New Dining Table for me.

So I have these legs kicking around for a dining table. The legs were from a Room and Board table that I had. The top was originally glass, and I hate glass tables. I know, it is silly, but just seeing through the table to see everyone’s legs seems weird to me, so I don’t like it. In addition to my own personal issues with glass tables the glass was also chipped on this table. So I have thought about what I want to make to replace the top.

One day a friend name James Davis was coming up with some new ideas and I happened to have a truck and was willing to travel. James has been experimenting with Electricity, water and wood. It really sounds pretty much like a terrible idea when you list out the ingredients. But take a moment to google Lichtenberg figures and you will be pretty interested in the results!

The electricity burns channels into the wood. This is guided (sorta) by the water that is applied. Once done the channels can be as much as about 1/8″ deep and need to be filled in. James uses epoxy to fill in the channels. With some good sanding I was able to clean up the rest of this Walnut top and get it ready for finishing. The wipe on poly finish really brought out the wood color.

I’ll be honest with you, this is a tough project.. not because it was exceptionally difficult or took a long time. It was tough because of self control. While creating the Lichtenberg figures I just wanted to watch more and more, but somehow you have to control yourself otherwise you will end up with a table that has too many patterns on it! I think this table ended up, just asymmetric enough and with just enough figures to make it interesting without so much patterning that it would be too busy. If it were in my budget I would have loved to start with a large piece of wood, one slab rather than a butcher block top. Maybe next time.

Massive Shipping Tables

Heavy duty steel tables? Yeah, I can do that. The company I work for has had a lot of custom projects, these are fun for me. I like getting out of the office for a day or two and just making something. This time we were hoping to create very heavy duty steel tables that could be easily maneuvered. These are for our shipping department and, to be honest, they will never see the weight that they could take, but that is ok, because these tables will accept any torture you throw at them.

Now, the rest of the building we have used a lot of 2″ square tube and the little projects have always come out looking nice, but for this one, I really wanted to use 3″ square, the heavy duty look and feel just seemed necessary. Building two of these tables was mostly a challenge for one reason, symmetry. They had to be, exactly the same height and exactly the same depth so they lined up perfectly in the shop. This is fine, but to be honest, I just don’t have the best work space to try and get perfection when it comes to level and square.

I picked up some Casters from Affiliated Caster here in Denver. They just always have everything you could possibly want. Full locking swivel casters with a tacky rubber wheel makes these tables grip the floor and never slip. If you decide you want to wrench on something, these are not moving.

My welds are looking pretty decent, I would never say that I am an instagram welder, you’ll likely never see me walking the cup on any of my welds, but hey, I can be proud of these and I know they aren’t coming apart!

The next trick was getting these from the shop to my work. At 8’6″ long by 3′ deep, this wasn’t fitting on my personal trailer. So I rented a Uhaul to deliver these. They are completely raw, no clear coat. The patina should protect them in the future. Once delivered Jody Proctor cut some Melamine tops for them (please trust me, I wanted to do anything but Melamine) and we installed them in their new home.

What happens when you get your Citizenship?

After years of paperwork and the diligence of Cathey, Paul is a citizen of the USA. First, some back story:

Paul is from Australia, he is however known as “Canadian Paul.” There is a long story, originating in Mexico that starts this whole name off, but none the less, Canadian Paul= the Australian.

So when Canadian Paul from Australia got his US citizenship we determined a special treat was needed. Evan Chute put together the appropriate flag. We call it the USaustranadian flag:

Now I can’t leave well enough alone, so I was at the shop and thought: Hmm, how can I make this even more fun. So I built a wooden box to deliver both some flag decals and a metric tape measure. The wooden box seemed a bit to bland. As I was starting to rethink the box I realized, it just didn’t look like a present. How in the world can I make it look more like a present? Well, I think a Bow is needed… I dug around in the scrap and determine, it was going to be a Steel Bow.

Twisting up some steel and tacking a bolt on the back of it, I was able to bolt the bow onto the box lid for a nice original gift. Needless to say I put a pile of screws in the lid so Paul had to remove the lid with tools.

Server Cabinet

For a long time I have looked at a row of server boxes, sitting on a table, in the kitchen of my work. They were exposed to people, they were exposed to potential accidents. When we were remodeling our kitchen one of the owners said: I want one of those sprayers so we can wash our dishes. So I made reference to where that sprayer might be pointed if for some reason something bad happened. he turned around and saw the row of servers. Now we had two projects on our hands. Finish the kitchen… and design a server rack!

