Cellar find: an old and neglected Tilley

Discussion in 'Fettling Forum' started by Westfield, Nov 7, 2020.

  1. MikeO

    MikeO Subscriber

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    Nothing wrong with a well-worn but clean lantern in my eyes. You've always got to let them tell a bit of their story--even if it was sitting in a cellar for 20 years or so!

    Looks like a fun restoration and the family history is icing on the cake.

    Mike.
     
  2. Henry Plews

    Henry Plews Subscriber

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    @Westfield

    Now that you have the burner out of the hood, do not be tempted to unscrew the air tubes, they have a very fine thread which is easily damaged.

    The original seals for the pump and control cock NRVs look like this, note how the seal is square in section and has a protrusion which sits inside the spring.
    DSCN0452 (2).JPG


    The corresponding seals in this washer kit sit in a brass cup like this

    DSCN0448 (2).JPG
    DSCN0453 (2).JPG

    If you don't have the brass cups, there's nothing to stop you getting all other seals from The Fettlebox and the two NRV seals from elsewhere.
     
  3. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    A nice sentiment Mike, I will take it on board.
     
  4. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Thank you Henry, I appreciate the warning about the burner. I haven't unscrewed the air tubes, and won't unless there is a pressing need.

    I haven't yet been able to remove the control cock from the tank - thinking of applying a little heat to the knurled ring next - so I cannot confirm whether or not I have the brass cups. From what I can see from above the seal seems round rather than square to me. I wonder why that shift from square to round occurred?

    Gearing up to contact the Base Camp for NRV seals, but thought of navigating chaotic 1990s website and longwinded payment system fills me with dread.

    Edit: although having said that, on closer inspection at least they offer PayPal.
     
  5. podbros

    podbros United Kingdom Subscriber

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    @Westfield .. Only just seen this, so perhaps a bit late, but better to ring Base-camp as they know their stuff and can offer advice and alternatives as well :thumbup:
     
  6. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Definitely planning to call them, podbros. Reading between the lines they're no fans of email. Before I do that I am going to put my thoughts in order and create a list of parts I (think) I need, and questions to ask. Need to get the control cock off first though, see what I'm dealing with.

    Have got hold of a 5L container of white vinegar though, and some grade 1 and grade 0000 wire wool, which if I'm not mistaken should be OK to use to clean up enamel and rusted bits of hood.
     
  7. Henry Plews

    Henry Plews Subscriber

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    To be honest, I'd advise against applying any heat. By the time you've got the area hot enough to do any good, you will have melted the solder which seals the boss where it goes into the tank. Use brute force or . . . .
    Be careful not to damage the threads.
     
  8. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Thanks Henry, was not aware of the solder issue. Will apply brute force as carefully as I know how, and if that fails will turn to the hacksaw.
     
  9. JEFF JOHNSON

    JEFF JOHNSON United Kingdom Subscriber

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    When I have to use a hacksaw on those cage nuts, I do not go near the threads which the nuts screw onto, I just saw of a chunk off the nut, which weakens it enough that it will break with a pair of plumbing pliers.
     
  10. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Some progress: water pump pliers arrived and I was able to get the control cock and knurled ring off, and detach the cage. It looks not that bad to me - threads in the tank seem fine. Control cock appears to be slightly squished in places, though probably still usable. In any cause I am going to source another one. The cage is rusty but starting to clean up. Think I will dip it in neat vinegar with a little salt for 20 minutes or so.

    Have been using a wire brush and some grade 1 steel wool, on which I have already managed to cut myself. Maybe I should have got some grade 2. I have some grade 0000.

    So far I haven't touched the hood.

    20201111_143111-50%.jpg 20201111_143209-50%.jpg 20201111_143217-50%.jpg 20201111_143327-50%.jpg 20201111_143337-50%.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2020
  11. JEFF JOHNSON

    JEFF JOHNSON United Kingdom Subscriber

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    It's progressing!:thumbup::thumbup:
     
  12. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Bugger.

