Wednesday, November 26 2003
I decided to make yet another menorah today, this one as a Chanukah gift for Gretchen's parents. This will simplify the gift giving of our Thanksgiving trip to Pittsburgh, while also kicking things up a notch, as that increasingly fat guy on the Food Network says. We couldn't justify giving these menorahs as presents if we'd paid what they would have cost in a store.
I drew from my experience as I worked this time, and was much more systematic and precise. I cut all my pieces and had them as a sort of kit before I started fitting them together. I also used a ruler to measure pipe segments I was cutting, something I never did in the past. When I began soldering it together, I laid out everything in the major plain and soldered it at once, thereby freezing-in an accurate framework geometry. I then put all but the center half-inch-to-one-inch adapter fittings (used to crown the menorah's prongs) upside down on the soldering surface with the menorah balanced above them and soldered them, freezing them all within the same plane. Then I balanced this large unit upon the still-unsoldered base components and quickly soldered it before it had a chance to collapse. All this attention to procedure allowed me to work much faster and more accurately than before. Not only was the geometry of the new menorah perfect, but it only took me an hour and a half to build, and this included taking pictures and answering phone calls.
Looking at the menorahs after they're complete, the simplicity of their form can delude one into thinking that their designs were obvious outgrowths of the materials used, but this isn't the case. When I first contemplated making a copper pipe menorah, I couldn't imagine making one without using cross-shaped fittings, which (it turns out) are impossible to find. Now I embrace the absence of that form (as well as other limitations) as the parameters of the medium. The fun comes from finding new designs that this medium permits. I can stare at my existing menorahs and contemplate all sorts of new possibilities. It's essential to the visualization of any further designs that I made the earlier ones.
Parts for today's menorah, including eighteen 7/8 inch pipe segments
(for attaching fittings together) and nine half-inch-to-one-inch adapter
fittings (for holding the candles).
The ruler I used for measuring runs through the middle.
The parts all together in an exploded version of the design.
The finished product (before burnishing).
Evolution of the menorahs, with the oldest one (made a month ago)
on the left and this newest one on the right.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next