Semaphore Rebuild images.

Head Removal. Getting the head off of the mast was some fun. To do the job the way I did you will need the following items.

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Tying it up
Get mountain climbing enthusiest son to tie mast to tree with old dynamic (stretchy) rope. (double strand) Cardboard protected the bark.

Pull as hard as you can
Hook chain to trailer hitch and around bar in head. Drive away from tree in 4WD till all the wheels start to slip. Set handbrake. Note cleared area and hose in case of fire.

Pulled tight
This shows about 4-5' of stretch in the doubled 9/16" nylon rope.

Heat like mad with gas welding outfit to loosten rust and expand head. The chain is looped around the bar inside of the head. We used a chain on this end to prevent any spring back at the head end. Also this prevented any accidents due to heat near the rope.

Beat on it
Beat on the mast to jar loose the rust. Note that the tension is great enough to actually lift the head and mast free of the ground. Nate was rotating the mast so my blows would be evenly spread around the mast. I did not pound on the cast head itself.

Cut it
Nothing has moved yet, so we switched to the cutting torch and cut a slot in part of the mast that was inside the head.

Finally moving
More sledge work and the mast finally starts to pull out of the head. You can see the shims that were used to keep the head in position. (before the rust took ofver the task)

Last blow
The last blow. The mast finally popped out of the head. Note how far the stretched ropes pulled it back once it came loose. The mast is badly corroded from many years trackside, and will be replaced. (If I can locate the proper sized pipe.)

It's off
This shot into the end of the head shows how the chain was attached.

The victors! The head was removed in 45 minutes with no damage to the semaphore nor to the people. (other than a tired old man from all that pounding) <grin>

    (C) Dick Bronson April. 2001