2011 - Volume #35, Issue #4, Page #02[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Office Table Made From Old Wrenches
"I do metal sculpture on the side," Stern explains. "I like to use tools to create functional art." His business card holder is made of wrenches, and his home is filled with funky tool art. An old crank drill rolls out toilet paper. An air horn blasts when someone rings the doorbell. A bowl of welded washers holds fruit. Gears, wrenches and other odd parts become decorative sunflowers after Stern finishes with them.
The table started with a bunch of wrenches he bought on eBay. A friend gave him an old engine block.
"I spent two weeks taking it apart," Stern says. "It was rusted together, and I'd go home and pound on it in the evening." He used the crankshaft for the table's central column and the six pistons to support the table's glass top.
After cleaning the wrenches with a wire brush, he welded a 42-in. ring of wrenches around the outside. He used three large striking wrenches for the legs. The first time he set it upright, one of the legs broke off. He had to level the legs again after he softened the hard steel of the crankshaft with an acetylene torch and got a better weld. Stern used steel angle stock, shims and bottle jacks to level everything up and tried to place the wrench names up so they could be read.
"There's nothing valuable," Stern says. "I like wrenches that have curves and interesting shapes."
He sprayed the finished piece with several coats of clear coat, which makes it shiny and provides almost a cushion between the pistons and the glass top.
The 150-lb. table was a hit as soon as he rolled it into the office on wheels he had wisely attached.
"It definitely can be a distraction," he admits. "People tell stories about working on cars, and one guy knew right away what engine the pistons are from."
He enjoys the memories and stories his wrench table inspires.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Eric Stern, 3201 S. 76th St., Philadelphia, Penn. 19153 (ph 215 586-3493; email@example.com).
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