Mystic River Foundry

Hello All,

Sharing an amazing resource that @eric_pomber and I have been using for custom bronze castings:

Mystic River Foundry, Mystic, CT
Sharon Hertxler

I started building a trim tab self steering system for Calypso using @mav5252’s and Larry Pardey’s designs last winter (2020/2021). I had Mystic River cast the rudder fittings and “small tiller”. I had no prior experience with casting and the experience was amazing. I made wood models of the pieces I wanted them to cast (slightly larger to account for shrinkage). Sent them to Sharon - and amazingly bronze replicas showed up within a few weeks. I can’t emphasize enough how amazing this seemed to me. The whole process was enlightening and brought home how accessible this whole process is. Contrary to the name - it is NOT that mystic!

Sharon is super-friendly and helpful and will provide tips on how to make your wood models to ensure they can be cast and release from the sand molds successfully. Foundries are a dying (or unattainable) resource - so I think it’s important to help sustain these resources that are important to our boats.

I did my own post-cast machining - which involved drilling holes in solid bronze up to 1" diameter. This stuff is not exactly for the faint of heart but is achievable with some precautions and the right equipment. Sharon does have a machinist next door, so you could have them do some post-casting machining if you like.

Here are my wood models. I made these from pine, 1/4" ply, and Bondo. Sanded them fair and them spray painted them to improve release from the sand castings.

Dry fitting raw castings on rudder (Calypso’s rudder is mahogany tradition wood construction FRP encapsulated - not the standard SLM rudder):

Machining holes in the raw castings:

More dry-fitting:

Thanks for the great tip Jeremy. The work you’re doing looks absolutely amazing!

It does seem like a lot of work to custom design, make, and fit all the pieces. Any reason you chose to go that route rather than with Mike Anderson?

Hi Mike - I built the trim tab last winter (2020/2021). I have not built the windvane yet. We got the plans from Mike Anderson a couple years ago in exchange for a donation to the Larry Pardey Memorial Observatory. Mike’s Freehands are beautiful and impressive looking machines. I chose to build my own because Calypso has a non-standard rudder; because I have time on my hands and enjoy building things; and because of cost.