Thursday, 7 June 2012

The worth of a jig...

So, sometimes it's worth taking the time out and creating a jig for the work you're doing, even if it's just a one-off. The general rule of thumb is that if you're going to be making more than two of a component, then you should make a jig so that it's easier and quicker to repeat...however, when you're working on something a little challenging to forge then think about how much time you will save later on if you take the hour (or however long it takes) and make the jig. I decided against making a jig for the base section of my music stand which I realise now was a mistake.
Even if the jig you make doesn't look great, and has a few kinks and bends it doesn't matter because when you bend your metal for the first time, it's going to want to take on a smooth, flowing shape.
Below are a few shots of what I ended up stayed like this for at least a week as I tried to get the right shape with the gas torch. I think a lot of people were looking for clamps and grips that week...
I had to weld a long length of bar onto a plate, then hold it on the workbench so I could then clamp my work to it to keep it straight while working on the curves with the gas torch.
As you can see, this was a lot of trouble, and even if the jig had taken a few days to make, it would have made the making so much easier and quicker. However, you can see the shape beginning to take form and I love this particular design because I managed to incorporate the visual pattern of the time signature of my music taken from the movement of my hand while conducting the piece!
It's not very noticeable, in fact I don't think anyone has seen it for themselves, but it's the wee details that I've managed to add which I think make the piece for me. As Richard Seymour said in his talk on how we feel beauty, it's the personal details attached to something which can make it beautiful. In this case, what you might see is a piece of curved bar, but when I explain where it's from, then you may have a new appreciation of that curved bar. Just a thought.
Have a good day!

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