Sunday, August 5, 2012

Playing with Molten Lead

Finally had some time to work on the boat again so I decided to tackle the keel bulb.  For a crucible I used the bottom of a 55 gallon drum with a spout on the side.  I then used an engine lift and attached chains slightly off center to the top of the crucible.  To melt the lead, we put it on a propane crab (turkey) cooker.  I also had a  propane weed burner hand wand I used to preheat the molds and to heat the lead from the top. It took about 15 minutes to melt the 250 lbs of lead for each half of the keel.  Once the lead was melted, we ever so slowly jacked the engine hoist which tipped the crucible pouring lead out the spout and into the mold.  Again, we made sure we had lots of protection and respirators.  Also we had a bit of a breeze and were able to always stay upwind.  I was kind of nervous about the whole process...but it actually went remarkably smooth!
The keel came out of the molds and looked prettty nice.  This picture shows the top and bottom halves put together.  (but it's actually upside down here)  The weight came out to 550 pounds...which, suprisingly, was what I was hoping it would be!  I love it when a plan comes together!
Picture of a very happy me getting ready to chisel off the ridge where the two halves meet.  Later I faired the bulb with compound...but it didnt need much.

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