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SCULPTURE
Very few artists working in steel, or any metal for that matter, treat it as a subtractive process. Most metal sculptures are welded, forged or cast. In many of my works, the raw materials I begin with - structural steel beams - are carved much like other carvers work with wood or stone.

So, how do you … Read More
SCULPTURE
Very few artists working in steel, or any metal for that matter, treat it as a subtractive process. Most metal sculptures are welded, forged or cast. In many of my works, the raw materials I begin with - structural steel beams - are carved much like other carvers work with wood or stone.

So, how do you carve steel? Once I have a rough idea of what I want to do with the piece, I sketch on one surface, generally one of the flanges, using soapstone. I use this sketch as a rough guideline for cutting with an Oxy-Acetylene cutting torch. Cutting with a torch is a very physical but also very meditative process. The flame of the torch is between 5800 to 6300 ºF (3200 to 3500 ºC) so it takes complete concentration to avoid disaster. After I've cut one of the flanges of the beam, I start to work out how it will interact the web and the opposite flange to form the entire sculpture. I am always interested in working from all angles on the piece and looking for intriguing ways to see different things from each viewpoint. Overall, the torch cutting process is about six to eight hours on a piece about four to five feet high, depending on complexity and thickness of the steel.

After finishing the bulk of the torch cutting, I spend a few hours chipping slag and refining some of the shapes through further cutting, then begins the grinding. At this point, I am relying on friction rather than heat. I use angle grinders, air die grinders and dremels to carve edges, refine lines and smooth surfaces. Grinding is the most time consuming part of the process, but the sculpture is finished when it tells me so. Finally, I coat the surface with about four to six coats of clear polyurethane to protect the work. Recently I have begin experimenting with painted finishes, as you can see in "Sometimes the Bull Wins" which is painted with zinc based airplane primer and automotive paint.

FARMING
Walnuts

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Member Since: Mar 10, 2009