Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's Hard To Resist

The sandblasting was a success! It was a totally new thing and I was really afraid I would mess up the whole project, but I am really happy with how it turned out.

So here is how it went: I printed out the script on the computer. For the Lady Liberty motto, I chose a font that I felt was appropriate for the statue. For the badge, I just used a photo of the badge and enlarged it to the proper size. Then I taped the pieces with the words to the back of the glass. This is probably not the best way to do it because the thickness of the glass distorts the print, but I was careful to look directly down through the glass when cutting out the resist.

Resist is a clear plastic made specifically for sandblasting which can be cut with a craft knife. It adheres to the glass and won't get blown away in the blasting process. After burnishing it onto the glass, I used an electric stencil cutter (like a tiny hot needle) and cut out the letters. After peeling off the parts that I didn't want, I cleaned up any rough edges with an exacto knife, and carefully burnished off any burrs. This part was tricky because you don't want to displace any little pieces that are supposed to remain, or the whole thing is ruined and you have to start over.

Then I put resist on the back of the pieces so that any flying blasting medium wouldn't cloud the glass.

I borrowed a small siphon sandblaster from Ruth Doumit, a very talented glass and ceramics artist who advised me on this part of the project. I made a temporary sandblasting cabinet from a large plastic storage bin. I put the glass down at the bottom inside of the bin, covered the edges of the bin with pieces of wood and just reached in and blasted away.

Definitely low tech, and I'm sure there is a lot of snickering and eye-rolling going on someplace, but that's ok. I'll be the first to stand up and say I have no clue what I'm doing. There is some stunning sandblast art going on out there, and this isn't it. This is just fundamental script. When I win the lottery I might get some real sandblasting equipment, but I just needed something simple for this project.

I wish I had a picture of me in my sandblasting outfit cause it was quite the fashion statement. I had a bandanna tied over my hair "Lucy" style. I had safety glasses, dust mask, longsleeved shirt buttoned at the neck and sleeves, and gloves. It wasn't enough. Next time I'll get a sandblasting hood.

The banner is on the Lady Liberty.

The badge number here has been replaced with a tribute to September 11, 2001.

So here it is in rough form. I still have to put zinc u-came around each one. Ed is building a cedar frame for the finished piece. I'll probably spend hours cleaning and polishing the glass before it is mounted.

We'll probably get it all together next weekend. Ed will drive down for his last week at work and take it with him. I've had this project on my mind for several years and it feels good to actually put it together.

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