Like with reconnaissance, time is seldom wasted when pausing to consider. And whilst I’ve been pausing to consider what to do with the brake and clutch mechanisms – they’re now going to share the same brace addition to the pedal box (more anon) – I’ve been busy with the handbrake, radiator and friction dampers.
As I mentioned before, the handbrake was a bit short one end and needed 8″ inserted in the middle to get it within reach of the cockpit. I TIG’d the new bit in using stainless steel filler (I’ve taken to using S/S almost exclusively as I find it flows more easily and is less susceptible to contamination and inclusions) and then – because I’m not yet an expert – I filled in the odd irregularity with the phosphor bronze. The result is excellent and the 2 welds going across the lever look like casting marks and give the alteration a look of authenticity. The new rod for the ratchet catch is piano wire which I heated to just a dull red to soften the 2 ends. One end was to be bent at right angles and drilled for a split pin and the other end was for cutting a 3/16 BSW thread. I haven’t bothered to re-temper the wire as it’s non-critical.
Then I moved on to the radiator.
Making an allowance for the bonnet material and the woven strip, I soft soldered the brass angle to the shell exactly where the original flange was. When I got the radiator, there was only about 6″ of the flange left but I was careful to make a note of its position before removing it. I was thinking about cutting holes in the flange so I could weave the bonnet strip through – as it would have been – but without a fly press it would be a bit of a fag so I’ve elected to drill and use bifurcated rivets. Then the next job was to size up the grille.
I found a couple of bits of S/S wire to make up a frame and then cut out the S/S mesh to size with a disc cutter – what a brilliant tool – following which I attached the grille to the frame with locking wire…
.. with a view to just putting a dab of weld every now and again to hold everything in place. But it was not to be. Either I’m not good enough (quite likely) or it might be pretty impossible to do the job without a spot welder (a distinct possibility). No matter what amps, down slope, basic or peak current combination I used, I just couldn’t get it right and I was not prepared to risk the mesh if I could do it another way – epoxy, for instance. The problem appeared to be the differing grades of S/S. The mesh is not a particularly hard grade but, the frame must have a bit of chrome or something in it so whilst it was easy to start the weld with the bias to the frame, the mesh vanished in a puff of smoke in the twinkling of an eye. I tried the phosphor bronze rods – they were better but I was down to 5 amps and no down slope. There must be something I don’t yet know about – I’ll run it by Learned Counsel; he knows a thing or two.
Last week I borrowed a 3/4″ drill to fit my drill press to be used for boring out the friction damper centres for the bronze bushes. The drill turned out to be slightly bent so I slipped along to Chumley’s to straighten the shank in his grown-up lathe. Well, we gave it an encouraging tap and the shank dropped into the swarf; bust right orf your honour it did. Luckily, I’d thought to take along my 3/4″ drill (with a taper shank) and we did the job on the mill instead – wasting an hour of Chumley’s time. However, the promise of Norfolk sausages…..
To return to the radiator; the mesh is not going to work as I’d hoped..
.. because I can’t find a suitable way of fixing it to the frame. And while I was wondering how to resolve this dilemma, Counsel came by for a cup of tea and suggested that I might put the mesh on the inside of the shell.
Hmm; time to pause and consider.