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Jun 10, 2017, 05:24 PM
Mad on modding
robcrusoe's Avatar
Originally Posted by Irv Lewes DE
I am looking for someone to cast a lead bulb for the schooner Irene. I do not have the equipment or knowledge to cast it myself. I would certainly pay costs of production, handling, and shipping.
One the methods employed around here towards building bulbs rather than pouring molten lead is to layer progressively smaller sized pieces of sheet lead, epoxied together to form a rough solid but approximate shape. Using Builders Bog (also used on car panels as a filler/trim and round off the other surface until you get to desired shape and weight. Use three long stainless self tapping fasteners (countersunk) to ensure the bulb remains solid.
I would do it this way except I do have experience and the equipment to pour the lead. Not sure how to do that as there are several methods but I kinda like Gary's oiled pine mold.
The way I've most recently made half bulbs is the carve up a plug out light pine and using that kids craft material Magic Sand push the half shape plug into it to make the depression for the pour. That sand is unaffected by the extreme heat and can be used over and over. It even stays usable even exposed to air indefinitely, as I discovered recently.

Another way to make the mold is to use Plaster of Paris instead of sand. So long as you let it dry out completely (any close to surface moisture will turn into instant steam and stuff the procedure up. )

Another observation is that the Builders Bog is also seemingly unaffected by extreme heat.

But, and this hardly needs saying, do NOT pour molten lead unless you take every precaution against injury to yourself or others. Handled carefully and with full knowledge of it hazards and how to safely use it you will be well pleased.

They didn't pour this stuff from castle battlements to encourage the enemy!
Last edited by robcrusoe; Jun 11, 2017 at 04:31 PM.
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Jun 11, 2017, 06:10 PM
Mad on modding
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Mast and boom details

I'm starting to look at the wooden standing rigging and wonder what is best to use from local supply.

I can get 8,9, and 12 mm in radiata pine and 8, 9.5 and 12.5 in Tasmanian pine , which is like a hardwood, only fine grain. I can get some old stock hardwood in 1/2" from a scrapyard.

Any advice will be most welcome.
Jun 11, 2017, 06:21 PM
Registered User
Hi Robbo,

if it was my choice I would avoid the Pinus Radiata. It has an unfortunate ability to twist and warp. You only have to go to Bunnings and look at the 50 x 100s (2 x 4s) to see this. If you can find one straight piece out of 20 then you are doing well. Even if you plane it square it will re-twist in no time flat.

I've yet to start my Irene. I'm still trying to get the shed cleaned up. It's one of the tasks of Hercules.


Jun 11, 2017, 07:52 PM
Mad on modding
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Thanks Terry..

I agree but thought to get other opinions since mine are more often than not in error.

Because of that attitude it will probably NEVER get fully sorted out and tidy. However when dropped items land on top of previous litter, bits etc it is time to do something, I guess.

You've probably noticed that most of the recommended adhesives etc are not available down here so it's a case of try out what you think best. I tried a Sikaflex Polyurethane sealing/adhesive compound on the bulkheads but it was rather messy to use and took a few days to cure. It will be fine but for joining the hull sections I took a punt on Liquid Nails as I've used it on several projects and it has proved very robust and durable. It also is hart to mitre as a plastic skin soon forms, but I found that overnight it shrinks to a very strong if not perfect looking fillet. Over a week or more (it is winter so the hull comes indoors overnight to help the final cure). After two weeks it is now looking like a good thing. Certainly cheap enough.

I've installed the rudder which went together pretty well. I use model aircraft quality birch ply as it makes durable and rigid rudders. It's a push/pull system as all my sailboats have. Photos when I clean it up and paint.

I look forward to your build, I take it the kitchen table is not going to be possible?
Jun 12, 2017, 02:01 AM
Registered User
I take it the kitchen table is not going to be possible?

She says 'NO'.
Jun 12, 2017, 03:44 AM
Mad on modding
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It's strange they are like that, after all we wouldn't mind them doing dressmaking on it would we? not a big difference, creating from plans, etc.. to my mind.. But..
Jun 12, 2017, 04:58 PM
Registered User
I can't find alternative uses for the kitchen table but it's quite alright for her to cover my pool table with ironing.

