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Uphill Both Ways

Volume 9 - Boston 1956


As dad prepared the armature to mount the beast he obviously had to weld thick bars of steel together and onto the wall. The skull in particular required a large amount of steel because of its weight. Since it was to hang free without any supports on the floor, it had to be secured in a cantilevered fashion from a steel frame on the wall. You see the bulk of that framework here. There is a heavy I-beam bolted high to the wall to which steel bars are welded. Then angled down toward the skull where they are several weight-bearing points he constructed for that purpose. To his left you can see one of those points with half-a dozen steel rods coming together.

In some instances when he was working on the wall-end of these rods, his acetylene flame was directed directly at it, not a good idea. He ordered me to take a 3 foot square piece of asbestos that was about half an inch thick - in those days asbestos wasn’t toxic[6]- and protect the wall from his flame. I had to stand behind the joint he was making and to hold this tiny sheet of asbestos -with my bare hands and arms- between the wall and the flame.

The flame was the usual carburizing, scorching pencil of white-blue flame in this image, blowing hard against the steel armature where it was welding, at which point it obviously flared around it and blew in all directions. That meant that I had to hold the little asbestos sheet with gloved fingers over the edge. So there I stood, holding the asbestos sheet

Figure 19 http://www.artmetal.com/enrique/wrough t/tables/nouveau/console/torchcu1.htm

6Really, I mean that, and it isn’t today even though the stupid media and the stupider feds made us all believe it was - unless of course, one was idiotic enough to smoke two packs of unfiltered Camels for 30 years in an enclosed space like submarines under shedding asbestos. Then it’s to nicotine anyway!

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