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Boiler Removal

JimP Member Posts: 86
I have two 1940’s era Kewaunee fire tube steam boilers that I’d like to get out of a building. The doors, ends, and pipes are gone. They’ll need to be cut into a few pieces to get through some doorways. Is there anyone in the Chicago area that does this sort of job?


  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,682
    Call the scrap yards they’ll know contractors. 
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,687
    That is a job , it is the reason it has been sitting there . You will need to hire a torch to cut it up.
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,302
    @gerry gill may know someone
  • JimP
    JimP Member Posts: 86
    Thank you. The local scrap yard recommended someone who’s going to look at them tomorrow. I want to see if they can cut them up without using a torch. I’ll contact @gerry gill if I’m still looking after tomorrow.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,826
    see if Steve Minnich is still listening here, a former Chicago area boiler pro that used demo helpers. Mike Blier at Able Distributors would know someone also.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,687
    edited December 2023
    Horizontal tube boiler and built with the good Pittsburg steel . It is the reason it still sitting there :)
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    edited December 2023

    Mr. Jack with his plasma cutter did this one.

    No fire danger at all, all masonry room with 12' to sheet metal ceiling.

    The various chalk writing included "Bethlehem Steel".
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,302
    A torch is the way to go or the plasma cutter.

    In 1980 me and two other guys cut up an HRT boiler 20 feet long. Just as @jughne did in his picture you cut the steel tube sheet that the tubes are rolled into and remove the tube 1 x1. Cut all around each tube in a circle.

    The three of us learned how to cut with a torch on that job. Every day we took a load to the scrap yard (penny a pound back in those days)
    And in the morning, we would stop at the welding supply for more oxygen and acetylene and got the largest tanks they had

    We were young and dumb back then. Hauled that huge boiler out in pieces with a 1/2-ton F150

    The worst part was the boiler shell which was built in 1929. They did welding back then but its popularity had not caught on yet.

    The boiler shell was riveted. The shell was 3/4" steel rolled in a circle and butted together at the seam. On the outside was another 3/4" plate and a 5/8" plate on the inside. So, to cut the shell in about 2' x 2" pieces we could handle meant cutting that seem which was a total of 2 1/8"

    Bigelow HRT boilers I think made in New Haven, CT

  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,738
    I remember back in the 80s we had a chevy luv flatbed, (old owners son came up with that idea) We would cut them up and load that Luv until the bed was touching the tires almost. Every little bump we would hit on the road would make us cringe, you would hear the tires going scrape, scrape scrape. It was pretty funny for a couple of 20 somethings. Torches, sawzalls, demo wheel chain saw. What a mess. Don't miss doing demo in the least. Big old cast irons were even harder. Beat them till your arms were buzzing.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,302
    @tim smith

    That made me laugh. We also had a Chevy Luv I think it was a 1978??. My boss was very cheap. We asked him for another pic up truck and that is what we got.

    The dam think ran good though but the guys beat the tar out of it. As I recall the body started to rust/rot out. When the owner retired in 86 we still had that truck and bought it off him when my partner and I went into business. He was the one that drove it. Somewhere along the line we bought him a used van at an auction. But I don't recall what happened to the LUv. Maybe we junked it. One night I was at the shop waiting for them to return from a job and it was freezing out. Turns out the fuel filter in the LUV (which I think was back near the gas tank) froze. They had some scrap 3/8 copper tubing they shoved down the gas tank fill pipe and ran it under the hood to the fuel pump and limped back to the shop somehow.

    As far as slamming cast iron I used to make a couple of cuts with an angle grinder with a cutting disk and then give it a wack with a hammer.....less pounding.