Aluminum

Aluminum at the Design Museum

Here is teeny tiny writing but worth the read, since it gives a little background history and who took pains to design with it.

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Pile o’ aluminum

Aluminum bin at Action Welding

Arlette

It is week three or four?

‘Arlette’ is tired. She is having her ‘soul’ replenished and renewed. Her steel tanks came first and then ‘Arlette’ built around them. Two large heavy fuel tanks that are ‘done’ ready for removal and replaced by custom made aluminum tanks that are built to hold the maximum amount of fuel for her. Heavy vs light, immoveable vs mobile, it is a natural progression to go to aluminum so she can live happily ever after.

I wonder how it will lighten her load? Will she sail on easier and swifter than ever? Jim the boss man and Olie the whistling welder spear head the whole venture. It is a challenge that not many would take on. A very particular kind of job that requires a good amount of thinking and understanding about three-dimensional space accompanied by skill in fabricating and the physical and mental strength and fortitude to pull it off.

My job is to assist, to make it easier. To pass the ‘surgeon’ a zip cutter, a light, to hold a pipe wrench, a tape measure then to clear the area of any debris and then change the zip disc. My child like curiosity gives me a buzz, to others I am an anomaly, a bit of a mystery.

To break the stern silence of this ‘brutish’ occupation as Jim calls it, is part of my undertaking while I work.  This realm is new territory for me and I like the challenge accompanied by discovery and adventure—it gives me new found energy to work really hard. The most important thing to me is that I remain willing to learn.

The sound of aluminum

Since the new dock went up and the permanent pylons forever cast in the ground, there has been a new sound at Garry Point of an unwelcome nature.

It is the sound of the swaying aluminum ramp as the waves from a sailing vessel sweep under. It stands alone and is rather reminiscent of something you want to put down in order to let it out of its misery.

Without a warm characteristic hum or drone, it is like a horribly out of tune instrument that does not know quite how to fit in.

“As a musician for over 40 years I have heard a lot of ugly sounds in my life time, from ear piercing microphone feedback through a 500 watt P.A. system, to out of tune instruments playing out of time.

I must say however the offensive squawk of the Garry Point Aluminum bridge is now included in my top ten list. Walking down the bridge slowly gave me the creepy feeling that I was walking through a gauntlet of GIANT and very angry crows.

Standing in the base of the bridge made me think of what aluminum might sound like if it had flatulence…”Aluminum Flatulence,” also a good name for a “Light Metal Band”. Standing on the float the squawks created a vision in my mind of a very LARGE Siamese cat in heat. From the middle of the Park the squawks sounded more like squeaks.These squeaks introduced an image in my mind of an older upstairs couple copulating very slowly and carefully on a broken box spring mattress.

I hope any one who reads this will now see these images in their mind as well, when their ears are assaulted. Lets hope that City Council doesn’t promote the bridge as Steveston tourist attraction.”—Ted Hesketh, Musician and Visual Artist

I am hoping that as long as I live close enough to hear the waves, the dredger and working tugs that it will blend into the milieu of industrial sounds that I daily listen to, yet somehow I have a feeling it is going to take awhile.

If it were possible I wish to find a way of tuning it to give it a slightly more appealing voice which harmonizes with the natural sounds of Garry Pt. Maybe now that I am working at Action Welding I can learn from Jim all the secrets to working with aluminum. Come to think of it, I don’t think they make tuning forks out of aluminum, hmm, then again maybe they do.

Aluminum is characteristically somewhat hollow and lightweight depending on the weight of it and a premium metal for marine fabrication, many years ago dubbed “the miracle metal” by those working in the industry. There may well be a few instruments out there, I’ll get back to you on that!

ps: I did find a beautiful double bass…

Available at: 1stdibs