|Project by Eric M. Saperstein||posted 09-01-2012 10:54 PM||1051 views||0 times favorited||6 comments|
Roebling Wire Works is an iconic part of the history of Trenton, NJ since 1848 – one of the stars of the slogan “Trenton Makes the World Takes.” The Trenton campus remains mostly abandoned, but signs of life and hope are regained with the success of the Roebling market and occupation of some of the buildings by state offices. The Roebling complex is now the annual site of Trenton’s “Art All Night” extravaganza; a 24hr experience of all forms of art and media encouraging local artists to show the world that Trenton has talent.
The pens shown here are hand turned by Marc Dowdell – the wine stoppers I turned (Eric Saperstein) These are a few sample projects illustrate a small piece of history. The wood used to make these pens and wine stoppers is old growth Douglas fir, salvaged from scraps of the massive floor beams that once held up the equipment and workers that created cabling for bridges across America. As you hold it, imagine the vibrations of machinery and the voices of men forging our nation’s infrastructure.
Artisans of the Valley is sponsoring a project to reclaim and utilize this material for various artistic creations to help encourage the development of the art community in Trenton, NJ. Artisans is one of the last formally trained 18th century furniture and restoration studios in New Jersey. Offering custom period and original design furniture, modern designs, museum quality antique restoration, furniture refinishing, woodcarving, sculpture, and folk art.
Now a little technical content – These beams are huge, covered in a thick layer of “something” and are cleaned up to reach the preserved heartwood. Douglas fir actually does turn (obviously) although it is a bit of a pain. This wood has a heavy feel of turpentine; which actually seemed to help the turning process.
Some of the he pens are on a 30 degree bias – giving that cool spiral effect in the grain. The stoppers are also mixed some cross and some straight grain. The technique to turn across the grain was a little hairy for the stoppers. I managed to develop my feel and approach to come in sort of like a bowl turning. The first few exploded and a couple chunks whacked me in the forehead.
Stay tuned – we’re going to put out some unique pieces with this material!
-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman www.artisansofthevalley.com