by Robert P. Scripps
Scripps Foundry and Machine
Fredericksburg, Texas

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From: Robert P. Scripps 
To: steam@steamboating.com 
Cc: Bob Scripps rps[at]ctesc.net 
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2001 7:38 PM
Subject: Steamboat La Cucuracha

LA CUCARACHA, this boat was built 1986 in my shop, from plans of a similar boat built by John York, our first experience building a steel boat. It is 29 1/2' long 8' beam on deck and about 7' at waterline. it has 1/8" plating and 1 1/2" x2" by 3/16" angle for the ribs. Has a 27" x 30" three blade propeller from Pat Spurlock. 

We did not use the boat very much as the next project was  sternwheel engines and boats which kept us busy from then on. Last fall we started getting the boat ready to take to a steamboat meet, and found it was leaking badly as rust from rainwater in the bilges had caused deep pitting. So after removing all the machinery etc. put new plating on the bottom and then took the boat to a yard at Port Aransas on the Gulf and had it sandblasted inside and out. Then it was properly primed and painted with marine paint, which we did not do when we first built the boat. Now the boat is in good shape.

Upright firetube boiler with 24" x 24" pressure vessel built by MAMOTH LOCOMOTIVE WORKS, Durango Colorado. It has 61 1 1/4" ID tubes, about 45 sq ft heating surface. The brick furnace has 32" grate bars for solid fuel, and a steam atomizing oil burner, safety valve set at 150 lbs.

The 3" & 5 1/2" by 4" compound using drawings of a similar size engine built by George Whitney in the 1960s, I redesigned in the 1970s, but I used slide valves instead of his piston valves, 2 separate cylinders mounted on a cylinder base. The framework about like the Navy K engine with crosheads working over slide bars. The main bearings are habited with wick fed oil boxes on the covers. The crankshaft is a ductile iron casting and the crosshead slides also DI, and they and the lower bronze conecting rod bearings are drip oil lubricated and the upper bearings have grease fittings. 

The boat now has its third engine. The first going to Singapore and the second to Oklahoma. There is a 5/8" x 4" croshead driven boiler feed pump and a Teel rotary gear chain driven air pump from the keel condenser. The Howell has a float valve to control the boiler water level. There is a hand pump, a 3/8" Penberthy Injector, and a steam bilge ejector. We hope to take the boat to the steamboat meet on the Trinity river in Texas this coming October, '01

I am mailing you some pictures.

Bob Scripps

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