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Blued metal cleading

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Maurice18/06/2019 09:02:40
461 forum posts
50 photos

Some years ago I finished off a Stuart Turner number eight engine for a friend, and at about the same time I completed my Stuart steam feed pump. The last thing I did on each one was to fit the "blued steel" cleading. The material supplied is alloy sheet with a blue finish; presumably anodising. I recently saw the two model together, and something looked wrong. I then realised that the cleading has changed from blue to a pale sort of bronze colour. Neither model has been in strong light, and have been about twenty miles apart. Has anyone else had this happen with alloy sheet.? Fortunately I have a sheet of blued steel, actually made from steel, so I can readily replace it on both models, but I would like to know the cause. Is it just an age thing?


Nigel Graham 218/06/2019 09:13:43
586 forum posts

I cannot say definitely but from working for a time in a metal-finishing company I can suggest a reason.

Anodising is a controlled oxidation that gives the aluminium a hard but thin and rather porous "skin".

Coloured anodising - at least of the sort we used - involves anodising then immediately treating the metal in a heated dye bath, followed by sealing the dye in. As I recall, that was by immersion in boiling water.

If this is how the alloy sheet you used had been coloured in the same way, it's entirely possible the pieces were from different batches, and for some reason the dye had not been "fixed" adequately on one, causing it to fade over time or perhaps from even the relatively modest heat it finds in service.

JasonB18/06/2019 09:25:46
17874 forum posts
1954 photos
1 articles

My 10H made about 35 years ago has the same discolouration

I tend to just paint alumnium sheet these days, satin black looks OK to me.

Rik Shaw18/06/2019 10:48:20
1313 forum posts
352 photos

I had not realized that aluminium sheet was/is being used as cleading. When I was nearing completion of this model I needed cleading around the cylinder. I used thin steel shim coated in oil and heated over a gas flame. I was pleasantly surprised how it "blued" easily.

35 years on and apart from some slight tarnish I hope you'll agree it has aged gracefully.



Maurice18/06/2019 11:34:40
461 forum posts
50 photos

Nice engine Rik,and very nicely blued cleading. I have an S50 mill engine with blued steel cleading which gradually lost its colour with time (too much handling!). I polished off the remains of the blue, and reblued it in the same manner as you. I too was surprised how easy it was to get a satisfactory result.


mechman4818/06/2019 11:42:04
2638 forum posts
408 photos

was to fit the "blued steel" cleading... As an aside; is it 'Cleading' or as I have called it for most of my 71 years 'Cladding' can any one 'clarify', 'Cleading' has never looked or sounded right to me... ?


JasonB18/06/2019 12:01:17
17874 forum posts
1954 photos
1 articles

being debated on another forum at the moment

geoff walker 118/06/2019 13:25:00
398 forum posts
154 photos

Mmmm yes a handsome engine Rik

Some engines just catch the eye; your own design?

I like the flywheel/ drive pulley arrangement, also the bespoke oiler on the big end.

The cleading looks good as well

I'll call it cleading as I suspect people who call it cladding don't care what it's called, the other way round I'm not so sure?


Nigel Graham 218/06/2019 13:36:39
586 forum posts

Very elegant engine indeed! The blued steel and the satin sheen both look right.

Cladding / cleading? I think there was something in Model Engineer about this a while back. I looked in my copy of the BTC Handbook for Locomotive Drivers & Firemen, and that doesn't seem to mention it.

I wonder if "cleading" is a regional dialect version of "cladding" that's somehow found its way around the country with the locomotives and crews?

Rik Shaw18/06/2019 16:00:18
1313 forum posts
352 photos

Thanks for compliments chaps and apologies for muscling in on Maurices thread. Geoff, not my own design but from plans I purchased which were listed at the time in ME plans handbook #3 of 1978-1979. The drawings are still available here:


I paid £1.10p for my drawings back then!

I thought at the time the model seemed a bit of a titch so I scaled things up and made it twice the drawing size. Mine is just over a foot long and weighs eighteen pounds.

It runs OK on compressed air filmed here some years ago in my tiny and now defunct workshop. I have a better camera now wink (and a better workshop) yes


Nigel Graham 218/06/2019 17:31:16
586 forum posts

Mounted an Expedition to the Workshop to move some swarf.

Don't get excited! I'm still quite weak and on crutches, managing one just one when I've other things to lean on or hold. Still, first thing was to fill the bird-feeder: the seed hangs up in the workshop.

Then I did a little bit of very light tidying (not that you'd notice much) and swept the smaller lathe down, having left it a bit scruffy several weeks ago.

About an hour was enough and tottered back indoors for a brew and to sit down. Still, at least I had oily hands for the first time since my knee operation.


Watching the sparrows' antics made me wonder what they think of us.

Birds, probably, big ones; of a sort. Flightless and commonly changing plumage. Well, all the other animals are either large 4-leggers best avoided or small 6-leggers best eaten. However we are bipedal, and we clearly have wings but rather atrophied ones lacking flight-feathers, suggesting penguin lineage if not plumage. As for that plumage, we tend to thicken it in Winter but moult in Summer - when some do take moulting to extremes!

Martin Shaw 118/06/2019 18:27:22
116 forum posts
37 photos
Posted by Nigel Graham 2 on 18/06/2019 13:36:39:
I wonder if "cleading" is a regional dialect version of "cladding" that's somehow found its way around the country with the locomotives and crews?

I suppose it depends on whether you call old Scots a regional dialect or not, I'm in the not camp for self preservation reasons. Clead is an old Scots word meaning clothes/ clothing hence boiler cleading or boiler clothing. I feel cladding really only applies to sheet steel mounted in crinolines, no doubt there are many equally valid explanations.



SillyOldDuffer18/06/2019 18:37:47
5642 forum posts
1159 photos
Posted by mechman48 on 18/06/2019 11:42:04:

... As an aside; is it 'Cleading' or as I have called it for most of my 71 years 'Cladding' can any one 'clarify', 'Cleading' has never looked or sounded right to me... ?


My Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (the common Two Volume big dictionary, not the huge multi-volume monster found in some libraries), identifies Clad, Clead, Cleed and Clothe as relatives of 'Clothe'.

Ahrons 'Steam Locomotive Construction & Maintenance 1920, says clothing, as does 'Steam Locomotion 1951', but the dictionary mentions cleading is often used in connection with insulating boilers.

All the words are valid alternatives but it looks like modern English has drifted away from Clead/Cleed in favour of Clad and Clothe.

Mayhap gentlefolk needs put up with proles vilipending the tongue.



the artfull-codger18/06/2019 19:09:56
251 forum posts

I've always known it to be pronounced cladding even for the large company I worked for always said cladding, another one is Gib or is it jib? & we always say thrasher where I live [the missus comes from a long line of farming stock! ]some may say thresher,suppose it all depends on where you come from.

Graham [foreigners on the phone just cannot pronounce my name!!]

the artfull-codger18/06/2019 19:24:10
251 forum posts

Just a quick one, there's a place not far from me called Ingleby Barwick which the newcomers insist it's pronounced like that [makes the place sound better] but all the kids from there I went to school with in yarm called it ingleby barrick after all you wouldn't say berwick on tweed you'd say berrick on tweed,& the wynds in yarm are pronounced weend if your from yarm of course the newcomers who say wynd tell you your wrong [I'm 4th generation & all said weend, it's wynd in darlington, & chop gate which is local & farmers from there I know call it that but they say it's the townies that call it chop yat!!


alan-lloyd18/06/2019 19:45:35
162 forum posts

Heres one in North Walsham Norfolk, happisburgh road, pronounced hazebough road !

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