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Thursday, May 5, 2016

hammer switchin'

Finally traded off the old Beaudry 150# hammer. Swapped a fella straight across for a Striker 88 pneumatic hammer. And then bought a 300# Chambersburg. I miss the ol mechanical hammer, but not much....

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Finished Chair.

After welding a few cross bars, and then cutting them free...
...we determined the need for a nifty fixture to hold the side rails in place:
Once everything was locked down, we started welding in the remaining cross bars.  Because the different radii of the cross members translate directly to the eventual comfort of the chair,  each piece required a notable level of fiddling to position properly.
       After welding all cross members, we built the final tools; two small bending jigs for the 1/8 bars (wire) that form the seat and back of the chair.

After making 38 pieces, we started welding them in place:
And next thing ya know, we were sitting down on the job.
Through some rigorous R and D testing, (we each sat in a chair and consumed one ice cold beer, switching seats half way through) we determined the comfort level of the two chairs to be equal. The visual appearance is also dang near identical.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Chair building continues....

Our successful results with the first series of bends bolstered our confidence to continue building jigs and bending tubes.  We built a few more tools and before long we had the second part of the main element formed.

A bit of welding and we had our first completed element.

 With the tools for the main element completed, we began building the tools for the tubes that connect the two sides together.
We discovered that while similar, the tubes all had unique curvatures, necessitating a handful of new jigs. We also learned that the smaller diameter tubing and the more subtle radii enabled us to make the bends without packing them with sand.  After tack welding a few of the cross bars in place, we had a chair shaped object on the table!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

the chair project - an exploration of tube bending, blacksmith style.

Recently we were contacted by Victoria, creator of the595 Project and were presented with a unique opportunity - re-create a curvy, French, mid-century modern steel chair for clients in California. We met with them, and luckily they were able to provide a chair to use as a template:
Two things immediately jumped out - first, how cool looking the line that defines the legs, seat and back of the chair is, and second, that that line is constructed with thin wall tubing.  We have considerable experience bending solid bars, not hollow ones, and images of misshapen, kinked tubes were easy to conjure.  As were the actual, misshapen, kinked tubes once we started figuring out the process:
We knew that one of the strategies for bending pipes and tubes when one doesn't have fancy hydraulic bending machines is to pack them with sand - essentially just try to make a solid bar out of the thing.  Kellen acquired some medium fine sand used for sand blasting, we crimped the ends of some tubes, filled them with sand and started bending. After using about 30 feet of material, what we referred to as the 'learning curves', we figured out the properties and limititations of the material and started bending pieces around some homemade jigs:

The main curvy lines on the original chairs were made by bending two tubes and then welding them together so that's what we're going to do.  Pictured above is a completed half.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

hand forged, custom firescreen

Found, forged and fabricated firescreen. The vertical panels are made of old steel roofing. I backed them with stainless steel to reflect heat in the hopes that the paint wouldn't get too hot.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Moroccan style gaurd rail

Nearing completion of the latest handrail.  The homeowners are building a house with a Moroccan aesthetic and this rail will compliment it nicely. We were forging and setting collars today, and welding (lots of welding on this job) the laser cut panels in place.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dragonfly sculpture

Stopped by a friends house today and got a picture of the dragonfly.