The Vintage Bench Saga continues…

You might remember I featured a piece of vintage yard furniture awhile back.

It has been on the farm of my Grandmother in law for about 60 years, and was in rough shape.

But it was really something special.

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I set about working on repairing it and getting it ready for another 60 years…in my yard. (no farm here unfortunately)

I looked it over and located the problem spots, rust through damage, and lost parts. Then I started the work of bring it back to life.

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The back’s connection to the seat was in rough shape because it was a place for water to collect and cause rust. I took a wire wheel and was able to make short work of the problem. 10,000 RPMs is a powerful thing! I then welded then gaps closed and wire wheeled it again.

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The handle on the left side arm rest had been worn through in a couple of spots. I can only guess how many butter beans you would have to shuck to get to the point where the metal is worn through… but that bench certainly had seen a lot of shucking, of all kinds of vegetables, in its day.

The thought that it had seen enough use to wear through the metal just makes me want to repair it even more.

I welded all the joints and attachments to make it stronger and then added metal feet to the bottom of the legs. I will attach pieces of treated wood to these feet so that the metal does not touch the ground and start the rusting process all over again.

I took it to my powder coater to get it sandblasted to remove all the old paint and rust. Then they baked on a finish in the color my wife selected.

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I think it will hold a special place in the back yard for a long time to come.

Overall, I think the piece turned out great.

 

Now I will have to put some thought into redoing the matching chair…trust me, it will take a lot more work than this one…

But then… that is the fun of it!!

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Making Rivets

I am currently creating a walk through residential gate. To add interest, I am doing some of the fastening in the “old school” riveted style.

It’s a labor intensive technique but well worth the effort when you see the finished result.

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Here is what’s involved:

Step one: forge down the connecting piece so it can be attached.

Step two: drill a hole through the top and the base.

Step three: insert a rod thorough the two holes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Step four:   heat the end of the rod until it is red hot.

Step five: use a light hammer to peen the ends over to form the rivet.

Step six:   flip the whole thing and start over with the other side!

 

Now, I just have do that for every other joint in the piece. But as you can see, the final effect is going to be stunning.

It’s not finished yet so I cannot show the whole gate. But trust me it is looking good.

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As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions…

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

 

Examples of Great Craftmanship

My brother, David, is a great craftsman. 

Each year he creates something handmade for each family member as a Christmas gift.  It is always an exciting time as we open his gifts and see what he has created that year. 

This year he custom made spoons.  What beautiful works of art they are.   He is a cabinet maker… but as you can see his work is not the regular cabinets you may find in some store…yes, they are works of art and one of a kind. 

Like my spoons!

check him out at  http://duetfinewoodwork.com/index.html

Lord of the Rings… in My Studio

I have a young friend who has been learning metal working with me over the past year. 

He started out wanting to make a huge sword he had seen on Lord of the Rings.  I talked him down to making several knives first to learn the process.  He is a fast learner and getting to be a great craftsman.   

Cutting with the plasma torch

Well, he called me the other day and wanted to make some weapon the Orks (?) used in Middle Earth.  (It has a name… I just don’t know what it is, sorry)

I told him to design it, work out all the details, and then we would give it a run.

The finished sword

He did, and I simply showed him some small suggestions and by the end of the day he was done. 

I think it is ready to be coated with Dragon’s blood for protection and sent out into the magical world.

The cool pic

London Craftsmanship

The past 1000 years have been busy times for stone carvers in the UK.

My wife and I went to London this past Christmas.  We are both fascinated by the history we saw. 

But I noticed we appreciated it for two totally different reasons.  She was fascinated with the age and beauty of the places we saw. I was amazed at how they were able to get those stoned to the top of the towers with nothing but muscle power.  And the carvings, all by hand!  Can you imagine carving all those stones and statues by hand?  No wonder it took so long to complete those building.

And this is just the back door!

King HenryVIII made about 1000 years ago!

But then what would you rather do?  Make something that can be thrown away in an instant.  Or make something that takes more than a lifetime to complete, and will be appreciated for centuries to come. I think that is the definition of craftsmanship. 

Awhile back my wife and I decided to start replacing all out dinnerware and serving ware with handmade pieces. The search has be great.  No, we cannot afford to just go and buy all new dishes and pottery.  We have been searching high and low to find items which reflect the skill of the craftsman who made them. And hopefully meet those men and women in the process.  Now when we bring a dish to the table it brings with some memory of the time and place where it was crafted, where we purchased it and the person who pored part of her soul into making a piece of art.   

 Art should exhibit some craft. There needs to be a visible quality to the work which reflects a developed skill.

Craftsmanship is something worth developing.  The energy of the craftsman gives soul to his work. Too often we see things made without a soul.  If you know you are creating something which represents the highest limit of your ability, then you are putting part of yourself into the object. 

That is the type of art we saw in the buildings of London and Cambridge.  Art with soul. 

That is the type art we all need to be celebrating …and creating.