Another rainy day project

I’ve been thinking about this one for a while. Before I retired from the university I worked at we had just gotten a new IT Infrastructure Manager. I worked with Darren for about 8 months and really enjoyed it. He’s a good guy. Darren does triathlons and I thought I would put together something for him that he might be able to use and enjoy.

This turned out to be an interesting process as my original thought for the design didn’t work out when I did some initial testing (more about that to come) and I had to come up with a new plan. I started out with a piece of 1/8 x 3 inch wide flat stock cut to 18 inches. I marked it out and cut out some designs that I thought  might work to plasma cut and used transfer paper to transfer the designs onto the flat stock. Seemed like it was going to look okay, but freehand cutting small rather intricate designs just wasn’t going to work. I did some practice on some scrap pieces I had but I just wasn’t happy with the results (and no, you can’t see my practice pieces).

So I thought I’d let that part sit for a bit and start on the coat hook pieces. I got my chain breaker and put it into action to break the bike chain I picked up a couple of weeks ago. After cleaning up the chain sections I used a 2 1/4 inch hole saw as a template and tacked the hooks all together.

I’m only using 2 hooks on this piece but built a couple of extras that I’ll probably use to make another coat rack or whatever. It’s like cooking, never hurts to have leftovers. So now with the hooks completed and my original design idea in the toilet it was time for that inevitable spark of genius…… Or what passes for it. I looked around and saw that I had some 2 1/2 inch bright finishing nails so I thought maybe I could bend and cut them to size and  tack together little stick figures. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.

So I printed off a copy of the designs I was working from and started bending and cutting. Let me tell you it was not easy. Years ago when I worked in the Arctic, I managed to get frost bitten rather severely and now as I get older I find my frost bitten fingers don’t have quite the grip. But the nails got cut and bent and they looked okay when I got them positioned on the base.

Now for the tough part. I worked from left to right and carefully tacked the pieces in place onto the plate. It helped that I went light on the caffeine this morning I think. I cleaned it all up and I must say it looked pretty good. I called in Heather to see what she thought and she quite liked it so we were good to carry on..

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The final step was to line up the hooks on the piece and weld them in place.

And it was pretty much done. I countersunk the mounting holes, did a final cleanup and threw a couple of coats of lacquer on. I think it looks better than it would have if I had done the plasma cutting.

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My friend Josh, who’s an actual welder (not a pretend welder like me) stopped by and took a look at it (thanks for the countersink bit!). He gave it a thumbs up as well. I’ll drop it off to Darren this week.

Would I make another? Let’s just say I probably won’t be pumping them out for sale on Etsy. All in all it took me about 4 or 5 hours with the lions share going into making the figures. I suppose the next one would go quicker.. but you do the math. 🙂

 

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