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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Time to walk the dog. The short explanation: It took 8 hours. We worked really hard. I have bruises and cuts. It was hot up there. We had to stop, go down, reposition, go up, try again- a lot. It worked. Things were heavy. Everything flew just as I’d imagineered it in my tiny 1-car garage/shop (picts from May-July). It may need a quick weld for double-safety. Tomorrow I hope to go back up on the lift with the electrician and get the wiring sorted out. If that happens: night pictures with lights!

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Shawn and I got an early start for a Saturday- I picked him up and we were on site around 8am. The day started with Gordy telling us the library director wanted all the wire shrink-wrapped, and that no place carried it so we’d have to order it- putting us a week out for another week of shrink-wrapping. Not being sold on the whole shrink-wrap idea, it seems smarter to just find some clear metallic wire and replace all the goofy red/black tails. Shawn and I headed out to Lowe’s and found everything but the wire, but a Lowe’s employee suggested Radio Shack and gave us directions just a bit farther down the road. Sure enough, Radio Shack had the goods.
Back on site we cut all the 5 foot red/black tails back to a fingerlength, then put in lengths of new wire cut to length for the run of each stone back to the main hanging rod. Next I stripped the tips of all the wires while Shawn spliced the red/black to the new wire. This took many many hours.
Around 3pm we finally moved on to hanging the first element- the big yellow salt box. We kept it in its protective sawhorse frame, and used the hoist to pull it up through the high door of the Lift. Then we positioned ourselves directly under the hook and 30′ up in the air and Shawn figured the easiest way to get the box out of the horse ( I had somehow lifted it into the horse on my own months back- but that just wasn’t in the cards for either of us) was to remove the hanging pin and let the box rest on the floor of the Lift, then lift the horse up over the box. It worked nicely.
Next we clipped the hanging arm for the box to the Trans-Arm and clipped the Box to the hanging arm. We tried some counterweight hoping it would mitigate the hanging angle a bit- but we would find that it had no effect, about 250# shy. Then it was a struggle to drop down- we had to shift back a bit, drop a bit, shift back, drop- to keep the box from being crushed against the safety cage. Eventually it flew free and we could drop down. Before we started the next step we would go back up and remove the weights…
That box is all we could fly from that side, as hanging more weight would overstress the steel trans-arm as it rose up through the nearly 160 degrees of rotation back toward the ceiling- especially as it neared horizontal to the floor. But it was good to have it up and mentally out of the way. The entire other side needed to be hung now, before going back to hanging on the box side.
The first stone piece is the heaviest, with 14 stones and the biggest run of steel- weighing in at well over 115lbs. We had to get it up into the Lift, which wasn’t too bad just with muscle power.
Still lots more to do tomorrow: hang the rest of the salt block side, tighten up all the wiring, connect all the runs, etc.
so now it is time for head to hit pillow…

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When last we were at the library it was July 23, and Shawn and I were installing the wall-hanging salt forms. Since then the salt forms of the mobile have waited patiently for their lights to arrive. The lights arrived a few weeks back, but came without whips/tails. That just made more time for Quail.
The site Super – Gordy – has really made things go smoothly out there. He has managed all the lighting/wiring that leads to the sculpture, and has the electrician who did the control panels and systems for the LED’s scheduled to come in tomorrow and solder/join/connect the wiring on the mobile as it is flown into place. Gordy also provided the huge lift in the second image- the door had to be removed to fit it into the foyer.
Wednesday night I rented a 24 foot long moving van and Shawn came over and helped me load it full of all the steel and the big yellow box. All the rest of the salt forms went into Shawn’s pickup to ensure they had a safe trip. We arrived at the Herriman site Thursday morning with everything intact. Gordy had cleared the room adjacent to the mobile’s foyer site for set-up: well, they still had to install the ceiling tiles before we could really get started…
A few parts had yet to arrive for the LED control boards, and there were other wiring shenanigans up at the 40 foot ceiling that kept things stymied. So I drove the moving truck back to the rental and Shawn gave me a ride home on his way to work. I drove back to the library and the room was clear for me to start assembling the Salt Stone forms.
Some of the connecting pins were painted shut and needed coaxing with pliers, but it all came together without a hitch by around 2pm. Next Gordy set me up with all the lights for the entire project, and as the day crept toward 100 degrees, I started wiring up the Salt Stones. By 6pm I had done 32 lights and in that time figured how best to wrap the tails up into the hanging pins and to the hanging structure. Before calling it a day I pulled all the center light bars from the Salt Boxes so I could mount all their lights at home after dinner.
I arrived on site Thursday a little after 7am and re-assembled all the light bars back into the Salt Boxes. Then I finished out the remaining 16 lights and tails on the Salt Stones. After that I went about combining all the tails for a “daisy-chain” of wiring and running them along the steel arms of the hanging structure, zip-tying them when necessary. Apparently the need for the wiring to be clear or silver didn’t get to the wiring company, and all the wires are black & red. They attach to the larger clear wiring that I had hunted down, after a pro told me my best bet was from a hardware store- and sure enough, with 2 floor helpers consulting we found it. So the part I had say in is right- but I’m guessing even the big height this will fly at and the wires being on the tops of the bars/hidden by the salt may not be enough to obscure the red wires. yarg. if it really bugs me I can always go up in the the library’s little cherry-picker and paint them. double-yarg.
Shawn made a side trip from another errand for work to see if we could get something flown into place. We had to wait on the lift, as the electrician was way up at the top of the wall mapping the wires and setting them to the controls for all the wiring on the sculpture (this relays back to a control panel in the library offices). Shawn had driven the lift around a bit earlier in the day to figure it out, and when the lift was free we hefted the 20 foot long trans-pole to the 8 foot platform, then up onto the railing padded with blankets. Then the big lift scissored us up 30 feet to the monster hook on the hanging pole and we clicked into place, swung the bar side to side and up & down, and dropped back to the floor. We went back and looked at all the salty forms that need to fly up there, and scratched our heads a bit- then Shawn left for the long drive back to work.

