A buddy of mine has started a business as a trucker; his rig is a stout MAC tractor and this flatbed trailer. He lives up a steep winding road in Park City, and a neighbor lets him park the flatbed down at the bottom at a vacant lot. The underside railing of the trailer needed to be cut out and replaced. The outfit is too big turn on a city street, so we couldn’t use my shop. He picked up a nice little welder that would run on 110, but provide 140amps, and we lifted his big generator into the back of his truck and worked in-situ, or en-plein-air if we really want to be artsy about it.
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.
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.
Today was all metal chase with little weld touch-ups. Yesterday I ran out of Argon gas and welding rod at the same time, just a few inches from completing the third fish on a stick. I traded out my tank and picked up the last silicon bronze welding rod, and the tank was empty. So back to the distributor for their last tank of Argon.
That double trip slowed down the afternoon. After welding out the third fish I began Chasing and worked til an hour past Stanley’s dinner. He was pretty insistent and my arms were buzzing, so I shut it down for the day.
Today I completed yesterday’s fish and then did another. They are now ready for sandblast and patina! Afterwards I set up the third/final pole fish for Monday and cleaned up for the weekend.
I thought the partial backs had nice character by themselves. Next they are welded into place, along with parts fit the heads, legs, spheres, and arms of the larger male figure. The welds are ground down, and textures of hair and other details are ground to match. Next the grind is blended. After that it is time for touch-up welds, and grinding off all of the wax drips the foundry plopped all over the figures. Getting them perfect takes quite awhile, so there is still quite a way to go.
After chasing out the body and adding four big stainless steel nuts to the underside (for installation), it was finally time for the head. I positioned it and was ready to tack it in place, when I realized I hadn’t chased it yet. It had a few areas that had trapped air in ceramic shell, and these were now solid bronze- under the lip, under the ear- and a few flash lines. Plus the nose and ears needed to be polished out. With all that done the head was repositioned, tacked on all sides, then welded in place.
Chasing is the next step, or making the weld disappear. This is done in stages with multiple tools, ending with some bits of finess here, and some consternation there.
The next step is sandblast / patina. Tomorrow?
The trout came home last Friday in three pieces and waited out the blustery snow splattered weekend. Today’s shop session brought the long stainless steel rod into the head section of the fish, passing through the belly and welded top and bottom for stability. I worked quickly as I could go, as the welder is nearly out of gas- and surprised myself by getting it all together before the tank ran out. I either drank too much coffee before starting out, or it was from grinding the seams and sprews- but my hands were a bit shaky for the last bit of welding. After the months of “carpenter’s elbow” in both arms from finishing out the Herriman Mobile, I decided I would call it a day.