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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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Working With Metal: How to Make it Level

The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you doing?

Kevin Caron: I'm working on a contemporary art sculpture I call ?Arabesque?. It's a very large three-bell wind chime that I've been making, and I need to mark where to cut my hole so I can put in the metal pin that holds the bell to its steel frame.

Since these parts are not exactly flat and straight and parallel to the ground, I can't just measure and mark my hole and expect it to come out correctly on the other side.

So, I?m using a level to find my center, get it level, then mark the level area and measure out the hole in the bottom to figure out where to put my hole for the pin. Then I take it to the other side, and get it level on that side, and as long as I line them up this way, on the hole, underneath, I can power drill straight through.

It should come out straight on the other side. That way the pin will wind up being straight and flat inside this arm, and it won?t try to walk out as the bell moves back and forth.

If I make a mistake and end up putting it at an angle, when the bell moves it'll try to walk down the pin and end up pushing the pin out and then the bell will fall out. That's not a good thing for a garden sculpture.

I'll just go around to the other side, mark another hole. Then I?ll climb up to the top, do the big one, lay it down and drill my hole with my hole saw. Then I simply cut my pins, put them in, and I can hang up the bells.


Usually I can just line it up on the mark I made on front and get my bubble square.

Now you?ll see it come off the bottom of the hole that I made here. Come out on here; my line's going up. And I can go to the center and put my mark; drill the hole. Cool. Let's go up to the top.

(leveling and marking)

We?re aiming to find the center of the arm. I want to get level on the arm, using my bubble level. Then I need to transfer it to the other side. I know the line on the front is level, so I can move it over this way, use my front line as a marker, use my bubble level, and now I know it's a straight, flat line going across the side. I can then take my cutoff; cutout in the bottom and bring my hole, or bring my lines up that way, and now I have my center. I know where to drill the hole.


At least that's how it looks on paper. It's time now for me to get to that other side; get my drill out and go back to work on my metal art piece.

See you next time.

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