Trout Fin (for Now)


Trout Fin. Finito. Now I just keep them fed and happy till the fall when the site should be ready. The install date was pushed from July 1 to “September or ?…”. So the shop will be crowded for some time.


The big group of three was this week’s project. They were too tall to fit out the garage standing upright, so I wound up with a somewhat sideways solution. Figuring that out, then sandblasting. During sandblast I found a thin spot on the underside and had to spend quite awhile welding that section and refinishing it. Then sandblast the area, roll the group out to the driveway and spray them for chemical etching. This turns everything black. I’d hoped to get the etching scrubbed back, but the welding, and the table solution had eaten the day.


I had to mix two gallons of Cupric solution for the big triple, as the underside was tough to bring under control. The patina had trouble building up and biting in on the bottom side, and heat built up really quickly. It was tricky. I went through my entire supply of Cupric and had to drive way out to the Chem shop for more.


The colors all match, and match with the previous pair. That took some doing. It was a long hot day of torchwork, and they rested in the shop for Wednesday.


The center hoop floats without a pole. Keen.


Transitional planes of belly and back have different heat/patina responses. Patina is a mad science. On Wed I did touch-up work, then sprayed the piece with soluvar. The next day I cold-waxed, and then again the following day and buffed it all out.


Clamps, metal bars, and counter weights is how we roll. Nearly too wide to fit in the shop, but low enough to fit through the door, and sturdy enough to allow me to climb onto a board I’d clamped to the top for patina application.


The grasses and stones were all stippled with Ferric bringing complex browns, greens, and coppers.


These guys were brought out of the studio and clamped to the table for pole grinding/cleaning and another wax and polish.


Each fish has a unique coloration with subtle transparent layers of purples, greens, blues, browns, and copper.


The work table doubles as an aquarium.


I like this patina more than any other. The variation and transparent layering is some of the magic of patination. This is accomplished with a brush and spay bottle and twice the effort of the more consistent opaque blue/green of the airbrush for the other groups.


This is the opposite aesthetic of the spray gun. This is creating layered dappling that occurs in a weird time-frame that happens both before and after you work, and not while you are directly there. Zen letting go is part of the spell you have to put yourself under to make it work. That vs the more auto-body concerns of the evenly air-brushed fish.


I rolled the welder back out and added these old Stainless Steel bolt heads and bolts to the poles of the single fish. When footed in concrete these additions won’t allow the fish to be spun.


Of course the new welding gas canister has a faulty valve and was nearly out of Argon. Just enough to finish up.


While the welder was up and running and had a bit of gas pressure left, I welded up the old kitchen faucet from the ranch- again. Broken this time not from freezing, but from the plumber sawzalling a connecting pipe without removing the faucet first and shearing it in half with vibration. It is an irreplaceable faucet that connects to an irreplaceable vast farmhouse sink.


This weld is right next to a fitting that needs to thread to the faucet, so I left the bead a bit high rather than blending it flush and possible beating up the thread.


Somewhere in there this week I had a birthday. Too old for all the candles to fit on a cake any more. Lemon cake with a cream layer, and raspberry frosting. Elizabeth made Bourbon/Lucky Charms ice cream to accompany it. Amazing!


The Dexter Room was pulled down days ago, with some sheeting saved for dust covers.


No room for new work til I install the kids, many months from now. As yet, the City has not even hired a contractor to begin the plaza.


Say goodbye to the fish for awhile. For me it is like a bad fever breaking at last. Trout Fever: endless body aches with acute bruising and fatigue, loss of muscle tone, loss of aerobic capacity, loss of mental acuity, incessant worry, and turrets-like swearing. Objet d’ Art Syndrome often accompanies Trout Fever, and may occlude manly skills and ability in industrial processes from sufferer and onlookers as these are seamlessly absorbed by Art, which is for sissies. May also experience low level “art-fun” fever.



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