Keel Pre Stitching

Keel – Lead Ballast

Poured lead for the keel this weekend and all went well. I’ll relate a few things that I learned or that I haven’t heard mentioned before.

Ready to go

First, I had a couple of buddies come help and that made a big difference. When I poured the centerboard a few months ago there were just two of us and it was fine, but three people was very nice. We were able to pour heavier batches with two holding and tipping the pot and one with a spatula guiding the molten lead into the cavities. The whole process took a little over two hours but would have probably been an extra hour even with two people.

Between pours : We also figured out not to pour an entire batch into the cavity at a time. Leaving a little in the pot helps to melt the next batch of lead quicker.

The pot : Finding a way to tip the pot to pour can be difficult. Even if you have the real serious high temp special gloves, you still can’t put your hand on the bottom of the pot to tilt. One of my friends brought a couple of camping gizmos that are used to grip the rim of a pot to help pour. Those worked perfectly fine but it’s a lot of weight and we were always a tad worried that they might slip and everything would go sloshing all over the place. Next time I do this, I will look for a pot with an eye or something welded to the side, in which you could hook a rod or something to pull the pot up with. I have seen smaller pots with something like this but no larger pots. You think it’d be the opposite.

Circled in red is the little doodad you use to grip the lip of the pot for tipping.

Protecting spillover : I wrapped some aluminum foil over the lips of the keel sides in case I spilled any lead, which I did. If you spill onto the wood, I don’t guess it would hurt anything much, but I liked having the foil.

Note the wooden block in the photo above. After glueup, I wound up with a little inward bow where the block is. The block was to hold the proper spacing of the keel sides until all the lead was in and fairly set. Obviously, the block isn’t inserted any lower than the 1/2″ where I’ll stop the lead. I’m not sure if the lead by itself would have forced the bow out or not.

After the aft pour I added the obligatory coins. Five in our family and each penny is a birth year. I clearly have too much loose change lying around.

Note the duct tape…

Duct tape : This wasn’t a big problem but will result in extra sanding. Wish I had used my head and not done it. Not wanting to scuff up the side of my keel with the concrete blocks, I duct taped some cardboard to the blocks. For about 2 seconds I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t move the blocks when I finally unclamped them after pouring. Dummy.

Melted duct tape

After the lead cooled, I noticed gaps at either end of the aft cavity. I guess the contraction can be chalked up to impurities or maybe air pockets being expelled while cooling. Either way, I figured I’d fill the gaps with mildly thickened epoxy, which I did.

In process of filling gaps with epoxy


Construct and install the aft cap.

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