Roger Bowersox's class was "Forging an
Organic Base for a Stone Sink". This was a three day
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.
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
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.
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.
all the elements forged and bent, the assembly could begin.
In this photo the six main elements have been positioned and
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
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.
finish base with stone sink.
||Roger and his