Looks like the critters will be wintering in the park. We braved the UU/BYU football traffic to stop by the park and check in on them. They seemed fine on the roller skates, so I kept the ice skates in the trunk.

Out in Herriman the mobile lights were all still working- at some point I’ll head out at dusk so we can see the big blocks lit up.


With my big TIG welder in Glen’s trailer, and pulling a big rented diesel generator to power the welder with my truck- we got to the park and the new topknot went on quickly. We had things prepped on Monday, but were rained/psyched out by the brewing spattering never coming together storm. Just as well, as the breeze would have puffed away my gas envelope for welding.

I pulled the plug apart for the TIG and hard wired directly into the generator- I was unoficially shown how to do this at the rental place, then there was a little hysteria over liability issues and they told me to hire an electrician, then the manager came out and showed me how to do it anyway. It is really simple, but if you cross a wire when setting up out on the site, or when you put it all back together and fire up the welder in your own shop- blam! and of course most nitwits would cry foul that they blew up their own stuff by not following simple directions- so I can see why the rental place was squeamish.

Tim is happy, and so are the park patrons and neighbors.

Last night I took the shell off the truck and packed the cab full of stuff I’d likely need for installation. At 7am I left to pick up the birds at the foundry, and was back to Davis Park by 9:30 with the birds in the back of the truck. The forklift rig was delivered at 10am, and that is when Shawn arrived, as well as arts council reps Roni & Glen.

My computer dumped half the pictures from today, so only one “process” shot.

Once the birds were in the air I made a template of the holes in the bottoms of the skates (where the 6″x3/4″ stainless steel bolts fit). Of course all the drilled/tapped holes for the stainless bolts set the bolts at slightly different angles. When hammer-drilling out the recieving holes in the concrete we needed to widen a few of them out quite a bit. After screwing in the bolts to the skates and raising and lowering the bird a few times, we had things ready to go. Then we decided I hadn’t bought enough concrete epoxy, and I needed a “pipecleaning” brush to clean the sides of the holes, and a shop-vac to suck & blow the detritus from the holes. So Shawn and I took a quick trip.

Upon returning I used a caulk gun to squirt in the concrete epoxy, and as we went to lower the bird we found that the epoxy had already set- in less than 5 minutes. It is supposed to have a 30 minute work time, but temperature quickens the set- and it was 80 degrees. We had to redrill out the holes, and the eopxy sets harder than the concrete. We had to rework the holes a bit to seat the bird right, then I pumped in a tubefull lickety split with the bird hovering over the holes and Shawn waiting in the driver’s seat- and lowered it quickly in place. The epoxy actually smoked as is kicked off.

Roni had to take off for meetings, but went out and picked up lunch for us all before heading out. That saved the day.

The covey of quail went in pretty smoothly- template, drill holes, widen holes to fit bird, shoot in epoxy with the caulk-gun and I crushed the gun with my monkey strength. With only half holes half-filled I told Shawn to drop the birds and we set them in place. Then Shawn went out and scrounged two more caulk-guns and I used up all the rest of the concrete epoxy finishing out the covey and touching up the single buck.



After a quick stop at the Herriman library to take the big lift up to the ceiling to grind out and repaint some scratches on the drop pole from the ceiling, it was another little leg on the highway to the foundry to check on the chasing touch-ups and patina progress. They were almost done- just a few finesses, and a wax coating, and they are ready to install!

I think the patina work is pretty amazing. They should look nice and snappy out in the park.

An early start for hole diggin. One 5′ circle, and on the other side of the park, one 4′ circle, each 6 inches deep with a central plug going down another 18 inches or so. More fussing to ensure the forms for the holes worked out, a sprinkling of 75lbs of sand, rebar cages put in the central plugs, and I was ready for concrete. I picked up the pre-mix concrete in a little come-a-long, put in 8 pints of black & red coloring (for a “warm black”), headed back up to the site, backed up to the hole, and started dropping in concrete. I added expanded metal sheets and covered them with more concrete- and then it was full. The SLC Arts Council project manager stopped over and helped me smooth out the surface, then I drove around the park and poured the other form, and we smoothed that one out. He stayed at the park and continued smoothing the surface while I drove the come-a-long back.

