Friday, May 15, 2015

For family on Friday

On my art to do list I have had a couple of art tasks to do for my brother and his wife: to turn three special vintage, but rusty, hammers into an assemblage: and to finish the small 'temple' bell I was making out of a small but thick walled aluminium gas cylinder.

©2015 Barry Smith - Detail of bell and Japanese mallet
We caught up for a couple of hours some weeks back and I made a commitment to myself that when the next art gap appeared I would do these tasks. We had discussed the form for the hammer assemblage - tripod in shape. Today was the day. I need Fiona's hands and eye and blutack to get the arrangement right; and to drill the holes for the bolt to hold it all together.

©2015 Barry Smith - Hammers 'tacked' in place; and drilled but not bolted
The  hammers were given a bit of straightening, good grind-clean; and then polish with metal polish and timber oil.

©2015 Barry Smith - The true beauty shines through
They were bolted together with a threaded rod and self locking nuts. The whole arrangement was set on a scrap of Camphor Laurel that was cut to size, sanded and polished with eco oil. The hammers have had one hole drilled in the handle of each - so they can be dis-assembled and used. The bolt and nuts have a degree of play in it so the hammers can be moved a bit to take on the tripod shape; and then lock in place and stand with no other fixture.

©2015 Barry Smith - Hammer assemblage on Camphor Laurel timber
©2015 Barry Smith - Hammer assemblage on Camphor Laurel timber
The bell was given a good grind to remove the thick blue paint - though I have left a few hints here and there - part of its history as are the stamped numbers etc. The threaded and drilled brass hanging arrangement was cut down and given more of a grind. And I covered visible brass thread with string; and added a white rope for hanging the whole thing up.

I have an old Japanese wooden metal working mallet - I'm thinking that could be the gong. I tested the mallet on the bell - it has a good resonance - bit crisp but that is the aluminium.

©2015 Barry Smith - Bell - about 30cm high and 15cm in diameter
©2015 Barry Smith - Bell and Japanese mallet
Now to make arrangements to deliver the pieces. But for now that is enough - Fiona suggests bubbles are the go for this Friday night.


  1. i love the experimentation and variety in your work. it is always fresh, but always unmistakably you. what kind of hammers are those? and were they used by your brother?

  2. Oh, B, I think I have hammer envy! When I see how beautifully they came up I see what I should be doing with my collection. Cleaning them, not necessarily turning them into a fabulous work of art, though that would be a lovely thing to do. Inspiring, as always.

  3. Hi J, MJ & C - thanks for checking out the hammers cant bell - and thanks for your comments. MJ - the hammers belonged to my brother's wife's father - in the early part of his life he was an upholster - he died at 90+ so the hammers are probably 75 years old. C - the grind and polish brings the art of the tools out - I'm sure you can get into it. All - go well. B

  4. Hammers are so beautiful! I wonder how old they are. They are so beautifully made too ... i imagine a middle aged man working with them in his work shack. Pretty darn romantic if you ask me ...


Comments are welcomed - it is good to connect with fellow travellers.