There are many skilled craftsmen involved in keeping this traditional Victorian distillery running and work on the refurbishment of our cast iron mash tun is continuing. This ancient vessel, so fundamental to the ethos of Bruichladdich, dates back to 1881 when the distillery was built. The main contractors are Northern Fabricators who will be responsible for the final assembly on site, but most of the component parts have been cast by the traditional engineering based foundry company Archibald Young. Archibald Young are based in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire in the Central Belt of Scotland and employ 27 people including skilled moulders and core makers.
The new rack and stirring gear have now been fabricated from spheroidal graphite cast iron. Initially, a pattern maker made an accurate wooden replica of the part to be cast and this was placed into a casting box around which a special sodium silicate bonded sand was packed. Carbon dioxide gas was then pumped through it to solidify the sand before the wooden pattern was removed leaving a void into which the moulten metal was poured.
Although there have been some improvements in the quality of sand used, this is a process that has continued fundamentally unchanged for hundreds of years. Skilled craftsmen making low volumes of floor moulded castings for specialised applications.
The components are now back at Northern Fabricators where they will be finished, machined and tapped where necessary before a test assembly. All being well their engineers will be on site here at the distillry to commence the rebuild of our precious mash tun during the last week of March. We will keep you informed.
Photography: The Kirky Studio