I was pretty happy with the way this one turned out: it is both solid and (semi) functional.
As you can see, this is a pretty minimal piece. I’ve always found that minimalism ups the ante when it comes to fastening and quality of execution. Each joint was problematic. The base is a 6”x6”x30” piece of laurentian green granite. My initial plan was to have 3 square holes waterjetted through the granite and to place the tubing through the granite. After being surprised by the cost of the waterjet ($800!), I had to come up with a different approach. I decided to bolt them on fastened with nuts on the other side (sketch below). However, since the base is granite, I knew that my little hammer drill wasn’t going to get me very far.
I ended up renting a Hilti TE 76 from Home Depot for less than $100 (including drill bits) and was able to drill all three half-inch holes in about 10 minutes. This drill was a truly amazing piece of equipment.
Assuring proper alignment of the post to the base can only happen with a machine cut surface, so I moved the internal nuts an inch up the post and drilled four holes, welded shims on the nuts for a fairly tight fit and then welded the shim/nut assembly to the post and ground it flat -- a flat surface like that is pretty easy to maintain with hand tools.
For me, with my limited welding skills, welding posts to plates always induces warping in the plate (I’m not so bad that I warp the post!). This was a classic “weld and bang it flat” situation, and even after flattening I had complete bond failures when I released the clamps. I solved this by:
- Better surface prep.
- Clamping everything in place, aligning the post, unclamping, gluing (epoxy) and then reclamping.
Steel was finished with Jax Iron, Steel & Nickel Blackener- from the Compleat Sculptor, a good resource for these types of things.