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;

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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