Our Functional Art is created using liquid metal and Jesmonite as the two principal mediums. Jesmonite is a
gypsum - based material in an acrylic resin.
The first step in making a table is to create the table top itself. This has been designed as a
composite beam using moisture resistant MDF and aluminium angle. A composite beam is where
individual materials have no real load bearing capacity in themselves, but when put together creates
the strength and rigidity required of the design.
It is an 8 stage process, and the method of construction allows for a section depth to give a slab
effect to the top, and to allow for a blind fixing of the legs.
A primer traditionally used in car body shops is applied to create what is, essentially, a blank
stretched canvas as used by artists. Two coats of metal, or whatever other medium, are then
sprayed onto the top before the third textured coat is applied by hand.
Whatever material is used, they are similar in that they involve the use of a base, a resin binder and
a catalyst to create the chemical reaction required for the mix to cure. All materials are mixed to
exact ratios, and, with the metal finish, the catalyst requires scales weighing to multiples of 0.1 gms
for accuracy. When mixed correctly, the “pot life” is typically 15 – 20 minutes. Too much catalyst
reduces this time considerably. Too little extends the time of the chemical reaction, if at all.
With other finishes, the catalyst can be mixed into the base. Again, the “pot life” is circa 15 minutes.
A retarder can be added to the resin to extend this which is important for cleaning equipment.
Without the retarder, proper cleaning is impossible once the material starts to cure.
To apply the top coat in a metal finish, silica is added to the mix to create body. In one finish
compressed air is used in a very controlled way to create the texture. Another finish uses a blocking
technique to create the texture. Whatever choice of metal texture, because of the limited “pot life”,
everything has to be done at speed and you have one chance to do it correctly. Any mistake at this
stage means the top is ruined as it cannot be reworked.
The top is then left in a heated drying room for a minimum of 24 hours to cure off. The initial
polishing process begins by hand to knock back the rough edges, and then car body shop polishing
discs up to 6000 grit are used. The polishing of the top is an art in itself.
Using a special agent from America, the top is then degreased and cleaned prior to sealing. If a
patina is required, it is applied by artist’s brush before sealing. It is a cold process application and
some of the acids need at least 24 hours before you can judge the extent of the chemical reaction,
and whether a second coat is required.
The serpent style table legs are made from forged steel rod in 2,3 or 4 sections before being welded
together and powder coated.
Other legs are made from steel box section with a steel angle frame and then powder coated.
When the table is completed, the underside is signed and dated