It seems not that long ago that I posted the last blog post but looking at the progress since the last photos there sure has been a lot accomplished since! At the time of our last update, a lot of the fabrication was done with the keel still lying on its side. It was a big moment when we called the crane back to lift the keel upright and with that it marked the next phase in the process. It also gave us the weight of the keel since we cut down the draft (with the lead removed and most of the new steel construction on) weighing in at 9 tons.
With the keel upright it was time to finish the welding, build a temporary shed and start melting the lead we removed as well as the additional lead we purchased to meet the requirements of the new keel design. As you can see in the pictures, Peter packed blocks of lead in the 'compartments' and then melted the remaining lead and poured it over and around it to fill all the air voids. Pete's never done so much 'cooking' in his life than he did in the last few weeks sitting in front of his gas cooker with his big pot melting 5-6 tons of the lead he'd just removed from the bottom of the keel as well as nearly a ton of additional lead. Completed, the keel will be weighing approximately 15 tons.
After the new bulb/wing was filled with the lead it was time to cut and weld the top plate on. Once the plate was on and Pete rounded the edges it started to look like its all coming together. All the weeks and weeks of Peter's hard labor paying off!!!
The next steps are to finish any welding and remove the paint on the other side before it will be time to sandblast, followed once again by painting, fairing and more painting. So it is yet a little while before we will focus on a new project but this has been a major project on its own and the hardest part of it is over now.
On another note - We've also received our new clear screens for our aft cockpit not long ago which has transformed it into a nice comfy dry area. The guys from Canvas and Covers Whangarei have certainly done a great job! We've also bought an early Christmas present and added an awesome new Magma BBQ to Camara's inventory - exciting! Check it out xx