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Thread: Casting the Merriman Cleat

  1. #71
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Here's an interesting side bar to this thread.
    In the latest issue of WBM #266, in the Over the Bar section on page 21, is the mention of the death to Louis Fontiane. He ran Triangle Castings in Palmer, Massachusetts. In the early days of his career, one of their main clients was Merriman Brothers, a large maritime hardware company.
    Chances are that Jim's original cleat was produced by this fellow way back then.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  2. #72
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Always enjoy watching your work, Mr. Ledger. If you make another run, I wonder what would happen if you gated to the thickest cross section (perhaps near the feet), and you had open risers at the tips of the cleats. Still vent at the highest spot, of course, which would be the feet, and maybe vent along the cleat. Our stuff emerges looking like a porcupine, sometimes. We use welding rod to poke holes in the sand.

  3. #73
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    Here's an interesting side bar to this thread.
    In the latest issue of WBM #266, in the Over the Bar section on page 21, is the mention of the death to Louis Fontiane. He ran Triangle Castings in Palmer, Massachusetts. In the early days of his career, one of their main clients was Merriman Brothers, a large maritime hardware company.
    Chances are that Jim's original cleat was produced by this fellow way back then.




    Thanks for that, Rich, what a coincidence! A large part of the interest I have in old objects, be it a boat, house or a simple thing like a cleat has to do with the wondering about it's origin, who made it it, why and under what circumstances. I would imagine that the old gent would find some amusement here. That would be good.



    Here's the crop after some cleaning up and repair. Five good cleats, one of the first batch has had a foot transplant, the other is in the foreground.

    The first cleaning-off is with a thirty-six grit disc on an angle grinder. A Foredom tool with a rotary carbide burr cleans up most of the tight spaces. Small flaws get ground out and filled with weld. All the holes have been repaired. The feet have been bored for three-eighths inch bolts, like that nice oval-head sitting there. The countersink is not bored full-depth and won't be until all the finishing is complete. But there's a lot of metal out of the way there in those countersinks. The washer helped to spot the centers of the bolt holes, which can be tricky in situations like this and you want the bolts pretty close to where they should be.

    And files, I forgot them. Lotta filing.

    Jim

  4. #74
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    So you got your 4 cleats plus a spare? For the main sheet perhaps?
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

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  5. #75
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorB View Post
    Always enjoy watching your work, Mr. Ledger. If you make another run, I wonder what would happen if you gated to the thickest cross section (perhaps near the feet), and you had open risers at the tips of the cleats. Still vent at the highest spot, of course, which would be the feet, and maybe vent along the cleat. Our stuff emerges looking like a porcupine, sometimes. We use welding rod to poke holes in the sand.

    This pattern, because of the thin sections involved, cast well with little in the way of risers. The two vents were cut with a piece of half inch copper tube and fed the feet, which was the thickest section. There was a little shrinkage around the ingates which was filled in without a problem. I don't think that the problem was one of venting as the voids were all in the drag half of the mold. An air bubble would usually be found in the cope, higher up. The mold was tilted up two inches on one edge for the pour which would have created a clear egress for the air in the mold, as well as making for a smoother introduction of the metal into the cavity as it was running uphill from the sprue.

    Thanks for your interest, Doctor, I'm currently working my way through your one-lunger thread. A fascinting project that!



    Quote Originally Posted by BBSebens View Post
    So you got your 4 cleats plus a spare? For the main sheet perhaps?

    Yes, Ben, a cleat for the mainsheet is a good possibility. Until then it'll make a great paperweight.



  6. #76
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Beautiful!

    Just invested in a Dynafile for cleaning up welds etc. for some ongoing metalwork we are doing, what a tool! It's to fiddly metal shaping/finishing what a Martin shaper is to coping and sticking. Been imagining how it might be used with work like your cleats, almost seems like cheating...might consider one if you are doing a lot more of this


    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    Thanks for that, Rich, what a coincidence! A large part of the interest I have in old objects, be it a boat, house or a simple thing like a cleat has to do with the wondering about it's origin, who made it it, why and under what circumstances. I would imagine that the old gent would find some amusement here. That would be good.



    Here's the crop after some cleaning up and repair. Five good cleats, one of the first batch has had a foot transplant, the other is in the foreground.

    The first cleaning-off is with a thirty-six grit disc on an angle grinder. A Foredom tool with a rotary carbide burr cleans up most of the tight spaces. Small flaws get ground out and filled with weld. All the holes have been repaired. The feet have been bored for three-eighths inch bolts, like that nice oval-head sitting there. The countersink is not bored full-depth and won't be until all the finishing is complete. But there's a lot of metal out of the way there in those countersinks. The washer helped to spot the centers of the bolt holes, which can be tricky in situations like this and you want the bolts pretty close to where they should be.

