WATCH TO SEE HOW I MAKE one!
T.I.G Welding - or Tungsten Inert Gas, is one of multiple forms of welding. This method of welding allows me to get very VERY precise with where I want metal to be. It is sort of like working with clay - I can add metal exactly where I need it to be. It requires very clean metal so before each weld I have to be sure to clean and re-clean the surface. It gets so hot, that it actually LIQUEFIES stainless steel! Imagine how many burns I’ve had! When I make little hands, for example, I simply ADD metal where it needs to be. I rarely grind or remove metal when I make hands.
CLEANING & POLISHING
I clean each one individually and use a combination of special buffing wheels. Using the proper tools and techniques, I bring each one to a high shine that looks like platinum when finished; suitable from children to high-power executives, and everyone in between!
ALL RAW MATERIALS
The process starts with raw stainless steel rods and bars. I carefully weld, grind, shape, polish and balance each and every piece of the sculpture by hand. I often use my vise and hammer to bend the steel and create my signature "stick man's" elbows and knees. When tighter and more intricate bends are needed, I use an extremely hot-burning acetylene gas torch to heat metal to red hot. Once the parts are all in the right shape, contact points are welded at the hips and shoulders to make the metal flow and become a seamless solid piece. This makes the metal dirty and black so it has to be cleaned and polished by hand.
Welding allows me to ADD metal where I need it to be, grinding and cutting helps me REMOVE metal where it should NOT be. This combination ultimately allows me to shape and manipulate metal as I envision it. This process creates a TON of sparks, horrible metal dust and sharp burs on the steel. This is probably the most dangerous part about working with metal since my hands are VERY close to the abrasives working with such small objects.
Once the sculpture is finally complete, I can work on the balancing portion. I could write a book on the small nuances of balancing sculptures that I have discovered over the years. There are multiple ways to do it, factors to consider such as friction at the point of balance and design aspects. Most of my designs use a balancing bar which I try to incorporate into the design. Some of my favorite designs, however, are those that balance by THEMSELVES without a long balancing bar such as my balancing ocean buoy!