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cutting gaskets

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Mike Brett18/09/2016 12:33:15
129 forum posts
18 photos


I am trying to cut some small intricate gaskets for a steam engine. The material I have at present I got of E-Bay , it is of a bluish colour about 0.50 mm thick.

Trouble is it is so fragile , trying to put the gasket over studs and it just falls apart. Is there a stronger material brand on the market that anyone could recommend.

Cheers Mike

not done it yet18/09/2016 14:39:57
6445 forum posts
20 photos

Lay gasket on face and then fit the studs? Standard A4 paper is about 0.1mm, so about the thickness of 5 sheets of paper?

I've no suggestions for an alternative. Try another internet source might be a possibility - epay quality is not always good quality.

What size are we talking here? Small, for me, is less than 50mm

Mike Brett18/09/2016 15:06:00
129 forum posts
18 photos

Good idea about fitting gasket then studs, unfortunately I have already fitted studs with loctite . Gasket is 8 mm wide with 4 mm holes for studs, not much either side of studs.


DMB18/09/2016 15:19:51
1190 forum posts
1 photos
What about clamping the already drilled steam chest to a block of wood with gasket sandwiched between and poke drill through?
Just a thought.
duncan webster18/09/2016 15:46:11
3598 forum posts
66 photos

Are you trying to punch holes for the studs, or just fit a gasket with holes already in it?

John Hinkley18/09/2016 17:46:04
1199 forum posts
393 photos

First, let me say that I know diddly squat about steam engines, but if I had to do what you are trying to acheive, I think I would lightly fix the gasket to whatever goes over the studs and fit it that way. (Kind of like a cylinder head sliding over the studs in an IC engine block. ) By definition, the fitting, valve chest cover or whatever, doesn't have any protuberences to get in the way. Or have I got hold of the wrong end of the stick?

Alternatively, use a thicker material or gasket goo in a tube.

Good luck.


not done it yet18/09/2016 18:08:41
6445 forum posts
20 photos

One thought - are the stud ends at the same dimensions as at the root

ie, exact same pattern.


Another is to make the gasket as a larger sheet and trim to size after fixing.

Edited By not done it yet on 18/09/2016 18:10:59

Mike Brett18/09/2016 19:28:05
129 forum posts
18 photos

Many thanks for all your replies. I had already drilled the gasket, it was getting it over the studs that was the problem. The best solution I can see from the replies is to fit as a complete sheet and cut to size after, why did I not think of that. If that fails I have seen gasket material made of nitril, not sure if this is steam proof though.


JasonB18/09/2016 19:36:16
21652 forum posts
2495 photos
1 articles

Liquid gasket works for me. Teflon baking sheet works for others

You say that you drilled the stud holes in teh gasket? this may well leave a ragged edge which won't help with tearing, they are better punched out either with a Wad (hollow) punch or a punch and die (4mm peg and 4mm hole in die)

Edited By JasonB on 18/09/2016 19:39:10

Howi19/09/2016 09:01:25
323 forum posts
19 photos

Teflon baking sheets as has been suggested, silicone sealer etc. For cutting stud holes I would suggest getting hold of a radio telescopic aerial, cut the end off and hey ho you have a series of hole cutters, just sharpen the inside of the base of each tube and a simple twisting action cuts a perfect hole with no tearing as you would with a drill.

Neil Wyatt19/09/2016 09:17:31
18809 forum posts
733 photos
80 articles

Gasket holes shouldn't be a tight fit to the studs, you need to be sure they don't get damaged edges or crinkles.

not done it yet19/09/2016 09:25:39
6445 forum posts
20 photos

In addition to Neil's comment, the studs can be waisted slightly. Not an easy solution if they are already permanently affixed. Just depends on the strength of the material and the designed working forces. The threads are likely the limiting factor, rather than the cross sectional area?

Ian S C19/09/2016 10:55:58
7468 forum posts
230 photos

To cut the holes, lay the gasket paper on the part with the drilled holes, find one of the holes through the paper then using a ball bearing a bit bigger than the hole, put this on the hole and give it a whack, first hole, put a peg in the hole through the paper, and do the same for the next hole, put in another peg, carry on and do the rest, then tap around the edge of the casting or what ever, and the sharp edge will cut the gasket. Some bit might need cutting, but often the whole gasket can be made this way.

Ian S C

Trevorh19/09/2016 11:08:28
303 forum posts
87 photos

Try using a Paper Drill Bit - gives a perfect hole in most soft materials

google paper drill bits



Lambton19/09/2016 11:42:16
694 forum posts
2 photos



They sell plain gasket paper as follows.

"Suitable for mineral oils, hydrocarbons and cold water not suitable for acids and steam. Maximum temperature 120'C Available in 0.25mm, 0.5mm, 0.8mm and 1mm thick all from 1 metre wide rolls".

For cutting holes I use a revolving leather punch e.g. Clarke CHT489 about £8 from Machine Mart. It has punches 2,2.5,3,3.5,4 & 4.5 mm diameter. For larger hole I use wad punches.

I hope this is of help.

duncan webster19/09/2016 11:55:03
3598 forum posts
66 photos
Posted by JasonB on 18/09/2016 19:36:16:

Liquid gasket works for me. Teflon baking sheet works for others

You say that you drilled the stud holes in teh gasket? this may well leave a ragged edge which won't help with tearing, they are better punched out either with a Wad (hollow) punch or a punch and die (4mm peg and 4mm hole in die)

Edited By JasonB on 18/09/2016 19:39:10

+1 for punch and die, they don't need to be hardened, in your case make die cylindrical, 7mm OD, 4mm hole, hold it in drilling vice, grind the non cutting end of a 4mm drill so it has sharp corners, then fit the gasket to the cover and use it to position the holes, poking the punch through the holes in the cover

Edited By duncan webster on 19/09/2016 11:55:18

Brian Wood19/09/2016 14:10:53
2475 forum posts
39 photos


​My father made a cylinder head gasket for a lawn mower engine from thick brown wrapping paper, using the sharp edges of the metal to cut the shape by tapping round with a small ball pein hammer. Bolting holes were cut with the ball end of the hammer pushed into the gasket and the plain end tapped with a second hammer. A smear of grease both sides completed the job before bolting up.

​He said it was a common dodge used by him and his biking friends as a field repair; the lawn mower engine ran for years like that afterwards.

​I have since made many such gaskets for other applications, the last being from a paperback book cover found in the back of our Landrover for a roadside gasket repair to the CAV diesel fuel pump. It was still doing good service when we sold the vehicle 4 years later.


duncan webster19/09/2016 16:50:29
3598 forum posts
66 photos

Is this **LINK**

the ptfe sheet people are referring to?

Tim Stevens19/09/2016 18:05:15
1502 forum posts

Surely the right name for a firm selling gasket paper to model engineers, is 'Stationary stationery' ?


John Stevenson19/09/2016 19:21:08
5068 forum posts
3 photos

Know anyone who has a laser ? A lot of maker types have them.

Brilliant at gaskets.

The hole in the middle is 1mm, the hole towards the outer edge as is the annular slot are both 1/2mm.

14 seconds to cut this and can cut as many as I want with same accuracy.

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