    And files, I forgot them. Lotta filing.

    Jim

  7. #77
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    They are filed under "C", I assume.

    Those look nice. Imagine how nice the next set will look.

    Peace,
    Cleat-Us

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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Jim, did you do any strength calculations or other research to justify the thin walls on these cleats? Or perhaps there is a commonly used formula that you referred to? The aluminum cleat you copied was sourced on eBay, so one might reasonably question its provenance. I would ask myself if it might have been intended for purely decorative purposes. I trust that you know better so can you help me understand the strength/wall thickness relationship?

    Jeff

  9. #79
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Jim, did you do any strength calculations or other research to justify the thin walls on these cleats? Or perhaps there is a commonly used formula that you referred to? The aluminum cleat you copied was sourced on eBay, so one might reasonably question its provenance. I would ask myself if it might have been intended for purely decorative purposes. I trust that you know better so can you help me understand the strength/wall thickness relationship?

    Jeff
    Good question, Jeff. I believe to the best of my knowledge that the aluminum cleats were manufactured as fully-functioning cleats and not as decorations. It had the Merriman trident logo stamped into the top, which led me to believe that it was the genuine article. I am not an engineer and the calculations needed would be beyond my ability. I suspect that there might not have been any calculations done when the cleats were originally manufactured. Hollow cleats would have predated this design by many years, so it's quite possible that the strength of the cleats was deemed sufficient based on previous designs that had given good service.

    I wonder in what circumstance the cleat would fail before either line parted of the bolts pulled up a section of deck. I do know this though, it's a better cleat than any you will find on any new production boat, stronger, better-looking and much better fastened.

    Jim

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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post

    Those look nice. Imagine how nice the next set will look.

    Peace,
    Cleat-Us
    You haven't seen yet how nice this set will look.

    But, yeah, the next set will be better.

    Jim

  11. #81
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    You haven't seen yet how nice this set will look.

    But, yeah, the next set will be better.

    Jim
    I have as much faith in the fact you've already devised a better way to do it, IF there is a next time, as I do in the quality of this batch. I mean, c'mon, we ALWAYS see the flaws in our own work, que no? Even if they are invisible or imagined.

    Peace,
    Really Enjoy These Metal Pouring Jobbies

  12. #82
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by Skegemog View Post
    Beautiful!

    Just invested in a Dynafile for cleaning up welds etc. for some ongoing metalwork we are doing, what a tool! It's to fiddly metal shaping/finishing what a Martin shaper is to coping and sticking. Been imagining how it might be used with work like your cleats, almost seems like cheating...might consider one if you are doing a lot more of this
    Thanks for that, Skeg, pointing out a five hundred dollar tool that I didn't even realize how mush I craved. Seriously though, it's probably too good for my needs. Probably removes metal so fast I won't think I deserve the result. "It should be harder than this", I'll be telling myself, "this is not right". I'd probably reduce the air pressure as a way to handicap myself.

    Foredom makes a nice little angle grinder attachment that might have just the right lack of performance, a nice anemic angle grinder, just the thing!

    Jim

  13. #83
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    I know it's wrong to mention it in this high class thread, but Harbor Freight has a band file for $37.99. Their usual quality level.

  14. #84
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    Probably removes metal so fast I won't think I deserve the result. "It should be harder than this", I'll be telling myself, "this is not right".

    Jim
    not mention "why are my knuckles not bleeding?"

  15. #85
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    In Post #7, the cold shuts were on the high side, which is to be expected as the metal should flow up from the bottom as the mold fills. In the second (?) pour, the cold shuts appear to be on the bottom of the horns as the cleat sits in the mold, and the top of the horn filled up. It looks like the cold shut formed early as most of the metal filled the feet and vents and then the ends finished filling as things heated up. Maybe the gates need to be moved to the ends of the horns.

    The crystal structure on the surface of the old cleat might tell you where the gates and risers were located. Soaking the aluminum in sodium hydroxide (easy off oven cleaner at 8 minutes). You might see some patterns on the surface of the original cleat; fine crystals where it cooled fast and large ones where it cooled slowly. I don't know if it will show what you want to see, but it might be instructive. Messy anyway.
    A little light reading: https://www.asminternational.org/doc...5-c4647e2a94d8
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by MN Dave View Post
    In Post #7, the cold shuts were on the high side, which is to be expected as the metal should flow up from the bottom as the mold fills. In the second (?) pour, the cold shuts appear to be on the bottom of the horns as the cleat sits in the mold, and the top of the horn filled up. It looks like the cold shut formed early as most of the metal filled the feet and vents and then the ends finished filling as things heated up. Maybe the gates need to be moved to the ends of the horns.

