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Public Art

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Weld and Chase complete.

The Ibis is now ready for the watergate. I thought I had a solution in the works with a professional watergate manufacturer wanting to make the gate aspect, but it looks like it will be up to me. That idea cost me a month waiting for a bid, but luckily this project isn’t due ’til April.

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Thinking about how nice it will be to have a watergate body one day.

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Legs can’t really think for themselves, or contemplate the future.

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Broze Ibis & Proto-Ibis

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The Watergate Scandal: A local manufacturer specializing in water gates said they loved the idea and would be able to create the watergate cheaply out of spare bits since it won’t have to hold water. They were surprised when I asked for a bid, as they just wanted to get started.  A month later their bid: $3,400 and asking for a go-ahead to get started on their 2.5 month process. Nutz. Next week begins a return to plan “A” of buying a brand name gate for $860 and adding some DangerHart mods. 

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Ibis migrated to the yard for some “me time” to get himself together.

The Ibis cast clean and Nora drove down to Alpine with me to fetch all the bits from the foundry. I welded the windows in place ’til parts needed chasing prior to more welding; then I went and worked on the Mustang for the rest of the afternoon, because chasing is for the birds. The ‘ol ponycar has been getting a spa-treatment radiator flush for the past 3 days, and today was the last day of the process.  I took her to a classic car show in Liberty Park last weekend, and being around car-guys got me past my procrastination.

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Windows are back in place.

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Trying a new method of keeping my Tungsten clean and sharp for a tidier weld, after youtubing a few welding tips vids; always room to improve on the technical.

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The weld is clean, but maybe a bit too much amperage.

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Lantana at full power.

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Lantana anchors the porch and brings in Hummingbirds.

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Can almost see these in Hummingbird ultraviolet sight.

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Fall Asters holding on to purple, as the huge hummingbird bush flares out.

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Deep field Hubble view.

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30 quail in the yard; 2 of ’em on the roof with some of the zillions of LBJ’s below.

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Nora’s safe space from the cats. They are everywhere and nowhere, ready to pounce!

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Garage Sale Kennedy Rocker; 6 hours of refinishing later.

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Her cane backing and seat had rotted away, so “before” was $10 at a yard sale.

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Oak comes back to life with persistence.

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Next I order in 3 hanks of Binder Cane and a how-to manual for Porch Weave.

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$5, same yard sale. This one lived inside so just needed gorilla glue and light refinishing.

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Perfect Elizabeth-sized chair. And with a steam-bent back!

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$7, same yard sale. She was so loosey goosey that she nearly didn’t make it out of their yard intact, as a large old fella tried her out and she nearly folded.

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Three warped little boards running parallel tried to capture all the seat runners, failing at that while providing no structural support. They came off and it got the Danger treatment.Multiple old fellers could rest easy. Walt, your long rail clamps helped pull her in tight for her triage.

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I shifted her from ruddy black to Mountain Blue, for porch-sittin’ in Montana on Bluebird patrol.

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Also, I created silicon mother molds with plaster backing molds of the Ibis. Tomorrow I take them to the foundry for wax pour, then I’ll bring them back to chase out the wax.

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Wax gets slurried in down the hole, rolled around and poured back out. This is done layer on layer until at a uniform thickness of about 1/8 inch. It takes about 2 hours, as there is a lot of waiting for the wax to cool.

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View from the sidewalk on Wilmington.

Installation day started off raining and chilly, just how the fish like it. With two handy fellows helping (Jed, who helped install the last group, and Mike) things got started at 8am and finished by 3pm with time off for lunch at one of the restaurants on the plaza. A solid day of digging and lifting heavy things, but all are in the ground and everyone is happy.

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Swimming alongside the concrete current.

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Follow their lead to the next fish.

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Enter the plaza and these singles stairstep up the planter beds.

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Lower single swimmer.

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Upper single swimmer.

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The pair take a bead on you as you leave the plaza.

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The swim around the base of a tall tower.

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The fish like their new digs.

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Out on the big plaza, bridging the Hidden Hollow trail on Parley’s Creek.

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Parley’s Creek is just past the sunny bit of lawn at the top of the image.

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They swim just within the boundary of the plaza.

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Heading toward the curved public bench.

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Linking the curvy landscaping to the riparian trail.

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The blue concrete connects the pair to the singles under the tower.

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The plaza is so big, the fish become invisible from the far end; good thing there are fish at this end too.

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Thursday. Pair One.

Chemlab for fishies. The fish enter the sandblast tent and are stripped of all contaminants and oxidation. With the surface sand-scoured, all imperfections show up and I put in some last fidgets with welding and chasing- then back in the tent for a follow up visit from Dr.Sanders. The surface glows a muted gold, but is as vulnerable to the air as a ginger to the high desert sun. Like a base-tan with sunscreen, they need a chemical etching that bites into the bronze then goes inert allowing a skin of protection. The fish go black with this initial etching layer, but it allows other chemicals to safely react to the surface and bring out other colors. The fish will go blue-green (Cupric Nitrate and Zinc Nitrate) with hints of dun yellow and yellow-green (a few drops of Ferric in the solution), while the hoops will turn a rich brown with white in all the recesses.

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Sandblast. Weld / Chase. Sandblast.

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Layer One: basecoat etching sprayed on.

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Layer One: Rinse.

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Layer One: dry / set with heat.

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Two single fish, a welder, and a plastic enclosure hiding a sandblaster. Oh dear.

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Layer One: scrub back to chocolate.

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Etched and toned and ready for color.

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Cupric / Zinc Nitrate brings on the color.

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Friday’s fish is already done, this is Saturday’s fish.

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Saturday: single fish #2

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Hooking on for the next round of Cupric to green out the middle.

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Single #2 has Ferric added in for surprise areas of y/g.

Patina builds up with chemicals and heat, layer after layer. Control of the process is partly knowing when you haven’t gotten there yet with knowing when to stop, all the while blending out areas that come on too fast and bringing up areas that seem to never get there. There is quite a bit of alchemy to it, as it is a mad science.

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Sunday Duo: out of sandblast.

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swimming around the driveway

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Sandblast. Weld / Chase. Sandblast. is how the morning went

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Expand into your golden hours…

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… soon they live only in memory.

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Etching layer squirt.

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Blackened, rinsed and heated. too hot out for the next bit.

I cleared the only chem shop in the valley of their Cupric Nitrate, a trace of 100g- or about not enough for one fish. They ordered more, it should have been in last Thurs/Fri, it wasn’t. I’ve used my reserve stash for the first 4, and have just the 100g left for this last pair which will never make it. The fish will have to set overnight and see if the order arrives tomorrow- not a hardship on the human to wait as temps peaked out at 98 degrees.

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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.