ElementFe is my trade name for the Guemes Island blacksmith shop; designing, forging, and building handcrafted forged steel and iron furniture, gates, railings, candlesticks, spoons, kitchenware and all manner of repair and fabrication.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

For New Year's Eve celebrations, here are a couple of big (three feet across!) commercial soup pots getting made into fire cauldrons.
Only one got decorated, welding game called because of rain!
One goes to the Guemes Island store, one to the store owners' family home.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Here's a tool commissioned by a neighbor on Guemes.
A sickle for cutting the bushes that grow so enthusiastically around here, the original was beautifully forged long ago by a local logger/blacksmith/wild-man.
In hopes of a simpler, more rugged attachment, I drilled and bolted the tangs to an axe handle- Phil was thrilled, and the recipient of the gift, I'm sure, thought that it looked like a lot of backbreaking work was coming his way...since there's no way to dodge it, why not use a tool forged with love?
Both the original and my reproduction were forged from automotive leaf springs, hammered out to the proper thickness, split, flattened, and ground to a robust and mean edge.

Here's a knife that sold right away- a christmas gift for a retired gentleman who at 71 was still playing goaltender for our hockey group...quite well, I might add.
The blade is made from a worn out chain saw chain, heated screaming hot and hammered into a billet.
Handle is African brown Ebony. About 9" overall.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Installation of the entry roofs has begun.
Here's David working out placement for one of the first pieces.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Here are some recent photos of the Orcas Island project.
The patio roofs are complete, and panels installed in longest runs of railing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The drill burrs and debris are then cleaned off, and the pieces assembled. If everything is just right (and a sixteenth of an inch off is way too much) then it can be set in a frame, trued up and welded.
When that's done, it's inspected and stamped with the location, and one more panel joins the growing pile!

I thought it would be fun to show the steps for building a railing panel- each one of these is like a piece of furniture!
First, having fetched a half a ton of steel, it gets sorted, stacked, and the work stand stocked up. Here's son Joe cutting components.
The sharp burrs left by the saw are cleaned up right away- these can be razor sharp!
The hole locations are laid out with a guide so that all are exactly alike, marked and center punched, then drilled with a pilot drill on the drill press, followed by a 1/2" drill.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The gate brought a nice price to the "Save The Mountain" preservation effort, and someone got a good deal on a lovely piece of iron!
Here are the Guemes Girls all dolled up, and auctioneer Bud Ashbach doing his thing.

The railing project on Orcas is rolling along, here's son Joe checking alignment on some of the 200+ feet of railing- this will be filled in with panels (see earlier post) and topped with a brass handrail.
Also, talking over fine points with the architect/designer.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The neighborhood pub bought oh-so-inexpensive chairs from China, only to find that they have a bad habit of collapsing unexpectedly.
I was hired to develop an alternative, and to my surprise they liked the Modern design that I'd been playing with. Here are the first four chairs for the Brown Lantern!
Hard to see the finished chairs, but the seat is wooden, and the back is naugahide and cushy.

This fountain developed from an idea that local glassblower Jose Hinojosa had about some of his flawed vessels. Looking at them he realized that we're ALL flawed vessels, and that we need to be constantly replenished by wonderfulness flowing in.
It took me some time to find a conceptual framework that would house this, but in this sculpture I've added that we like to have a benevolent source of inspiration, perhaps in human form, and that we lean together as a group to drink.
First, I made a basic form from cardboard, since it's difficult to visualize a 3-D form folded out to a flat surface. The 1/4" stainless steel plate was then cut and rough ground, then I modified a hydraulic press and my son and I formed it bit by bit.