    The crystal structure on the surface of the old cleat might tell you where the gates and risers were located. Soaking the aluminum in sodium hydroxide . You might see some patterns on the surface of the original cleat; fine crystals where it cooled fast and large ones where it cooled slowly. I don't know if it will show what you want to see, but it might be instructive. Messy anyway.

    Thanks, Dave, that's very instructive. I'd be interested to get any clues to how the casting was fed.

    The first pour of two molds was a good example of what can go wrong with two good molds when the pour goes bad. Often the failures are more memorable and instructive than the successes.

    As stated the two molds were fine, put together soon after the first two baked cores were produced. I had the end of a bottle of propane and thought it would be fine for the pour, it wasn't. The plan was to return the flask to the furnace after the first pour, reheat it and add additional bronze if needed. It was a cold day as well, which doesn't help the vapoization of propane in the tank. The metal melted, but I couldn't get it as hot as I wanted due to the low pressure. So I poured on the cool side and then immediately filled the second mold because you never know.

    The cleat in the foreground is the second pour, misrun, cold-shut, but not bad for the circumstances.

    The next two pours were made using fresh tank of gas and a gating system that fed the casting symmetrically The quality was much improved as a result.

    Jim



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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by JimConlin View Post
    I know it's wrong to mention it in this high class thread, but Harbor Freight has a band file for $37.99. Their usual quality level.

    Well, at least now we know where the band-file goal posts are located.

  18. #88
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    If I didn't already have a Dynafile, I'd give one of those Harbor Freight jobbers a try. The tool is immensely useful. I've used mine more for metal work than anything else. It does a good job sanding just about anything. High end suppliers have some really belts with really tough abrasive that will do the job on just about any metal. Bronze is easy to sand. If I use the backside of my platen arm the belt is unbacked and will then conform to curved surfaces. Very useful.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    Well, at least now we know where the band-file goal posts are located.
    I have been surprised recently. Some of their stuff is okay. Lowest common denominator for sure but the most expensive sandng block on the planet is kind of just playing with your pecker ... Snap-On wrenches down on the boat is more than a waste, it's dumb

  20. #90
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite View Post
    Lowest common denominator for sure but the most expensive sandng block on the planet is kind of just playing with your pecker ...
    That's a charming way to put it, Fave. I always take it as a plus if the tool performs beyond its stated function, and have been know to pay extra for the pleasure.

    Jim

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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    That's a charming way to put it, Fave. I always take it as a plus if the tool performs beyond its stated function, and have been know to pay extra for the pleasure.

    Jim

    FWIW, my best sanding block happens to be a perfectly sized and nicely seasoned piece of old teak! I think it's sort of like Solera Port. The old teak "educates" the new teak...Nothing but the best for my boat!!
    Last edited by Cogeniac; 01-26-2019 at 09:33 PM.
    Now is a good time!


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  22. #92
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    As I've been checking out aluminum casters on the webernet, I found a guy who cast a tamper for sand casting. I think it would be nerdy cool to have a polished aluminum tamper.

    I MAAAY try casting a "radiator" cap for the pedal car. I'm amassing old push bike rims, crank arms, and hub shells...

    Peace,
    Cleatus

  23. #93
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite View Post
    I have been surprised recently. Some of their stuff is okay. Lowest common denominator for sure but the most expensive sandng block on the planet is kind of just playing with your pecker ... Snap-On wrenches down on the boat is more than a waste, it's dumb
    I've had a HF band file for years. I'm not sure I would describe it as OK, it's one step up from junk. But it has served it's purpose. I cut my own bands from belt sander belts so grits from 36 to 220 are available cheaply. I've used it on everything from sculpting marble and granite to smoothing out bad fiberglass work. It didn't stop running yet so that's endorsement in it's favor.

  24. #94
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    I've had a HF band file for years. I'm not sure I would describe it as OK, it's one step up from junk. But it has served it's purpose.
    Exactly. I just bought their cheapest $12 heat gun. It already stripped about 100 square feet of paint licketey-split. Construction quality is okay, feels solid enough, paid for itself in the first ten minutes. I don't want to be the Matt Dillon of heat guns, I want to get the paint off.

    Bought a full set of their combination wrenches. $16. Visually the same quality as Snap-On. I'm not going to put a 3' piece of pipe on the 1/2" wrench to test it but they remove and tighten nuts exactly the same as my Snap-On's do ... for about 1/10th the price. And when they get rusty I won't cry

    If US companies actually made better stuff and treated their employees well and were the pillars of the community they used to be, I'd feel different. But loyalty works both ways.

    A lot of stuff at Harbor Freight is fine.

  25. #95
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Angle grinder, Foredom, and then to the files. I'm using these four in particular to do the final clean-up and detailing.