    20201111_203133-50%.jpg
     
  13. podbros

    podbros United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Why? What's up? Are the air tubes loose? If you can feed a bit of 3-in-one in there you should be able to work back and forth and tighten 'em up:thumbup:

    You can't say it's neglected now, it's never had it so good ;)

    Wire wool splinters? All part of the course now..
     
  14. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    No, @podbros, I just left it in the vinegar too long and the surface turned coppery - it was only in there for 30 minutes I think. That aside it seems OK, and after earlier warnings about the threads I have been careful not to fiddle with it.

    I have made some headway with the cage, and got quite a bit of the surface rust off it. Some parts are proving to be more resistant than others. The rust on the base looks almost baked on (smooth and hard) and I am in two minds as to whether I want to get it off or not. I have ordered some grade 3 wire wool to experiment with.

    Having looked at the tank with inexpert eyes, the structure seems fine and the paint is actually in fair condition. I quite like the patina and, as @MikeO says up-thread, it tells a story. So I think just a bit of cleaning (inside and out) but not sure how to go about the exterior. Would immersion in vinegar damage the paint? I don't want to do too much until I have conducted a pressure test.

    Then there's the hood. After reading this thread I'm tempted to drop it in neat vinegar for a couple of weeks.

    20201112_064550-50%.jpg 20201112_064610-50%.jpg 20201112_064631-50%.jpg 20201112_064649-50%.jpg 20201112_065331-50%.jpg 20201112_065321-50%.jpg
     
  15. Tony Press

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    @Westfield

    Don’t worry about the burner looking copper. If you don’t like it, polish it, but it will turn black with use.

    Tony
     
  16. podbros

    podbros United Kingdom Subscriber

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    You've made great progress there!

    I wouldn't put vinegar on the tank, just give it a bit of a clean or buff or polish if you want to?

    The frame has lost a lot of the chrome but you could always neutralise the rust (Kurust) then paint silver?

    just depends how much Patina you want ;)

    When it's this far gone it is always a labour of love.. This lantern has history and family connections for you.

    it's a good feeling when you see it light for the first time, even if it takes more 'fettling' to get it working how you feel good with?

    You'll get there :thumbup:
     
  17. Fireexit1

    Fireexit1 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    I would be tempted to drop the whole frame in a bucket of water with citric acid (available in powder form from many places) and wait. It will remove the rust, but won't damage what chrome is left. You will always get the rust re-forming but as it will be kept in the warm and dry it won't ever be that bad again. The tank I would leave as it is. If you strip and polish or re-paint it it will be too good in comparison to the rest of the lamp. The surface copper on the burner won't stop it working and after it has been running for a bit won't be visible anymore. Don't leave the hood in citric acid for very long as it does affect the enamel.
     
  18. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Just for fun, I decided to take a look inside the tank using an endoscope I bought a while back on Amazon. It worked fairly well, but getting enough light in there to illuminate the scene was a problem. Eventually I shone a strong light from a smallish torch in at the pump hole and it helped. There were also issues with focus and so on. The tank seems to be in reasonably good condition inside, but I have nothing to which I can compare it. So here we go...

    Central boss.
    20201112094441.jpg

    Right below fuel filler hole.

    20201112094618.jpg

    Moving to left.

    20201112094637.jpg

    Fuel pipe coming into sight, along with what looks like hard deposit (in black).

    20201112094644.jpg

    Slightly clearer shot.

    20201112094509.jpg

    Moving round to the right, and more of the black stuff. Interesting pinky orange colours on the walls.

    20201112094524.jpg

    Looking at the bottom seam on the right-hand side of the tank.

    20201112094540.jpg

    And to the right of the filler hole.

    20201112094550.jpg

    And back round to where we started.

    20201112094605.jpg
     
  19. MikeO

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    I feel like I'm exploring the wreck of the Titanic! Great pics!

    If you want to get a lot of the fuel residue and varnish out, use a lye solution (Sodium hydroxide and water). This is pH 12-13ish so a strong base--use safety glasses, rubber gloves, apron etc. and always add the NaOH to the water. It can release fumes and lots of heat from the exothermic reaction, but I've found nothing better for getting that gunk out of a fount. I find lye crystals in the plumbing section of my local hardware (Privy Sanitizer!).

