This is a 17″ steam engine bell that we are restoring. Any suggestions on the best way to attempt to remove the bell from the yoke?
Whippany Railway Museum
You might want to check out the website for Railroadiana.org. The have a page on bell restoration. You can find it at http://www.railroadiana.org/info/pgCleaningAndRestoration.php.
If the swinging yoke is frozen up with rust, they can be really tough to get apart. I had one that I never did get apart even after heating the iron work cherry. I got it to free up enough to swing, sort of, but I never did get it apart. That’s the only one which defeated me. Just soak it a long time with penetrating fluid and lightly tap it from time to time with a ball pien hammer to vibrate the penetrating fluid into the joints. Do this for a couple of days. If that doesn’t loosen it enough, heat it until it is cherry or verging on white, then let it cool. The metal will all expand, then when it cools the parts contract away from each other leaving a looser joint than before heating. Then you can either take it apart, or go back to the penetrating fluid. One of the toughest disassembly problems comes when two different metals like bronze and iron corrode together. One time on a large bronze bell I had to make a hydraulic puller with a 100 ton hydraulic jack, an I beam and log chains. It was crude and took almost a week of penetrating fluid and pressure, but one day it popped loose. I was a little learly to stand too close to it when pumping the jack for increased pressure each day. I also added penetrating fluid each day. Aren’t war stories fun? — Neil