This is less of a tutorial and more of my experience in trying something new. I’ll eventually write a better tutorial with more pics, but i know you clowns want to see this kind of thing and i love sharing, so here it is. This includes things i did wrong and what i would do next time.
New Year’s morning found me in the driveway just in front of my garage using what i affectionately call my Glass Churner. Its a steel pipe cemented into a cinderblock, a steel plate that it sits on, and a solid steel rod about the size of a broom handle. I found all of this stuff at a surplus/scrap store in Orlando. I probably could have found it elsewhere, but i didn’t spend a lot of time looking because they had exactly what i wanted. Here’s the Glass Churner, a few bottles, and a small pile of product.
You can pretty clearly see how i made it. I think i spent about $30 total on this rig because plate steel isn’t cheap, even when its rusty.
Don’t do this directly on your concrete driveway, you will destroy it. That’s why you need the steel plate underneath the tube. The cement block just keeps the tube vertical and anchored while you use the rod to smash, smash, smash some more, then keep smashing.
After all the smashing, i tilted the churner over, releasing the pile of crushed glass. Any large peices go directly back into the tube for more churning, and the remainder gets sifted through using two food strainers from the grocery store. These strainers are the wire screen type and come in multiple screen sizes. I have two sized screens to get the grit size that i want. One to let everything through but the bigger pieces, and one to let the dust fall out of the grit that i want to keep.
So then i sprayed clear coat all over my deck and poured on the grit. As you can see in the following pic, the whole thing is white with grit.
This was a mistake. i won’t be using spray-clear for this again, and at the time i took this pic, i hadn’t yet thought of separating the dust out from the larger grit i need. Basically i made mud on the deck and had to wait for it to dry, then you no less than 6 orbital sander pads to strip that stuff off along with the paint underneath it and start over completely. Lesson learned.
So when i started over, i went back to the grocery store and got a finer sifter screen for seperating the dust. after repainting and re-logo-ing the board, i was ready to try again. I was still using the spray coat at this point because i hadn’t decided yet that a slowing drying urethane would be ideal for this. It would be, so in the future that’s what i’m doing.
After spraying the new deck with a thick layer of topcoat, i started sprinkling on the rougher grit i sifted and after a few touch up applications it turned out rather well. After that was dried, i went back over the grit (not the edges, i like the satin finish on the trim) with spar urethane (uv resistant, slower drying, thicker heavier quality) to lock it all in. This was the result:
Black Metal Scarlet topped with chunks of coke bottle glass that were smashed with rage by a guy with long hair and too much hate. It really doesn’t get much more metal than this deck.
So moving forward, here are the steps i will follow:
1 Drink lots of bottled coke from Mexico and write it all off at the end of the year as a business expense while saving the empty bottles
2 place the plate steel down on the ground with a peice of cardboard or posterboard next to it, then place the churner on top of the steel plate.
3 place one bottle on its side onto the posterboard, and cover completely with an old folded towel
4 use a small hammer to pop the bottle into a billion razor sharp peices. It should only take one strike to shatter the bottle. If it takes more than one, you are not a man. The bottle will shatter completely, you won’t have to keep smashing.
5 with gloved hands, pick up the peices and toss them into the steel tube of the churner. Use a small 3 or 4 inch brush to sweep everything up and get all the chuncks into a pile, then pick up the posterboard, gently fold up the edges and funnel the rest of the pile into the tube. The whole bottle should be in the tube now. Feel free to repeat this step and add one more bottle. For my set-up, two bottles is probably ideal.
6 put a mask over your face to keep the glass dust out of your lungs and grab that steel rod. Now place the rid into the tube and start smashing. Churn that glass like butter form the 1800’s.If it helps you to get into the spirit by wearing a bonnet and apron, go for it. I’m all about role play.
7 After a while, and i mean like 5 or ten minutes of continuous smashing, tilt the churner over and use your brush to sweep the pile of glass off of the steel plate and onto the posterboard. Make a neat little pile that you can grab at with your fingers. By this point, all of the glass is basically river rock with no sharp edges, but you might want to use gloves anyway. I didn’t, and i’m fine.
8 use a pair of metal screen strainers like you buy at the grocery store to first sift out the too-big chunks and place them in a seperate container for more smashing later, then use a finer screen strainer to let all of the too-small tiny dust particles fall into a garbage can or other container and just throw it away. Its dust and makes mud, so its useless.
9 tape off your deck to make a border or design of your choosing, then brush on a tin coat of urethane. SPRINKLE on the grit we kept as evenly as possible. You have plenty of time, urethane doesn’t dry in 15 minutes like spray topcoat does. Let it dry for a while until its at least touchable.
10 carefully brush on a top layer of urethane to seal in the grit and make that glas mostly clear again. Let it dry over night. You might even want to bring it inside to cure if you live in a hot wet jungle environment like Florida. Enjoy your new coke bottle gripped deck.
Cheers and beers.