I got my rear in gear yesterday and put together an idea that had been rolling around for a wedding present I needed to make. Eric and Arwen got married a while ago but I told Arwen that once I was retired and had some free time I’d put something together for them. They have a nice fenced backyard at their place so I thought I’d do something for their fence. I was playing with the idea of a tryptich style piece and had gotten a few ideas from Pinterest. I thought I’d see if I could get it done in time to deliver it to the office today since I had to go to Nanaimo to get my car serviced. I was going to drop off a couple of strike plates that I had fabricated for my buddy Johnny (who also happens to work in the IT department at VIU) and then we were heading out to lunch so I figured I could take care of everything… As long as nothing went wrong of course.
I started out by grabbing an offcut of 16 gauge steel and trying some designs with my MIG welder. I varied the wire speed and stick out as well as played around with the gas and got an idea of what I wanted to do. I thought a “long grass” sort of design might work nicely.
I cut a 12 X 30 inch piece of 16 gauge with my plasma cutter and then horizontally cut that into 3 pieces. I eyeballed what I thought was a decent sizing witht the bottom piece being the longest, middle piece slightly smaller and the top portion the shortest. I then drilled the pieces so that I could attach the three pieces back together with wire. I drew out some initial designs on the pieces, held my breath and then flew at it. The initial results were pretty good so I continued and by the end had something that I thought looked nice.
I have to keep the words of my very wise wife in my head. She always tells me, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”. I hate failing at anything, although failure is what helps us improve and I know that if this had gone sideways all I would have been been out is a piece of 16 gauge sheet metal, some welding wire and some gas…. But I still don’t have to like it. Enough of my issues. Back to the project. I cleaned up and wire brushed the pieces and got to work on how I was going to join them. I have a bunch of scrap pieces of 12 gauge copper wire that I had gotten when the electrician did some work on our house wiring so thought I could make some links and solder them together which would be kind of cool. I grabbed my butane torch and some solder and got to it. After I cleaned the pieces one more time I put on a couple of coats of paste wax and it was ready to deliver.
Arwen liked it and although Eric didn’t get a chance to see it while I was there I think he’ll like it as well. Arwen said she’ll send me a picture when she gets it up on the fence so I’ll add that here when she does.
These are the kinds of things I enjoy making. They let me stretch my comfort level and find out what works, what doesn’t and give me the permission to just try stuff for the sake of trying. You never know when you make something for someone if they are going to like it. If I finish something and look at it and think I’d like it for myself, then it’s all good.