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Maintenance & repair FAQ

This section is for the person that would like information &/or help to make their own parts & repair there own lights or stoves. Also if any one is willing to contribute their information. This will help others to improve their collection & keep this vital Hobby interesting & enjoyable. This is the most suitable way I have found.

(1) Complete Cleaning
(2) Soldering legs to a stove
(3) Removing Unwanted Solder
(4) Why Isn't this Pump Pumping a Full Stroke
(5) Why is my stove /light loosing pressure
(6) Leaking Pump Valve & Repairing
(7) Soot & Smoke
(8) Making Leather Pump Buckets
(9) Making Legs For Stoves


(1) Complete Cleaning

Completely strip including valve, Jet & Filter (light). When cleaning I hose off the parts quickly & hose the inside of the tank. Separate the brass parts from the steel parts. Mix a solution of one dessert spoon of Citric acid in 10 lts (2.5gl) water. Submerge all the brass parts, Then let them soak, checking on them frequently. Brass parts will turn coppery (pink) if left in this solution. This will polish off quite easy.

Cleaning will take an hour or two, depending on strength of citric. Remove all parts giving them a rinse & light scrubbing in clean soapy water. Rinse all parts in 10lts water & 1 dessert spoon bi-carbonate of soda (this will kill the acid). Clean the steel parts the same way with less time in the citric acid mix . Don't put enamel parts in this mix, it will fade the colour. Rinse the tank with mentholated spirits (this will absorb small quantities of water).


(2) Soldering legs to a stove

Your requirements here are Solder, Heat & flux (cleaner). Soldering is like using Glue it MUST BE CLEAN core solder has flux in it, I find this is not good enough on its own on a big old job . There is different cleaners. Some will clean with out heat. Most cleaners, works when applied hot, so this is what we will go with.

Clean the surface with a fine sand paper or something like that. Don't scratch outside where you are going to solder.
Then Heat with a fine pencil blow torch. While hot apply some cleaner with a artists brush. This may have to be repeated 2 or 4 times. Being careful not to clean out side the leg boundaries. At no time you want it red hot. Heat the tank again, then wipe the solder along the tank it should melt on. This is called tinning the job . At this stage you only want a light coverage (less than 0.25 mm thick). It must be totally covered not in lumps of hit & miss. If this is the case heat & clean until it is covering evenly. You may have to scrub with water. Then heat & clean. After this has been achieved. You then do the same with the leg.

Putting the leg on. Now comes the tricky part. I have been told a large jubilee clamp (hose clamp) will hold the leg in place while heating. I prefer to do this free hand. But experience comes in to play here. When you are all set up, nice and comfortable (if free hand is being used). Heat the leg only. If clamped until you see the solder is just melting then stop heating. If free hand is used Heat the leg then hold it in place (with out shaking) you will see the solder melting, if not more heat. In both cases position the leg correctly.

You should not require more solder to hold the leg . If you try to add more solder this is where it will get messy.


(3) Removing Unwanted Solder

We have a problem here. It is so easy to get unwanted solder on your job & a lot harder to get it off. I have only found 1 successful way to remove this solder. You can file the solder down taking care not to mark the brass (this is not a good practice I all ways mark the brass ), or Heat the unwanted solder, when it is melted shake the tank allowing the solder to fall off. you must be careful here. If too much heat is applied it can release the joint you are trying to seal. Then with an electric buffing pad, buff the remainder off. This is not a fast process, but it does not scratch the tank.


(4) Why Isn't this Pump Pumping a Full Stroke

There is several possibilities here:
Your leather bucket is dry, hard & not flexible. Add a few drops of oil to it. Then work the bucket outwards keeping oil on it all the time. It is better to soak the bucket in oil for a day or two. Then stretch the bucket as above. Even new buckets require oiling before using. Check for splits or cracks in the leather. Check that the leather bucket is not too large. This will cause the bucket to crease inwards and allow air to bypass the bucket.

Another common problem is the pump rod jumps in when you pull it out. There is only 1 cause for this & that is the air isn't getting to the pressure side of the leather bucket. It is a common belief that the air gets on the pressure side between the bucket and the inner wall of the pump tube. This is not the case. In fact the air flows between the pump rod and through the centre of the leather bucket (or bucket holder) to the other side of the bucket.  So the cause of this problem is the inner hole in the bucket is too tight on the pump rod &/or the bucket retainer nut is too tight. The bucket (or bucket carrier 2 types) should be loose to allow air to flow to the other side of the bucket.


(5) Why is my stove /light loosing pressure

To locate this leak. Pump & pressurise the tank. Then put it in a bucket of water. Bubbles will appear at the leak.
To loose pressure with out any fuel leakage. The leak has got to be above fuel level. The most common place is the filler cap seal. Replace the seal then test again.

