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"I think [the Bronco Brand Birch] is absolutely beautiful, and the best part is, it didn't cost the city anything, not even a committee meeting. It's our first piece of public art."
--Betty Lynch, City Council Member, Avondale, Arizona

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The Story Behind My Magic Lift Table

One of his viewers asked whether the holes in Caron's work table were for a clamping system of some kind. Kevin thought that was a great idea, but no, that's not what they're for ....

Kevin's studio had been an automotive repair garage since 1947. Inside the section where he works, there was an old in-ground lift for picking up cars from the middle. Kevin shows how the mechanics would drive cars up onto the middle of the lift and four arms would swing out to pick up the car.

That works if you're working on the engine or rear end, or are going to take the wheels off for a brake job. But if you want to work on a transmission, the center of the lift was right in the way.

So the previous owners of the space switched to an above-ground, two-post lift that has two arms on it. But that still doesn't explain the holes in the table!

That in-ground lift has a big chrome cylinder - you've probably seen them in gas stations - sunk 7 or 8 feet into the ground. Kevin replaced the original lift arms with a 4' x 8' x 1" steel plate so he could have a work table that would go from the ground all the way up to about 6'. "You get to play magic carpet ride with it," he says.

When Kevin came across a 5' x 10' x 1-1/4" steel plate, though, he replaced the smaller plate, which he then put on his regular work table. Now he has a rising work space that will never warp. He can weld his sculptures right to the table, square it, use magnets, whatever. Everything will stay straight as he finishes his construction, applies his skin, does all of his welding and grinding.

Then he can cut the welds loose, flip the whole sculpture over, and weld it right back to the table and work on the other side. Kevin just has to remove a few little tack welds to grind off, and the table is good as new. Meanwhile, his sculptures come out flat, straight and square.

Because he can set the table at whatever height he wants, Kevin doesn't have to stoop over or get down on one knee when working. He can just pick up the whole sculpture or, with really tall sculptures like Wherever You Go, There You Are, he puts the sculpture on the floor and has the Voice lift him and the welder up next to it. (That worked as long as the Voice hangs around long enough to let him down!) Able to reach 12 feet in the air, he can work on a much taller sculpture without having to get on a ladder.

Later models of in-ground lifts had a guide rod that anchored the cylinder in one orientation, but this older model can be rotated 360 degrees. That lets Kevin rotate the table 90 degrees so he can work on any side of the table.

Now you know how the round holes got into his work table.

And just because he knows someone is going to ask, a 4' x 8' by 1" piece of steel is about 700 pounds. the 5' x 10' by 1-1/4" plate weighs 2250 pounds - a ton and a half of steel.

(And don't miss the REAL Kevin Caron at the end of the video ....)

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