Jan 152012
 
woven metal

Vasarely Style Copper Weaving
22″ x 28″

What I Learned this Week: (updated 1-17-2012)

  1. Black painted aluminum boards for small metal weavings
    • Cutting 1/8″  aluminum on the table saw – first sharpen the tops of the cutters on the 60 tooth blade – easy to do with a small 120 grit sanding disc (2″ roloc) on an air-powered die grinder – put wax on the edge against the fence – go slow, wear a face guard and gloves – cuts like butter.
    • A dull blade will actually warp the 1/8 aluminum metal! The 7.5″ saw blade on the skilsaw needs to be carefully sharped too. Be sure and use vise grips for clamping the guide on the line. Pony clamps will vibrate loose.
    • Before painting, must first clean up the aluminum but don’t use a sanding pad. Use a 3M coarse pad on a grinder. Don’t dig into the metal – keep the pad as flat as possible. Even an 80 grit pad will show too much, through the primer.
    • Best to use a primer. When spraying Rustoleum Black Primer on aluminum – keep doing the thumbnail test in an inconspicuous area (or on a test piece) until you no longer scrape the paint off the metal – this will probably take 24-48 hours, depending on temperature. Primer has to cure with oxygen exposure before the topcoat goes on.
    • Rustoleum Hammered Black is not a quality finish – it chips off easily – find something better. It needs to dry at least 12 hours as well.
    •  When spraying paint, wear a hair net. If there are a cat hairs on your sweatshirt, take that off too and put on something hair-free. Can’t have hairs falling in the freshly sprayed paint.
  2. Blue Patinas
    • easier in the summer – sprinkle some salt on the copper, spray on ammonia, seal up with plastic for 24 hours
    • when it’s getting colder blue patinas can be tricky to get – you think you have a great blue, and it slowly turns green
    • best formula:  4 oz. regular ammonia; 8 gm ammonium chloride (NH4Cl – also called sal ammoniac), 1/2 gm sodium chloride (necessary to promote adhesion); 2 tablespoons Lab Ammonia (hard on eyes & lungs)
    • if you still aren’t getting the color, try mixing 10% diluted versions of Sculpt Nouveau’s Dye Oxide colors –  brush on and let dry – add Lab Ammonia or it won’t stick! Add a little white dye oxide to brighten up the colors
    • also great – put a piece of copper in a jar with 2-3 oz.  Reagent grade Ammonia. When it turns a deep blue, paint this over the green areas.
    • you can simulate the look of lacquer by spraying the patina with water to ensure you have what you want – then let it then dry thoroughly before lacquering
    • the coating will be soft and chalky – use 2-3 coats of gloss lacquer to protect it
  3. Websites = Marketing Tool
    • Google says they consider subdomains of your website to be the same as folders – Not true. I moved this site from a subdomain to a folder and immediately started ranking well for the keywords.
    • Cute Rank – this is an excellent program – great way to keep track of all your favorite keyword rankings. I am now in the top ten for eight of my keywords. People are calling & placing orders.
    • GTMetrix – what a great page speed tool. I like it better than Pingdom Tools now.
    • Page Speed Improvement advice – best I’ve found yet
    • CloudFlare – you have got to use this. Fast loading sites get more hits. Still free.
    • With W3TC this page speed went from 12 seconds to 6 seconds!
    • With Cloud Flare, this site’s page speed has gone from 6 seconds to 2.90 seconds! Still needs to get faster – I need to lose at least another second on the loading speed.

Finally boxed up 7 weavings to ship to Colorado on Monday. Amazing how much time it takes to box something up carefully! Now I get to start a big sculpture tomorrow. Excited! Sculptures are good for my morale.

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John Searles

Metal sculptor and metal artist John Searles lives in Southwest Michigan where he creates and ships his art sculptures around the world. Specializing in custom designs, sizes and materials and utilizing his expert fabrication techniques he enjoys every day transforming his imaginative ideas into metal.

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