1949 Wee-Dex butane stove

Discussion in 'Other Brands' started by presscall, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    A whole lotta copper with the Wee-Dex Butane Cooker and my Simplex kettle

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    The 1949 date (or thereabouts) for the stove is established by this advertisement for the Wee-Dex in CCS's Stove Reference Library, here:-

    Wee-Dex advert, dated 1949

    Before I dismantle the valve and think of re-gassing the empty copper canister, I take this photo to remind myself how it looks assembled (kidding)

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    The stove stripped down

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    Various components laid bare

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    The hexagonal-sectioned device screwed over the jet nipple housing is the cylinder cap and the label on the stove case warns (in red) A charge of 9d will be made for all cooker cylinders returned to us without a cap

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    When the cap's not on and the cylinder's in use, the burner head screws onto the same threads that the cap screwed onto

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    The stove mounting frame

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    Some details of the stove case - drop-down end flap, carrying strap handle, warning label (remember that nine pence charge for losing a cap)

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    More pictures of the stove case and how the stove tucks into it appear here

    Wee-Dex and a Coleman Xpedition

    You may have noticed from that title shot that the kettle had steam up. Not CGI or other special effect, though the stove canister came to me empty I managed to get some gas into it to fire it up. Here's how

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    Lovely flame, first for many a year I guess

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    Kettle on the boil

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    THE END

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    John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2015
  2. Zincman

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    What a beauty that is. And excellent photos!
     
  3. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Thanks Duncan

    John
     
  4. DAVE GIBSON

    DAVE GIBSON Subscriber

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    another great post with lots of detail----of things we never find on this side of the pond :( :(
     
  5. mr optimus

    mr optimus Subscriber

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    Hi prescall fantastic gassie for its age in fact quite unique the tank looks really nice polished up.
    If you cant get the tank filled up rather than alter the main valve as an idea i wonder if it is possible to buy one of those filler valves you get on small gas tanks IE the micro torch i have where you fill it up from one of them butane lighter refills this could be mounted some where on the tank and filled from there. i have a few live steam models that are gas fired with either lighter gas or you can fill it with a normal butane canister with a attachment that screws on to the canister and then fill the tank which is a lot cheaper. if it is possible to get one of those valves and mount it on your tank which i would think possible with your high skills and those valves are quite discreet so it would not real notice
     
  6. Doc Mark

    Doc Mark Subscriber

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    Morning, Presscall,

    Outstanding bit of kit, and another wonderful report from you, my Friend! Your stuff is always a fine read and your photos are just right! Well done! :clap: :thumbup: When I first glanced at the photo in "recent posts", I about shouted, "Egads, look at that new and wonderful Borde version"!!! But, upon closer inspection, I see that this wonderful stove of yours can stand on it's own, and needs no association with that other fine little stove, the Borde Bomb! ;) :D Thanks, John, for another stellar report and post! Take care, and God Bless!

    Every Good Wish,
    Doc

    P.S. All that lovely copper is very classy, indeed!!
     
  7. Big BTU

    Big BTU Subscriber

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    Beauty of a stove and looks good fired up too John.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  8. hikin_jim

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    Brilliant, John, brilliant. You win the award for simply the most beautiful gassie anywhere. And I love the pedestal you used for refueling. Now that's what I call applied engineering! :lol:

    Speaking of refilling, care to share any details? Did you chill the Wee-Dex tank any? Heat the "donor" canister any? What did you use? It appears to be some type of plastic tubing connected to the control valve from no doubt a donor gassie? And on the Wee-Dex, did you plug into the point where the burner screws in? How did you connect to the Wee-Dex?

    HJ
     
  9. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    I'll confess, Jim, the pedestal of themed books was just for the photo. I did the refuelling outside and 'well away from naked flames' as the saying goes.

    I was eager to get the Wee-Dex fuelled up so decided to go for something quick and simple, and compromise somewhat on engineering rigour, as you'll see!

