Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mjølnir Studio

Mjølnir, myol-n(ee)r is a name derived from Norse mythology and was chosen as the name for my newly acquired studio. Mjølnir is the name of Thor's hammer and seems to be appropriate for a metalsmithing studio where my friend Lyle and I, both of Norwegian heritage, hammer metal. It's been a long process getting the space fixed up and, therefore, not a lot of newer work has been made. However, a lot of work has been accomplished in the studio.  I posted pictures below of the space after a majority of the debris was cleaned out.

 So I found a studio in the basement of an old church built in 1865. I had worked with the landlord previously with some photography projects and also fixed a leaky roof. (below) The old rain gutter system was a piece of wood on end that had tin bent over it to help slow and divert rainwater. The wood underneath was rotting away and previous layers of metal rubber and spray-foam had to be cut out to fix the leak.

After removing the layers, I put new metal up under the existing roof that was in good shape. I sealed and painted it. There have been no leaks since.

 Since the roof project last summer, I talked again to the owner of the Photography studio. He has been such a big help since I've known him, and he agreed to give me a deal on some space in exchange for some money and that I take care of the grounds and building maintenance. First project on the studio was to clean out the space. Over the years and past tenants it had accumulated a huge amount of rubbish. There were many old boards, 2.5 truckloads of old pallets, about 20 large flourescent light fixtures and many boxes. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of the original clutter.

 Cleaning and repairing a leaky bulkhead door and lower door proved to be time consuming. Rotting boards and crumbling mortar have plagued the door projects. The upper door leaked and caused rotting of the lower and the starting of one project quickly lead to another.
 The gap between the building and door collected leaves, dirt, and water, which aided in rotting the boards.

 Here below, the studio is halfway clean for a little as repairs and tools shift around.
 Duct to be removed, chimney to be... or not to be...
Chimney is still there, but all loose bricks have been removed. Duct was removed, floor was patched, and missing joist was added.

 Above, one of the many doors to be cleaned out of the basement found a new home as part of the floor, The thickness of the door fit perfect.

 Light fixtures in the process of disassembly.

 Makeshift work bench from yet another door and scrap file cabinet.

 Floor patched and joist ready to be installed.

 Joist bolted in and insulation stuffed in space between studio and crawl space under addition of building.
 Ripped up several parts of broken concrete floor and patched. Many centipedes had to relocate.
 Sheet metal bender moved in... My landlord/friend Bruce donated a squirrel cage blower fan to be used for the ventilation system for the torch area. 10"ducting from the La Crosse Habitat for Humanity ReStore getting prepared for installation into existing chimney.
 Floor jack supporting floor joists before rotten boards and loose stone is removed for door frame repair.
 Loose stones removed above door frame

 Sweet table i found at a thrift store for cheap.
 Some shelving removed for additional space. Placed an ad on Craigslist for a metal bookshelf and got one.
 Bookshelf re-purposed into ventilation hood for solder/torch station. Anvil bought at antique tool dealer in Genoa. Scrap 4x4s from leftover woodpile used for anvil stump.
 Chimney had been open completely to the elements for years and needed a cap for the vent system.
Goodwill had a steel medicine cabinet/mirror that I cut in half and fitted together tighter to act as the cap and I put on an old cupola that I got for scrap.(original mirror just below workbench for size comparison)
Installation was scary on this crumbling chimney. The ladder barely sat on each edge of this 12"chimney way up on the roof. Much thanks to Lyle for the help with this and other projects.
 Outside the studio I had done some landscaping to divert water away from the door and also in the front to get gravel out of the yard from years of snow plowing. This robin loved when I was out moving dirt. I fed it by tossing worms and larvae I dug up. Every day it got closer and closer. It didn't seem to mind me 3 feet away even if I was raking.
 Door top added to my table to keep the original top protected.
 Lyle taking a break from working.
 Me cleaning the table off.
 Studio with added lights, cabinets and stuff.
 Stuff is good. Chair donated by a friend from the Vitamin Studio, formerly the Green Bay Street Studio

 Got a flex-shaft tool off of internet... UPS decided to deliver it to 4 different places before I got to have it. (creamery, auto parts store, abandoned house next door to my home and other address) Old manikin base and part of an exercise machine make a great swiveling stand for the new tool. great upgrade from the cheap dremel-type tool from the hardware store.

 First vessel from studio in progress.
 Viking ship in progress below a reference book on Vikings.

Much improvement from the unheated stowaway studio in my dads garage.

Thanks for checking back to see what I've been up to.

A BIG thank you to Bruce Defries Studio group and Lyle Schwartz for the help and support.


  1. Adam I am impressed with all the changes you've made to make this studio an awesome and functionable place to do your metalsmithing:) Great job!! Glad you had help from Lyle too:)

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