A club member restoration project by Dave Stirk of Orangville, Ontario.
Sawyer Massey # 4321 is a 68 HP class C plowing engine built in 1919 by the Sawyer Massey Company in Hamilton Ontario. Its shipping weight is approximately 32000lbs and equipped with side tanks to carry additional water. Its original sales history is unfortunately unknown. It is believed to have been used to run a sawmill East of Elmvale at one time. Apparently, it ended up unused as most engines did and sat until some time in the 1950's when Mr. Stuart Muir of Paisley purchased it. Mr. Muir, a craftsman in his own right, restored the engine and showed it for a number of years.
The engine was eventually sold by Mr. Muir to Don Armstrong. In 1986, the Sawyer Massey was purchased by myself, David Stirk and moved to Brampton. It had been laid up and not operated for some time. Considerable effort was spent to get it operational again. It was run and shown regularly at shows in southern Ontario until 1996 when I removed the engine from service for boiler repairs. Consideration to repair the old boiler was given but the extensive nature of the firebox repairs and old undocumented repairs, which would have to be re done made the end choice quite clear.
Bob Oliver of "Olivers Boilers" was contracted to build a new welded boiler for the Sawyer Massey. All the disassembly work, cleaning and reassembly was done in my own shop. A job that spaned approximately 3 years.
While the engine was being stripped and all parts cleaned & sandblasted, Oliver's designed and built the new boiler shell and delivered it to my shop. During disassembly careful notes of location and distances of castings were recorded for future reference on reassembly and remounting of the castings onto the new boiler.
The rear wing sheet carrying all the rear gearing was cut from the old boiler for reuse again on the new boiler with the aid of spacers welded to the new shell. Because of the design requirements the new boiler would be ¾" narrower across the firebox as a result of the joints being butt welded instead of overlapping riveted joints. The barrel would remain the original diameter. The engine was re mounted, all the gearing, axles and attachments were installed by myself. New brackets to carry the tanks had to be fabricated. Numerous holes ha to be located exactly, drilled and then tapped for studs carrying steering & support brackets. The position of all the required steam outlets were cut into the shell and the complete engine was assembled on the boiler shell which still contained no firebox, stays or tubes yet. The jacket and lagging was made at this stage and later taken off and stored for finish painting. On completion of fit up, everything was removed and the shell sent back to Olivers for completion.
In March 2000, the finished boiler was returned and final assembly got underway. Once the crank was lined up and supported in jigs I made to hold it, new babbited main bearings were poured. With help from Gord Tuck, his grandson Chris and Don Partrick, eight hours later the Sawyer had new mains.
All new steam valves and seamless piping were installed. New piping from the dome to the governor was made. An exhausting job with several trips to a friend's machine shop to have the large pipe threads cut ever so slightly more in order to get the joint alignments just right. The painting and pin striping began. The the new jacket that was fabricated and painted with acrylic enamel was completed. Approximately 1200 hours were spent to get to this point of the restoration.
As completion neared and the first test run day approached the boiler was filled with water a few days prior and allowed to warm up. The boiler had already been hydrostatic tested at Oliver's previously but was put on again as a precaution for purposes of checking my piping for leaks.
On Canada Day, July 1st 2000, the engine was steamed for the first time on the new boiler. Everyone who helped was invited to come. My son Andrew was elected as the official fireman for the day since he said he missed running the engine the most and no just wouldn't do! It turned out a perfect day both in weather and engine operation. After 4 or 5 hours in steam and several laps around the shop and front field it was declared a successful day and the Sawyer was put back in the shop to finish installation of the tanks and some unfinished lettering and touchups.
Three weeks later it was off to the "Georgian Bay Steam Show" in Cookstown. Labour Day weekend to "Steam-Era" at Milton and the following weekend to Blyth and the "Hurion County Pioneer Threshers" steam show. Three first place trophies for best-restored steam engine made it an overwhelming success.
Special thanks need to go to all who helped including my wife Elaine who never complained once about the long hours late at night and weekends in the shop, my sons Andrew and Iain who help move most of the parts and lift pull & turn things as required. Last but not least my 3 daughters, Margaret & Jennifer who helped paint may of the parts including the boiler and Anne last but not least who kept Margaret & Jen cooled off with the garden hose from around the corner when they got a little hot.
By Dave Stirk