HOLEEEE CHRIST!! I actually got my engine parts back! Lately, my once a week calls to the machine shop and the painter have started to feel suspiciously like work. Unsurprisingly, once I turn something over to the experts (he says, resisting a strong impulse to frame the word in quotes), I always start to feel stressed. Managing service providers sucks. Me in the garage working = zen Me managing vendors = Okay, okay...at least I actually have something I can start working on again. I've basically been down for two months at the hands of outside help. No more! The valve seats are all resurfaced, new guides installed, and springs shimmed to spec. Purty! Also, the the freshly balanced crankshaft awaits installation. The one thing I have been able to work on while I waited on parts was my gasket seats. The old gaskets had formed a near molecular bond with the castings and took every bit of my patience to safely remove. My fingernails were powerless against the old gaskets, and my caveman brain kept eyeballing the screwdriver...so near at hand...so efficiently destructive... Here's what I was up against. The rear main bearing and cylinder surfaces were the worst, but all of the oil delivery junctions took some work too: Thankfully the patient section of my brain (all 5% of it) triumphed and eventually it all came off without a scratch. The system involved many coats of aircraft stripper (thanks for that tip, Charlie. It proved invaluable) Then a carefully broken strip of 1x stock (read: cracked over the knee) Many coats of stripper and much scratching later, I have a clean block and associated parts. I'll probably spray them down with wheel cleaner once more and give them one last hosing before I get started on the rebuild. I'll admit, it was a task I wasn't terribly excited for, but I'm really happy to finally have all the gunk off of the parts. I have a few impending deadlines for work, but I think I should be able to get started on the rebuild shortly, something I've really been getting excited for. I expect much manual reading will be in my immediate future...with this long wait, I think a bit of a refresher will help me out.