Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sixth Pig etc

My prognostications about having to buy at least another two bread pans for moulds may prove pessimistic, as I've now made six lead ballast pigs with the original bread pan - even the saucepan is holding out, although its metal has somewhat fatigued.

By using two heat sources concurrently I've been able to bring the waiting time down for casting a pig to 50 minutes. To help speed up the process I created a shelter for the heating area with one of those wind brakes found on beaches, because the cooling effect of the wind can be significant.

Practice makes perfect - so the saying goes - and by repetition I've been able to improve my lead cutting technique when making small bits of it by using a pair of old garden shears. While standing before a bench I first cut strips from the flashing about 2 inches wide which I subsequently chop into pieces about an inch wide. As the lead melts in the saucepan I add pieces until there's enough to fill the mould.

After casting four more pigs, bringing the total to ten, I'll not make any more until I may need them for trimming the boat. Each pig has to be firmly secured to the floor of the boat in a specific position according to Matt's design – I'll be saying more about this when the time comes.

I'm uncertain what to tackle next after casting the tenth pig, because I shall be using epoxy which requires a reasonably warm temperature, say 15 degrees Celsius or more, and autumn is fast approaching bringing distinctly cooler weather. Of the smaller pieces remaining to build there are the mast, spars and the stem, but I've yet to finish the rudder and stock by applying a final coat of epoxy to bring about a smooth surface.

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