Technically I had already started it while at home, with borrowed tools that we haven't got out here.
The saw plate was supplied by Pedder, and he had not only stamped out the teeth, but also sharpened them for me :-)
I bought a piece of brass plate at a local metal working shop, and it was enough to yield two spines if everything went OK. It could have been thicker, but I had to settle for what they had which was 2 mm (~5/64")
At home I sawed it in half with the table saw. A positive thing was wearing safety glasses and ear protectors. A negative thing was wearing short sleeves.
The blade threw some fairly large and very sharp brass chips at my right arm, so when I was done it looked as though I had been fighting in a thorn bush.
Even my wife was impressed! I am still not sure if she was impressed by my stupidity or my manly looks with a perforated right forearm.
I haven't got a metal bending brake, so I decided to ask our local fork lift dealer if I could use their equipment. Those guys are always incredibly helpful, so I bought a case of beer as a way of saying thanks for the many times they have helped me by letting me borrow a special tool.
I can highly recommend to give them a call if you are even in need of a forklift or some service. It might help if you are in Denmark, as I am a bit uncertain if they do international service as well. But they just might.
So N&V truck had a metal brake that I used for bending the two spines the initial piece of way. That way I had something like a V shape.
I headed into the other part of their shop and aimed for the 25 tons hydraulic press.
My idea was to gradually close the V to a nice spine for the saw. So I tried that with the first one. It was definitely not a success. By doing it gradually (lengthwise) the entire back ended up having a swoop upwards and a not very straight line.
I was glad that I had a second chance. The next piece I managed to find some large steel bars that were so long that I could press the entire piece lengthwise in one operation. The most difficult thing however was to balance a V shape on the side with an 80 Lb steel bar on top, and not getting my fingers squashed in the process.
There was remarkably little cursing and swearing in the process, but somehow it ended up looking really nice.
I decided to take full advantage of the 25 tons of pressure available, so the spine was completely closed.
It had seemed like a great idea at first, but once out here I realized that I wouldn't have a chance of getting the saw plate into the spine unless there was some sort of opening.
Prying the spine open was quickly ruled out. I was simply afraid that I would ruin it. The logical step was to saw an opening all along the 20" of spine.
This can be reasonably fast if you have a thin circular blade and a milling machine. It might even be a pleasurable job that way. grinding down a hacksaw blade to remove any set of the teeth, wrapping it in tape and using 2" of the length as a mini saw sure wasn't fast or pleasurable at all. But I got an opening for the saw plate without messing anything up.
Filing and sanding the spine was uneventful and quite pleasant because it looked better and better for every change in grits.
Getting ready to split the brass plate.
Initial trickle of blood.
Metal bending brake.
Two spines, OK on the left, swooped and crooked on the right.
Re-opening the spine with a hacksaw blade.
First side getting filed.