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Makers Journal | Sept 2020

November 02, 2020

Makers Journal | Sept 2020

We've been sharing a post every Sunday that focuses on behind the scenes stories, processes and studio life

Sept 13 -- Wet polishing

Daylight is fading away faster and the air is getting cooler...wet polishing is priority for us right now before the temps hit freezing. With no water piped to the workshop we use the outside well to hook up the polisher. Several of our homewares pieces require this type of polishing. The Konkret Knife blocks get the bottoms flattened, edges of the Aroma Haus's get smoothed out, and the Konkret Platz gets some nice chamfered corners .  Focus is placed on these pieces during the warm months and the stockroom shelves are almost filled for the upcoming holiday season and will carry us through the winter months until the ground once again thaws in the spring.  When the weather warms up and the water hose is once again hooked up to the outdoor well pump the wet polishing will start again.  Maybe one day we will pipe the water to the workshop, but then it becomes a question of space and where to set-up a wet polishing station. Space is always in high demand.  In a way, these pieces mark the change of season for the studio and we shift from our hibernation in the shop to once again standing out in the warm sun filled yard with the water hose and the spray mist cooling us off, polishing concrete pieces for the upcoming year.

 #studiolife #concretedesign #designermaker

Mix master Kim!

Sept 20 -- Dance Partner

25 tonnes is how much cement we mixed up with the Collomix last year. For reference, that's close to the weight of 4 male African elephants who come in at around 7 tonnes each, give or take. We have 3 mixers ( a single Collomix as a back back-up and 2 duo paddles, which are my go to favourites) The duo paddles make mixing physically smoother and it allows for easier control around the bucket and through the mix.

Dancing? Yes, because the trick is to not control the movement of the mixer and paddle in the bucket with your upper body, because that will get old real fast , and you’ll feel the wear and tear of it on your joints if your mixing and pouring daily. The trick is to move yourself from side to side around the bucket... like that highschool slow dance shuffle 🤣

That way the movement and the paddles are doing most of the work. I've also found it leads to less snagging/gouging out of the bottom and side of the bucket which is never a good situation in the middle of a mix, 1. BIG MESS and 2. Trying to find bucket bits while you're already working against the clock to get it in the mold before it starts to kick...extra stress you don't need.

I'm always looking for good tunes to "dance to" so if you've got a favourite artist or song, please share it in the comments!

#designermaker #concrete #studiolife

 Forming our opinion on stainless steel

Sept 27 -- Molds

Working with concrete for over 10 years has taught us a lot, about the material with many successes as well as a few failures along the way.

Cement and aggregate as raw materials have a large carbon footprint and to improve that we have researched and designed our mixes to be up to 60% greener by replacing aggregate with post-consumer expanded recycled glass.

Molds play a leading role when working with concrete and can also have a large carbon footprint depending on the materials used and what kind of casting is offered.

Our concrete work is largely “collection focused“ allowing us to create long lasting molds that can be used for years, dramatically reducing our environmental impact and one-off molds ending up in the landfills.

Casting (most of it) requires a "mold" or barrier to pour and make a desired shape.

  • sand molding into a pit of sand
  • plywood board forming
  • urethane
  • silicone
  • melamine
  • foam
  • fiber-glass
  • Stainless steel

Investigating different materials and molding methods have guided our approach and technique to be as sustainable as possible when designing and making our molds out of stainless steel, rubber and fibreglass.  All highly durable and long lasting.

The Platform Collection molds are made of individual stainless steel panels that can be interchangeable depending on the piece from the collection being cast. They are clamped,  prepped with mold release, the edges are waxed and then caulked with silicone and troweled ( edged to a soft corner) a foam/steel insert is set in to create the hollow space and then the mold is ready to cast.
Over 2 years old already, these steel panels have a long casting life ahead of them.

It is definitely an investment upfront but the quality of the cast and reducing our impact on the environment is well worth it.

#concretedesign #productdesign





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