Hello Everyone. New work time. And since this is a proper one of a kind sculpture, it adheres to the naming routine I developed ages ago for this kind of work. So this sculpture's proper title is BY222422 Maybe one day I will tell everyone what that means.
I have been continuing to explore the ways that I can bring (my home brewed) stabilized hard woods into my practice, both practically and aesthetically. I am finding that while stabilization does create a substrate that is much more amenable to the kinds of machining process I use in metal, there are plenty of limitations and extra considerations one needs to take into account.
Managing tear-out when milling and drilling intersecting geometry is a big one. Working around knots and other inclusions in the wood is its own unique departure from my usual work as well. Also simple things that have an as yet known answer like can you simply drill hole and run a standard tap into stabilized wood to create threads? In this case, yes if you are careful! but plan B was to mill the threads. Unraveling all of that has just been so informative and a lot of fun.
One of the ways I thought to really compare and contrast the differences between machining wood and metal was, although simple enough, pretty revealing to me. That was to make identical complex parts in the different materials. Originally I thought I might make two identical works, one in wood (Boxelder in this case) and one in aluminum. Then I saw the benefits in making a single hybrid piece, both aesthetic, practical, and conceptual.
First, a work that embodies both materials is more illustrative of the ideas I explained above, rather than having to explain the concept, it is plain to see in a single work. But there were engineering considerations as well. The final geometry of the form leaves some pretty thin cross sections in the form, and I honestly didn’t know how the Boxelder material would perform given the large number of threaded elements piercing it. Threads can put internal stress on an object, so would the cumulative forces eventually cause the piece to break or crack? Would it warp? I knew the aluminum would be perfectly strong and stable in this situation, but I had no idea how the wood might perform; so sandwiching them together was a way of supporting this element for which there was lots of uncertainty. It also is aesthetically more interesting to me as well.
Now whether or not this heavily processed piece of boxelder will eventually shrink or warp over a longer time frame remains very much to be seen. Stabilization does seem to do a good job plasticizing the wood and I dried the wood thoroughly before processing it, but in talking to different woodworkers, I have been assured that nothing is ever a sure thing. That is in itself sort of a fascinating way to look at a craft.
I have a fair amount of confidence that things will hold, but if they don’t, I am most curious to learn what effect being bolted to a metal support will have. Will it help keep it in place, or cause the wood to crack or fracture along its connecting points? There are a lot of machined fits in this piece that I just do not often see in wooden objects so there are plenty of opportunities for things to happen, and if they do, will they add to the piece? Will they be interesting in their own way?
My attitude is, let's find out.
The size of this work is 8.4"Diameter, by 2.5" thick.
Note for collectors: As of this initial writing, this piece is currently available for collection.
And as always, comments and questions are always welcome.
Also, thanks for following along, and since this is the last work I am likely to finish this year, I hope everyone has a good end of year holiday, and a happy new year.