This weekend, I cleaned up the block.
As part of that cleaning, and based on some of the reading I've done on the Studebaker Drivers Club Forums, I decided to pull the freeze plugs and see what things looked like in the water jacket surrounding the cylinders. Of course, the experienced folks at the SDC Forums were right. There was a lot of casting sand packed in there that, for best cooling, needed to come out.
So tonight after making a special tool out of a discarded piece of brake line tubing, I started pushing, prodding and pulling the blackened sand out of the engine block.
Perhaps it was the combination of the sand and the hammer I'd used to form the end on the tubing that brought it all back to me, but suddenly, I was a 7-year-old boy again, timidly entering the front door of the cast-iron foundry where my Dad worked, his forgotten lunch bucket in my hand. I stopped just inside, my eyes adjusting to the light. There he was, just in front of me, the cauldron of molten metal beyond giving more light to the room than the dim sodium bulbs 25 feet overhead. I walked over as he was driving spikes into a large black cube with a 5-lb hammer. He saw me, smiled, and walking me into the nearby break room split a Little Debbie's snack with me. I asked what he was doing, so he took me back into the foundry, and showed me how they made the molds out of sand. Touching the mold, I would have never guessed that something made from sand could be so hard. As the overhead crane swung by to move the mold over to the pouring area, he lead me back outside and thanked me for bringing me his lunch.
Dad passed away a little over a year ago. I would've liked to ask him what he thought about that much sand left in the casting, but I think I know what his answer would've been. Somehow, I don't think he would have approved.