Server racks are readily available, if you have rack mounted servers! Unfortunately we had all individual towers and this posed a challenge. We needed to be able to house at least 7 servers plus battery backups and some other odds and ends! All of this needed to stay cool but protected. So I spent a little time in Sketchup and was able to put together a plan. Once I acquired materials I set to work putting this thing together. Most of these projects take nearly as much time cutting as they do building. So after quite a bit of time on the band saw I was left with this pile of steel.

Assembly of the chassis of this server rack was pretty simple, keep everything square and get it all tacked up. Once I got all the welds on it I started assembling my secret ingredients. I used a sheet of perforated steel and used my bead roller to put some details in the sides. These details not only make the steel stiff, but they also just give it a little more of that quality custom look.

This thing is big. I mean really big, it is certainly able to fit in our building with no issues, but in order to accomodate these servers it is tall and heavy. With a sheet metal top to protect in case of a roof leak in the building, perforated steel sides and heavy duty casters it was no joke getting this into a uhaul to get it moved up to its final resting place.

Finally, once installed I picked up a piece of smoked acrylic sheet and fit it as a door for the front. This gives it some protection where the perforated steel sides, shelves and open back give it great cooling.

This thing is heavy duty and solidly protects all of our servers. Next step. Rewire the whole building.

10/15/2016 update: I finally got around to rewiring the server rack, all wires in and out of our DSL and Cable modem (redundant systems and backups) The word on the street is 15% increase in speed. I discovered a few pretty incredibly old wires as well which really made me think that we dodged a bullet. If one of those wires failed I am certain we would have had massive problems and who knows how long it would have taken to figure it out. The system is entirely on Cat6 cabling now which replaced all cat 5 cabling.

Making my bike Unique

You may have seen that I started a project a year or so ago and I built myself a 1970 Schwinn Collegiate. Nearly immediately I started working on a rack for the back of it. However with the bug build going strong I have had too much going on to really commit much time to this one so I put the parts up on the top shelf at our shop and haven’t really had much time to pull it back down again. Today I was down at the shop and figured I would start doing a bit of tinkering again on the rack

I started by… cutting it all apart. Yeah, I decided to start over and I cut it down to size and started building it back up. I had a bit of a different idea in mind at this point and gave it a bit more style than it had. First, I cut the risers out and then chopped the back off both the top and bottom ring that I made originally. I had some extra tubing and made two half circles that I welded on the back end if the rack. With that work done I started fitting some wood panels on the sides. You may remember that I had an old explosives box to work with for the sides. I cut that and fit the panels.


Since the boxes were a bit splintered I had to do a bit of extra work on the one side in order to fill out the length of the rack. I ended up fitting some wood joints in order to make one piece a bit longer.


With the wood fitted and the rack taking shape I started looking at one of the ends that I had cut off and looking at the lines of the rack. I couldn’t help but tack it on to see how it looked, then I found myself welding it on and now it is part of the rack It gives the front a bit of style that the rack was needing.




Next up, I need to make a mold to make a bent ply base to the rack. I have the first template made and I need to locate some materials for this as well. Hopefully I can get my hands on this stuff in the next couple weeks. I’d love to get this on the bike ASAP.

Thanks for following along, I’ll have some more updates soon as I make the base, the mounting hardware and paint the rack as well.

Making a Rack

I built up a Schwinn a week or so ago and I just simply need something to carry my groceries on the back of it. There are lots of racks out there but… well I can’t leave well enough alone. So I had some extra steel at the shop and I also found a 1950’s High explosives box that John Grimberg gave me for this project as well.

Today I headed down to the shop to get started on this one. I don’t have all the parts that I need just yet but it is a great start. I started off with some 3 inch rings that I bought for this project. I could have bent the material, but it was definitely cheaper to buy rings and make corners out of those than it was to buy an Oxy-Ace torch!

Cruiser Rack

With the rings I just cut down some material and sanded it down to get a proper fit to my dimensions.

Cruiser Rack

In an effort to make this thing as square as possible I took my time and welded up each side using a template that I made in order to make sure they all end up at the same dimension. There is nothing quite as frustrating as getting some arbitrary pieces that aren’t square or matched in size. So these are all matched up and ready to go.

Cruiser Rack

With that done I measured out the dimensions on our welding table and tacked some ends down in order to make sure the dimensions stayed accurate then I cut the ends and tacked those in. I had the bike down there to keep an eye on things as well.

