The last 8 weeks were stressful for me as a novice when it comes to internals. I came from a history of owning early 60's Buicks that all had the Wildcat 'nailhead' engines and was familiar with them, but I only built up from long blocks. This was the first time selecting a cam and springs, degreeing the cam, checking valve clearance and doing it right.
I relied heavily on my mechanic friend, a lot of reading, and advice I received on this forum. Ross especially took the time to answer my questions and I followed his advice on spring selection and checking valve clearance.
Last Sunday we lit it off, set the timing, and ran it up to 2200 rpm for 30 minutes. Did a cool down, changed the oil and filter, and then went for the best drive. The XE274 cam sounds great and the throttle response I have is noticeably different. We also added an RPM intake so I don't know which improved the response, but it is a different running engine with a beautiful idle.
We attended FERR and the Ford Nationals at Carlisle and returned to this project energized. There are a lot faster, better, stronger FE's out there than mine (and many are owned by all of you), but just know that your information sharing on this board is read and used by some of us amateurs.