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Entries in steel (2)

Tuesday
Sep072010

the making of: darjeeling

Since a picture speaks a thousand words in any language, and a “handmade” description doesn’t tell the whole story, the following detail the making of a darjeeling dining table—completely by hand.

The Indian Railways, or IR, is one of the largest networks in the world. Its nearly 1.6 million employees transport 20 million passengers over almost 40,000 miles of tracks through nearly 7,000 stations—everyday.

Railroad ties, or “sleepers”, are approximately 40-50 years old and are being replaced with newer concrete versions.

To make a tabletop, reclaimed ties are planed down to the inner core and joined together in a puzzle fashion. Exposed damage and loose wood is marked, chiseled out, and replaced with smaller pieces.

Tabletops are then re-sanded and the process repeated where gaps appear. Fine gaps are filled with a mixture of blackened glue and sawdust.

Steel T-bar and square tubes are welded together to create the leg assembly and tabletop support. The final finishing stages include grinding the welding for a smoother finish.

Thursday
Apr292010

material world: galvanized steel

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebbbeginsfromdream//CC BY 2.0Invented in the early 1800s, corrugated sheet metal has evolved from a wavy iron to sheet steel that’s been hot-dipped in zinc for protection against rusting—which occurs naturally when steel is exposed to the elements.

The material quickly became widely used in construction for its many benefits. The “corrugated” rolling curves not only define its look, they also enhance its strength by distributing weight across channels instead of individual stress points throughout a flat sheet.

So not only can it support weight greater than itself, it’s rust resistant, affordable, easy to transport and easy to install. Few if any materials have matched its versatility which is why it’s maintained its popularity in rural and urban areas—not to mention developed and developing countries.

Derived from electrical impulse experiments first done by Italian physicist Luigi Galvani (1737-98), galvanization is synonymous with a crystalized—or spangle—finish that’s most often used on watering cans and outdoor accessories.

The prolific and consistent use of galvanized steel—especially corrugated steel—sealed its fate as an iconic reference to industry and the industrial age. Today it adds an urban flavor to any outdoor—or indoor setting.

For small plants, herbie is the perfect size to keep a variety of fresh herbs handy for cooking. The refined proportions of oscar planters literally elevate greenery or florals while the soft gray metal contrasts with and enhances landscapes.

Left outdoors for extended periods of time, galvanized steel can develop a patina that’s either a white-ish calcification or slight rusting—both are inherent characteristics of these natural materials.