Sculpture Installation

large landscape sculptures

Pas de Deux 1
112″h x 30″w x 30″d

Please note: All my sculpture installations are very easy. However, since I am detail-oriented, I describe this procedure in so much detail that it may seem difficult. We are just back from a sculpture installation in the Cleveland area (Newbury, Ohio) of my Pas de Deux sculpture (pictured).  There were lots of reasons to go. My pianist & composer cousin Nick lives there and we hadn’t seen him for a while. It can take 8 hours to build a box and pack the sculpture in the box, then $500-$700 to ship it and then you are holding your breath for 2 days hoping the shippers haven’t damaged it in transit. Then you hope the sculpture installation expert knows what he is doing and doesn’t damage it. So it made sense to deliver the sculpture and do the sculpture installation myself.

Also, my wife wanted a road trip, she has a romantic memory of Cleveland (we met there in 2000), there are several Trader Joe’s there, plus a Malley’s Chocolates. Cleveland is really quite a lovely city. The vegetation was very lush and even rush hour traffic was fairly light. My cousin has a magnificent home right on Lake Erie.   Traffic was easy all the way, the 1996 van got 16.2 mpg (drove 80-85 most of the way),  and it was only a 5 hour drive to Nick’s house, even though we made 3 pit stops for bathroom breaks and to stock up at Starbucks. We discovered that it was much less tiring to wear ear plugs to cut out the roar of the tires and wind. The driver only wears one in the left ear, of course, so he can hear the radar detector with the right ear. We had purchased a large Magellan GPS and it took us down the best route and told us exactly when we would arrive. Nick has an adorable 12 year old daughter (Mary Kay was off in Japan with the Tokyo Orchestra) and we all had a gourmet dinner at Bistro 185. Somehow I lost the ability to do math in my head and tipped the waitress 40%. She was thrilled. No biggie – I was a server once (in college) and know what it’s like. The sculpture was large (112″ high) and just fit in the van. I rested it on several sheets of 1/2″ foam and wrapped areas that were touching with furniture pads and/or blankets. Here’s a 360 degree rotated view of this sculpture, Pas de Deux.

Sculpture Installation Tools Check List

Here’s the list of what I took to do the sculpture installation. It might be a useful starting point for your sculpture installation check list. 1. Makita cordless hammer drill – in case no electricity – plus backup battery 2. Hitachi corded hammer drill – have to drill into stone & concrete 3. Masonary bits sized from 1/8″ to ¾” x 4” – start with the smallest and work your way up 4. Bosch variable speed grinder with 40 grit flap wheel – in case I need to buff out a scratch 5. Makita grinder with ¾” Alpha Dry Diamond Core bit – in case masonary bits aren’t doing the job 6. 24” x ½” x 4” wood board with 3/4” hole – this keeps the diamond core bit focused on the hole 7. two 50’ extension cords 8. 5-way outlet with circuit breaker – don’t want to have to find the fuse box 9. Hole enlarger ½” to ¾” – for holes in the base – may need to enlarge 10. Tape measure 11. Leather gloves 12. Ear protection – earmuff style are easy 13. Four 5/8” aluminum washers 14. Four 5/8”x4” aluminum bolts – these go in the holes in the base 15. 4 wheel dolley 16. Appliance dolley 17. ½” socket set with ratchet, 13/16”, 11/16”, and all the rest 18. Large crescent wrench 19. Tube of Liquid Nails for thread locker 20. Epoxy – two tubes of 60 minute with mixing nozzle – fill holes ¼” full 21. Smart Coat in jar & brush 22. Acetone – in case I have to remove Smart Coat 23. White cloth rags 24. Water spray bottle – to cool off bits and to help clean up sculpture later 25. Knee pads – working down low 26. Camera & tripod 27. Can of air, to blow dust out of hole 28. file, in case I find a sharp edge 29. rubber hammer – might be useful 30. foam pads & blankets & furniture pads – for van 31. dust pan & brush 32. screwdriver – this proved very useful for aligning the sculpture base’s holes precisely with the holes in the concrete

Sculpture Installation Procedure

The sculpture installation went well, even though I had pulled my back getting the sculpture out of the van – how did that happen? It took a while to get it positioned, as husband & wife discussed the best view. It was a lovely site – a 10′ x 20′ courtyard area in the center of the house surrounded by windows and open to the sky. Then I crawled around on my hands and knees for a half-hour, drilling holes. I started with the masonary bits because they are very accurate but they were too slow, so I switched to the Alpha diamond core bit, which is harder to aim properly. I ended up having to enlarge a few holes so that everything lined up.  The bit kicked up a lot of dirt and dust. Fortunately, there was a vacuum cleaner available that helped with clean up. I was pretty tired after the sculpture installation, but some peppermint oil rubbed on the back, some Alleve and some lunch helped a lot. I regret I didn’t get any photos of the sculpture installation. The house is still under construction and the walls were being painted the day we were there – the windows were mostly covered with brown paper & tape. I may reconsider using epoxy for setting the bolts in the holes. That’s fine for a permanent sculpture installation, but for semi-permanent, it is too hard to get the bolts unscrewed. I ended up cutting off the heads of the bolts at the last place, when I picked up a sculpture that had been on temporary display. Pouring Hydrostone in the hole might work better. I wouldn’t need anything at all if I could drill the 4″ deep holes more exactly. Haven’t figured that out yet. I will let you know more about sculpture installation technique.

2 comments on “Sculpture Installation

  1. Kevrell

    Information is power and now I’m a !@#$ing dictator.

  2. metal sculptures

    I realized that it would take some installation to put up a metal sculpture, I just never realized how much.