Saturday, September 19, 2009

Forcing steel and copper to our will at The Crucible

Mrs Notthat and I spent the day at The Crucible in Oakland. I absolutely love this place - it is a fantastic facility to take a class or two and learn how to do a wide variety of things, from working with glass or neon tubes to woodworking to casting to just about anything you can think of with metal. And jewelry making. The instructors are amazingly patient and are great at working with a wide variety of students. They are also the ones behind the Fire Arts Festival I wrote about here.

The Boy and I took a two day welded sculpture class there a year ago - here is the write up from that.

Mrs Notthat and I were attending what they call "sampler" classes - three hour classes designed to show you the basics and whet your appetite for more. I chose the MIG welding class for us to attend in the morning and Mrs chose the jewelry class for us in the afternoon.

A really cool thing was that we had the same instructor for the MIG class as The Boy and I had for our class a year ago - Yrot (not his real name). Another cool thing was that there were only four of us altogether in the class. Somewhat surprisingly, the other two were both women (Etak and Enilorac - obviously not their real names either).

We started by taking turns with the MIG welder (here Mrs is making a much better practice weld than I did). One thing I learned was that MIG welding is about 100 times easier than the arc (stick) welding The Boy and I learned previously. I want one of these.

Here is Mrs practicing with the plasma cutter. A MIG welder and a plasma cutter and I could happily waste a LOT of time. It's so hard to get used to using plain old electricity to do all these amazing things to innocent sheets of steel.

Here Mrs is looking over her handiwork, preparing for the next weld.

Here I am in my stylish leather jacket.

Here are the results of our efforts (mine is the one on the right, with a pathetic SF Giants logo of sorts).

Here are the other two sides of our tea candle holders. Note the great job Mrs did writing "LUCAS" - that is really hard to do with the small amount of practice time we had.

Next it was on to the jewelry class, which turned out to be based around working with small sheets of copper. There were a lot more people in this class.

Here, the primary instructor, Esined, is showing us how to anneal our copper sheets. This ends up making them much more pliable and easy to stamp and bend. It also makes them filthy, so the next step was to pickle them in some sort of acid, followed by dunking them in an anti-acid and a bit of scrubbing. We also learned the POOP acronym. I'm pretty sure they were just making up a lot of these words.

Mrs Notthat getting some help bending one of her pieces, risking fingers for the sake of jewelry.

Mrs watching the other instructor, Einnob, do some more bending.

This is what I ending up making in the jewelry class.

Here is what Mrs Notthat ended up making.

It was a lot of fun spending the day with Mrs working with metal. The Crucible is close to a BART stop and right off 880 just north of 980. They have a wide variety of classes, many in the evening and weekends, and they are even having a 20% off sale right now for fall classes. They also allow kids as young as 12 to take some of the classes - it is very cool to watch your kid working with ridiculously dangerous tools, and end up actually creating something nifty.

Even if it is just a whole bunch of sparks and slag.

That's it - move along...


Mrs. Notthat said...

That acronym POOP really helped me. Propane, oxygen (turning on in that order) then oxygen, propane (turning off in that order.) Couldn't have done it without POOP.

mary ann said...

Very cool ~ I'm really impressed! I especially like Mrs. Notthat's jewelry.