Monday, November 30, 2015

Sadly Birk Petersen Passed away Wednesday, November 25, 2015 Birk loved building steam engines, small scale models, and whimsical creations of his own imagination. He loved showing his amazing collection to visitors. Some of Birk's favorite visitors were kids, he enjoyed watching their enthusiasm as they turned cranks, got their hair to stand on end, and dumped out a whole scoop of candy from the steam shovel.He also loved sharing his creations with his blogging community and friends on the internet from all over the world. This blog only showcases a fraction on the many wonderful creations the Birk has built over the years. He was and inspiration to us all. Please take time to browse through this blog. Nothing would make him happier than having others enjoy his work. Feel free to leave comments and memories below.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


    I was out there raking up some leaves when I spotted a poor old grasshopper. He was cold and sluggish, probably very near the end of his life span (after all it is November) so it was not  much problem to catch him, but he kept wanting to wiggle and squirm around, even tried to kick me so I had to fumigate him. Then he kind of went flop like a dead grasshopper. I had a heck of a time to get him to sit up and look natural. I heated a stick of sprue wax and stuck to his head then placed him on a piece of wax paper and tried to work some casting investment plaster all around him. He was not quite in a natural position, but as close as I could get him. After the primer coat of investment had set up it was placed in a flask and filled full of more investment plaster. Then a 5 hour session through the burnout furnace where the temperature was gradually increased up to nearly 1400 degrees F., which volatilized organic material, and then reduced back to 900 degrees in the last hour prior to casting. The casting turned out good with excellent detail except for the antenna which were about as thick as a hair broke off.
    That grasshopper has now been immortalized forever in bronze.
    Can you imagine an 82 year old man messing around with something as silly as casting a grasshopper in bronze?

The two pictures showing the heating arrangement and pouring were simulated to give you and idea of the process. Working alone I could not photograph that part in action.