Photo Essay: How to Not Make a Cup

When starting a project, it’s important to make sure you have all the proper supplies. Pictured here is our forge, crucible, some gloves and junk,  and I guess some lighter fluid.


Oh, and it looks like he’s got some charcoal. I wonder what he’s going to do with it.


Oh, he’s putting it in the forge, that makes sense. I’m gonna be real, I was day-drinking while Tom was doing all of this, so it’s all little fuzzy.

tom forge

It might look like he’s making a mold, but really he’s practicing making sand castles. It takes dedication to the craft to really create something beautiful, something that seems, for a moment at least, like it will withstand the harshness of the waves. But time destroys all, and he knows this.


And now we see the cup used to make the mold. We can also see his scowl as he hands me the glass. Does he think he’s better than me?


Focused, intense, he turns on the fan. Proper airflow is important as you bring aluminum to its melting point.


This doesn’t look that impressive. I bet I could light that better than Tom. This is why airflow is important, Tom.


Oh damn, that’s pretty cool.


Fresh out of its crucible, the aluminum is smooth and beautiful. I stare into its surface, overwhelmed, and it reflects back at me.

Tom tells me that aluminum is dangerous because it doesn’t glow red as it heats up, just stays the same. Me too, aluminum, me too.

Slag 2

After carefully removing the hardened metal from its earthen grave, Tom surveys his handiwork. His look is the same he gave to me earlier. Disappointed. Dissatisfied. Disgusted.


Air was trapped in the mold, with no channels dug in to let it out. Imagine all of that air, crushed down slowly under boiling metal, its only victory in foiling the attempts of man. This cup cannot be used. It only serves as a reminder of our own imperfections, our own weakness.


The bottom looks pretty nice though! A+



by Carleton Whaley

2 thoughts on “Photo Essay: How to Not Make a Cup

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