  26. #96
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    As always, well done sir.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  27. #97
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Those are some beautiful bits of bronze Jim.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  28. #98
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Looking at the photo your gates look kind of thin. A lot of this has to do with making sure everything solidifies in the right order. You want the casting to solidify before the gates and the sprue. You want liquid metal in the sprue to feed the casting (thru the gates) to make up for shrinkage as it solidifies. Casting at a higher temperature might also help as it looks like the bronze may have solidified in the mold before it totally filled.

    By when I was a metallurgy student at the University of Michigan we had to cast a bronze boat propeller...lots of fun...great memories.

  29. #99
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by rregge View Post
    Looking at the photo your gates look kind of thin. A lot of this has to do with making sure everything solidifies in the right order. You want the casting to solidify before the gates and the sprue. You want liquid metal in the sprue to feed the casting (thru the gates) to make up for shrinkage as it solidifies. Casting at a higher temperature might also help as it looks like the bronze may have solidified in the mold before it totally filled.

    By when I was a metallurgy student at the University of Michigan we had to cast a bronze boat propeller...lots of fun...great memories.

    Thanks, Rich and Dan, very kind of you to say.


    Rregge, thanks for the advice, you might be on to something. It's been my understanding that often a bit of experimentation was needed to find the best way to channel a mold. There was some slight shrinkage around the ingates, indicating something not quite right. I wish I had more time to try some more ideas but I have to move on.


    Meanwhile....


    the filing continues...


    Jim



  30. #100
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    When you start producing a new casting, it is very hard to convince the bean counters that you will have to eat the first five or so before they get the gating straightened out. Now that they have computer flow and solidification simulation software, you can get it in three tries.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  31. #101
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by MN Dave View Post
    When you start producing a new casting, it is very hard to convince the bean counters that you will have to eat the first five or so before they get the gating straightened out. Now that they have computer flow and solidification simulation software, you can get it in three tries.
    Actually, for straightforward sand castings, the guys with a junior high school education would usually get it right off the bat, first try. I've had a bunch done and never had any problems.

    Counter-cast low pressure molds, mostly the same. People who had experience, not software, doing the design. Once in a while had to rework a mold but not too often. Wheel molds run around $15,000 and we seldom had to rework them, didn't use any flow software.

  32. #102
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite View Post
    Actually, for straightforward sand castings, the guys with a junior high school education would usually get it right off the bat, first try. I've had a bunch done and never had any problems.

    Counter-cast low pressure molds, mostly the same. People who had experience, not software, doing the design. Once in a while had to rework a mold but not too often. Wheel molds run around $15,000 and we seldom had to rework them, didn't use any flow software.
    Off topic.. But, Favorite.. Just noticed, you are in Lagunitas.. Petaluma here! Hi there!!

    S
    Now is a good time!


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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogeniac View Post
    Off topic.. But, Favorite.. Just noticed, you are in Lagunitas.. Petaluma here! Hi there!!
    Chicken capitol of the world ! Lagunitas, she is good But I am as far north as you can get right now and still be in the US, stripping paint* and looking for a thermostat

    * $12 Harbor Freight heat gun. Works super !

  34. #104
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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite View Post
    Actually, for straightforward sand castings, the guys with a junior high school education would usually get it right off the bat, first try. I've had a bunch done and never had any problems.
    Your informally educated foundry men had the benefit of learning the trade from experienced mentors in a fully equipped foundry. The OP is an amateur making a thin wall casting with a core starting from scratch. He is doing well.

    Edit: I'm not hijacking this with a new post. In response to the reverse snobbery from Favorite, I dealt with places like Eck, PCC Airfoils, GKN and Cercast among others. Unusual alloys, tight tolerances, vacuum tight with cast in inserts, aerospace quality.
    Last edited by MN Dave; 02-03-2019 at 09:05 PM.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

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    Default Re: Casting the Merriman Cleat

    Quote Originally Posted by MN Dave View Post
    Your informally educated foundry men had the benefit of learning the trade from experienced mentors in a fully equipped foundry. The OP is an amateur making a thin wall casting with a core starting from scratch. He is doing well.
    That was not the point and I think J Ledger's cleats are great. But you guys with your higher education and "fully-equipped foundry" nonsense are ludicrous. Have you ever been to a foundry ? Or a pattern shop ? Most of you have better stuff in your garage. This worship of "higher education" when it is pretty much useless for 90% of the things people do is getting annoying. The US can't actually do anything anymore (besides patting themselves on the back), which makes it even worse.

    Your statement was ridiculous. In general, it does not take "three or four tries" to get it right and the "bean counters" have nothing to say about things. Not in any competent shops, anyhow. And we don't much use flowing and solidifying software, it's hard enough to convince people to go with solid models first, instead of creating them from 2d prints. Yes, I've done automotive wheels. A lot. Also plenty of short run and one-off sand and lost foam castings. The guys who were helpful and knew their stuff were not degreed and their equipment consisted of a few woodworking machines.

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