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A Neighborly Day for a Bike Rack


FROM CHILDHOOD I REMEMBER the glory of picture-picture, the segment of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in which he taps a framed painting in his living room, and it magically turns into a televised window into the manufacture of various goods.  Gone in this country are both the days of Mister Rogers, and of the boundless sense that anything can be manufactured here through the alchemy of industry.

Lee Corley of the Steelyard--who through happenstance has never seen this segment of classic PBS glory--nonetheless brought Transport Providence to its own erstwhile picture-picture world, taking photojournalist Rachel Playe from start to finish through the complex process of smithing a bicycle rack.  Corley, a Providence native, came to steelwork as a teenager, and now uses her talents to train other young people.  The bike racks in question will soon grace the sidewalks of the Fertile Underground, where they will certainly get lots of use.

It's a good day in the neighborhood.


March 11, 2013:  This article has been changed to reflect the following correction:  The saw used for cutting the steel bars is called a metal cut-off wheel, not a diamond-toothed saw.

Corley uses a table with pivots in it to leverage the bars, which she bends with her own strength.

The welding arc is as bright as the sun, so observers like Khym Carmichael of FUG have to wear protective eyewear.  

"Soldering is like glue gunning with metal," says Corley.  Corley explains that welding is different because it uses like metals--steel on steel--to create a solid, permanent connection between two pieces of metal.

The ends of the pieces are beveled to make space for welding wire to melt between.

Corley uses a metal cut-off wheel to cut the steel.

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1 comment:

  1. Yeah, great jobs! Pictures with black and white look a long time ago.

    Garage bike