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The nitty gritty of wire knots and other techniques follows after notice is given to the pillars which hold up girders, roofs and etc. The style to the right was shown in the chapter about girders, Peter is leaning on it, in chapter three. The left pillar flares at the top and is shown going together in the next few photos.

Although one flares and the other is straight, both utilize the stiffening geometry that is common in sheet metal, fiberglass and cardboard.

The right angles for this kind of work are done using a torch to heat and bend. The horizontal bars for the angular pillar on the right are easiest to assemble in three pieces when the size is larger than a meter or so. Identical smaller pieces are easily made by heating and bending on a jig with a flat table-like surface and vertical pegs, which can be either welded or made of more movable vertical bolts held in position through holes in the horizontal table surface.

Specifically, the most simple jig to make nice ferrocement girder shapes consists of steel pegs welded to flat steel. U shaped pieces of standard size are made for a given level around pegs in a nice flat 20 centimeter wide length of heavy channel iron. Short end of the U final trim is done with a torch, sometimes even after the finest wire is on. Always avoid plumber's and electricians plastic pipe to avoid their scathing wrath (I heard it through the grapevine).

Flare top pillars, just like curved roofs are measured from a drawing, or, go for it, sculpted in the field. If the curve looks nice it'll hold up a bulldozer in an earthquake while the driver runs inside, underneath, to escape a dual firestorm tornado. (Steel door and window shutters required. BYO breathing device).

The two side rails which describe the flare are wired to stubs of re-bar which are part of the foundation. Multiple hand-made arches will vary a centimeter here and there even if all the pieces are identical. There is one vertical re-bar in the center of the widening plane of the arched pillar. Notice the rough arch over the near doorway leading into the house from the terrace. A second short ladder stands gazing out a matching doorway. The tallest ladder in back, to the right, is in the region of the fireplace. The square tube steel rafters were cemented into the roof inside the main room area because it was quicker for this solo build structure.

Center background, leaning outward, slightly, is a telescopic stanchion with a 2.5 centimeter all-thread screw jack like the one pictured below.

The adjustable stanchion is as precision as the finest measurement used in construction, especially so when the screw and bolt threads are brushed and lightly oiled. The same stanchion is ideal for holding girders as straight as a taught string during plaster application. A slight arch? 0.2875 mm per meter? No problem.

Do not place roof radius bars above the pillars such as these for as long as possible; use them for roof construction ladders and scaffold supports. Weld or don't weld according to preference.

There are hanging inverted U shapes above the door. Check scrap inventory, cut to length, bend over knee, hang over roof radius bars to begin filling an area with no vertical steel from the floor where there's a door. Study this small detail as a thread among the weave of building decisions to grasp the strength of the media then enjoy the wide range of design freedom.

The arched pillars with reinforcing steel and welded wire completed. The architect, Frank Robinson, wanted a heavier post-like effect, this was accomplished by filling in the center with scrap hard foam insulation and plastering all the way around. Note the roof stanchion with threaded foot jack at the bottom. The stanchion itself is a two piece telescope style, with a horizontal adjustment pin. A vertical pin at the top goes in a hole in the bottom of the rafter.

Pillars are built using infinitely variable shapes. Some do not appear at first glance to be pillars, thus there are many other descriptive words for the support and stiffening functions; gusset, flange and pilaster are three such descriptions.

Pass through the bedroom door, toward the small bathroom window, and, also through a flanged, right angle, wall-stiffener, pillar-arch. To the left are gusset pillars connected by a shelf. Close inspection reveals a second pilaster imbedded in the wall behind. The cold joint is virtually impossible to see. Dimension from the well-cured pillars and shelf turned the back wall into an easy job. Water present is for curing recently placed roof and back wall.

Chapter one discussed the need for quality materials and then mentioned for example the collapsing bridges in the northeast area of central north america, south of Canada. A brief veracity check is included next to stress again why sculptural work demands high quality materials to avoid wasting time and natural resources.


Looking down on a simple square jig. Heat and bend around 2.5 cm vertical pegs which are welded or bolted to heavier steel piece, represented by larger square.

Begin by placing tip of artifact between pair of pins, labeled A and B, then heat and bend the work object at pin #1, then #2 and complete at #3.

Pin C is a final position bumper stop. It is set inward of perfect.

Lift finished piece straight upward (out of page, toward viewpoint).

Larger volume steel suppliers bend shapes to order.