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Antique Gas Engine Discussion Meet collectors of hit and miss engines, ask questions about collecting, restoring and showing antique flywheel engines.

Antique Gas Engine Discussion

smooth Engine finish

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Old 01-21-2005, 11:00:14 PM
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Post smooth Engine finish

Hi all, i was just reading on this site, when you first come into enginads, theres topics that you can read below about engines and things, i was just reading about the topic of smooth engines and how museums and such restore old engines and give them a smooth as glass finish to them by using apoxy and such and grinding the cast peices down to a smooth finish and i was just thinking, if you done that, as someone said as a response to the topic and i agree, is, if you done that, then the smooth finish takes the original look away from it, and we all know, thats not how they came from the factory, in my opinion, they look better with that rough cast iron finish, they didn't have the machines and stuff to make flawless finishes to the cast iron, and when somebody smoothes the finish out and makeing them look all purdy lookin, it does just that, it takes the originality out of it (so to speak) also known as "over restoring" as someone else brought up, i mean, im not telling anyone thats how it should be done but my question is WHY, do museums and places do that? i mean, it does in a way look rilly good, shiny as glass but thats not how they were made, it's just like a false advertisement if someone were to come along and say, thats what they looked like huh? well, no, thats not how they looked like, not smooth as glass, and when you try to cover up the aged iron, pits and all, it takes away what i would think of it as, oh, would you say it?, auth antisity? you will never catch me using apoxy and what not shining engines up like that, restoring them and painting them ya!, but not making them look like glass peices, i mean, i like my old engines to be purdy and shiney at times at shows but all the same, no apoxy for me to make the engine glassy looking, becouse first of all, apoxy, dont care what kind, will aventually crack and fall of , due to age, second, if you did apoxy and sand a engine down smooth, then you have to worry about touch up's all the time, thus becoming a "trailer queen".
engines were not made to be pertty all the time, they were ment to run, and thats the way it will stay in my book, rather it be from the 1900's or 1800's as some fairbanks morse are. dont get me wrong, i like an old antuique to be pretty and shiny at times, but most of the time i like them to run and yes, they will get dirty, and a paint chip, i can live with, it's a part of it's originality dont ya think? after i paint and restore my engines, thats it, no more touch up that paint chip before it runs for the first time in oh,...15 to 20 years, after it runs, the paint chips,...ohwell, that the way an engine is, born to run and work, i will still take care of the old fellers, but i will not worry about them being a trailer queen, dont have to worry about it, RUN IT, thats what they were made for...not to be purdy for the entire rest of there lives. goodnes sakes, youd have to touch it up all the time!
does anyone get what im saying or atleast trying to say? sorry for the long writing, dont like to write for a long time but, what is your opinion?
just wondering.
i dunno, maybee it's a topic i should't have brought up but,...ohwell
just my 2 cents or in other words, just a thought.
p.s. i love the old engines, a peice of history, but over restoring is not for me.
smoothing them down as glass is like chopping a model T trying to make it into a dragster of some sort. just like the time on descovery channel, they chopped a 57 chevy pickup and turned it into a corvett or roadster of some sort, after they were done, that one sad to say, was compleatly ugly when they got done with it...over restoring can also ruin alot of things, they didn't even use the original head lights! or tail lights, changed the whole thing.
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Old 01-21-2005, 11:16:46 PM
Gasengn Gasengn is offline
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Default Re: smooth Engine finish

I recently donated a hit & miss engine to the Indiana State Museum. It is painted cast iron with the original cast iron look still there and they seem to be happy with that. It was on display a while back. but I don't know if it still is.
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Old 01-21-2005, 11:18:08 PM
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oldironcollector oldironcollector is offline
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Default Re: smooth Engine finish

I think it is a matter of personal preference, I myself don't really care for all the polished up finishes, but one thing that I usually try to remember is that the person who has done all of the nasty grinding and polishing done it for a reason, they wanted there engine to look that way and it is a matter of personal accomplishment for them. I am not one to tell anyone how they should restore their own stuff. I enjoy seeing all of it in various conditions from the rusty hunks to the chromed up engines. But for me it is original as possible. Another point to ponder is the fact that most museums want the displays to be like the stuff was when it was made not the present day conditon.For instance you won't find to many displaying rusty hunks of stuff they want to draw a crowd and to do so things need to look nice, and most of the time over restored.

My 2 cents, I think

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Old 01-22-2005, 12:31:00 AM
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George & Helen Myers George & Helen Myers is offline
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Red face Re: smooth Engine finish

It is more that just personal preference! What is your age, are you retired or still working to support your family and hobbies? Do you have the time, ability, tools & shop to do all the sanding, JBing, sanding, priming, sanding, painting, sanding & painting? These are factors that will contribute to what you do to your engine(s)!