Cruiser Rack

Once the first ring was finished I clamped the sides of the second ring directly onto the finished first ring then tacked up the ends on that as well, it left me with two matched rings that will form the bottom and top of the rack.

Cruiser Rack

I called it a day after that. I need to get a 3 inch diameter tube soon in order to finish this project or I need to roll some sheet metal to a 3 inch diameter. Then I just need to weld up the top and bottom of the rack, set it up on the bike and fabricate the connections to the bike. I have some ideas for how that is going to work but I think I will cut a cardboard template in order to get it right the first time. Once all of that is done and welded I will then finish the steel and inset some wood on the sides. Hopefully it will finish up nicely and give some good character to the bike!

Cruiser Rack

Check back soon for the final product!

Carbon EVO Dash | Part 2

I don’t know why I forget this stuff, but I am remembering how much work making a mold is… Yeah. It is one of those things that I remember when I really think about it, but when I haven’t done it for a while I convince myself that it will just take a few hours.

If you haven’t seen part one of this build check it out here. This time I have been going layer after layer, working my way up and trying to get a nice smooth final product. There have been some tricky parts like the airbag area and the vent holes. In addition the portion that I have made with foam is a bit tricky as well, occasionally when you get beyond the bondo layer you find out what happened very quickly when you hit the soft foam! I reached a point where I needed a much better visual indicator of what was going on. So I had to put a coat of glossy paint on in order to see the lines better than I could with the flat primer. So I chose a red paint and painted it up. It gave away some issues immediately. There were some sanding marks that were a bit deeper than anticipated, some waves that I needed to sort out and basically it just did exactly what it needed to do.

Carbon EVO dash project

Carbon EVO dash project

Carbon EVO dash project

So I did a full wet sand on the part and really smoothed it out. some spots got all the way back to bondo again through the paint layer and the primer layer. Once I got it all smoothed out another layer of glossy red and WOW! what a difference! It looks very good right now. There are a few little imperfections, they are all pits and will actually be easier to fix in the mold itself so I am going to leave them and sand them out of the final mold.

After the mold was fully prepped we took aluminum tape to create the rest of the part. Basically the part needs draft, so using the tape is much faster and easier to shape for portions of the mold that we don’t care about. Plus it doesn’t really stick to the fiberglass, so that helps as well.

Carbon EVO dash

Carbon EVO dash

Carbon EVO dash

I believe that there will be two more parts to this project, one more for the mold making and one more part for the final part that we pull off the mold. Check back soon!

Carbon EVO Dash… Part 1

Well, I always find my way into various projects. It is funny, the more things you say yes too the more that you can learn. So with that in mind I set off to make a new dash for the Kern Racing Pikes Peak EVO.

For those of you not familiar with this car, I have built a few parts for the Kerns already. Last year I worked on their Aero Package and in the last few years the Kerns, piloting this car, have held the record for the Time Attack 4wd class at Pikes Peak. This team is unstoppable with the proper equipment and I am happy to be able to help them with their quest.

This year they are switching to Pikes Peak Open. This allows them a few more options in lightening the vehicle. Weight is a huge advantage in racing. Lotus has a saying “performance through light weigh” this saying just means that you don’t need as much power if you have less to move. So with the new possibilities every option needs to be considered. So Dave has been working on ideas. Remove brackets, replace windows with lexan, remove lights, remove dash…. wait. We can’t remove the dash, we need that to block reflections from the windshield. we need it to hold critical components like the speedometer and switches that we need. So instead it needs to be a composite dash of some sort. Now to give you an idea, the current dash weighs in at 38lbs. That is a lot of weight! Why does it weight that much you ask? Well, glovebox, vent plumbing, plastic bits, tabs, mounting brackets and more stuff that isn’t needed in a race car all add up pretty fast. With a carbon dash, we should be able to get that down to about 2 lbs! 36lbs of weight savings!

So to start I began with the original dash. This is to provide the form of the dash that we will end up with rather than try to duplicate it out of foam. The first steps were to mount this to a board, and begin creating the form of the underside of the dash. This dash will have a slightly different shape than the original in order to minimize material and make it very stiff and light.

Carbon Dash Project

I started shaping the foam and coating it with bondo in order to create a nice solid surface to create the mold from. Any factory dash is going to have texture to it and I needed to eliminate that texture. So coating it with bondo while starting to fill in the holes was pretty crucial. We are eliminating all of the vents on this dash except for the defrost vent. This one we will still need!

