Brass Lust

by John

Record hot temperatures in Australia today.  Highest temperature ever recorded in Adelaide 46ºc 114ºf.  And Alice Springs has now had 14 days over 40ºc.  Not so bad in Geelong 39ºc 102ºf,  but too hot for my workshop.

So I decided to celebrate the running of the Trevithick Dredger Engine 1:8 model, by driving to Melbourne and stocking up on round rod brass.

Geelong is 65km from Melbourne, freeway all the way, but the non ferrous supplier is the other side of Melbourne,  in Clayton, 100km away.   About a 2 hour trip.  But what better to do on a hot day.   And I had a new audio book to listen to.   (The book is “A.D   – After Disclosure”.  Yes, I am close to certain that UFO’s are real, of non terrestrial origin, and that their existence has been known to various militaries and governments for up to 70 years.  Another story.)

So I arrived at George White P/L in Clayton, and told the guy that I wanted a 3.6m length of every round brass section, metric and imperial, up to 22.11mm (7/8″) diameter, cut into 1.2m lengths so I could carry them in my car. (I had some 25.4mm 1″ already)

I had told SWMBO that I was going to spend a few hundred dollars, and she just responded “that’s OK, a lot cheaper than joining a golf club”.  So, without really doing a detailed calculation, and with that permission, I just sat back, and waited.

As the bundles of brass rod gradually accumulated on the bench, I was thinking….”Hmmm, that is a lot of brass”.

Then there was the offcuts box.  It was full of chunks of brass and bronze and copper.  At the flat rate price of $AUD6 per kg.   So, as I waited, I made a pile of all the bits that I thought would look good in my bits and pieces bin in my workshop.   It came to 34kg (75lb).   Eeeew.

Needless to say, the final bill came to more than a few hundred dollars.

But you know what?  I am really delighted that I can stop rummaging around and making do with wrong sizes, or machining little parts out of big bits of brass.

I do wonder if I will ever use up all of this round stock.  Some will probably be used by friends and members of my model engineering club.   Some will probably be there when there is a “clearing sale” after I snuff it.

Reminds me of a sign which I saw at a steam meeting   “When I am gone, I hope that my wife does not sell my engines for what I told her I paid for them”.