I get one winner though. When she asked "Why do you need another boat. You can only sail one at a time." I replied "How many pairs of shoes do you have?" The scars are hardly noticeable now.
Jun 12, 2017, 06:50 PM
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To avoid the ..."why do you need another boat debate ..." ... just DON'T ask permission ... AND ... having clutter garage makes it MUCH EASIER TO HIDE NEW BOATS

indeed - robcrusoe - you have evolved n refined the art of camouflage n evade
Last edited by slo.ca6; Jun 12, 2017 at 10:31 PM.
Jun 12, 2017, 07:04 PM
Mad on modding
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I've evolved a quite successful technique. Because several of our group are not into online purchasing and need help to get a new boat salable it is not unusual for me to buy in the boat on their behalf and then take time to set it up. Since this is a somewhat regular occurrence anything new for myself gets past She Who Sees All quite easily.
She only ventures into my shed to collect dusty long misplaced coffee cups (along with a brief sermon) and then rarely comes in at all otherwise. As my shed has also years of model planes hanging from the ceiling (to remind me of those pre-rc sailing fun days) along with far too much shelving, drawer units etc it would take a keen eye to pick out the new kid on the block, as you say.
It is not our choice, it's survival, that's all.
Jun 13, 2017, 04:02 PM
Boaters are nice people.
If you can't get your hands on suitable wood for the masts and spars, glue (at least) two strips together to get the thickness you need and use that (square piece) to make your masts, etc.

Granted, it's more work to make them from a square piece of wood, but the glued joint(s) prevent warping and make for a stronger spar/mast.

Regards, Jan.
Jun 15, 2017, 04:13 PM
Mad on modding
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Thanks Jan, sounds quite doable if needed. Fortunately I got hold of some 1/2" seasoned hardwood (i.e. very old stock) dowel so have plenty of that.
I also lucked in with the aluminium sheet as a mate said he had a very large offcut of 4mm. I know Gary recommends 5mm but since I have this gratis I will go with it . If there is any noticeable flex it wont be any more so than any of my fleet of rc sailboats, not even the RC Laser. The schooner is, after all, a pleasure cruiser, not top Gun Class racer and if anyone has ever sailed a rc Phantom they will understand flex/performance. It's like Gary says about the alignment of the rudder.. little consequence, really, for this craft.
I have made and fitted the rudder as well as installed the winch, both work as they should.
Today I make a timber pattern of the keel then after checking it in the keel box, glue that item into place then cut out the aluminium keel.

Jun 15, 2017, 08:49 PM
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The most Southerly "Irene" has been on hold for a couple of months while the builder enjoys some time away. Back home now and hope to get back to building in the coming weeks. A little work to do on my One meter ( V9) first. Not sure who I will get to helm the most Southerly Irene. The Tasmanian Tiger is extinct so maybe I will have to find a suitable qualified Tasmanian Devil. Good to know other Irene's are being built in Australia. Good building and sailing.
Jun 16, 2017, 06:26 AM
Registered User
Can you tell me more about the fin and how you built it?

Jun 17, 2017, 10:22 PM
Mad on modding
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Making the keel/fin.

The fin/keel does seem a bit daunting if you are not somewhat experienced in working with thicker aluminium, as I wasn't.
Reading here that others just used a metal cutting blade in a jigsaw (a tool I seldom use and had never tried it on metal) but I thought it couldn't be too difficult (hopefully).
Maybe there is such but I didn't come across a scale drawing of the keel that is shown in the support diagrams in Gary's package, along with the vital measurements, but I think if it were included as a scale diagram if would be very easy to use.
Anyway, I used a Skil jigsaw with a metal blade for cutting aluminium to 10mm/3/8".
The aluminium I used was 20 years old and been out doors for a lot of that time but although it was just shy of the 3/16 recommended it seemed the way to go (and it was given to me).
Just as a precaution I first cut a template out of composite board and when happy, clamped the metal sheet down and went at it. As it turned out the process is slow but very accurate, albeit rather noisy (earplugs).
It came up very nicely although adding the outline for the lead ballast mounting took a bit of playing around with . I used a scanner then enlarged the cropped section in Word getting it the rough size I wanted. It was very pixely of course but is not a critical area so just making a single line tracing was pretty easy.
I then used a metal hole cutting saw in a drill press to cut two large, spaced holes and then the jigsaw to cut out the centre section and so creating the cutout/carry hole.
I very happy with it, and relieved, it fits perfectly into the keel box and the holes all line up. Checking it against the upturned hull shows it is perpendicular to the centreline of the hull.
Rounding off the edges takes a little time but easy to do.
Because the original backing film had bonded itself so well to that side I used an orbital sander with a worn pad to lightly remove the remains of the virtually welded on plastic and give the keel a slightly textured satin finish, ideal for painting I feel.
Hope this answers your questions. And good luck with the build.
Jun 24, 2017, 08:43 PM
sailtails - YouTube
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Ballast bulb

Hi Gang,
Just a note that pages 5 and 9 of this thread had some input regarding making of the lead bulb for "Irene"

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