Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Rudder, Stock and Lead Pig

Apart from drilling the holes for the bolt holding the rudder in place and finishing them to prevent water ingress, I’ve almost completed the rudder and stock; only the final coat of thickened epoxy needs applying, but not before I’ve smoothed their surfaces by using fine sandpaper. Because each side of the rudder and stock have to be done separately, it’ll be another two days before they can be finished. Of course, the time will arrive when the whole of the boat’s exterior will need painting, including the rudder and stock; however that’s not likely to come about until next year, or perhaps 2007! It depends on how much time I can put aside for building her.

In line with my plan to make as many of the small items I can before assembling the hull, I cast the first pig of lead today. To begin with, I did not have much success in getting the lead to melt, because I used a galvanized bucket that was far too large for the Butane painter’s torch to heat up. I therefore resorted to using the saucepan in which I had heated the lead rudder weight; this was satisfactory, but I had to hold the rim of the saucepan with a mole grip in my left hand while I held the handle of the saucepan with my right hand as I carefully poured the molten lead into a bread pan; both hands were required because of the weight of the lead.

Taking Don Elliott’s advice, I had previously set the bread pan in the earth level with its brim to help absorb heat from the pan and to give it support. Don suggests that initially one should make eight of these pigs, but as my first one weighs 10 kilos, I think I should cast ten of them, bringing the total fixed ballast to 100 kilos; then if I should need more for trimming the boat, I’ll be able to do them at my leisure. Matt’s plans indicate there should be between 70 and 180 kilos of ballast.

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