Casting aluminum

Almost a month since the last update. We have been busy with the holidays, new year and now, foremost our studies. The exams last until February. By the first week of February we plan on installing the first planks on the hull. Meanwhile I fell in love with metal casting. I was browsing through local cleat suppliers. Basically only stainless steel available, one piece costs at least 20 EUR. That is a lot for a small steel piece. This is where the DIY kicked in. I saw aluminum horn cleats being sold on the Duckworks supply webstore:

Duckworks aluminum horn cleats

They do look nice. I browsed some sailing forums and there was no real argument for or against aluminum cleats. Sure, they are weaker than stainless steel, but for their weight they are stronger. Then I discovered the world of homebrew metal casting, furnaces and ingots. There is such a megaton on information on the web about making your own furnaces, crucibles, the lost wax casting method, green sand.. I could not wait and I tried some casting at home. Here is a short gallery:

This was very exciting, like “childhood playing in the butt,” as they say in Russian (a softer version of it). I’m thinking of a green sand cast for the cleats. This opens up a whole new dimension for the DIY scenario.

Image from BackyardMetalcasting, this is what our result will be as well.

If you are interested in casting, I suggest visiting the page which the image originates from. This guy casts iron in his back yard, has developed several models of propane and used oil burners. Most notably, I think, he cast his own metal working lathe. On our boat.. cleats, the rudder hinges, maybe even window frames? Who knows, its all too good to be true. Tomorrow we will buy new wood for the stringers. We also have sorted out a band saw for splitting them, thanks Raivo.

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