A little light relief - workshop
When not sculpting I nowadays spend most of my time as a marker of whatever I am asked to make. I will never shy away from whatever the project is as I always love a challenge and trying something new. Last weeks project was to make a light fixture planter thingy for an office. They wanted something rustic and unusual. So I gave it to them.
I have to say I was quite happy with the way it turned out and I think I built it well enough to be safe.
Mixing water-thirsty plants with electricity did have me a bit concerned but when the client insisted on having real plants I had to make sure I engineered it keeping them as far away from each other as possible.
I got this big rafter from an architectural salvage warehouse after some searching. I was looking for the most gnarly bit of timber I could find and this was the best I could find. I was told it was pine but I knew it was a bit more exotic than that based on its weight.
I really didn't like cutting it but I needed to keep the weight and size down. I still have the rest and may be able to use it for other projects and help to recoup some of the costs. It was €80 which for pine is not too bad. Of course, on cutting it I knew that it wasn't a cheap softwood but maybe teak or mahogany. Meaning that I got it for a great price.
This chunk was really heavy so I set about trying to lighten it and also create a trough for the planter and wiring. This was done with a mixture of brute force and power tools. My God this wood was hard and I had to be careful so as not the hit any hidden nails which I found with a magnet.
I left a rim around the edges which I used to run the electric wires as I tried to keep them as far away from the plants put as possible. Of course, I don't have any images of that so you will just have to take my word for it that it was neat tidy and safe. All the wires went into a waterproof junction box which had one wire coming in for power.
I used heavy metal screws and chains to connect it to the roof. I was pretty confident that they were all quite strong but for safety and to not have to take on the responsibility I did ask that the client get a proper builder and electrician to install it. Although they did it exactly the way I would have I was glad that it wouldn't fall on me if it fell on someone in the office.
After lots of searching, I found the best and cheapest option for the bulb holders were from Ikea. At €10 each, they were cheap enough but silver so I gave them a sand and a lick of spray paint to make them look a bit more rustic. The bulbs themselves were nearly 70 quid which took nearly all profit out of the job for me but I am a terrible businessman and will usually take a cut just to make sure the client is happy.
One last thing I did to the wood was to brush on some black boot polish. This helped bring up the grain and give it some sort of preservative finish.
The client seemed really happy with the way it turned out and I hope I can sell her on another one. The plants are in a separate tub sitting on top and as long as the person who waters makes sure to not spill everything should be fine.
It can be very difficult to visualise this type of thing until it is actually installed and altogether so, I tried to make sure it was modular as possible so that if changes needed to be made I can easily do them without having to take the whole thing down again.
It sure was a relief when it all came together like it was in my head and you never know maybe I can start a whole new side business.