After removing the springs, the cause of the broken strands became obvious.  This picture shows one of the four tightening wedges used to perform a linear stretch on the spring.   These wedges are driven under the crossbars while the spring is put in traction with a chain hoist.   The wedges are clearly subject to the strains coming from the two halves of the torsion spring,  and have been bent accordingly.  The effect of this bent wedge is to introduce wear and cutting surfaces inside the spring.  All of the places where the strands became worn through,  lined up with the protruding parts of this bent wedge.  Nothing like introducing a razor blade into the heart of your spring,  and then getting a case of the grumpies because it breaks down on you.

Because of all this, I have decided to do away with the full length steel wedges.  The crossbars can be held apart by specially designed blocks that fit in the notches on the washers,  and don’t actually go through the spring at all.  It is apparent that the notches in the washer should be made longer to maximize this approach to stretching the spring.  Any of the original bronze washers that I have seen photos of,  seem to have relatively shallow notches in them.   However, because our whole purpose here is to maximize the potential latent in the Orsova artifacts,  it is important to pursue any viable avenue that may boost performance.   The niceties of trying to make our washers match those few archaeological finds that show up elsewhere (no washers were discovered among the Orsova artifacts) is something we can delve into after we have a better idea of how all this linear stretching actually affects performance.  Therefore,  I intend to convert the current washers to ones that have unusually long notches for the crossbar.   These experimental steel washers will  eventually be replaced by bronze ones.   By then we should have a good idea of how much linear stretching is desirable, and the depth of the notches will no doubt change again.  I know all this sounds a bit tedious and picayune,  but these are exactly the kind of details that will allow our reconstruction to perf0rm at it’s highest level.

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