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Archive for April, 2012

Rust Report, Day 5

Five days on from planting my ‘C’ plant marker, I popped out to see how it was faring. Here is a shot of the rust patterning that has developed so far:

Rust Report Day 5

Rust Report Day 5

As you can see the top ‘C’ section, which I had angle ground the protective covering from, has already started to develop quite a layer of surface rust (probably not surprising as the grinder would have taken the passivation layer off the iron as well as just the black covering).

The drill bit is just starting to go in places, but presumably has some kind of anti-rust coating on there as a general fail safe when the things are made…

We have also had the wettest period for months here in the UK (and that is saying something!) so there has been no shortage of water to get the process off to a good start!

Stay tuned for more, edge of one’s seat, Rust Report (next month, ‘Paint Drying’…!). I can’t promise to do it every five days, but will try to get in the swing of things on a regular basis.

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I’ve recently planted some bulbs in my garden, and needed some sort of marker to remind me where they are!!

I’d also just found on the street a section of old lorry shock absorber (I find it all the time, strangely) that looked very much like a large capital letter ‘C’. So, welding it to one of my ever trusty old long drill bits, in no time at all I had an attractive, hardy (and slighty egocentric) plant marker (iPhone as ever included for scale).

'C' plant marker with scale

'C' plant marker with scale

To prevent rust the shock absorber material is coated with a black protective paint / covering (powder coat maybe?) that is amazingly tough. I had to grind some of it away to ensure a good weld to the drill bit, so I decided to carry on and remove all of the coating.

Here is a close up:

'C' close-up

'C' close-up

And here it is in place in the ground:

'C' planted

'C' planted

It struck me that, with all that recently bared metal, the thing was going to rust pretty quickly – it also struck me that it might be an interesting exercise to see exactly how quickly, and document the process. So, stay with me and I’ll post up regular photos of the oxidation!

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A very long time ago I built a balalaika. . . here it is:

My Balalaika

My Balalaika

I really love it, but in all those years have only managed to write / play a sum total of two tunes on it (“Batkinlaika” and (who could forget!) the unforgettable “Kick in the Balalaikas“).

On Radio 4 this morning however, there was a fabulous 30 minute programme (‘Balalaika Born Again’) on the Russian balalaika virtuoso Alexey Arhipovskiy and how he has redefined the instrument with his modern and innovative approach. The programme is available to Listen Again for 7 days – check it out here >>

BBC Radio 4 Programmes - Balalaika Born Again

BBC Radio 4 Programmes - Balalaika Born Again

There is lots YouTube footage of the maestro at work – here is a good clip >>

Alexey Arkhipovskiy – YouTube

Alexey Arkhipovskiy – YouTube

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A while ago I made a flute stand out of scrap bits of metal for Karen, the flute player in The Cakes – see that post here >>

I have now just made another version for another flute playing friend of mine. Based on the same concept (ie welded together bits of scrap metal, drill bits etc) this one has the added dimension of splitting into two parts for ease of storage / transfer.

Version II is made from three old masonry drill bits, welded at a 120 degree angles to an Ikea candle holder (this forms the base).

The vertical shaft is made from an old wood drill bit, with a large brass nut as the collar at the base – these are held together by molten lead, and form the ‘plug’ which fits into the ‘socket’ where the candle would have normally been seatd. Not only does this arrangement mean that the shaft and base can be slid apart for transport, but the lead also adds a good bit of weight to help steady the flute when it is in place on the stand.

Finally the whole thing has a coat of gloss black paint, and a protective sheath made from some old rubber tubing to protect the soft silver of the inside of the flute from being scratched / worn but the shaft.

Here are some shots:

Flute Stand Number II

Flute Stand Number II

Flute Stand II with protective sheath in place

Flute Stand II with protective sheath in place

Flute Stand II dismantled for transport

Flute Stand II dismantled for transport

If any flute players out there fancy one, don’t hesitate to give me a shout!

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I have spent a bit of time in and around hospitals in Brighton recently (a long story, nothing too serious luckily!). At the very smart Sussex Orthopaedic Treatment Centre in Haywards Heath, I spotted the following bits of art near the entrance / drop off area:

Three sculptures

Three sculptures

Rusty iron, sculptures in the outdoors… What’s not to love!!

The only shame is that no where could I find any indication of who the artist was? Any ideas, please let me know!!

Here are some close ups (bird droppings Photoshopped out for aesthetic consideration!):

sculpture-1

sculpture-1

sculpture-2

sculpture-2

sculpture-3

sculpture-3

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Shed Mug!

I have recently found the most amazing skip near me – seriously, it’s the mother lode of skips!!

I can’t begin to tell you what I have got out of there (I can only assume a very rich person is going through a divorce, eviction or the decluttering of all time?) but here is the simplest thing so far to emerge…. a pristine condition insulated mug, perfect for the garden or shed. I always find my ‘hot beverage’ of choice goes cold when I am in The Shed or the great outdoors so this has proved to be perfect (and yes, I thoroughly cleaned / disinfected it before use!):

shed mug

shed mug

It’s not one of those annoying ‘travel mugs’ with the tricky lids either, just a good old fashioned made-for-purpose, good sized and sturdily made, drinking vessel!

Stay tuned for other finds from this cornucopia of the skip world…

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