I mounted all the lights for the wall art that we had installed back in July, then got on a ladder and slid them home- they just need an electrician to bring juice through the wall and tie in- then I can place the capstones. The electrician started soldering the tails to the clear wire and will continue doing the same in the a.m. Then the day was done, and there was nothing left to do but drive home and load all my sandbag weights into the truck for tomorrow’s ballast when the salt learns to fly.

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Chef dropped by and told me he had taken a fall in a wind-storm. He had obviously toughed out many other falls, as he had other less obvious breaks running underneath his arms and hips. The pain in his arm from the recent breakage had left him unable to bathe, so a sponge bath came first.

When he was distracted by a thunderclap I popped his arm back into place, and set about sealing his wounds up with a fiberglass poultice. I ground down the first application and applied another layer, then buffed it down smooth. Leaving the poultice to set, I took a spin to the local metal yard and picked up thirty pounds of steel plates.

 I found a big bolt in my drawer of doom, cut off the end and welded it to a steel bar. Then the nut was welded to a small offcut of square tubing, that was then welded to the large plate. Two pad-eyes were slid along the steel bar, and the bar was screwed into the nut- all in a nice line measured to fit between the front feet of Chef’s base. Shooting the bar through the feet of the base, and through the pad-eyes and twisting it home into the nut provides an anchor plate that is easily removed/added. Then I welded two ten pound slabs of plate to the main plate. Thirty five pounds of steel on the floor provide Chef with much greater stability, yet allows him to shift his position.
Chef had never felt so confident in stormy weather before- as a record amount of rain fell in 15 minutes.

The next day was dedicated to cosmetic surgery. Of course there was the shoulder and opposite neck, and under his arms/hips- but there were also many dings, bruises, and blemishes. His wooden base was in need of repair as well.

When all finished up Chef hoped to make some pastries that he hadn’t attempted in years.

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After 20 hours of wax chase and repositioning surgeries, all 8 chicks are ready to fly back to the foundry and go through bronze pour. This will take about two weeks, then they return in pieces to be welded back together- and into position.
Elizabeth helped me position the wax chicks this morning, stacking and holding them like an avian wildlife expert while I figured which head needed to be turned where, whose wing should be higher, foot positions, and etc. This took more hands than we actually had, hence the lack of pictures. Then the brood moved back into the chill-room of the studio and I was sequestered for amputation/reattachment through the early evening.
Tim flew down from the table and the Hen really did take a shine to him- so they were the pair we fit the chicks to, and Frankenstien’s Buck will be the bachelor bird.
Tim still needs some chasing, then I need to bang out Mjolnir’s dent in Frank by drilling a hole on the opposite side of the dent and using a long steel rod to insert through him and bang on with MJ, then weld the hole closed and chase it out. Then I’ll diddle with trouble spots and unconvincing feathers for as long as I can bear it- while procrastinating on getting up to the park and pouring the bases so the concrete can cure for a few weeks before the finished birds alight.

Meanwhile, the Herriman Library project slumbers on- the lights may come in next week at last, but it may be another few weeks before they guys at the site are ready to have me come out and fly it.

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Tim Buck2 has come together nicely. The days jumble up, but the work continues. When last we left Tim I had just welded the tail to the skate, welded the plugs under the tail and on the back of the head, and filled all the pinholes.
Next I chased all those welds out, somewhat dreading the next big weld-a-thon, as the prior buck was such a headache.

Yesterday the wax chicks and their molds were all ready for me to pick up. I had a nice top-down drive in the cool of the morning, then closed the top and put on the air to keep the wax cool for the ride home. I wax-chased three of them over the afternoon. This afternoon I’ll chase 4, and pour a few more to merge into a different chick altogether. I also have to cut a few apart once they are chased, change them up a bit, connect them back together and re-chase all the changes.

The day’s great concordance was that Tim came together as easily as the Hen. The major seams were all tight: of the two halves of the body, connecting the body to the tail, and adding the head. There was minimal need for the hammer, and the welds dropped in easily. This portion took nearly 6 hours on the other Buck, and took about two for Tim- with no need for sailor talk.

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Another cool breezy day makes for 11 hours in the shop. The day started finishing up welds on the big Buck, then chasing/welding/chasing out his feathers. Then he flew down to skate next to the hen, and I continued chasing him out.
More changes are needed on him, but will be for “Tomorrow Dan” to take care of.
Then the next Buck made it onto the table. I ground a bevel on all of the edges to prep for welds, pulled all remaining ceramic shell pins and zipped out their little holes for fill-welds. The back of the head was welded in place, and the underside of the tail. The Argon gas tank was racing the dwindling welding rods to a forced stop, but I managed to fit the tail to the skate with inside welds as well. Tomorrow I’ll have to get the tank recharged and buy more rod.

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