Thank you all for the kind words and support. The dogs are really digging the steady heat and so am I.
Rob, I'm going to give it a few days to settle in before I do a thorough skim. Should take about 6 hours or so. The weather here in CT looks like it will warm up Saturday so I'm planning on then to do a blow down and skim.
Rick, glad you were able to have a sighting in the night sky of the fellow Axeman 260 firing up. I think it may have been a strong combination of the blast of the Axeman and the constant and steady grin on my face that allowed such a atmospheric occurrence as that!!!! Indeed, I still have the grin, especially as I write this. And yes, tonight is a nice little beer night. I have a couple guys from work coming over to witness the Axeman they have heard so much about and I'm just going to relax and do nothing today until then.
Steve you're right, its like part art and part science this steam thing. A beautiful thing.
Yanche, thank you and what a fine idea on a new avatar. How's this one?
Greg, a recliner would be perfect. I was down there until after 4 AM last night and if I had a nice recliner I would have just slept right there. Wow, what a change. From a rather cool and uninviting basement to a warm and cozy little retreat I have down there now. I have some nice plans for it and will post as it goes along.
McGiever, your statement reflects what I was feeling and hoping for all through this journey. Years ago I had been discouraged with my central heating system and blamed my woes on the, what I thought was obsolete, steam system I had with the house. Several years ago I started reading anything I could get my hands on regarding steam heat, especially those books by Dan Holohan. His writing style encouraged me to try and work with what I had. Through this forum I learned about coal and took those initial steps with small hand-fired stoves and then a big Hitzer. I knew I longed for a big stoker boiler and from these pages I found what systems were available to take care of my needs. I decided to take the big step and commitment in time and money to make it right. I must say, there were days I felt overwhelmed and worried if I made the right decision. To make matters worse, the peanut gallery at work would add in with quips about the black rocks, steam pipes, headers, equalizers and boilers I would talk about. While I was doing all the work I kept thinking about the payoff like you speak of. It kept me going and I believed in myself, my work at the project and my research from both here and the books I read. And I'm glad I did, because as I type this, at this moment, the Axeman just kicked on and I can hear the slight sound a radiator makes when that latent heat gives itself up to the cooler metal and once again, the wonderful cycle of steam heat warms my home.
Thanks again everyone! Now its time for my jaunt downstairs to reflect on things. (And maybe measure my door opening to see what size E-Z chair I can get down there!!!)