The first step in machining the new chain plates is to make the blanks the correct size, in this case, 15 inches long for the minors. Today, in between the rain showers and before it got too hot, I began the job of sizing the lower chain plate material. In the picture to right, you can see the four lower chain plates clamped in a drill press vice. An angle grinder will do the job nicely. It must be done without getting the material too hot, which would harden the surface. Frequently wrapping with a water soaked rag prevents the material from getting too hot. Some blanks were more than an eight of an inch over size and needed to be cut down. It took about an hour of grinding to make the four pieces the correct length.
In this picture, I am using a 40 grit wheel which I follow with an 80 grit wheel. Each of the blanks were rough cut from a large plate by the supplier leaving a very ragged edge which you may see if you look closely. The side edges will be ground smooth after the drilling, which is the next step. I was unable to continue because of a rain squall. In rained very heavy on and off for the rest of the day. Drilling will be started on the next good weather day.