn't going to hurt you none?

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                          • #43
                            Never even crossed my mind. Maybe I'll say something to the museum lady and see if she wants to follow up on that. It is a cool piece of history that we've managed not to destroy.

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                            • #44
                              If it hasn't crossed your mind in some ways your blessed. At the same time, a little self promotion isn't going to hurt you none.

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                              • #45



                                Pardon my late arrival.

                                The pedistals you have are known as 1832 pattern or 1850 pattern Gamewell or Old Style peds. No one has yet pinned down the origin and there are several variants given Gamewell used multiple foundries to cast them to save on freight and handling.

                                From your pics you're missing the doors on all the peds. They are easy enough to replicate by metal shaping, and wire edging on the inside will give you the stifness you need.

                                What is unusual about your peds is the harp. The norm for that era was for the box to sit directly atop the ped, and the only reason I can think of for the harp would have been a Police Telegraph or phone box on the back side of the harp. Gamewell did offer both Police telegraph and phone boxes back then.




                                A good example of the box you have, on a slightly different ped is Boston Box 1373. Boston, continues to maintain their system, and last year loudly reminded 'boxes are obsolete' people the boxes worked when a phone failure in Louisiana killed 911 for hours, still maintains their antique appearing box system to a degree in historic areas, with Gas Lights atop the boxes as they were originally installed. The boxes themselves are not original.




                                Your 1901 install date indicates a gas light on the box to enable anyone needing to report a fire after dark to see the red light and run to the box. It is highly unlikely municipal electric was in place in 1901 but gas certainly was. Gas lines tended to run under the street or grass between street and sidewalk so it was an easy hookup. The electric for battery charging well might have been a function of the power plant at fire headquarters, and batterys operating the McCulloch loops from individual stations were probably changed out on a schedule as railroads did. They would have been Edison batterys in glass jars.




                                Your fracture and prior repair attempt are well known. Gamewell and others designed and manufactured to their needs and quite possibly with an eye to replacement parts in an era of cast iron when repair by welding was near impossible. In my area it's called a snow plow fracture, usually caused by flying chunks of snow and ice since the box was a target for both street and sidewalk plows.




                                By the end of World War 2 most of the boxes on peds in Rochester had 4x4s wired and lashed to the back side to hold the box atop the pedistal until a solution could be found. With the return of manpower and material it was standard practice to O/A “weld” box mount and ped together as well as could be done using surplus piston rings, preferably from airplane engines, as filler. It was an excellent procedure and worked well at the hands of a weldor. Often on fractures such as yours the ped and mount were “welded” together as appears to be the case on your units.

                                I'm 99% certain the deposit you're grinding away is piston ring given the hardness and overall appearance of the deposit. The man doing the job didn't have sufficient heat to do the job with the torch he was using, and probably didn't have a helper torch working with him. There is also the matter of adhesion to only one half of the joint.




                                That said, you have a lot of grinding to do just to get back to gray cast iron.




                                Ideally I'd opt to weld the harp and ped into a single monolythic unit given these will be on public display. I'd also want to verify the integrity of the base bolt holes so the ped can be secured to concrete. Topheavy heavy display items tend to get pulled over. I'd also want Xray or Magnaflux of the collar and pin if the assembly is to be assembled using only setscrews, which should be square headed for historical correctness. You also want to consider line drilling through the hub and post to get maximum holding power of the joint for future safety.




                                As to choice of process if the election is to remain with setscrew only assembly, Everdure applied with Carbon Arc rather than TIG. http://mewelding.com/carbon-arc-welding-caw/

                                Everdure was originally designed for carbon arc before TIG came into shops and works well in that process at lower cost than TIG since no gas is required. Carbon fits in a TIG torch just as well as Tungsten, leave the gas valve off and deposit metal.




                                You can also rebuild the screw holes in the break area by replacing the set screw with threaded carbon rod and only need to clean the holes with a tap.

                                Where you have a large missing section it's easier to put a piece of brake drum or disk in the gap weld it in place.




                                Given the stresses involved in that job and intended usage I'd also be strongly tempted to consider studding the edges of any section replacement.




                                Everdure can also be run very nicely with O/A torch, which may be easier on this job.

                                If you insist on building, use a ceramic backer to build to and save time and cost. You can build a curbed backer and save a lot of post weld grinding. The local ceramic shop will be more than happy to sell you throwing clay that can be easily molded to the back of an undamaged section and moved into place when dried to greenware condition.




                                Kitty litter is your friend on this job (only new from the bag) to provide slow cooling.



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