Saturday, April 25, 2009

Making Progress on the Weather Vane

Kona Coast, Hawaii

I'm making pretty good progress on the Weather Vane project. I've changed my plane ticket to May 12 - the day after the Higashihara County Park reopens.
I've found a source for the copper sheeting to make my ocean and whales out of:
Gordon Sheet Metal Inc, 73-5600 Kauhola Street; Kailua Kona, HI 96740-2686 Phone: (808) 329-7225
The guys there were helpful and even gave me some samples of two different thickness to experiment with so I could figure out what will work best for me. I also did research on the web (not the easiest thing to do when you are camping and even out of cell phone range). I've found places where I can order parts for the bottom part of the weather vane including the N E S W directional letters and the small and large copper balls that go above and below the letters and seem to be standard part of weather vanes. Down at the harbor I found a machine shop where I can get a five foot long 3/4" stainless steel rod and a small piece of 3/4" stainless steel pipe to go inside the copper vane and act as the rotating bearing.

Yesterday afternoon I road my mountain bike down the trail from Hookena to the Pu'Uhonaunau National Park (Also known as the Place of Refuge since back in the days when the Hawaiians ruled this place you could escape being clubbed to death for sins like seeing the shadow of the King by getting to there before they caught you). Right up the coast is "Two Step" a well known diving and snorkeling spot where, back in 2002, I put my Petroglyph Turtle down 28' below the ocean surface on the sand next to the big "ALOHA" spelled out in cement blocks.

If you want to see more about the Turtle click here and it will take you to what I wrote back then.

Anyway, on the ride back over the lava it occurred to me that a bike petal would be a great way to make the swivelling connection between the fixed 3/4" rod and the rotating weather vane: bike petals have long lasting sealed bearings, are very strong, and rotate freely even with an unbalanced load. This would mean that I wouldn't have to worry about having the sculpture be balanced at the pivot point. I also like the idea putting something to do with biking in the sculpture since mountain biking has been a large part of this Hawaii Adventure. Mounting the petal (and the vane attached to it) would be easy: all you have to do is tap the top end of the 3/4" rod to fit the threads on on the bike petal (which normally screws into the end of the cranks).

With the tools I got yesterday I started cutting and banging the copper sheet. That seems to be going pretty well, but so far I'm having trouble soldering pieces together, so after breakfast I got a different type of solder (acid core with a lot of lead in it - definitely not to be used for potable water plumbing) and we'll try that this afternoon.

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