The glorious smell of heat treated steel.


I pulled in my driveway after dark yesterday and saw four cardboard boxes just sitting there. I soon found out why my ups driver didn’t carry them to the hangar: they weighed about 50 pounds each. A quick check with a flashlight reveals joyous news; A three year supply of hybrid studs had arrived!



Above, the boxes in my living room. When I opened them, the oily smell of serious old school machine shops filled the room. The studs are made from heat treated 4140  us steel, the same as WWII .50 BMG barrels. The smell brings me back to my youth in NJ, some of my first jobs working in the remnants of the state’s once thriving machine parts industry. As a Corvair builder, you can have a certain pride your CEO here is sipping a beer, listening to Check Berry and savoring the smell of heat treated steel.


The studs have always been made for me in a giant midwest machine shop that specializes in aerospace fasteners. They don’t do small orders, so once every 30-36 months, I empty my piggy bank and send in an order. A few months later, their arrival comes without announcement. Insisting on ‘Made in America’ from serious suppliers isn’t cheap: The stack of four boxes cost more than my last two pickups, and my Suburban…combined. Carrying this kind of inventory on an engine program known for being inexpensive is tough, but when it comes down to the fasteners which hold the prop hub on, if you understand strength of materials and ethics, you don’t go shopping in China.





About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at and in more than 50 magazine articles.

3 Responses to The glorious smell of heat treated steel.

  1. Sonny Webster says:

    Merry Christmas William.

  2. David says:

    Love that smell too, I spent the day in my shop making washers on the lathe that go on my landing gear installation, and making other assorted parts.

  3. William Blunt says:

    One of your best posts William!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: