Thursday, August 27, 2009

Snatched from the Fire?

So what happens, despite the best concept and most careful preparation, you just plain screw up?
Sometimes you can get things back on track, if you just get your sorry ass outta the shop for an hour to clear your head.
This is the current work on the Reade/Maxwell project. Now that the finished wooden floor decking and stair cases are in place, I have been able to get final measurements for the various railing panels. I had much earlier forged out the various individual elements for all the panels that will run from the basement, up to a landing, then turning up to the first floor. Now I am cutting the required frames and welding these elements into place.
The first panel I worked on this week was the small 'L' shaped piece (marked in red) in the upper left on this scaled plan view. Take a close look at it, think about it, and then go on to the images of the work in process below
From the LeftDetail of BackLooking along from Right

Ok - can you spot the problem?

See it?
It's not the spacing. Despite the random nature of the reversal curves, the spacing pretty much conforms to the 'four inch maximum' imposed by the Ontario Building Codes.
Its not the 'can be climbed' provision from the codes. Although I do have to admit that there are a couple of spots that might serve as toe holds for a particularly monkey like child. (In fact, the location of this panel is such that there is no open space beyond it. The installed panel backs against the upper balcony railing at its upper line.)

Hint - think about standing leaning up against this panel.

Some dummy, despite careful consideration and chalk mark instructions all over the layout table, managed to reverse the 'front' and the 'back' surfaces of the railing as the elements were welded in place. The idea was that the irregular curves would project BACK away from the viewer's location on the landing. (Take a close look at the right hand image to see what I ended up doing instead.)

Well - I pretty much lost it. Two days forging the elements, another day cutting and fitting, all down the drain. Frack! The end of the day, I was tired and pretty frustrated. So I grabbed the truck keys and tore into town to try to make the Post Office before it closed.
Now that is a 15 minute drive each way. By the time I was on my way home I had a chance on these rural roads to think some. Instead of starting over, maybe I could slit the welds on the upper flat ends and then use the torch to spot heat and re-contour the elements to remove at least the worst of the projections - back to what they should have been in the first place...
Projecting on the BACK
Detail on Left Rear
Looking along from Right

Spot the difference?
Best if you compare the two right hand images in both sets (before and after). Now there is more or less a flat plain running down the inside (viewer) side of the railing. This is not perfectly flat of course, given the complex curves and twisting of the individual elements, such would be impossible. In use this is a bit of a 'dead' corner on the landing, as the main traffic flow comes down on the extreme right and moves over to the end of the short side of the panel. I can however, imagine someone parked there at a busy party, out of the way of those using the stairs, looking up and talking to someone on the main floor just above.

It took about two hours to cut the elements on one end, grind everything smooth, heat and modify the problem elements, then re-weld in new positions.

A lot better than repeating three days work!

A note to those readers watching for topics on Iron Smelting or the Viking Age:
You can normally tell just what the heck I'm working on by what gets posted up here. The Reade/Maxwell project is this years major effort, generating roughly 2/3 my expected gross income, and thus consuming 2/3 of my time and effort. There are a number of Viking Age presentations being worked on in the background, coming into the early Fall. Expect to see something on coinage / booths / Vinland Smelt / DARC at LAM 2010 - all in the near future.


Albert A Rasch said...

The mark of an Artist skill is not in the lack of mistakes he makes, but rather how he recovers from the ones he makes!

Great execution, and beautiful work.


STAG said...

I like it.


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

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