Trefor Prest Sculpture

the process of making my sculpture

Category: mechanicalsculpture


Work has been progressing steadily on the new piece. Now it is at the finishing off stage, where all the parts which have come together in a rough, aproximate way have to be made to fit proerly and their positions finalised. It’s also the time when the shortcomings become apparent, those areas that did not live up to the initial flush of excitement they started with.

But, I have given it my best shot and, even though it did not come out quite as I thought it might I am pleased with the result.


This shot shows the two skins of the wing which has finally been welded together, prior to sanding


Here I am bending the pipe from the inner element.


And here is the finished element.


In the last post I thought I had some idea of the way this piece was going. It’s going somewhere else now, things have gone off in a new direction and instead of a pair of wings I am concentrating on one. Maybe the other one will also develop later and they will become twins. And maybe not.


I began making this skeletal ghost wing to echo the wing itself. Brass bar was shaped and welded together: it’s still pretty rough at this stage.


Here the two have come together with a knuckle, under my thumb.You will notice that the two halves of the copper wing have not yet been welded together. I will leave that until later, in case there are any changes to the wing itself.


This is as far as I have got. The structure going down to the base is starting to come together but is still in flux, as indeed is everything else at this stage.

Starting somewhere

The next stage was the making of two “wings”. This is how they were made.


First a length of  3/4″ brass bar was tapered in the lathe, after a hole was drilled and tapped in the wide end.


Then this bar was bent into shape with a lot of trial and error.(out of focus – sorry)


The rest of the frame is fabricated, bent to shape, then welded together, again with a fair bit of trial and error.


the outer skin I shaped without a mould this time, hammering it out then fitting it to the frame.

wings inner

This is the inside of the wings. They are both a little different , I try to avoid symmetry.


And this is how I imagine it will shape up. Of course there is another element which I have not started yet and this will be the major part. Maybe I should have made that first. But you have to start somewhere.

Hopes and Material


Here is the result of the last few days work in the shed. The photos below show how I made the two swivel pieces on the ends – The larger, central horseshoe piece was made in a similar way.


Most of the work up to this stage has been done on the milling machine. I started with a block cut from a brass bar.


The block has had a 1″ wide slot cut to accept the 1″ wide pin which will fit into it


I have now drilled the block to accept the pivot pin attachment shaft. This is the sort of operation which would have been quite tricky for me in years gone by but with the mill a high degree of accuracy is possible.


The outer shape of the part is produced on the lathe after shaping the cut away with a belt and disc sander.


The pivot pin is turned from a length of 1″ bar which I have drilled for the attachment bar and right through the middle for the pin attachment screw.

new part


This is the assembled part. The one on the other side was made the same way.

The assembly I have made will I hope be the connection point for several elements in a sculpture which is developing. I have little more than a vague idea of how it might turn out, an aspiration rather than a plan. At this stage everything is up in the air and subject to the interaction between the hopes and the material.