Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A radiator – remade

I've got lots of holiday snaps to share (just back from a blustery cottage break in the country, which featured some very good interiors). Haven't finished sorting through the zillion photos I took yet though. So, meanwhile...

...here's a rather unexciting photo of the radiator that used to be in my kitchen. But why am I showing you?

Because something quite unexpected happened to it. Though (I think) it is a very handsome radiator, it was in the way when the kitchen got redone. After hoarding it for a couple of years, I eventually put it on eBay a few weeks ago. As the thing was quite nice – it looks like an old-fashioned, school-style design but was actually one of these ones you can get in B&Q – I thought someone else might want it. I was right.

What I didn't imagine was that my buyer would want to do this with it...

Turned out the guy who bought it from me, Mark, had an alter-ego: The Barefoot Welder. As he heaved the radiator into his boot he told me he makes all sorts of things from discarded metal – garden lights, chimineas, gates, tables. And showed me this photo to illustrate the new life he hoped to give the radiator. After he'd left, I emailed to ask him more – like however did he get such an unusual idea, and how did he manage the radical transformation?

"It all started when I needed to design new pieces for the Kent County Show," he explained. "I wanted something eye-catching that would attract people to my stall. At a reclamation yard, the radiators there caught my eye and I knew I had found my new piece!"

"I knew I could create something unique from them; I loved the curves and shape, and despite the rust and cobwebs I could see potential. The old style of them makes a statement alone.

"However coming up with the design and figuring out quite how it was going to happen was another thing. I got the radiators back to the workshop and began drawing it up on the blackboard. The first stage was cutting the radiator into individual pieces. I then used aluminium tube to create the adjoining segments. It was at this stage I decided on the curved seat, making it a chair you can slouch into, a different type of comfort than the radiator once provided. I then gave the chair some lift with four tube legs made from steel.

"After a few pieces of chalk, hours of manual labour and a coat of paint, I was left in the workshop with my latest creation, the 'rad' chair. You'd be surprised, but it's really, really comfortable too!"

See more of Mark's work or commission him at Thebarefootwelder.com

Post by Kate

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