This morning the Ibis built its nest site out at the new Great Salt Lake Nature Center at Farmington Bay with a little help from my friend Jed and I. Elizabeth imagines it must be quite a shock for the little guy after spending the past five and half months puttering around in the studio.
Under his feet I welded in large stainless steel anchor posts that rest on stainless steel angle stock (shown in December post). This stainless steel footing is immersed in a concrete footing. A concrete filled posthole reinforced with rebar drops below the concrete form box, adding thousands of pounds of strength to the structure ( the post hole digger is in the image at the left). The angled boards brace the sculpture while the concrete cures. I will return on Wednesday and remove the bracing and form-box, affix the turn-wheel, take the protective wrapping off the legs, replace the stones under and around the feet, and give him a final wax & polish.
Last night’s snow squall convinced me to wait ’til things warmed up in the afternoon before rolling the shop door open for welding. 34 degrees and breezy was warm enough for the Ibis.
I laid it all flat on the table, and aligned the head/neck and tacked the neck in place then stood it up to double check. Then it was on to welding with the Argon tank showing empty, but hissing along for all the day’s welds. With the weld line finished, it was on to metal chase. Still some finessing left on that front, but well enough for today.
Monday and Tuesday were spent welding the stainless watergate together, then adding the outside border of 1″ bronze tubing. Cutting the tubing from an 8′ length down to all the paired sets was a bit woozy for how close the math was vs. how expensive a mistake would be. Then I welded the pairs together, then welded them to the gate. Today I stood the legs up after welding on their anchor pins for installation, went back into the watergate to capture a slew of tweaks, then brought the gate together with the legs.
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.
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.
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.
Sunday’s fishing will see a tail swish opposite to these. None of these four are finished, but they have all major processes handled.
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.
Today was a fun-weld day, following many hohum-weld days coupled with doldrum days of chasing fins and grasses. Once all the bits and parts of major sections are perfect, then the parts are welded together, and though the welds are long, they just need smoothed out.
The only tackle needed is a hammer. He was biting on the medium ball pein today.
Welding the windows and chasing out the grasses to match is a bit of a chore. The two nearest hoops are new, the one behind is a left over from years ago (still needs some chasing). The new halves were joined along the midline in the rocks, which still need chased. I’ve been limiting my time-on-tool and wearing my new vibration deadening gloves, and things are going swimmingly.