Art is the representation of an idea that is left to the viewers to explore. It is the suggestion of a thought. A muse of concepts. A seed. The forge of a stream of consciousness and involuntary artistic development that materializes in the lives of the viewers.
As you are creating art what you are doing is planting the seed and starting a process that will finish only when your work will be forgotten. And when you look at a painting or drawing or sculpture, you are continuing the development of the piece. You become the artist and you are carrying forward the torch of artistic expression of the piece.
Mere repetition of the same actions over and over is not a way to reach mastery of a skill. Repetition with the intent of mastery requires focus on it.
Once you reach mastery and no teacher or resource available can readily help you get better, teaching others provides the best path to improvement.
A few days ago I received the first place award from the Duvall Visitor Guide Selection Committee, the DFA and Duvall Chamber for the 2014 Duvall Visitor Guide Contest.
While the monetary value of the award is small, I am honored that my picture will be featured in the cover of the first 2014 Duvall Visitor Guide, that is the first visitor guide the city ever had
And here is the photo that won the contest:
Glad to be part of this community and honored to bring a small and well received personal contribution to it its inhabitants.
More photographs of the Snoqualmie valley are available here.
- Are you a photographer?
- Are you an engineer?
- Are you an artist?
- Are you a democrat?
- Are you republican?
- Are you a woodworker?
- Are you a woodcarver?
- Are you a cook?
- Are you XYZ … where XYZ is whatever “thing” I happen to be doing with a relative sense of passion and skill.
After doing some research I realized that most - if not all - types of metal corrosion are due to some form of electrolysis or another. In fact many sources state that electrolysis and corrosion are one and the same in the sense that there wouldn't be any metal corrosion without an electrolytic process of some kind.
That gave me the idea of using electrolysis to attempt to recreate the charm and beauty of a corroded metallic object. In other words, could I take a brand new metallic object and corrode it with electrolysis to the point of acquiring, in just a few hours, a much older look? What would I learn in the process? There was only a way to find out.
The first step was to find a suitable metallic object that would seem to benefit from an aged look. On my way back to work I stopped at a thrift store and bought a couple of metallic candlesticks for about $2.00. Here is a picture of how they looked as purchased:
I decided to experiment only on one of them in order to maintain a "before" and "after" live comparison throughout the process. I prepared an electrolytic bath using an old tin can without top or bottom as the cathode - that is, connected to the negative pole a battery charger - and the candlestick as the anode - connected to the positive of the same battery charger.
As an electrolyte I decided to use water and a generous amount of table salt. While I usually use washing soda to electrolytically clean objects, I thought that using salt for this corrosion experiment would be better since salt is notoriously harsh on metal and might give better results when the goal is to destroy.
I prepared the electrolyte in a one gallon plastic bucket, placed the tin can in the electrolyte, and the candlestick inside the can resting on the bottom of the bucket. Since the can had the bottom removed, there was no contact between the two and the candlestick was completely surrounded by the anode, which aids to the process.
I then connected the tin can to the negative of a 10Amps battery charger, and the positive to the candlestick. Immediately after turning on the charger, hydrogen and oxygen bubbles started pouring out the metal confirming that the electrolytic process had started (hydrogen and oxygen are an explosive mixture in the right circumstances, so do not try this at home without proper research and precautions).
Here is a photo of how the setup looked after one hour:
You can see the electrolyte covered by corroded metal sludge.
After one hour I decided to take a peek. As you can see from the below photo of a side-to-side comparison between the corroded candlestick (left) and the untouched one (right), the surface coating - made of either zinc or silver I assume - had gone, revealing the real nature of the core metal: copper.
While this was a decent result, I wanted to bring the process much further so I reconnected the candlestick, submerged it in the electrolyte inside the tin can and started the electrolysis again. This time I let it go for 24 hours.
The next day I checked, and here is how it came out after a good rinse in water and some light scrubbing:
Looks interesting and certainly very old. Note toward the top a series of small holes that show how much corrosion the metal went through in only 24 hours. Some close ups:
This is an interesting look, and it certainly looks old. However it looks "dirty". This might or might not be a good thing depending on what the desired look is. I considered leaving this as-is, but I was curious to see how the piece would look cleaned up of the greenish product of the copper corrosion.
After a few minutes with a brush wheel, here is the clean result:
So, what do you think? Do you prefer the original? or the lightly corroderd? Or the heavily corroded "dirty"? Or the heavily corroded "clean"?
I used a process of electrolysis to remove the rust and bring them back to bare metal, and the results where pretty spectacular. If I believed in magic, I would certainly think that it was magical.
The plane was in good shape, but unfortunately it was covered in rust. The bottom (which I unfortunately I do not have a photo of) was completely red. The rust didn't ruine the integrity of the metal, but it made the plane pretty useless without a good restoration.
First step was to take the plane apart, separating all its parts so that they could be processed separately.
The second step was to remove the rust from all metal parts with electrolysis. Electrolysis is an electrochemical process that consists in connecting a metallic object - something rusty that you want to clean - to the negative pole of a battery changer and submerge it in an electrolyte such as water and washing soda. In the electrolytic process you call this object connected to the negative pole the cathode. The positive pole of the charger is connected to some sacrificial metal - rebars or an old coffee can or example - and also submerged in the electrolyte surrounding the object to clean. You call the sacrificial metal the anode, and it will get corroded heavily during the process. You don't want to screw up positive with negative here!! If you do instead of cleaning the object, you'll destroy it.
For this plane I used as an anode some rebars bolted to the sides of a plastic tub, and a steel plate sitting on the bottom. I suspended the plane with fishing line to ensure that it wouldn't touch the rebars or the plate, which is most important to avoid a short which would not only stop the process but also create an hazardous situation and most likely damage the battery charger.
It is important that the anode (sacrificial metal) and the cathode (object to clean) "see" each other. The process works only in a light of side. Whatever part of the cathode is not in line of sight with the anode, will not get cleaned.
For this plane I used a 12V 2A battery charger an I allowed the electrolysis to run for about 24 hours. The charger must be a cheap manual kind, and not a fancy automatic kind. Since you are not actually charging a battery, any smarts built in the charger will get in the way of the process.
Here is a photo of the plane body immersed in the electrolyte at the very beginning of the process.
You might noticed the bubble coming out on the sides of the plane, and here is a close up:
That's the hydrogen that is formed as product of the electrochemical reaction caused by the current. The rebars also release bubbles of oxygen. The result is a nice mix of oxygen and hydrogen that could become a nasty explosive if you let it accumulate. Ventilation is key to avoid dangerous situations and if you are ever going to do this, you should do it outside.
After the 24 hours bath, it took some brushing, re-painting and sharpening of the blade... and here is a good-as-new Stanley #6, tuned up, wicked sharp and able to take very fine wood shavings.
And the rust free corrugate sole:
The electrolytic process worked like magic and for a few dollars I ended up with a nice and functional tool that I'll use for many years in the workshop.