Hints and Kinks

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819 Mandrake Dr., Batavia, IL 60510

Some time ago, a GEM reader asked for a substitute for asbestos insulation. 'Excelfrax' is a high-temperature blanket insulation, and 'Fiberfrax' is a felt-type insulation, both made of ceramic fibers with a thermoset binder. It is non-toxic, easy to work with, and can take extremely high temperatures. It's manufactured by Carborundum Co., P.O. Box 808, Niagara Falls, NY 14302-0808. Another handy item to know about is spring temper music wire in diameters from .015' to .156' by 32' lengths, available in hobby shops that sell model airplane equipment. This wire is excellent for making any type of short spring needed to restore or repair gas engines. It can be wound cold, so no heat treatment is required before or after making a spring. There is considerable spring-back, so you have to experiment to find the proper mandrel diameter so the final spring has the diameter that you want. The same model hobby shops sell two-component epoxy paint in small cans that gives a bright, hard finish much tougher than regular enamels. You can mix colors before adding the hardener to create any shade desired. They also have an epoxy primer that is one of the best that I have found to stick to cast iron and give a tough, adherent base for any kind of paint. It is better than enamel primers. One word of caution: make sure you read the instructions. The fumes from the epoxy can be hazardous if used in a confined space. This paint goes a long way, so mix small quantities until you know how much you need.