The making of Art Post

With the successful sale of Art Posts to the restaurant that takes art seriously, Manchester based Steak of the Art, for their Bristol and Cardiff restaurant galleries, it was time to produce a new batch.

Art Posts are made in batches of as many units as I can afford, to keep the unit price as low as I can, and I’ve taken the opportunity to record the process. I hope this conveys that, although the Art Post is a simple system to use, the details that make them work so well are the result of many production stages.

Wood and Steel

The woodwork is the fundamental part of the system. The excellent Burbage Joinery in Kingswood, Bristol do the major part of the work. The accuracy of their equipment is the foundation of the clean look of the Art Posts. They’ve also been very accommodating in helping me to keep my bill down.

Simultaneously I have to place the order for the steel components. Laserit in Yate near Bristol have been very good in, not only producing the components efficiently and cleanly, but also during the development process in manufacturing the prototypes over the two years prior the launch in 2014. Producing the parts involves laser cutting, bending and welding; from the 12mm thick, 15Kg steel base, which provides the Posts stability with such a compact footprint, to the brackets that lighting can be clamped to.

Raw Art Posts

Raw Art Posts waiting to be collected from Burbage Joinery.

Finishing specialists

All the metal parts make a compact but very weighty pallet load which, when ready, I collect in my van and take straight to the local business that does the special finishing on the components. RPA Engineering have perfected the technique of shot blasting and lacquering for my parts, some of which are rather fiddly. I thought I was being very creative when I thought up the idea of having a protective clear lacquer over the bare, shot blasted metal. Test pieces had shown that a very fine texture was left by the blasting a bit like a metallic paint finish. I was keen to keep this smart but industrial effect. The technique can go wrong but RPA know what they’re doing and all was perfect.

The final out-sourced process is the engraving of the Art Post logotype. In a somewhat over specified process provided by Fourth Dimension Routing Limited, a four ton machine the size of a tall living room, with a moving head capable of carving complex three dimensional shapes in large pieces of wood, hovers gently over my posts and minutely and accurately replicates the design.

Art Posts components on a pallet

The pallet of steel Art Post components being put in to my van at Laserit.

The finishing touch

Finally its down to me for the finishing touches. Each Art Post receives 3 coats of Danish oil for a durable and good looking finish. Rubber protector discs are glued to the steel base plates, the cable grips are inserted and the lighting brackets are screwed to the tops. I haven’t properly worked out how long this takes as the Danish oil needs at least 6 hours between coats but I think its about one and a half hours, perhaps two, for each post. Ironically, it has been remarked about the ‘posts’ that they are unobtrusive which means viewers attention is concentrated on the artwork, it takes a lot of effort to achieve that anonymity. Now they’re finished and the four due to go to Steak of the Art will be delivered this week.

Engraved Art Post logo

The engraved logotype with Fourth Dimension’s five axis router.

Credit where its due

Laserit

Burbage Joinery

RPA Engineering

Fourth Dimension Routing Limited

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