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About SamBurgess

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  1. Sorry Pnut that was a failed joke on my behalf. Sounds like a great idea though and I've got half a bag of clay left over from a pottery course so I'll give it a go. I haven't got the mathematical capacity to fully appreciate the Mandelbrott set but nonetheless brings up some good images, thanks. Chris - Yes they are full length tapered sliding dovetails, as are the cross members into the stretchers. My thinking was that as I work on the bench it will compress the joints and hold everything tight. It assembles and breaks down with nothing but a wooden mallet. I'm not sure the top really will stay flat, it's only held by dowels and its own weight so I'll see how it plays out. JHCC - Interesting you bring that up, it's a book that's been on my wish list for a while but it's just a bit too expensive for me.. Maybe you've given me a nudge in the right direction. I have seen a few interesting videos by Tim Joplin where he talks about proportion in units relating to the human body, again relating to woodworking/furniture. i think they're on youtube. Good job on your urn, it's really interesting to see the thought put into the proportions. I had to look up a four centred ellipse, again, great stuff. A point I read/heard, possibly from Tim Joplin, was that in art and sculpture through time the gods were depicted using a compass. Anvil - Thanks for taking the time to explain your process, throughly interesting and helpful. If you have a page or two of you notebook that you would be willing to share I would be really interested to see it. You're right about simple being a very difficult thing to achieve, and something it seems you thoroughly understand. Re-reading my above comment I was a bit unclear - I think there is sometimes a distinction between simple and purely functional, i.e. a functional metal grille could be a welded square frame with mesh infill, something I can achieve with my farmyard welding skills. No offence intended to any skilled smiths! I appreciate your comment about being able to hide mistakes in complicated designs. They say that a master craftsman isn't someone who doesn't make any mistakes, it's someone who hides them well. I came across a similar positive, neutral and negative concept recently in Alexander Weygers' book "sculpture, form and philosophy" (he's the author of "the complete modern blacksmith" and a very interesting guy). I haven't read the whole book yet, in fact I struggled with getting my head around those concepts. Its cool to see you put to use very similar ideas when designing.
  2. Thanks for all of the replies, some great info here. Although I'm familiar with the golden ratio/Fibonacci sequence, I had no idea it was so prevalent in nature. That's definitely something I'll try to get my head around, fascinating stuff! I actually had some questions about proportion in the original question but cut it out. I guess there are other principles that can be of use like the rule of thirds, or using symmetry or asymmetry. Then there's looking at positive vs negative space. Using clay is a good idea, I've not tried that. Correct me if I'm wrong but you only need to heat it once you've finished all the forming? Pretty much everything I've ever made (not just metal work) has been utilitarian and aesthetics haven't really factored into the design. Often a "design" is often just a vague picture in my head, and it usually turns out about right. But if I need to make something a bit more complicated/to certain dimensions I tend to make a rough sketch or even a scale drawing on graph paper. This is about the furthest extent my designs ever go. It was a bit complicated because I wanted to create a workbench that easily assembled/disassembled without relying on bolts/screws: And here's the (almost) finished bench: I really admire the pleasing simplicity of a lot of shaker furniture, absolutely functional, simple and very pleasing to the eye. But I think this balance is difficult to achieve, it's also a stark contrast to the prevalent design trends among blacksmiths i.e. there tends to be a lot of decoration (if you know of any smiths producing simplistic but elegant work let me know). It's interesting approaching blacksmithing because for the first time I'm being drawn towards decorative work. To make a functional metal grille is a pretty straightforward job and doesn't even require the skills of a smith. However to make an ornate grille that fulfils its function and is visually appealing is where, in my opinion, a lot of skill (practical and design) comes into play. Chris - I can imagine that having a good understanding of wood carving and 3d forms has gone hand in hand with smithing. I have to agree with you, design doesn't come naturally to me! Frosty - it's great to see it from the perspective of someone who's making money out of making. You've raised some really interesting points and even if time isn't being charged for, it's still worth considering because it's not something everyone has in abundance. Again, even as an amateur, it's important to be able to calculate materials required for a project and estimate costs. Also I never thought of scale as losing material with each heat, that's good to think about. Great to see your steps Snuffy. Writing/drawing the processes seems like a really good idea to me, I'll give it a go. Really appreciate everyone's time here. If anyone has any photos of work they'd like to add of projects as they are being developed I'd love to see them. Sam
  3. Hi all. I'm a long time reader, first time poster. I've found the site a valuable source of information about pretty much all aspects of blacksmithing and welding, but I can't find much about the design process of projects. I'm interested to see what you all do in terms of designing an item/project, from a concept to a design. Pretty much everything involved before lighting the forge. Do you start with a sketch concept and keep sketching until you reach a suitable design? Do you make a full sized drawing? Or do you just have an idea in you head and get on with it? Do you design to make the most of certain stock sizes? I'm interested to see the process, not any certain object. It could be a simple bottle opener or an ornate double gate. On a similar note, where do you find design inspiration? I've read a few books relating to blacksmithing that touch on design, or historical work. Obviously there is a lot of information and photographs online, sometime it can be a bit overwhelming! Do you take inspiration from art, nature, engineering? Forgive me if I've completely missed a section of the forum and this information is out there! Cheers Sam