Roger Bowersox's class was "Forging an Organic Base for a Stone Sink". This was a three day class, in Advanced Blacksmithing.

Roger has an incredible amount of experience working with metal. He is the "Metals and Jewelry Shop Manager" at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA. By his own description, " I mostly need access to equipment and guidance for doing a large piece. And help with measuring and fitting.? Most of my iron forging experience is in knife blades and smaller sculpture pieces. Things that did not need to be fit to something like a stone bowl. I have used coal and gas forges. Some power hammer experience, Sahinler, Little Giant, couple different compressed air models."

For the most part this became a class about forging, fabrication and the concerns regarding functional art like this forged sink base. As with all classes..... we needed a project and design. Roger supplied two different photos for inspiration. And after some discussion the one called Sea Coral was chosen as the inspiration.

First thing I had Roger do was draw a full sized sketch that established the height of the stone sink....and all the points of contact. That means.....not only where the branches hit the floor but also how and where they meet the sink. With an organic design like this....the points of contact are most important. Everything in between them is where the Organic elements and the artist have FUN. It was decided that the organic nature of the design would be enhanced by forging a heavy texture into the tapered vine like elements. So......not only did all the material have to be forged into nice flowing tapers......they also needed to be textured with the use of a top and bottom spring swage. This is the working drawing. With the important measurements. Height 32.5", 18" wide footprint. And the area needed for the drain.

On to the hard work. It was decided that the main tapers needed to be forged from 3/4" solid round stock so that base would be strong enough and give the design some visual mass considering the organic design was so light and airy. And that a few smaller branches would be forged and welded into place. With the drawing as a guide we could determine the approximate length of material to cut and forge. The tapering will be done with the aid of an air hammer. Although this could be done by hand with a hammer and anvil. The air hammer speeds up the process. Once the tapers are drawn out, and while the metal is still hot. The material is pulled through a texturing swage that leaves a bark like surface texture. Roger tapering a piece of 3/4" solid round mild steel.

After the material had been tapered and textured. It was then bent and twisted to look like a real vine. This process was done with each forged vine in preparation to the assembly of the base. The only real guide was to check each element with the paper pattern. Again.....the points of contact are the only real concerns. Those being the floor and where the vines contacted the sink(stone bowl). But not forgetting to leave space for the drain.  Roger manipulating the hot textured vine. Breathing life into the material.

With all the elements forged and bent, the assembly could begin. In this photo the six main elements have been positioned and clamped.

There is some minor tweaking and cutting of the forged elements to enable them to sit flat on the floor and intertwine. Then they are secured by welding. Making sure to place the welds where they won't be visible, this is possible by determining where the "back" will be.  


This is the clean up stage of the process. This involves grinding all the feet and other minor issues. The forged vines were wire brushed before the assembly to speed up the clean up. Wire brushing after assembly would have taken much longer. Final finish is next...


This is the final finish. It was decided to add brass accents to some of the vines to bring out the texture. This is done by heating the metal to a black heat and rubbing it with a brass brush. It gives you wonderful brass highlites that catch your eye as you move around the piece. And by heating the metal for the brass accenting, it sets the stage for the wax. Which is applied hot.


Roger applying the wax to the hot metal. This enable the melted wax to flow into all the cracks and crannies.  This is a very durable finish that is easily maintained for an interior setting.

The finish base with stone sink. Roger and his finished project.