Clyde, The Fish by Mark Rafter

In late 2016 I attended a Welding Immersion workshop a The Crucible in Oakland. Five days of 10am to 10pm instruction and work time and access to one of the most complete metal working shops imaginable. They also bring in lunch and dinner so you didn’t have to leave or worry about that; it was awesome. I was pretty much there the full 12 hours except the last day, finishing 2 pieces and making good progress on 2 others, all fairly involved. The Crucible is highly recommended, I learned a lot.

I wanted to practice on thicker metal – plasma cutting, bending and welding. I decided to make a fish (who doesnt like fish?). I’ve always been drawn to art / logos with fish skeletons so that’s what I went with design-wise.

Two things of note in this piece. The base is unique; one of the instructors at the Crucible showed me this double twist technique. In this case it was with a 3/4″ square rod. 3/4″ might not sound like much, huh? Trying bending 22 gauge steel which is about 1/32″ … it’s not easy. Anyway, you put the rod in a vise and heat a section of it with an oxyacetylene torch then bend it clockwise with a 3/4 turn. Heat it again and then bend the opposite way (CCW). Repeating this until you have done most of the rod that you’ll be using. Then bend it into the shape you need, in my case as a stand for the fish.

The other nuance is the ribs of the fish were intentionally made like teeth (think of Bruce, the shark in Finding Nemo) to give the effect of a larger fish coming straight at the viewer. Clyde is looking backwards with concern.

One more thing: Why Clyde? Clyde Wickham is a local metal artist who gave me my first couple of welding lessons. He makes really cool fish (among other crazy stuff). This is my nod to his helping me get started

Clyde is 13″ (H) by 18″ (W).

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