image.jpegHearing the news that J K is about to grace the streets of London set the old brain into gear concerning past conversations we have had. One particular happening concerned white metal bearing scraping as it would appear to me that a lot of folk out there are under the notion that all white metal is sprayed on copper onto steel backs and go under the title of shell bearings and as such not all bearings turn the top shell over onto the bottom one thus barb wiring the crank during failure. It is nice to talk to someone who knows that this was not allways so and to recall those old days of bygone skills we learnt. To that extent I find myself rummaging under the bench to find my old crankshaft test piece I had back in the sixties, it comprises of a cut off crank with a rear main and Conrod attached and contained solid white metal bearings for this was the exercise required of you back then at college. The diameters to which the white metal was melted into would first be set up on a faceplate in the lathe and the old metal skimmed out and the new surface roughly keyed to take the new metal. On a casting table a mandrel would be made up in the centre of the job and resin applied to the faces to which the metal would adhere. The white metal would be heated up to a liquid and thence carefully poured around the mandrel and outer diameter.If it was a bigger bearing like a big old steam reciprocating engine and several pours were required it was essential that the several pours were to be carried out as one as uneven temperatures would cause different setting times and could cause separations and blowholes to appear when you were doing the final matching cuts thus scrapping the whole job. Sometimes I remember you could carefully incorporate a small blowhole into an oil way which allways had to be cut by hand with a sharp half round chisel. Now when setting up the mains/big ends for casting and bolting the two halves together between the bearing horns there lived several brass shims. Some of these shims would be 3/4" in width for bigger cranks and would go down to perhaps a 1/16" and these would need to be taken out when rescraping the bearing in future life of same. So the casting now cooled into the chuck it went for boring out. Set up concentrically the first cut would be taken to eventually equate with the crank diameter of that particular journal you had measured. Out of the chuck carefully cutting the oilways into the white metal and hoping for no blowholes present then back to the ship and thus began the long process of taking leads, much engineers blue, bolting up, turning, stripping and on and so on til you achieved a good no of engineers blue contacts on the bearing face. Over enthusiastic hands would end up many hours/ days later with a reasonable amount of dots / markings per square inch of engineers blue but no shims left and this was no good whatsoever as there was no room left for future wear rectification by scraping at a future date. ( perhaps at sea.) This was a skill which was an acquired skill and I well remember some apprentices were better at it than others. Casting/ boring / fitting and scraping a bottom end was always much easier than doing the mains for white metal scraped off one main required an equall amount to be removed from all the rest, no line boring of the block here, you in actuall fact were the line borer, and all by hand to boot. It was a very, very long job which was very labour intensive and sometimes went on for two weeks or more just to do the crank bearings with several people involved. In view of all the foregoing I thought that perhaps it would be a nice surprise for JK for me to turn up at JK's hotel incognito with the test piece, 0 - 1" and 0-6" mikes, two flogging spanners, sledge hammer, engineers blue, leads and of course bearing scraper. The reason for this visit would of course be a throwing down of the gauntlet of a bearing scraper outright challenge over a set period of time in order to see the result, U.K. V Canada ? But I have never had JK on visual nor visa versa so how would I know who JK was? Just supposing for example there were two people waiting in the foyer complete with test kits? Research indicates to me that there could be some French involved here somehow so I have been replaying our famous tv series of the seventies "Only Fools and Horses " for I remember Del Boys French spoken such as mon dieu sacre bleu and bonjour when leaving someone.Alternatively by loitering by the breakfast bar perhaps the giveaway might be a set you up for the day breakfast of a large plate of zee chocolate frogs possibly being selected by JK as this could of course be the "French Connection " here. Further thoughts reveal that Nova Scotia in Latin means New Scotland which throws yet a bigger spanner into the works big time. Ought I to be looking for characters in Kilts talking funny here? Could there possibly be a cross purpose Scotch / Frogger job devouring zee chocolate frogs / Haggis apon the initial startup every morning perhaps singing Old Lang Syne? The ID combinations here are staggering. As such maybe I need an additional way of identifying myself which could be if I wore a pair of overhauls embroidered with the initials TDA perhaps? However giving the matter further thought and casting my mind back to earlier conversations with JK I now realise that JK is not aware of what TDA represents. When we spoke about being boxed up in boilers whilst stripping out purifier plates I asked what the JK stoke hold shot depicted reference ranks achieved and pointedly asked the question " which one are you on the photo?" I thought I could just make out the initials TDA on one characters overhauls and surmised that this indeed might be JK. However apon asking JK the answer I got was that it was one of Martins stock photos depicting rank and number of subjects submitted by the person concerned. Bless. This was not however the answer I sought and should there be a possible contest of such National importance between us I feel that perhaps this is now the time to ensure that no percunary advantage be portrayed by myself between us and it would be prudent of me to ensure a level playing field exists between us during the contest. As such, therefore the answer I was seeking back then was of course the old English explanation of TDA which is of course Tall Dark and Andsome which alas did not forthcome. Bless. As a backup plan I envisaged that JK not knowing of what was being arranged would maybe be alerted to the character loitering by the zee chocolate frog / haggis station swinging a bearing scraper from one hand to the other thereby depicting of what I had already told him of namely another question I had asked of him earlier, " what did the letter A stamped onto my VL Churchill scraper mean? " I now know now that this does indeed represent "Ambidextrous " and as such would cater for the possibility of JK being left handed or not wishing to take the chance of losing the title to the UK by not having a bearing scraper on board. Playing the devils advocate here perhaps I should cobble up an entrance exam/test as I certainly would not wish to approach the wrong person and be thrown out onto the street complete with all my test kit etc. As such I perceived a simple questionaire along the lines of:- 1, Giving the crank to be in a good serviceable condition on the initial bolt up how many engineers blue contacts per square inch would you expect to see? 2, What is the maximum shim removal permitted expressed as a % age? 3, What would you consider to be a reasonable time to effect a acceptable bearing / contact on an eight inch journal? 4, How many contacts per square inch is deemed as acceptable and fit for service? 5, What would you consider to be an effective running clearance to be measured by taking leads for say an 8 inch crank? 6, Explain in your own words the meaning of the Torque Wrench forerunner phrase " F T ". ( Remember moments about a point theory here ) 7, What do you consider your idea of FT to be? 650' 750' 850' or more foot pounds? Being in the U K we have to abide by the MCA rulings and as such I would perhaps add that this might now be the time for JK to be concerned and to take note of rule 5 here " that a proper lookout be maintained at all times" and would as such suggest that there be no relaxation of this rule even when ashore and waiting in zee chocolate frog / Haggis station queue for if my appointment with four Wartsilsa,s at sea for two weeks does not for any reason come off during JK's London visit then there is every possibility that there may well be a new White Metal Medal being allocated to its rightful home, namely the UK. Never mind the old saying " beware of Greeks bearing gifts " here for in JK's case it would be more akin to " beware of Brits bearing bearing scrapers " here might be more applicable. Yes, there cannot be any doubt about this for in view of all the foregoing JK had haith a narrow escape indeed and should bear in mind the debt owed by JK to Mr Wartsila. Happy landings and oh, if I do turn up for whatever reason, I get to keep the scrap white metal for, as in the old days, beer money.