    For the fount paint, I usually give it a wash with a spray cleaner to get the worst of the dirt off, and then use any of the auto finish restorers that remove surface oxidation. Some car wax after that and you'll be amazed at how nice the paint is--clean, bright, but still showing some age and use.

    Great project!

    Mike.
     
  20. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Thanks Mike. Not sure if I'm brave enough for that, but will take a look next time I'm in Tesco. What sort of proportions do you use?
    Just literally a household surface cleaner in a spray bottle? Well that's easily done.
    By auto finish restorer, I guess you mean something like Turtle Wax maybe.

    Cheers
    Dan
     
  21. MikeO

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    I think I usually use a couple of heaping spoonfuls in 500mL of water. Sorry for the mixed kitchen drawer and metric units!

    Lately I've been using "Simple Green" all-purpose cleaner--just your usual around the house spray cleaner. I go easy with the cleaners around any logos or decals, just some dish soap to clean them up. And yes, something like Turtle Wax, but the type for restoring old finishes which probably has some rubbing or polishing compound in it. You'll see a bit of colour on your rag as it removes the oxidized surface paint. Then a proper car wax (some folks swear by Carnuba) to give the paint lustre and protection. It'll probably look better than when brand new!

    Mike.
     
  22. Rustytank United States

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    I'm looking for my first Tilley, thanks for all the info here!
     
  23. ColinG

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    No-one's mentioned it yet (I don't think so anyway) but I wouldn't try to remove the 3 air tubes from the burner. Over time they get corroded into place and even if you do manage to get them out, they never really go back in with such a good seal.
     
  24. Fireexit1

    Fireexit1 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    You'll never look back. They are simple and effective and normally quieter than Colemans and Petromax designs. Of course one is never enough...
     
  25. Rustytank United States

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    Well I really like the kerosene burners. And I'm not trying to have a barn full of essentially the same things. So I'm looking at having 1or 2 of several different models instead. Looking at Tilley and Vapalux at the moment. I already have an Aida and a Hipolito that I did full fettles on.
     
  26. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Cage left overnight in a bath of citric acid, about 1 cup to a three-quarters full bucket of, what, 10 litres / 2 gallons? Maybe not quite that much. The bath got a lot of rust off with a bit of a scrub, but getting it out of the nooks and crannies is proving difficult. The chrome is quite badly eroded in some places, but in others it's still good (top rail for example). The bail needs a bit more work.

    20201114_080502-50%.jpg

    20201114_075911-50%.jpg 20201114_075702-50%.jpg 20201114_075651-50%.jpg

    Just a reminder of how it looked a week ago.

    20201107_134645-50%.jpg
     
  27. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    A question for those more knowledgeable than myself (i.e. any other member).
    Given that the surface of this base hasn't shown any improvement from a wash in warm soapy water, should I just put it in a bucket of citric acid as I did with the other parts?

    20201112_065321-50%.jpg
     
  28. rayw

    rayw United Kingdom Subscriber

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    I am not sure about the Citric acid, but I recently revived an old family friend using Screw Fix paint stripper then plastikote spray followed by Plastikote satin finish lacquer

    20201025_140415.jpg
     
  29. podbros

    podbros United Kingdom Subscriber

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    The cage looks great! There may be a lacquer you can use to prevent more rust? Others here will know more..

    @Fireexit1 was right about soaking in citric acid so I would follow his advice about leaving it as it is.. perhaps some 'T-cut' or ammonia free polish first to see what it looks like?

    If you lose the paint you will radically alter the look of your lantern.. Is that what you really want to do?

    p.s. Wow! @rayw that is a great finish :thumbup:
     
  30. Westfield

    Westfield United Kingdom Subscriber

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    No, I don't plan (at this point) to strip and repaint, but I thought a gentle soak in citric would remove the surface film of oil and grease without really affecting the paint much. I'd like to brighten it up a little, but I don't have any other cleaning products to hand. Actually I think I have some Windowlene. And some screen wash for the car. :)
     

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