Carbon Dash Project

Carbon Dash Project

After the first layers of bondo a lot of sanding goes on, I kept smoothing this thing down so that the dash shape stays the same. I don’t want to lose the form of the dash while slathering it with all this bondo, so I figure work my way up slowly. Once I got to a point that I felt comfortable I started filling in gaps. Vents on the sides were the first stop.

Carbon Dash Project

The vent holes on the front needed to be filled next, so a piece of foam went in and bondo was applied over top. This is a bit complicated because we really want to make sure the shape holds true to the shape that the dash gives us already. The last thing I’d want is for someone to be able to identify where the vents were at one point.


Slowly I built up layers and sanded them back to get the shape correct. Over a few attempts I got this thing pretty close.


I am sure you can see that there are a lot of colors going on now. Primer grey, bondo (grey), glazing putty (white) and the actual dash (black). All these colors start taking away the visual cues of the lines that you are looking for when you are trying to make a part. So the best plan is always to coat it again every once and a while. get a good idea what it looks like in one color and start working hard at the areas that need improvement. I knew that I wasn’t ready to be done, but I really wanted to see where I needed to work the hardest so I did a quick coat of primer. Nice and heavy and this time I did black so it would give a good visual indicator.




I am sure you can see that there are some inconsistencies in this thing. It isn’t perfect by any means and it isn’t perfectly straight or anything. But this is getting very close. I have a bit more sanding to do, I have a bit more bondo to do and hopefully in the next day or two I will be able to finish up this part of the project so I can start waxing it and pulling a mold off this buck. Check back for the next part. If you have any questions, post them up! I’ll try to answer them.



Oh, notice as well, all the seams are filled, all the switch locations are filled and everything is pretty close to smooth. Details are next!

Check out Part 2 of this project here

In the Kitchen

I don’t know how I find my way into these projects, but I manage too. This one started with a coworker. He knew that I have made molds for fiberglass before so naturally I am the best choice for helping to make a counter for his kitchen! Of course I started coming up with grandiose ideas and designs but they all simplified into a relatively simple form. I can’t take credit for the majority of the labor, but I helped with the forms. I helped with the finish and most importantly, I helped with the installation… WOW!

These counters came out great and now make me think that I need some for my own place… maybe that is crazy, but wow they are really nice, very unique and definitely set the tone for the house. Here are a couple more photos. I will be taking more when the wax sealer is put on later this week.



Sculpture? Art? Ice Cubes?

I have always been a fan of urban art. I do have this small issue with things like “breaking the law” and “vandalizing property.” Yeah, call me snotty or whatever but I guess I have this sense that maybe I can participate without any permanent alteration of a current location. How could I create something that people could enjoy and maybe even catch people off guard without creating a permanent mark on the area?


That question boggled my mind for a while. I spend time on looking at peoples art. some of it doesn’t provide a permanent mark, but may blow away becoming another piece of litter in the street. Some of it leaves behind a permanent mark that, though beautiful, may not be welcomed by the owner of the location. So finally the idea was born. What material could become this urban art. What material could both serve the purpose of stimulating ideas and trigger emotions in people but would also completely disappear without any sign in the future. Water.

My project began with molding processes. Creating molds of my hand and my friend Matt’s hand. We created Ice hands.

These have incredible detail. Every wrinkle and every detail in my hand was transferred to the mold.

Last year I created many of these hands but they stayed local. I never was able to transport them effectively and therefore I could never really get them out beyond my neighborhood. So this year i decided that I needed something that was smaller, more portable and easier to assemble. I looked high and low and created gears. Gears! How simple and how nice to be able to create dynamic assemblies! Maybe one day I can make the function as well.


The beautiful thing about these gears is their simplicity. Individually they are interesting, they have nice detail and they are clearly precise parts, but together they take on an organic shape, they contour to the landscape and they interact with the other gears to create a chain or even an organism of some sort that is able to traverse the contours that it is crossing.


As they melt they begin to take on their own life as well. They sink and fall and they separate and find their own way to dissolve into nothing.


It is difficult dealing with ice however, it sticks together, it melts and it basically does everything very quickly. Transportation isn’t easy. Coolers aren’t good enough usually, but I am working on a plan. Hopefully there will be some new sculptures out in time for the Art Walk in Denver. Hopefully the weather cooperates… I guess you never know but more pictures will surely follow.