Some tanks can get cracks in them. Soldering spoils the appearance but it does work. There is a substance that can be put in the tank sealing from the inside, this is a better way but is more expensive. Solder joints is easy to repair by resoldering it.


(6) Leaking Pump Valve & Repairing

Apart from air leaking from here when the fuel is low, fuel will also come out when you pull the pump rod out, with the fuel level high. If the air is coming from around the pump rod. It is no good trying to seal it off at the pump rod & guide nut. I have seen this on some occasions. The problem here is the valve at the bottom of the pump tube. There are 2 types here, 1 is a flat screwdriver slot. The more common type is 2 flat sides on the head of the valve. This one requires a special tool to unscrew it. So this becomes a problem to remove. A tool can be made for this, but extreme caution must be emphasized here when making this tool, for damage can be caused to the valve easily if it is incorrectly made.

Once you have the valve removed, repairs is simple enough to do. On the bottom of this valve is what looks like a screw driver slot . DON'T USE THIS SLOT. If this slot is used it will rip apart & be permanently damaged. With a pair of pliers grip just below the external thread and a spanner on the 2 flats, unscrew from there. When apart there is a spring, a seal carrier & a little seal in the carrier . This seal has got to be replaced & possibly the spring.

When it is assembled again test before fitting in the tank. Test this by sucking on the inlet side of the valve. Then putting your tong over the hole. The vacuum should hold the valve there. If it falls away it is leaking. Rectify before fitting to the tank. The seal from the valve to the tank may require replacing as well. Don't over tighten the valve when refitting to the tank.


(7) Soot & Smoke

This is caused by not enough air mixed with the fuel (burning too rich). No fuel burns as a liquid form, it is all converted in to vapour in some way. If you could put a lit match in petrol with out going through the vapours it would go out. Of corse the temperature of the petrol puts off the vapours & this is what burns . Kerosene requires heating more than petrol to vaporise the equivalent.

One reason for smoking/sooting this is the fuel is not hot enough to vaporise. This is, liquid is coming out of the jet, instead of fuel mixed with air ( this is atoms or vapour). Insufficient preheating is the biggest cause. Another is the jet orifice (jet hole) too large  The jet is leaking fuel through the thread. With lights ; The air tubes is blocked or partly.

I thank Don Howell for supplying this interesting posting:

"Understand the Burning Action & Sooting
This is relating to lights but the same principle applies with stoves with sooting. I feel it deserves a posting here, for it will help people understand the operation of their stove. From the book "Lanterns That Lit Our World" By Anthony Hobson. It states:
The liquid from the mantle (BURNER) boils the liquid gasoline & makes a gas vapour that is consumed in the mantle (burner). In a properly functioning kerosene lantern (STOVE) it is the fuel that burns not the wick. It is more complicated than that because liquid kerosene won't burn. The liquid fuel must be vaporized by the heat of the near by flame (this being the burner) and mixed with oxygen before it will burn. Adding more oxygen to the flame makes it burn HOTTER & BRIGHTER. The light from an open flame, as in a candle, can not exceed 1 candle power because it has only oxygen from the surrounding to draw from. If enough oxygen is added to a flame it can burn through steel. This is how an acetylene cutting torch works. Burning more fuel with out adding more oxygen just produces incomplete combustion. A smoky yellow flame is the result of incomplete combustion. Soot is almost pure carbon from fuel NOT CONVERTED to carbon-dioxide burned with the lack of oxygen. "


(8) Making Leather Pump Buckets

Here you will need a mould . This will consist of a tube the same inside size as your pump tube the bucket is for . An inner section the same size as the washer that fits inside your leather pump when fitted on your pump rod, only about 13 mm longer . Your leather thickness will need to be 1/2 the difference of the diameter of these two.

Soak the leather in water for about 1/2 hour then press the leather & inner mould into the outer section. Let dry may take 6 hours or more. Trim off surplus leather. Remove the leather bucket & put in your centre hole . Oil the leather before using.


(9) Making Legs For Stoves

You need to clamp the leg that you want to copy, on a piece of steel 8mm thick. Then drill a 10mm hole at the start of the leg. This is your stop guide. Another hole 1/2" from that hole on the opposite side of the first bend. This is to stop the rod from moving when you are bending the leg. Then a 10mm hole in the steel at every in side bend. Then put a bolt in the first 3 holes.

Heat the rod you are going to make the legs from. Only heat where you are going to bend. Clamp your mould. Put the rod in the mould when red hot & pull it around the 3rd bolt. Continue this until all the bends is complete.
Cut it off at the required length . It will take a little practice to get them all the same. Don't heat a large area at a time, or it will be a large bend, instead of a tight bend.

 

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