The Daily Grind

Aluminum Runes
Today I continued playing with the plasma cutter. Instead of steel, I had some aluminum and I made some additional pieces that will go on the statue that I started last week. And since that didn’t take very long, or use most of the aluminum, I started cutting other shapes out.

Aluminum is much easier to cut with a plasma cutter than steel was. The aluminum I was using was about three times as thick as the steel I cut last week, but the flame went right through it easily, with none of the start-stop issues I had with the steel. If only aluminum was easier to weld, I would use it for all my projects.

As for the other shapes? My doodling around with the plasma cutter quickly started producing rune shapes. I tried to make them small and sometimes ended up losing a bit too much detail. I made a few of the easier shapes (laguz in particular) several times and then started branching out.

By the time I was done I’d done about ten different shapes off the top of my head. I’m not one of those folks whose studied the runes intensively and has them memorized, so I didn’t get them all, but I got enough to see if I’d like the result.

Once I was done cutting them out, it was time to grind. Oh, the grinder. We grind in these closet-sized, outdoor grinding booths (for obvious reasons). It was about 90 degrees today. So as you might imagine, it was not exactly comfortable.

It was, however, oddly meditative. Each rune got clamped down for me to grind one half, then the other. It was repetitive. Aside from making sure I wasn’t accidentally creating razor-sharp runes, it didn’t require much thought. Just grind-turn-grind. Then grab the next one.

I suppose “oddly meditative” is a pretty good state of mind to be in when you’re making runes. I’m fairly pleased with the result, and I think I’ll be returning to them next week if I have time.

Why wouldn’t I have time? Well, the other thing I did today was watch one of my classmates, a former drawing/painting instructor who’s been doing metal art for nine years, make a copper bowl. The results were gorgeous and she encouraged me to try it for myself next week if I’m interested. I won’t directly mimic her style, I’m more interested in the process itself, which I’ll write up in another post.

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