Building tools to build Art

IMG_3441One of the common problems when you are building uncommon art is that the tools you need do not come off the shelf. We end up building or modifying tools to make them fit our needs as often as we buy them from the store.

In this picture you see the special gear stands David built over the weekend to hold the gears as we work on them. Once you start polishing, the last thing you want is for the materials to get scratched again… but we do not have enough flat surface that we could dedicate and cushion to prevent scratches if they were laying around.

You can also start to see the progress of all the sanding on the medium gear shown here. One of our favorites, but also painful to finish- the surfaces are nearly complete but there is still some filing and sanding to finish on those gorgeous spokes.

IMG_3443 You can more clearly see the difference of hours of sanding by comparing this surface of the same sanded gear on the right withIMG_3444 the surface of the large base gear on the left, which has been partially descaled, but not filed or sanded.

You can see the difference not only in reflectivity, but in overall surface texture.

The large pinwheel gear, which will get the blue KOG glass in the crescents is currently on the table being sanded. You can look carefully and see different swatches of sanded or not. There are still several rounds of increasing grit fineness to go to get this gear polished and ready for acid treatment.


Pouring the Crescents

IMG_3371We fell in love with Kokomo Opalescent Glass (KOG) quite a while ago.  With our passion for Steampunk, it is a perfect match- Art glass still made the Victorian Way.  Achoo, Christmas and Dinner Time all had KOG inserts in some of the gears. Nan has custom cut circles that get switched in and out of googles, and we used it as inserts for our Steampunk Christmas Ornaments.  When designing this piece, there was no doubt in either of our minds that KOG glass would look just as cool in Stainless Steel gears as it did in Wooden ones. We wanted to do something a bit different than just filling the “spoke holes” with glass, so Dave designed cutouts in two of the biggest gears- at the top and the bottom.  This meant custom designing the molds as well, but finally the time arrived to pour the crescents.

First they have to warm up the pouring table:

Then, the pour itself:

KOG has also done a nice write up with photos that include the crescent after it cooled, where you can see the turquoise blue color.