If you are retired possibly sanding and dressing up that
engine(s) will prevent you from becoming a couch potato. George is 79 years old. Everyday, during the winter, he is in the shop doing something on an engine. Yes, maybe some are over restored but they certainly are a lot easier to clean up after running them at a show. This is important to us when sleeping in the same compartment with them for 2000 miles. Yes, that is then a personal preference!

Our weather forecast for the next 36 hours must be having an effect on me!

It's your engine, do whatever you want to do to it as long as you preserve it and share it with other collectors!....Helen
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Old 01-22-2005, 06:53:23 AM
Kevin A. Behnke Kevin A. Behnke is offline
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Default Re: smooth Engine finish

I agree that grinding down castings is destructive restoration however some engines did leave the factory with some dressing up with what was called iron filler. Memory serves me right the Witte catalog How to Judge Engines cicra 1917 goes into detail on engine finish also Sandwich engine catalog cicra 1924 talks about a multi step process for engine finish. { Common reprints} Some would argue that this dressing up of an engine was too labor intensive for the mfg. There was a great price spread in engines at the time. When Assoicated 1 3/4 hp sold for $35.00 with a magneto and a 1 3/4 John Lauson sold for $72.00. Labor at less then $5.00 per day, there was money in the price to cover the extra time and materal. I do not have a scanner other wise I would post the the above referances. Kevin
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Old 01-22-2005, 08:44:30 AM
e2cub e2cub is offline
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Default Re: smooth Engine finish

One of the best museums I ever went to, is Harold Warp's Pioneer Village in Minden Neb.Most of the items in it look like they were cleaned up after being used and put on display with very little restoration. Larry
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Old 01-22-2005, 05:42:28 PM
John Davidson John Davidson is offline
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Default Re: smooth Engine finish

This subject came up a couple years ago and I responded as I will do now. I bought a 8 HP Field-Brundage SS camstoper at a auction ($395) in 1967. Them days the thing to do was sand blast clean and start all over. Well this had a tapped hole in the side of the hopper that the farmer did years ago so I stripped it down. This being a high quality engine, had a layer of factory applied filler to smooth out some of the casting inperfections that came off with sandblasting. I did spend some time bringing it back to a smooth finish. Cheaper engines probably did not receive this attention.
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Old 01-22-2005, 10:33:42 PM
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Ken Majeski Ken Majeski is offline
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Default Re: smooth Engine finish

Well... I too have ran into the filler on even some of the lower priced engines. It would smooth out some of the minor imperfections but the finish was far from a New Mercedes. Some of the higher priced engines did seem to have better castings. Like comparing a Mogul or Titan with a Ottowa.

What I have taken to do is paint the cast iron parts with a brush. Using a layer of iron oxide primer then 2 coats of color. This seems to fill the rough areas where with spray painting you will get all the benefits of the imperfections... And Have to use filler to get an acceptable finish.

I geuss I wouldn't Derate and engine for a Mirror paint job but it is a poor example of how it used to be done.... No Clear Coating or Imron back in 1910....
Ken Majeski, Ellsworth Wis.
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Old 01-23-2005, 11:16:46 PM
Pat Barrett Pat Barrett is offline
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Default Re: smooth Engine finish

It would be my guess that some engine manufactures chose not to smooth out somewhat there engine finished due to cost, some did. I have a preference for smooth engines, but I do not harbor any ill feelings for those who do. After all, It's owner perferance. I do agree that the slick engines are much easier to clean and keep clean. While some engine manufactures didn't smooth out there engines, they did apply a coat of paint. So to those who say slicking out an engine destroys it's authencitity, Rust, grease, and outdoor elements would tend to do the same for destroying how the engine looked when it left the factory.The musuem pieces you describe are a tribute to our hobby and may contribute to another person being attracted into our hobby due to it's lustrous looks rather than a rusty dirty piece, of course the same could be said in reverse. Just my thoughts on the subject, I enjoy all engines shown, whether slick or rusty.or just neatly painted.
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Old 01-24-2005, 07:50:58 PM
Robert Jensen
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Default Re: smooth Engine finish

A smooth engine is NOT original. But these were never manufactured to be shown on weekends all over the world either. A smooth engine cleans up much nicer and easier than an "original". I've restored 3 Hercules, a Fuller-Johnson and a Wolverine and blasted filler out of all of them. Now not so on the Associated, John Deere, Sandow, Maytag, Rock Island or R.&V. Smooth, glossy paint and polished brass are what I like. Look at any of the antique tractors and, especially, the calandars. Where do I collect my nickel?
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