Friday, April 24, 2009

Forging Elements - 'Kelp'

The overall concept for the current Reade-Maxwell House commission is 'Sea to Shore to Sky'. The project entails a number of individual stair railing panels, running up an open layout from basement to second floor. The lowest section is up from the basement, along a wall made up windows. This is the 'undersea' portion of the concept design, using a series of aggressively forged elements inspired by sea kelp:

This segment fairly long (9 1/2 minutes - 10 MG)

I shot short clips of the work in progress. Each element starts with a length of 1 x 1 x 1/8 inch mild steel angle. A total of eleven 'heat' cycles are required to complete the forging of each element. Producing the 30 pieces required for the panel, involved an estimated 10,000 individual hammer blows. The work ran over roughly six 'shop days' - when all the other mechanics of running the Wareham Forge were factored in.

Why hand forged work costs what it does...

The finished railing segment is quoted at $250 a linear foot (thats painted and installed by the way). This may seem to some a steep price. Take a look at the amount of physical (skilled) work involved in the creation of each element, consider the amount of time required, then apply that to the final price of roughly $2000. Factor in the raw experience required to be able to do this work in the first place.
It will take over two weeks in total to create this single finished panel. Remember that price is the gross, it has to include cost of materials and actually running my workshop for that two weeks as well. (Any 'take home' is only a small portion!)

What do YOU get paid for two weeks work?


Albert A Rasch said...

Personally, as a home building professional, it seems like a modest price. Certainly not over the top. Custom work is pricey because of the massive human input. That's why it's unique and worth every penny.

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STAG said...

My gross profit rarely exceeds a thousand a month from the shop. Thats why I still do shows and sell stuff made off shore.


February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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