Vinyl - Part One

  • Posted on: 6 July 2014
  • By: Shawn DeWolfe

"We're giving away vinyl LPs!" announced a friend. The secondhand store he worked at was getting out of the vinyl and doing in a big way. They had seven shelves of LPs records free for the picking. You could take as many as you want. This was about four weeks ago, so I had yet to get an acute taste of anti-hoarding. I said "Load me up!" I remember moving days in the 1970s and early 1980s. If you had cool friends (or your Mom had cool friends), they had two things: too many LP records and not enough money for professional movers. I dreaded the deceptively small record box with its super-heavy discs of herniation. Every move: I got to carry the LPs. When CDs came out, the discs in my spine welcomed the discs in the jewel cases.


I went into the secondhard store with my faithful Padawan, Alice. Lots of mistransplanted beatniks were carefully combing through the records. They were looking at all of the titles with care and studying each record for any possible scratches or dings. Alice and I found the less populated section and started to grab armloads of records. No rhyme. No reason. We wanted vinyl! Between that trip and the trip the next day, I amassed a stack of LPs about four feet high. Why? Why would I hoard such magic as "The Shell Christmas Memories" album? It's because I own a heat gun!


My intention is to heat, twist and warp these records to make them into cool things. Last year, I bought two boxes of keyboards to melt and warp them into the Throne of Nerds. This time around, I plan to warp them to make them into a suit of armor. I figure the vinyl and the audio grooves could look good on a suit of armor-- something between Vader's armor and Vlad Dracul's armor from Coppola's Dracula.

Step One: Baby Steps

I asked my mom if I could loan some of her really big aluminum cooking bowls. These are almost two feet across. They have a nice gradual curvature and they can take the heat. I have some clamps that I use to grab and hold parts of the LP record as it gets worked over. I used the heat gun to make repeated passes over the LP to soften it-- to it from hard plastic to soft taffy. The LPs are quick to cool, so I need to have a solid strategy to make this all work. I have to know where the bends and creases are to go. When I sculpt, I fight with the medium. It will go its own way and take me along for the ride. I need to tame the materials to do my bidding.


Today's experiments came with rain, so there has to be a part two and three to project. Part one: I was able to use the heat gun to melt the vinyl. Record vinyl is less pliable that, say, vinamold. It can be bnet and pulled, but when it is pull took much, there will be a fissure and it will separate. Good to know!

Step Two: Coming Soon

When I get a discretionary day that comes without rain, I will get back to the records. I will try to bend and pull the records to shapes of my choosing. When I am done, I hope to be able to work 60 records into one suit of vinyl armor.

Last updated date

Friday, September 29, 2017 - 01:50