The Barrel Jan-Feb 04

It was now time to start work on the part of the Searchlight we had been most dreading, the barrel. We started by having a really good look at the top section of the searchlight and we decided to strip it down still further. All the hinges for the main hatches were riveted in, so they had to be drilled out. This took some time and it was while doing this we discovered that one of the hinge pins had snapped so some more work was going to have to be done on that latter. Once the two main hatches were removed it was just a case of setting to with the good old wire brush on the grinder and getting all the rust and paint off. With this completed we gave the main rust damaged areas a coat of chemical rust killer and gave the whole top section a coat of primer.
         
   
The barrel top section before dismantling   The top section with the left hatch removed   The top section read for cleaning
Click on photos for a better view
While this was all going on we had also started work on the barrel itself preparing it for the refitting of the top section. This of course meant we had a really good look at the welding around the barrel and we could see that most of the hatch frames needed grinding out the gaps cleaning and the rewelding. With all this welding needed, we where a little worry as it was a skill set we did not have, and we could not afford to hire it in, but the typical optimist we are, we where sure something would turn up. Another problem now came upon us when measuring the the top with the bottom we found a there was 0.5cm difference the plate that we had had refitted at great expense had been welded short. This meant that one edge of the plate would have to be ground out and rewelded. I felt that this would weaken the integrity of the searchlight barrel to much with out the top section being refitted. So that became the priority, so we refitted and to our surprise it when back in like a dream with out any more problems.
         
   
Top section striped and cleaned   Now its had a coat of primer its ready for refitting   Preparing the main barrel for the top section
 
   
The hatch frames ready for refitting   and another view of the same   The top section refitted in to the barrel