Introduction: Ice Art Tools

About: Perhaps I am the heretical harbinger of the New Archaic, perhaps I just like wood.

This is a short movie of the tools that we used in the making of our sculpture, œArc of the Sun. Below I have listed a little information about each of the tools that we used.

- Japanese Commercial Ice Chisel: Slick beautiful tool for carving ice.
- Homemade Ice Chisel: We bolted a planer blade bolted to a stick. This functioned nicely and was more economical than the commercial ice chisel, but was not as well balanced.
- Japanese Ice Saw: This specialized saw was great for cutting small amounts of ice. The ice saw was lighter and safer than a chainsaw.
- Russian Inspired Ice Chipper: A sharpened piece of angle iron bolted to a wooden handle allowed us to chip off large chunks of ice. This tool propagated cracks and was not good for detail work, but it removed material faster than the chisels.
- Ice Chainsaw: The rakers were removed from this chainsaw to allow it to cut though ice with little effort. I found the electric models reliable, light, and relatively easy to wield for long hours with gloves on.
- Nail Boards: A few hundred nails forced though a piece of plywood made a great flattening and texturing tool. This was invaluable for joining blocks of ice. The first tool was made with deck screws and was too heavy for vertical surfaces. The second was made with nail gun nails and was lighter and slightly less abrasive.
- Spiromatic: Invented by Sarah Willis to round out our pillar. Sections of 2x4 became little nail boards when joist hangers were attached to them. These pieces were then joined together with hinges and springs.
- Grinder: A grinder with a modified attachment was a great tool for carving and texturing. A spinning metal plate with short nails protruding from it removed ice very effectively.
Heavy Machinery: Heavy Machinery was provided to move the blocks. When the blocks were horizontal lifts could be done with the forks. Straps were required for lift vertical blocks and small chunks. We chiseled notches into the corners of the blocks so that the straps would have something to grip.
- Joining: Water is very useful for welding blocks of ice together. Occasionally the temperature difference between the ice and the water will cause catastrophic cracking. A neighbor suggested adding a small amount of alcohol to the water (less than 1:10 ratio) to reduce this problem. Thankfully, temperatures were high enough that we didn’t need to test his recipe.
- Blowtorch: We used a blowtorch to smooth small sections of ice.
Ironing: Electric irons were very useful for flattening, smoothing and clarifying the large surfaces that we made.
- Thermoplaner AKA Black and Decker Iron: Electric irons were very useful for flattening, smoothing and clarifying the large surfaces that we made.