THE JOURNEY TO TENACITY
As Tenacity developed, we kept track of its progress on the Web site. If you wonder about the construction of the piece, you might find this of interest ....
Tenacity took six months to create, using a forge, an oxygen-acetylene welder, a MIG welder, a pipe bender, various other tools and a great deal of time and patience.
Before getting into its development, though, more about the fence itself, an ornate railing that encloses a front patio.
There are 11 panels, 9 of which are curved, and a gate, making 11 panels in all. Each panel can be up to 32" tall, and they vary in width, with the longest 64". Each panel takes about 10 hours to construct.
Each section began with Kevin creating the saddles that attach to the pillars in which the main vines sit (that allows the panels to be lifted in and out). Once the two main vines were in place, secondary branches were added. Finally, when all the panels were completed, Kevin added the leaves to them all.
The entire fence was sandblasted, then powder coated (a durable, colored coating often used for patio furniture, etc.).
If you're not familiar with powder coating, it's a process that seals the metal with a hardened, colored surface. The Powder Coating Institute would love for you to learn more - check out their information for consumers.
As it was getting its lovely rust-colored mantle, Kevin finally named the piece, which had up until then be known as the Vine Fence. Kevin has a way of getting to the heart of the matter, and "Tenacity" captures the journey of the vine from one end of the patio to the other, not to mention the persistence it took to get it there.
Each panel begins with Kevin using copper tubing to approximate how each vine will look. Using chalk, he then traces that shape onto his worktable. He then straightens the tubing to get the right length of rod. That rod is cut to size, then shaped using one of a number of methods:
- The forge
- The acetylene torch
- The pipe bender
- a combination of these tools.
If you're interested in the use of the forge, visit the forge page for a bit of a tutorial.
Here is a stretch of the patio, displaying the sections where the curved panels will be (between the pillars, where the pots are - they found new homes). The block pillars were built first, then Kevin created the panels to fit them. (scroll down)
Each panel started with the two main "vines" made of solid 1" steel rod that has a pattern molded into that resembles bark. (scroll down)
Once the main vines were in place, Kevin used more 1" rod as well as smaller stock to create branches, weaving them in and out of the main branches and each other to "dog proof" the fence. (scroll down)
Here's a close up of the three sprouts coming out of a single vine. Part of the fun was making each panel unique. Neighbors often stopped by to chat as Kevin worked. One told him, "That's the vine that called to me." (scroll down)
Here are the two main vines for the fifth panel, as well as another, supporting vine. (scroll down)
Here's that same section (Panel 5), with the secondary branches added. (scroll down)
Panel 7 completed features several wrap-arounds, including the "knot" about 3/4 of the way to the left, which is a 1" vine that wraps around another 1" vine. Just a little something different! (scroll down)
In this section (Panel 3) a secondary vine comes up, then splits into two, with the larger branch in front of the primary top vine and the smaller one behind. It has been welded on, but not yet formed. Kevin uses the MIG welder to attach the branches, then the oxygen-acetylene torch (shown here) to shape the smaller branches once they're attached. (scroll down)
This photo shows the addition of a handle for the gate. Originally, Kevin was going to handcraft a latch, but a clever friend suggested using magnets to "secure" the gate. That left an open space where the latch was going to go. Kevin added a handle instead, which twists horizontally to permit someone to grasp it from the patio or the driveway side.
The pillar to the left shows three gray spots, which reveal the location of the rare earth magnets that are sunken into the pillar. (Kevin obtained these from K&J Magnetics.) When the paint is touched up from various nicks and scratches (and a couple of burns) from installation, they will disappear altogether. (scroll down)
Here's a close up of the gate handle. The swooping curve is actually parallel to the ground, offering a handy hold from inside or outside the gate. (scroll down)
Here Panel 9 is nearly completed. Each leaf has been welded on, but each needs to be positioned to look as natural as possible. After that, there was a little clean up with the grinder and, of course, powder coating. (scroll down)
Here are the completed panels with leaves. Finally, everything is in place!
This project involved more bending than welding, more acetylene than MIG work. Yet it's a typical Kevin Caron project in that it took much consideration of the location, the purpose, the materials so the final outcome felt and worked right.
Might you have such a fence in your future? A unique sculpture, fountain, garden bell or other piece - made just for you or one already available in Kevin's studio - makes your home or office a special oasis.
Contact us for more information on how easy it is to have something that makes your space an oasis.
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