I have been spending a lunch hour cleaning up the smokebox. It comes as a casting with a rough finish. Polly suggest using a flap wheel but I am very nervous of these so have been using emery cloth and elbow grease.

The first challenge was fitting the smokebox into the frames. It fitted snuggly but the holes in the frames were out of line with the holes in the smokebox. A few emails to Polly and it appears that they have had some problems with the frames on other builds and have adjusted the frames on recent locos. On Andy’s advice, I have taken a file to the front of the recess to allow the smokebox to move forward 1-2mm. I am also expanding the holes in the frames a little. All should be fine in terms of overall alignment as I have checked that the blast pipe is still dead centre of the chimney.

So onto cleaning up to the casting. You can see that the roughness on the casting is fairly shallow so emery cloth is perfectly adequate for the job.

A bit of patience and effort has got me to the stage in the last photo. It is a very messy job and I got through about four pairs of nitrile gloves. I might spend a little longer to really get a good finish ready for painting.

The next phase will have to wait a while longer as I am still waiting on the bolts and washers from Polly to fix the smokebox to the frames. Once I am happy with the smokebox I can move on to fitting the boiler itself.