Another New Tool !

Well, maybe not a tool but at least a new tool cart…

For all you toolies out there, here is my latest invention I have to show you.

In my efforts to streamline the operations in the studio I have realized that I do not need ten of every tool. There is no need to have ten sets of wire cutters when two will do the job.

So I NEEDED to make a tool cart that I could move around the studio and hold all the tools that would be needed in the normal course of fanciful creation!

So off I went to make it happen… just one problem; I didn’t know what tools were needed in the normal course of fanciful creation.

img_0817

I did know the size and shape of the cart and set about making it. The rest of the details, like where each tool would be held and how they were to be held had to develop as the project progressed.

Well it took about 2 weeks but I got it done… for now. It holds all the smaller metalworking tools… like vise grips (yes I have a lot of vise grips), chisels, hammers, measuring tools, screwdrivers, and what not.

img_0821

img_0822

Check it out and let me know if you think there is something that needs to be added.

 

shirt front s

 

A New Tool!!! To make a tool is time well spent.

img_0796As you may know, anytime I spend making a tool is time well spent.

Most blacksmiths are known to spend 3 hours making a tool in order to save 10 minutes of work. And that is perfectly OK!!

That is not quite the direction I went in to make this tool, but the diversion was appreciated.

I have been making a collection of small sign language hands which spell out words and signs.

They are called Quiet Comments, and can be seen at quietcomments.com.dsc_6-3

I needed a way to hold them while they were welded to the base. So a custom designed and manufactured tool was needed!

This tool needed to do several things at one time;

Solidly hold the small metal hand

Adjust to hold the hand at the correct angle

Be weighted to hold it the piece in place while being welded.

So all other projects should stop to make a tool. I think I will.

img_0797

I started with a piece of 2”x 2” x 4” solid bar. It was heavy enough and looked cool as part of the tool. (an important consideration)

A tiny set of vice grips were welded to the end of a piece of flat rod. Then an articulating arm was added and secured with wing nuts.

img_0798

After sand blasting it was painted with a clear coat on the grip end, and bright red on the weighted end. The red would separate it from all the other pieces of metal in the shop. All of my jigs and custom tools are painted red.

I tried it out and welded about 35 hands. It worked great… I have a new tool… now on to the next one I just cannot live without…whatever it is…

If you have made a great tool, or have one you think would be great, I would love to hear about it.

Contact me at steve@stephenzmetaldeisgns.com

Or just use the form below.

A Tree by the Sea

I received a phone call the other day from a recent transplant to the area. He had built a house on the water and wanted some metal work for the outside of the house.

We talked about the design and location and came up with a simple tree which was to be mounted on the exterior of the fireplace brickwork.

I laid the design out in chalk on work table and started cutting the round stock.

img_2388

After each piece was cut and shaped, I carefully placed it on the drawing. Not thinking that they would never stay in place when I started welding.

tree

I got them all connected and the welds cleaned up, so it was ready to be powder coated.

img_0702aimg_0703a

 

The mounting was simple because I had added L brackets to the tree which slid into eye bolts anchored in the brick. If there is ever a need to do touchup work on the finish (I did say they lived on the water didn’t I) all they need to do is lift the tree off the eye bolts and do the work.

I think it turned out great and I was proud of the new owners reaction.

Let me know what you think;

Send me your thoughts at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

Or just use the form below.

shirt front s

Art All Around US

I photographed this as part of my “Art All Around Us” series.

Then someone said it was not art.

Well I guess I just have a different view on life.

This is something I saw when I went to visit art class of a good friend of mine. Bernie Rosage has tasked his students with an outdoor quilt project. They showed me one of the designs they were working on (more on that in another post) when I noticed this piece of design art.

img_0698

Yes, it is a folded cafeteria table.

But I think it is great design work.  Functional, colorful, serves a purpose, and is in the school colors as a bonus!

And, for me, that is art.

 

I hope you keep looking for the “Art that is All Around Us”.

Send me your thoughts and finds at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

Or just use the form below.

shirt front s

“Return to Topsail”

I have a real fascination with the sea turtles which nest on the beaches in our area. There is something about the fact they always nest in the same beach where they were born. Somehow they find their way back after a lifetime of ocean going adventure to dig a nest and lay the eggs for another generation.

dsc_0288a-2

 

Being an artist, I love the structure of their shell and the way it looks like plates of armor, connected by sinew. So I wanted to create a design which worked with that concept but allowed those spaces to be open.

In my first effort I had made a set of large turtles.

This time I set out to make them in a smaller format.

So it was back to the computer to design a smaller shell and still keep the original concept going.

I think the design transferred to the smaller size. These were mounted on the same stand as if they were swimming together in some wild sea.

I have titled them, “Return to Topsail”  after one of the islands where they nest.  They will be in an art council show which opens tomorrow and runs through the month.

I plan to create more in this series, so keep watching.

I hope you enjoy them, I would love to hear your comments.

You can email me at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com or just use the form below.

shirt front s

New Nativity Pieces

 

dsc_0269-2

This is a photo of the manger I designed for this Christmas. It is about 8 inches wide and is made of stainless steel

But all I made were immediately snatched up as soon as they arrived and there was no time to make any more.

If you were one of those who asked me about having one, or you are interested in starting the collection, send me your email address and I will contact you next season and make sure you have one reserved.

I will also be making additional pieces next year, and adding to it every year afterwards.

It should be a fun process of seeing what we add each Christmas.

So if you missed it this year and are interested in celebrating the nativity with me, drop me a line via Facebook or at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

Oh, and I hope you have a Merry Christmas.

Steve

shirt front s

Living Cobblestone

In Woodstock NY they have a great piece of “Art All Around Us”.

A piece of the brickwork has a lizard in it!

sidewalk-art

Again, no real reason to do it that way…just to make it look cooler!

And as always for that I thank them.

If you find something that catches you eye, send me a picture. I would love to see it.

Email me at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com, or use the form below.

shirt front s