Alchemy. Monitor self steering - Part 2

One component of our self steering gear which we were not prepared to import from the USA was a 3lb lump of lead which is used as a counter balance for the wind vane, this would be homemade!

Our gaffer friend Barry has some experience of casting lead. At the age of 10 he used to melt lead on the kitchen cooker using moulds to make his own toy soldiers, and more recently he fabricated pigs of lead for ballast for his lovely wooden gaffer Random. So Barry was summoned to supervise operations.

(A sad side note to this story is that the reason Barry was free to come and help in this mad enterprise when he should be fitting out his own boat was that Random has herself been badly damaged by fire and is now an insurance write-off - not carelessness in this case but a victim of arson).

We have no photos of the kit in use so Howard and Barry had scoured Titchmarsh Marina to find an example to model their handiwork on - in vain. But yesterday in Ipswich Marina they found one and took a photo for reference. (Any excuse to go wandering round looking at boats!)

Lead counterbalance as supplied by the manufacturer

Preparing a mould (luckily my tin for coffee grounds was rejected as not quite the right shape)

Mould lined with silver foil

Lining up the carrier

Checking the photo

Lead from work on our own roof - we have plenty so the Church roof is safe

Chief alchemist Barry in charge of melting

Our camping stove will live to see another day but I doubt we'll have a use for the pan after this

I'm in charge of health and safety here so checking over the equipment in the workshop...hmmm

As it heats up Howard skims off the impurities which surface, called dross. Great name.

Looks even less appetising than my bone broth if that is possible

Time to concentrate

It wasn't supposed to be right to the top but it did shrink more than anticipated.

There's smoke coming off and the smell of burning wood
In case there's been leakage out of the mould (which we can't yet see) a slight top-up is needed to be sure it's enough

Second pour

Coven of wizards. Clive joins in - the lure of this alchemy is irresitible 

The result! Will need trimming but there's plenty there
Trimmed to balance, just needs a dab of paint


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