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Monthly Archives: May 2017

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Both pairs poled.

Ditto yesterday, in half the time; final fish poling.

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Carriage for sand blast and patina.

200# of top-heavy trout need a way to travel safely. The wheeled frame is my DIY studio worktable sans top and low shelf, it pulls double duty as my sandblast and patina platform for big sculpture. I thought of this welded footing back in 2014 for the last group, but didn’t make it because I was too far down the production rabbit hole. Poling out the last pair didn’t even take the morning, so I scrounged through my steel scrap, planned the unit out and cut and ground the metal, and switched out the welders. E made me a quick lunch, and I was back out in the shop and it was welded out in no time. Two runs of channel iron make the platform, connected to a drop bar of rectangular “square” tubing. The platform floats just off the ground. I’ll build out my plastic tent for sandblast, and this can roll in and out. Key to the low footing is allowing transport out onto the parking pad for patina with good clearance for the garage door.

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Welded footing inside of table frame.

With the footing welded in, clamps and steel tubing hold the sculpture in place. 60# of weights on the far side of the sledge keeps all the wheels on the ground.

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Welded footing outside.

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Sunday’s Poled Pair

One pair grew poles today, and the last pair will sprout poles tomorrow. It takes a few fish biscuits to get the pair to fly sideways and perfectly level to the ground, plus two hoists and the forgotten magics of the Masons for establishing level as vertical as horizontal as plumb. Once the last pair has legs, then everyone gets a last once-over for fine tuning; then the shop is flipped over for sandblast and patina.

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Swim team.

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Stanley brings E along for the inspection.

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Last pair tacked to hoops.

All the fish are chased out, the singles are affixed to their poles, and the pairs are joined in their hoops awaiting their poles. It is nice to have some creative choices that need choosing; which fish be single, which will be paired, and who makes the best pairs. Once the relationships between the 4 pair-able fish are explored by hefting them amongst each other, I start writing on them in marker of who goes with who, then change my mind and zip off the marker and have a few more go arounds and marker notes of who is on what side, who is forward or back, or higher or lower. Then making the pairs of hoops farther(20″)/nearer (12″), which establishes a governing rule of how the fish can be welded, yet still staggered. This regularity helps unify each pair while giving each pair a unique aesthetic. The curvier pair goes with the shorter hoops measure, and the straighter pair has the longer hoops.

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Singles with poles, and a pair.

One fish is set in first and tacked in place, then the next fish is placed and marked then removed. Then I beef up the welds on the first fish, unless I need to snap them and reposition- in this case they were fine. Then the second fish is put back in aligned with its marks, reassessed, then tacked and welded. Next the pair is hoisted aloft and rolled side to side in midair for better welding angles (sorry no picts of the flying fish this time around).

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Today’s leading yesterday’s pair.

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Curvy animation.

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Swishing tails.

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Ready for poles.

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Fishy Bits

It was a rainy Sunday morning and nothing was biting on any of my flies. I waited out the storm anticipating a new hatch of midges, and the trout started hitting on skimming midges. This big beauty came in on a roll cast where I was flanked by dense willow scrub. -or- replace that with heavy industrial scenario.

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Ground smooth with welds.

Pinholes filled. Cap on. Tail pockmarks filled.

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All stitched up.

This one curves enough to need a brace to stand up alone.

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everything where it should be. if anyone is counting this is #5 of 6

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ready for metal chase

I left metal chase for tomorrow, as the neighbors were having a children’s birthday party in their back yard, with a big tent by our yard to hear our pond waterfall. Welding doesn’t make any noise, but chasing runs the big air compressor and nothing pierces kid fun like the sound of dentist drills tearing through metal.

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Sushi delivery.

Yesterday (Friday) I drove to the foundry for the final / finally / finale of fins. I pile them all to the front in case highway traffic screeches to a halt in the classic “crack the whip” of a random slight speed drop leading to near/complete stoppage for those behind. Since speed limits were raised to 70 this happens exponentially more often.

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Saturday’s catch.

This is the first of the three trout that had parts blow out during metal pour, and needed new midsections / heads / tails fitted in wax and recast in bronze. The foundry’s production manager wasn’t satisfied with the fit of the cast sections, so he fit and welded the big sections of the body/head himself. The only structural welding for me is the window into the head, filling all the pinholes, and putting the tail on.

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Ready for school.

Second from the L is today’s trout; one of the best so far. The far L trout is different than last we saw. This was the skinny fish of a few posts back, and he is all figured out now. He had his side cut off via plasma-cutter, the other side stretched with hammers, the cut off side stretched with hammers, and then all welded back up. This is an aspect of why the remaining 3 fish came back with the volume issue fixed by the production mngr.

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Inspector Stanley says I can hang it up for the day.

Sunday’s fishing will see a tail swish opposite to these. None of these four are finished, but they have all major processes handled.

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Water line through drilled holes.

The deck plants have migrated back out of the sunroom and needed a better waterline solution. For the past forever I ran little waterlines between the deck slats back to the plants, the water pressure drops significantly at that length of a run. The solution is to bring a larger line under the deck to the rear wall, emerging in the open space of the window well (wired off last year from Raccoon’s using it as an outhouse), then splitting the line with a T to extend to all plant scenarios.

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Water line elbow access.

It could be prettier, but that would have meant a trip to the hardware store. I shortened a line elsewhere in the yard to get the run under the deck, and used extras for the rest.

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Back together.

The Lantana is acclimating under the deck, as it snowed yesterday and nighttime temps are still falling into the 30’s. Soon it will anchor the L corner of the pond at the deck “L”.

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Tree, Rubber Plant, Lemon Pine: set.

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The rose liked the snow.

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The flat tan stones underwater at the foot of the Iris emerge to dry stone for bird drinks /baths. 

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Fish #3. Fit well and hadn’t suffered a wax room collapse at the foundry.

The difference between the six finished wax trout I dropped off, and what I was handed back is like working forensics from a recognizable corpse; true Frankenfish that I have to reanimate to their original quality. The problem isn’t piecing in random remains to cover the parts lost in casting, but they too may be traced back to The Crime Scene: the foundry wax room. They did 10 trout for me on the last big commission and they were all fine, this time we are 1 of 3 so far, or in actuality, 1 of 6.

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This is the dorsal fin from the Fish #1. See how it connects cleanly to the body with details all the way down. They biffed it a little toward the front, as some of the circles are partial, but did a fair job of touch-up. I went in and put in new circles in the bronze where I touched up their line.

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This is fish #3 where the wax room tried to re-affix the dorsal fin after it softened and rolled to the side, collapsing into the body. They pulled it upright and slathered in some wax. They had five other fish to look at to check their work, so going for a standard of sux. 

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This is their attempt on the other side of the fin. Almost worse.

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The horizontal fin is wrong as well. They stuck it back on- see how it had deformed the body of the fish as it torqued upward? That’s bcs the room was too hot to store finished waxes.

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It curves. So there’s a minimum bar met. There was an abrupt line smashing inward along one of the bisection seams from the wax room laying it on the table to attach sprews. This went unnoticed and took the medium sledge to massage back to alignment with the other section.

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Still a long way to go ’til they all are up to snuff. Ima gonna lose mu myund if the remaining half (of parts that cast and new parts made in wax to fit where parts failed in bronze pour) are the same, or likely worse. I may still just reject the skinny middle fish from yesterday. They are also doing an entire replacement fish; lets hope this job is done by one of their competent staff and not the sprew crew.