August 2007

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For Ian, making a Spitfire from a Penny (an Old one)

Two here one for scale. I was going to try and show you how to keep the date, but I really didn't feel much like it. I just lost my dog, and this last week hasn't been easy. But the method is to fold it in half so that the date folds over the engine, half each side, 19 one side and the year the other.

First off, you have to give some welly, don't be scared of beating it about, I have just flattened it out, here

No need for fancy annealing, just hold in an old pair of pointed pliers, or stand it on three small nails banged into a scrap of wood. Heat till red and drop straight into cold water.

Fold in half. I haven't made one of these in over forty years, I didn't quite get it in the middle either. The line represents the fuselage, it squiff to give you the tail on the plane. Again it was beaten something serious, you are constantly trying to make this thing bigger as you go along.

Here we have the flying saucer, as you can see the fuselage isn't quite in the middle, hopefully you can do better. Again a bit of hammering on each side to keep spreading the wings helps.

Very basic shape here, as you can see it is still bigger than it started out, cutting out the gap between the front and rear wings allows the fuselage to grow longer when you hammer the shape into the top. You have to do this so that there is metal present all the way along, or you will when you file it up it will break through.

Something similar to a Spitfire now.

You can see the nose of the plane has had a wallop, this creates the front of the cockpit, and defines the engine canopy. Just about here to do the same behind the cockpit and in front of the tail.

Close now to looking like a plane. Put the thing in a vice sideways, and with a punch elongate tail up, turn it over and repeat from the other side, this will also stretch it out rearwards, so put the fuselage back in the vice upside down with just the edge of the tail poking out and knock that back were it was.

Its pretty basic, but you now have the origins of a spitfire. It needs more work of course, but this shows the principal involved, and you can now clearly see that its bigger than a penny.

Sorry to have started you on this, I guess being a metal worker helps, it was one of those things we all did. I wont bother finishing this, as I don't have a sweetheart, just to show how its done. It took an hour to do this.

Maybe I shouldn't tell you how we made signet rings from pre 1921 florins and kept the date inside........ don't go there its a tin bashers hobby...