In 1997 Micky and I made our first attempt at fulfilling our dream of living in the Pacific North West. Without much of a plan, we rolled into town with our 3-year-old and all our stuff, moved into an apartment and started job-hunting. Looking back on it now, it seems like a crazy and impulsive move, but such was our passion about the beauty up north. Within a couple weeks I was fortunate enough to end up with a job at Chuck Franklin Glass Studio. Although they already had a sandblast booth, no one in the studio was specifically specializing in sandblasting at that time. Even though it wasn’t one that I built, booth #4 is worth mentioning in this series because I learned from it something I may never have otherwise learned.
If this is an issue specific to regions with cold wet climates I can’t say for certain – the problem though was that the sandblast booth had been built into the back corner utilizing the existing block and concrete exterior walls of the building as two of it’s four walls – as opposed to building it away from those walls. The result seems to have been persistently wet sand. The lower portions of these walls were below ground level, so perhaps it was caused by actual tiny leaks, or could it have been condensation? Whatever the case, I know I’ll always build away from exterior walls, and not take that risk.
It’s funny though, I do remember that when I originally started talking about moving up here that other glass artists had said that it is too wet for sandblasting – that I would have too many problems with moisture in the lines. I must say that now that I’ve been up here sandblasting now for quite a few years, that I actually have LESS trouble than I did in Phoenix. It leads me to conclude that you can have moisture issues anywhere, that it probably has less to do with the environment and is much more about maintaining, and having enough in line moisture traps. In phoenix I usually had only one, whereas right now, I think I have a couple on any given line. They aren’t horribly expensive, so why not? If this holds true everywhere, I’m not sure. I have never sandblasted for example in places like Florida or Houston.
My memories of working at Chuck’s that year are among my fondest. The greenery, clouds, misty air and a great bunch of co-workers were hard to leave, but circumstance pulled us back to Phoenix. Suddenly I found myself back working in booth #3 again as if indeed somehow it really had been only a dream.
During the decade it took for us to get back up here I had another opportunity at booth-building. With the help of the new boss, booth #5 turned out to be a significant leap forward in function.