    You were right to suppose I had a donor gassie stove for the fuel adapter. It was a £1 purchase from ebay (admittedly with another £10 or so for postage from Hong Kong)

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    It was a 'donor' only in the sense that it's fuel connector valve was 'borrowed' from it and replaced on it at the end of the fuelling session, the flexible pipe readily unscrewing, sealed with a couple of 'O' rings

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    Now here's the cheap and cheerful, but not wholly elegant (in engineering terms) bit. Yes, a bit of plastic tubing, with a tapered component from an oil dispensing bottle jammed over one end to provide packing for the refill cylinder valve end of the fitting.
    The arrangement screws into the Wee-Dex cylinder's jet nipple tapped hole and into the refill cylinder adapter at the other end. The Wee-Dex cylinder's valve is opened, the refill cylinder inverted and the adapter valve opened.


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    Hand-held outdoors, it was possible to see liquid fuel passing through the transparent pipe and thanks to bubble movement in the liquid stream I could see when the fuel flow was slowing to a stop as the fuel pressures in the cylinders equalised. Refill completed, both valves were closed and the connector was dismantled.


    Before the refuelling, I cooled the Wee-Dex cylinder and warmed the refill cylinder. A recent snow-fall enabled me to pack the Wee-Dex cylinder in a drift of snow and cool it down for a few minutes. The refill cylinder was dunked in warm, but nowhere near boiling, water for the same length of time.

    How was the seal maintained between the connecting pipe and the metal components? Well, it wouldn't prove too durable for future refuelling, but the self-threading of the plastic gave a gas-tight joint. Some time soon, I hope to construct a proper connector pipe in brass with the correct thread at each end, equipped with neoprene sealing washers

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    Couldn't sign off without a shot of both stoves lit!

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    John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2015
  10. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    I'm posting a few more pics of the Wee-Dex, which the more I've used the more I'm enjoying its qualities.

    What's amazed me is that though with the crude refilling method I used I wasn't expecting much time before running out of gas, the thing's just gone on and on.

    The burner has a deep bass sound when lit, barely audible, and the copper tank is raised just a little above ambient temperature by radiated and conducted heat, its polished surface reflecting the flame pattern beautifully

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    The burner gives out a surprising amount of heat and has brought a pint-and-a-half of water to the boil in a Simplex copper kettle in an acceptably short time

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    I've realised that the label sellotaped to the stove's steel box by a former owner (a long time ago judging by the state of the label) would originally have been on a refill canister's packaging

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    Following the Wee-Dex logo it reads,

    This bottle contains Butane Gas. When empty return to STOCKIST for REFILL or write DEX INDUSTRIES LTD., TWICKENHAM, MIDDX. Patent No. 576806. IMPORTANT It is only the Company or persons authorised by the Company who are allowed to fill this cylinder. The Company takes no responsibility ... [becomes indistinct, then, in red] ... Cylinder should on no account be placed near a fire or hot stove. A charge of 9d will be made for all cooker cylinders returned to us without a cap.

    John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2015
  11. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    David Shouksmith, good man, gifted me a spare empty cylinder for a Wee-Dex he'd picked up with two additional cylinders in the set.

    That's David's gift beneath the Wee-Dex with the shiny copper cylinder in the stove frame

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    The shiny cylinder isn't merely one like David's cylinder with the paint stripped from it. There are distinct differences apart from the paint job

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    Stripping the valve and comparing its innards with those of the 'shiny' cylinder (photos earlier in this Ref Gallery topic), I soon found this is more sophisticated. The shiny cylinder valve is simply a screwed spindle with conical tip, made gas-tight with 'O' rings, but this is something else!

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    Reassembled with a light greasing of the taper seal, I filled the cylinder with gas, fitted the burner and installed it in the stove, then fired it up

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    John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2015
  12. Ian Rumble United Kingdom

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    Hi I've just brought a similar stove, and curious if you still use yours and if made a more sturdier refill tube/adapter
     

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  13. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    @Ian Rumble
    Yes, you’ll see it in my post on Wee-Dex stove variants HERE

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  14. Ian Rumble United Kingdom

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    Thanks, i look forward to getting her roaring, was a impulse bid on ebay while looking at primus stoves! (£5, £11 all inc post) love your write up btw
     
  15. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    @Ian Rumble
    Post again on how it goes with the Wee-Dex Ian. Once the refilling’s mastered it’s a perfectly usable stove.

    John