The overall project constists of three
separate elements :
The customers had a board and batten fence around the front
and down the driveway on their property. With a new (young
and energetic!) dog, they were concerned that he would be
able to jump the existing fence. There are posts set roughly
every 8 feet, the fence boards are cut on a sweeping curve
in a sideways D shape. The difference between the peaks in
the middle and the level at the posts is about 12 inches.
Images by Karen Peterson
As a an alternative to replacing all the fence boards,
they asked me if I could work up a decorative metal extension
in increase the effective 'blocking' height of the fence.
My solution was to use a horizontal line of 1 inch diameter
pipe, held above the existing fence top by a set of decorative
brackets. The intent is to raise the line of the fence by
4 - 6 inch at its highest point (so 16 - 18 inches above the
To fill the gap around the posts will require placing a total
of four brackets (using a roughly 6 inch square grid as the
spacing guide). The pipe will consist of a number of 8 foot
pieces, with a small gap just above the individual posts.
This allows for any sway to the fence line. It will also make
installation a lot easier, even allowing to raise the height
of the pipe line should that prove necessary.
The individual brackets will be forged to individual organic
curves. The leaves hang down below the top line, helping to
block the gap above the posts. I also wanted to enhance the
organic feel of the brackets. For that reason I forged a separate
smaller 'tail' which will be welded to the main structural
part of each bracket.
To ensure there would be enough physical strength to the support,
I chose 1 1/2 wide by 1/4 inch thick flat stock. The tails are
from 3/4 or 1 inch wide by 1/4 (roughly half of each width).
Support elements before installation -
View from the sidewalk, up the driveway.
Closer view, the rail hangs behind the
The next commission was for a replacement set of supports
under the front porch.
The house is late 1800's, a nice 'short two story' brick,
what could be considered an affluent farm house of the period.
The front porch covers the entry for the original entry door,
with a small balcony above off the master bedroom. The original
sculpted wooden pillars have rotted out. Part of the project
has included replacing some of the timber support beams underneath.
The image to the left shows the original wooden porch structure.
The imageto the right has been altered via Photoshop to remove
the supports and wooden picket railing. This as a starting
point to further design work.
|As with any project of this nature, there is a structural
component, plus an artistic consideration. The first possibility
was to continue working in that theme - a design based on the
natural lines of vines with large leaf end terminals. As usual,
I sat down with the clients and had them pour over a number
of book collections of contemporary work by other artisan smiths.
We marked things they liked, with me making notes on their specific
comments. Later, I took a more careful look at those pieces,
narrowing down the general outlines from all the specific illustrations.
From this I was able to generate a number of rough layouts.
One specific structural requirement was going to come to dominate
the possibilities - that there had to be a strong vertical line
of metal to support the weight of the heavy porch roof and its
upper deck. In most cases, this reduced the visual aspect of
the potential designs to look too much like 'a beam with stuff
stuck on to it'.
Runnels of slag - Slag
Pit Smelt 1 - October 2011
|In the end, I was struck by the potential from something else
Neil has become my enthusiastic right hand for the ongoing experimental
iron smelts here in Wareham. The massive slag block produced
in our 'slag pit' smelt in October was composed of individual
runnels of slag, running downwards through a bundle of willow
sticks. Even at the time, we both remarked on the artistic possibilities.
So I was struck by a potential design - using a bundle of individual
tubes, instead of one major structural elements. In fact, a
bundle of smaller tubes would be *stronger*, with the many side
wall cross sections combining to the load carrying capability.
Inspired by the folding and bulging of the slag, individual
tubes could be partially flattened, twisted, folded or surface
deformed. The bundle would be both welded and then wrapped with
tendrils of round rod. This would both massively reinforce the
welds, but also add an additional decorative feature.
Of course - I couldn't really draw this concept effectively!
Faster to make a sample piece...
At the right is the original
sample, composed of a total of five individual pieces of pipe.
The central core is larger diameter (roughly 1 1/4 OD) and
the outer pieces of smaller (thus more flexible!) pipe (roughly
7/8 OD). The sample is about two feet long, and has tendril
wraps of 3/8 round at either end. A number of different
forging techniques have been used on the individual pieces.
The competed sample bundle is roughly four inches wide.
|At this point, I played some hoo-doo with Photoshop.
- First I photographed the sample piece from a number of different
- I then spliced the images together to create an impression
of what a full sized support would look like.
- I then scaled that image to fit the proportions of the modified
image of the front of the house (with the existing structure
Scaled from the four inch width, the bundle just looked too
small in proportion to the rest of the structure. Next I played
some games with scale - and the result is seen to the left.
Here you see the bundle increased in size so it 'looks right'.
Measuring from the known dimensions, the bundles should be closer
to six inches wide. (The total height of each is roughly
8 1/2 feet.)
To the right is my design drawning for the base section of the
Overall view of the Pillars
Looking North on porch
Looking South, back towards fence
Detail of Pillar
Top of North pillar - to West
North pillar, from porch
Top of South pillar - to West
South pillar, from porch
Under construction - Fall 2012 - Winter 2013
Further detailed in Blog
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Thursday, May 05, 2011
Fence - Installed
Saturday, November 26, 2011
DO Ideas Come From (3) - Peterson House
Saturday, November 26, 2011
the BIG Time (again!)
Saturday, December 24, 2011
House - Front Supports : INSTALLED