I got back to the park and it was time to hurry up and wait for the concrete to set. It had stiffened, but was still hours from a hard surface. I watched as a mom drove up to the other side of the park and unloaded 4 little kids and headed to the jungle-gym sandbox. The kids had almost discovered the concrete form. I considered walking over and asking the mom to make sure the kids kept clear of the concrete when they got back into the car, but that seemed a bit over the top. About an hour later when they were leaving the kids were all fine, until the mom took an extra few seconds to get a car-seat situated and the little boy noticed the concrete- walked onto the platform, squatted down and doodled a mark with his hand, leapt up and dragged a foot as he loped back to the car. I don’t think his mom even noticed. I sat there across the park nodding my head. The concrete had cured enough that he just left little tracks that I blotted out with the side of my hand- not the smooth surface, but not too bad- besides it will have a sculpture on it. Things were pretty quiet in the park around 6pm. Elizabeth drove up after work. It was cured out enough that it wasn’t even good for scratching a name into- we headed home and I imagine the arrival of 5th graders and JrHigh kids all descending on the forms with little sticks and lots of misspelled words.

Today was dedicated to transporting the quail to the foundry for sandblast & patina.

The rental trailer backed easily through the gate and into the garage. Then the family group was hoisted up and I backed the trailer under them, lowered them down, and cinch-strapped them in. Then I pulled fwd, hoisted the Buck/chick and repeated the procedure.

I stopped a few blocks out and was problem solving the tie-down a bit more, and a Harley-guy (without motorcyle, but with nice handlebar mustache) walked over and gave the strapping a look-over. He pronounced it sound for travel. I told him I was going to take back-roads, and he recommended I take the highway- as it is glass smooth and no starts/stops vs railroad tracks, potholes, man-hole covers, and many lights of the slower backroads. He said not to panic if they are moving a little, or if one or another tie-down looks a little slack as they will pull against eachother. It was really good advice, and everything he said proved true. I arrived at the foundry without mishap.

I lifted the buck/chick out with help from another pair of hands. The family of quail required me to wrap them in webbing again, and we lifted them out with a forklift. Then they were off to sandblast (after a quick beef-up of the weld between the Buck/Hen). Once sandblasted all the problem areas of chasing show up. The patina man was impressed that the areas were so few, but there were some areas. Some of the areas I’d been leery of disappeared after sandblasting, but there were a few trouble spots that needed a bit of fill and rechasing. I marked them with a sharpie and left them for the foundry to tweak for me- as I had to deliver the rental back to the shop.

Tomorrow I dig the plots for the base, and hopefully pour concrete as well, as the weather is forecast to turn rainy on Thursday. Then Thurs I’ll head back to the foundry to stand about and point durning patina.


This morning was going to be spent on the bike, but the temp was the only thing to get up in the morning. This may be one of the last days to hit the mid 90’s of the year- what better way to spend it than baking out in the shop in full welding gear!

First was welding up some shell-inclusion and plasma-torch holes on the chicks and chasing them out. Then a few weld/chase areas from yesterday didn’t pass standard in the morning light and needed re-done.  Then I welded two stainless steel bolts together to span the distance between the skates of the hen & buck, then welded them to the front  skate wheels. Another pair of bolts connected the span of the rear wheels. I hoisted them into the air to try to get a fuller weld, but needed to set them back down and weld a stainless bolt across thier backs first. This bolt also ensures that they remain stable later- I intended to weld under their tail/wings where their sides meet, but the point of contact rolls way under and I couldn’t see how to do it without making a mess of things (which means now I have to figure it out tomorrow…)

Elizabeth joined in with a welding jacket, heavy gloves, and my old flash-helmet. She held the chicks in place while I tack-welded them. They stacked up quickly, which was good as the day’s heat was beginning to bake through. We finished up just as my enthusiasm for the work was reaching the shop melting point.

On a cooler day I’ll go back through and weld everything securely, tip the buck/hen onto their tails and weld them together from the underside, then chase everything out. That, and weld the last chick to the bachelor quail.

Two weekends in a row of getting the monster commissions wrestled down.

A bit of a hot one out in the shop- the air compressor overheated and needed to cool down with a fan on it and the garage door open for an hour before starting up again. I ground all the welds, then smoothed them, then blended in new markings, then wire wheeled them to even out the blend. Next step is quickly welding up a few trouble spots & chasing them out- then I’ll grab my extra welding helmet and heavy gloves for Elizabeth and she will hold them in place while I tack-weld them in their acrobatic antics to the adult birds.

The day started with drawing up a new element for the mobile to present to committee tomorrow. Mid-morning took me to the foundry where the chicks were through rough-cast. The early afternoon was back at the drawing board- by 3pm I was planned out. I headed into the shop and ground down sprew-bars on the chicks. A little before 5pm that was all done up, so I wheeled out the welder and assembled them all as well.

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