Sunday, May 8, 2016

Preparing metal for etching

The weekend has in part been used to progress the post commission (well one post and what will be one seat). Sanded the four ends of the logs I had cut to size - but more about that at the end of the post.
©2016 Barry Smith - Detail of resist designs ready for etching
The important thing for me next was to: cut the metal panels; sand the metal to a brushed finish; and transfer the images to the metal so that Fiona and I can do a big bath etch during the week.

The metal (3mm aluminium sheet) was pretty dirty from being stored in the carport at the shed. Marked up ready for cutting with the angle grinder and fine reinforced offcut blade.

©2016 Barry Smith - Dirty aluminium - marked for cutting
The offcut blade tends to leave quite a large burr on the metal so all edges needed filing and sanding.

©2016 Barry Smith - Burr left from cutting blade
The final outcome though is clean brush finished plate.

©2016 Barry Smith - Clean filed and sanded metal ready for resist
I marked up the designs using paint marker pens and on the bigger areas needing blocking in I used some of Fiona's thick liquid shellac. The paint pen and shellac provide the resist when etching.

There are two 1.15mX.15m panels; one 1.15mX.2m panel and lots of odds and sods - all will find a home on the two timber pieces.

The theme of the work is water, plants and trees; but the client requested hands be featured somewhere as the post and seat are to commemorate a community environment project. The hands and small leaf panel will go on the seat along with a plaque.

©2016 Barry Smith
©2016 Barry Smith
I got to sand the ends of the posts - got Fiona to help me stand them up and turn them over - very heavy.  Used a 40 and 80 grit 'sand-paper' in my belt sander for the job - pretty heavy on the hands and arms. Still the outcome is good.
©2016 Barry Smith - Belt sander on post
©2016 Barry Smith- Lovely fault in the top of the post - will be covered by an aluminium plate.
©2016 Barry Smith- Timber wax on the base of the post after sanding to seal in moisture and prevent cracking.
Enough for a weekend - I'll see how it progresses during the week.


  1. Hi Barry, I'm new to your blog. Hello! I look forward to following your work. Warm regards from Canada, Holly

  2. Love seeing your woody, rusty, outdoor work space. Look forward to seeing the unfolding of this piece.

  3. Exciting, wish I was closer and could see it.

  4. You are quite the creative artist, Barry!

  5. Hi H, VA, P and OE - thanks for checking out the progress of the post sculptures; and leaving your comments. H - thanks for taking the time to check out my blog - I hope you find somethings of interest over time. I studied fold forming in Canada. VA - had a smile regarding your wood-rust comments - that is so the backdrop to my work. P - sad you can't visit. OE - thank you for your positive comment - love your reflections - we need as the optimism we can muster in todays world. All - go well. B

  6. Your designs are wonderful Barry...


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