This is a dual-purpose post. First, to let ya’ll know that we’ve decided to make The 500 Hammers a bi-weekly project. Second, to explain what Zac’s been up to that derailed the completion of Chris’s sculpture stand.

As it turns out, a project that felt mildly ambitious at its conception becomes all the more ambitious when one of its primary drivers is working 80 hours a week. (See Zac’s half of this post, below.) As further commissions come in for Clockstone, time becomes precious, and we’d rather have a more flexible schedule we can actually commit to than constantly scramble and apologize.

Curiously, a few years ago I might have personally seen this as a something of a failure. Now, however, it seems perfectly natural to begin, experiment, tweak and re-image ideas as they come; to redefine ones’ scope seems intrinsic to the culture of start-ups. Which is what this is, really.  It’s hard to see that as anything but exciting.

Handing off to the gentleman, and goodnight.


About a month ago, a gray-haired musician stuck his head into my studio and said “I hear you work with steel.”  He proceeded to explain that he was opening a music venue in the building, and needed a set of railings built around a raised seating area.  We talked for a bit about what he wanted and what I could do, I gave him a general idea of what I’d charge, and we went our separate ways.  I got involved with other projects, didn’t hear anything from him, and assumed that he had found someone else for the project.  A week and a half ago, he stopped by again. He’d looked around at some other shops, and I was the cheapest and most convenient, and did I think it was possible to put together what he was asking for – 74 linear feet of railing and 11 window security screens – before the venue’s first show on September 9th?

There are times in everyone’s life when enthusiasm and optimism trumps all semblance of common sense.  This was one of those times.  I quoted a slightly higher price than I’d initially given, and set to work.  That was Thursday, August 27th.  I started on the window screens that Friday, spent that weekend relaxing with Sara, and set to work in earnest when the steel shipment arrived on Monday.  Since Friday, I’ve logged 80 hours of work in 7 working days.  Needless to say, the turntable hasn’t come to fruition yet (though I do have some very exciting ideas – stay tuned!).  The railings, however, are almost finished – entirely fabricated, and almost entirely installed.

Here are some pictures of & comments about the process:

The window screens, cut and ready to be welded – surplus material from a BJ’s stock corral.  Advantages: cheap, already powdercoated.  Disadvantages: having to scrape off chewing gum and pictures of loved ones.

Window screens all welded up and ready to go – they’re now painted black, and you can barely see where they’re welded together.  The stack of white sheets, though, led me to ponder doing research into weaponized moire patterns.

A nice clean shop with a hundred feet of newly arrived (but very grimy) steel pipe:

All projects need plans, and while I could keep a lot of it in my head, there were quite a lot of numbers to deal with:

And 18 individual sections with two rails each, both different sizes and rarely by the same amount:

To be continued…