Monday, September 10, 2012

Water Handpump Rebuild Project

Not far from the main well is a secondary well which, we've been told, was drilled at the same time as the household well. A rusty, vintage handpump is installed atop the wellhead and, it appears, once fed a wooden half barrel.

It's been a long time since anyone used the pump - it's rusty and the leather inside is long since rotten, and the barrel, left to dry, has fallen apart. We could leave it all there, pick it up and toss it, burn the wood and scrap the metal. But it looks like a fun rehab project, and the girls (and I) would enjoy the opportunity to pump for the goats that may someday live in that paddock.

Turns out just about every forge worth its salt made pumps back in those days, and they were so commonly used (and repaired) that written instructions weren't really needed. So finding instructions for their repair these days isn't easy. I was able to find some basic information in England ala internet, including views of lots of different sorts of pumps.

But it's a simple mechanical device and has only taken a couple of tools to disassemble. I'm having a difficult time getting apart the base of the piston so I can replace the leather. One of my relatives, a saddle maker in Utah, gave us scrap leather on our last visit that way, so I plan to put that to use here, but first I have to get the darn thing apart! I've tried brute force and penetrating oil, but no dice yet. Time for a table-vice so I can get a better hold on it.

Once the leather is replaced, I'll clean up and repaint the pump before installing it back on the wellhead. Then I'll be on the prowl for another half barrel...and goats.

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