Monday, 9 March 2015

If in doubt, give it a bash, anyway...

A while back, last year, to try out my then nice new English Wheel and new "stump", I made a new front mudguard for the Cambridge Special.  This shows it before the tail flick was done.
Now I reckon it'll be sufficiently strong if I just mount it securely, but general thinking has it that we should roll the edges, either in a false wired edge or a real one.  A real one is a fiddly job, but not that difficult.  However, my son insisted that the aluminium would need annealing, just like when he worked for a classic racing car restorer.  Now, I have always shied away from annealing aluminium.  The softening point is over 500 degrees, the melting point around 600, so you'll always be dancing on ball bearings.  That and the fact that I've actually done quite a lot of small time metal bashing in ally without any problem.  I bashed it into shape over wooden forms to make a gutter system on my Fox van,  I made sub fibreglass shapes to support the GRP repairs on the same vehicle.  More recently I made the A-pillar shut face panels for my son's Triumph Renown....all without resort to the annealer's flame.
So, I thought, what's so difficult about rolling 6mm of it over a bit of wire?  Well, erm, nothing, it turns out.  Look.....

I will, when I can find a bar of Simple Soap, try this annealing lark.  It seems to help, but I don't see it getting done noticeably better than this.  This took me maybe 20 minutes, after I'd chopped this little chunk off.
I mean, considering that I just had a sudden whim to try something I'd never done before and got on with it, with possibly less than suitable tools and, with little time, less than complete care.  I didn't have any steel wire, but I did have some 2mm ally Tig wire, so I used that.  Seems more sensible to put ally in ally. I never liked the idea of steel in ally anyway.  Recipe for terminal rot.  
Another ten minutes with a thumb full of 240 emery and there we are.  I don't see any cracks, but maybe, doing a whole mudguard, I might have changed my mind and decided that easy beats falsely lazy:-)


  1. Martin-
    Way that I heard years ago for annealing aluminum alloy was to go over it with a torch with the oxygen turned down, or off- and lay down a light coat of soot. Then turn the oxygen back on to make a clean, soft flame, and gently warm the sheet, keeping the torch moving. When the soot disappears, quickly move to another area. When all the soot is ''burnt'' off, your material is annealed.

    Herb Kephart

  2. Herb, yep, that's what my son used at work too. Trouble is, I don't have oxy acetylene welding gear. How I wish I did, but it's way too expensive now.

  3. Carry on old friend, carry on and never look back. But think about this.

    And when the last person without a Juris Doctorate finally receives it he will then discover that he cannot hang it as there is no one left who can make a nail.

    More or less like having an ocean where the only fish are sharks.
    We need Steven Hawking but we also need a shite load of cobblers as well.

    Back to watching the walls of Jericho crumbling once more. Alas

  4. How very true, Rich. Come the glorious powercut Brothers and Sisters. The button pushers and pen shufflers won't know how to mend a GenSet, Haha!!

  5. Ooh, I feel a new reality TV series coming on.

  6. Well that would be a first then wouldn't it?

    I should think you could start out with a lead who uses the street vernacular form of fornicate not as a word but rather as punctuation. Gordon Ramsey comes to mind for some reason. Let my people think about it then they will get back to your people....I'll call......lets do lunch sometime......I'm thinking adding some Publicans perhaps? They could use the work right?