Sunday, July 26, 2009

Square cement weights

One of the most common ways to weight down your booth is with the round PVC pipe filled with cement. Several years back I posted a how-to on the topic: PVC and cement corner weights. At the Northville show last month, I saw an interesting variation on the design. The weight was square.

The artist that had these had originally made the weights from round PVC, but she didn't have any handles on them, and she got tired of them rolling. So she found the square tube, put her existing weights inside the square, and filled the gap with cement.

Although she wasn't sure of what the tubing was from, I'm pretty sure they are meant for vinyl fencing (you use a 4x4 wood post, anchor it in the ground, then slide on the vinyl tube). This means the tube itself is probably made from vinyl instead of PVC. I'm not sure what implications that may have for strength and durability. It might be thinner and crack more easily, but I'm not sure that would be a problem once it's filled with hardened cement. However, if you do decide to put handles on them to help with carrying, that might be a bit stressful on the vinyl. It might be a good idea to make sure the bolts are long enough that they stick quite a ways into the pipe. That way when the cement dries, the handles will be anchored to the cement more than the tube. You could also do the 2 nuts + 1 washer thing like I did for they eye bolt if you are concerned.

There is also the issue of how to seal the bottom. Round PVC piping has nice caps you can put on the end and seal with PVC cement, but for fencing, the caps I recall always seem to be decorative. I'm not sure what options you'd have there. If you can't find a nice, simple, flat end cap, then you might have to resort to custom cutting a piece of wood, some styrofoam, or whatever works, and then finding a way to prop up the tube really good so that when you fill it with cement the bottom doesn't fall out. If you use a thick enough piece of wood, you could drill some hole and screw through the tube and into the wood, holding it in place. You then may have to caulk it to seal it (I'm not sure how easily cement would leak through a crack).

Remember, I've never tried this, so I can't vouch for how well it will work. If you decide to try it, you are on your own. Maybe my concern about the strength of the vinyl isn't warranted and it would work great. Whatever the case, if anyone does decide to try this, send me an email when it's done (with maybe a photo or 2) and let me know how it works out and how you sealed the bottom. here to read more!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Catching up for 2009

It's been quite a while since I updated, so what have I been up to? I spent a lot of time enjoying myself, catching up on other hobbies, getting some stuff done around the house, all with some photography thrown in here and there. But as of June I'm stepping things back up again.

Late last year I upgraded to Lightroom 2.0 and discovered that my computer was way too slow to deal with it. So, this April I built a new computer and everything is running great. In June I took a trip to Yellowstone/Grand Tetons (and hit a few other places along the way), and although the weather wasn't the most cooperative for the photography I wanted to do, I managed to get by (though I got almost nothing in the way of sunrise/sunset, unfortunately).

I did my first show of the year in late June...the Northville Art in the Sun show that I was at last year. Whereas last year was pretty darn bad (just about broke even as I recall), this year was alright. Not superb, but better than a lot of shows I've done recently. I dropped the Livonia show I usually do in early June, as it has been absolutely terrible the last 2 years and I wasn't very thrilled with the way they were running the show. In exchange, I picked up 2 shows in mid September and early October, so I have 6 this year (and maybe more...I'm considering picking up 1 or 2 in Nov/Dec if I can find something worthwhile).

That about covers it for the most part. Not a whole lot beside just working on some new works, printing, matting, etc. I'm trying not to change a whole lot this year, as my goal is to keep costs down and try to actually turn a profit this year. I've been taking losses up to now because of how much money I had to spend between supplies, my camera and lenses, my wide format printer, the new booth and panels, etc. If I stick to the basics and most of my shows go decently, I'm hoping I can make it. It's not easy, as I'm always researching and thinking "I could buy this to make things easier, or build this thing to help organize things, or buy that to make my display nicer". For someone who is continually searching for ways to improve everything, it's not an easy thing to do, but I'm trying to restrain myself. here to read more!