Saturday, 1 March 2014

Are we there yet?                                    

There comes a point in the journey when the road seems to stretch forever, there is only a climb and no summit, only the ocean and no land, and it seems to take lots of motivation and energy to make another step.....or in this case; another triangle.

As the number of made triangles grows, and firings are happening without further problems, my mind turns to the next step in the process, the next unsolved bit: connecting them together.
The plan is to glue the bolts into the holes made for the purpose on the triangles, make metal brackets and screw them together.
I am really pleased with the way  bolts fit into the spaces for them:

If you don't work with clay, you are probably wandering why is this such a big deal. The thing is, the clay shrinks...and every clay shrinks differently so the exact size is difficult to predict if you have not tested the clay.

Here is the shrinkage example:

First triangle (top left) is freshly made, second is leather hard and third bone dry.
Bottom row: first is bone dry, second bisque fired and third glaze fired to 1210oC.
Lines are 3 cm apart.

There are several unknowns left to solve: I don’t know which adhesive will be strong enough for the purpose, so I will need to test a few.....starting with the one recommended by the professional shop, claiming to glue ceramics, glass, wood, marble, metal, etc.....which failed miserably.

Resin is showing promise. First test was holding the screw firmly in the hole, but in a few days it broke off like a rotten tooth.
 I realized I used 10 x the recommended amount of I mixed another batch and it is looking good:

This is the first prototype for the brackets:

it needs the hole for the bolt on the left side, but at the moment I'm using it to test the strength of the glue.
I will need to make 540 brackets, and I don't have a metal workshop, just few basic tools. This is one of the moments when I'm sorry I don't work at art school any more. Access to the metal workshop was a nice privilege.
This is the plan:

I am pretty sure it will work. I think. I hope. Wish me luck. Please.....


  1. Epoxy should be a good glue. If you have a lot of glueing, shop sold packs will be expensive. Try looking for some bulk packs.
    You have a lot of brackets to do. Try looking for something pre - fabricated. You should be able to find a plate with two holes that just needs bending. For bending maybe talk to James - isn 't he working with sheet metal?
    Good luck!

  2. Thanks Zach,
    Resin looks promising as a glue, and I'm estimating that a kilo pack might do a whole lot...with hardener that would be about $40.
    So far I couldn't find something prefabricated with holes on the right spot, but I'll keep looking. Surprisingly, aluminium flats are not too expensive and I might be able to make the brackets. Steel is to difficult to work with my limited tools.