Turtles are Interesting…

All my life I have loved seeing the sea turtles in our area, so in looking for things as inspiration for my art they were a natural attraction.   Here is a sneak peek at some I am working on now.  I thought the sun shining through them was interesting.

I’ll show you the finished piece in a couple of weeks.

That Is An Office?

You know, I once heard a wise man say “an office is what you make of it”. (OK, I have never heard that said until I just thought it up. But it is true.)

Some people need to have an office in the corner of the building with lots of windows and fancy chairs.

You know why?

That is probably because the work they’re doing is not interesting to the eye …. And therefore the soul.

Well my goal is to make things interesting to see. And therefore I love working in the studio and having it be my “office”.

There is just one problem….it is a dirty environment. I cannot keep a piece of white paper anywhere in the studio without it getting dirty. And it just doesn’t say professional if there are burn marks on my letterhead.

 

So I needed an “office” I could work from, while in the studio.

And I finally figured it out.

It started with these two tool boxes I saw at a friend’s salvage lot.

 

They were tool boxes for the back of a work truck, and were made to sit horizontally on the bed of that truck.

 

But he had them standing up on the end and I thought they were perfect for an office. (That was a stretch… but I do have an active imagination)

 

I selected the smaller one (reason unknown) and made the purchase. When it was back at the studio I started working on the shelves and repairing the dents. The doors would open to the side and there would be hooks and attachments for all the things needed in an office.

I added adjustable shelving holders on the inside and installed a light. A power cord was fitted into the bottom so I could run my chargers and plug in the light. A rack was added to hold my radio (in the future) while coat and apron holders were welded to the back. I toped it all off with clip board holders, a paper towel rack a trach can, and mounted it on wheels.

I had the whole thing sandblasted to clean it up and then had it powder coated a modern silver color. (kinda gives it a robot look)

But what makes it work is the weather stripping I added to the door so all that dust I talked about would not be able to get inside.

And it works great!

I now have a great place to store my paperwork and keep things clean in general.

If you have ever had a problem finding just the right spot for an office, do like me. Add wheels to the bottom of a toolbox and move it to wherever you need it.

 

I would love to see how you have solved the situation of a dirty shop and a clean office. Send me your comments or solutions to;

 

Steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

 

Or use the form below;

Before and After; A Chair’s Journey

A photo journey from broken antique to whimsical child’s chair.

I have been making a chair to donate to the Council for the Arts here in Jacksonville. They have an event called Art Block; where they take over the whole block in front of their gallery and put on a street festival.

The “Chairity Auction” is a collection of repainted / decorated/ repurposed chairs which are auctioned at the event.

Well, here is how mine developed;

>>>in photos>>>

The chair in it’s original condition;

 

Each piece was broken apart, resized to child size and glued back together;

More gluing;

The back was cut from a beautiful piece of plywood… until I noticed that I forgot to leave the part to attach it to the chair. So I used an old piece of plywood I had in the studio… not a perfect, but it can be sanded to look great (just extra work).

The leaves were cut and added;

The seat shows the differences in sizes between an adult and child’s chair;

Here are all the “Leftover parts”;

The paint starts bringing it all together;

Plywood backing for the cushions were cut and sanded;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the foam was added;

The upholstery was staples on;

The final pieces were added and it was ready to go;

 

You can see it, and bid on it, at Art Block.

Downtown Jacksonville, NC.   Sat 4-29

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.

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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.

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

 

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Small Castles

I have been making a series of small pieces for a military unit here at Camp Lejeune and I think they turnout great… so I wanted to share them with you.

The 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion asked me to make small engineers castles to be added to a wooden plaque they award some of their members as they transfer out of the unit.

I was glad to work with them, so I redrew their design and created the smaller castle.

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I assembled and painted them then turned them over to the unit for the addition of their wooden plaque and engraving.

 

Here is my final design.

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Then they add the wooden background,

here is the overall finished piece.

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I think they do a great job, and I am thrilled to be part of it.

I always enjoy hearing your comments and suggestions.

You can contact me by using the form below, or via email at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

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Making a Tool… Oh Yeah!

This past year I was asked to create some Art Nouveau window screens. (check them out here)  There were about a dozen units to make, with about 10 curves each.

So I needed to make a special use tool!  Why, you ask? Because I am a metalworker and making tools is part of the game!  And everyone needs more tools.

Plus, remember those 10 curves per unit? While they were not identical, they had matching parts. I needed a tool that would let me create these curves with some uniformity.

Bending ½ inch solid steel square stock is not an impossible thing to do by hand, but making them match all the others would be almost impossible.

So here is where the tool comes in.

I needed to make something with a lot of leverage and a uniform bend. No problem.

But now I hade to make it more complicated. It needed to re-bend each piece in the opposite direction.

The metal is placed in the bender and held in place by pressure. I then pull the long handle and make the bend.

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The bent section is inserted back into the unit with a different radius and a pull of the handle makes the smaller curve.

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Now they still needed to be tweaked to match each other, and cut to the correct length. But that is part of the game.

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The tool now sits in the corner of the studio… waiting.

You never know when I will need to make a bunch of 7 inch radius curves in a piece of ½ inch stock.

Let me know what you think of this design…

or just what color I should paint it.

You can reach me at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

Or use the form below.

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