Harold Hall

Workshop Projects

A similar situation I found was that the diameter of the cylinder cover did not match precisely that of the standard. Whilst probably no more than 1 thou it was proving a long job to match the two items and polish then using just emery paper with the assembly stationary. I decided therefore to make a tapped stub mandrel using an M3 thread and a 5/32” stub then the two parts were held together with a couple of 7BA screws and secured on the mandrel with an M3 screw and a large washer. The two flanges were then very lightly machined followed by polishing, see Photograph 71. I think the photograph shows that the result is better than could easily be achieved manually and made the time spent making the mandrel (probably no more than 10 minutes) very worthwhile.


When polishing parts whilst they are running in the lathe, do take extreme care so as to avoid any accident. Try to use a long strip of emery paper backed by a long file so that ones hands, sleeves , and the ends of the file, can be kept well clear of the rotating parts.


With cast brass parts these should have the evidence of them being cast removed with suitable fine files and then, together with the machined surfaces, brought to a bright finish using progressively finer grits, and finally finished with a brass liquid polish, “Brasso” typically.

Stuart 10V steam engine machining
Stuart 10V steam engine machining

Tip Do not think that you have finished with the taper stub mandrels as they can at this stage now be used in the bench vice becoming an excellent method of holding some of the parts for finishing, see Photograph 72.  Also when painting the flywheel.



First give the required surfaces a primer finish followed by two coats of the chosen colour. Leave each colour for a few days so that it fully hardens and will then allow the surface to be lightly sanded with a fine paper to remove dust particles, etc. and provide a good surface for the next coat. With the final coat you will not be able to sand out unsatisfactory areas so do pay particular care with this stage.


I use Humbrol modeling paints which I have found very easy to use. Unfortunately though, they appear to have changed to a different formulation but when I discovered that it needed much more mixing prior to being used it worked quite well, though I did prefer the earlier mix that would for some applications be OK with just one coat.


Stuart, the suppliers of the castings, do supply paint that they state is “steam proof” but is only available in two colours, a dull green and gloss black. I normally use Humbrol Emerald no.2 but chose to use Brunswick Green no. 3 for these two engines so that they stood out from the ones I have already made.

Forming the Cylinder Lagging

This operation needs to be done with care as if  faulty when formed it will not be easy to make any changes to improve the situation. A major requirement is to avoid the  edges of the lagging from showing, as whilst the face is black anodised, the cut edges are still plain aluminium and will be very prominent if not obscured by the adjacent parts.


First, freely assemble the cylinder covers to both ends of the cylinder and check that it is sufficiently below the outer diameter of the covers so that the edges of the lagging will be  concealed when finally assembled. If not then carefully file around the edge of the cylinder to lower it slightly and recheck. Do take into account that the lagging will not fit perfectly against the cylinder so the difference between the cylinder and the covers needs to be rather more than the lagging’s thickness.   


The next check is to add four studs into the tapped holes in the rectangular face and place the valve chest over these checking that the edge of the lagging will be hidden. If not then file the sloping edge of the cylinder so as to achieve the required result. Do not just file the edge locally but make sure the slope is continuous from the curved end of the cylinder down to the edge that mates with the valve chest.












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