This idea originated in 2010 with a junk propane tank on my property. A lot of energy had been used to form the thick steel into this shape and it seemed a shame to let it go to waste. The curved forms stimulated my imagination and I considered possible ways to carefully dissect the tank and reassemble the pieces into a seat. I was intrigued by the design challenge and ecological statement involved in taking this ubiquitous, utilitarian container out of the waste stream and transforming it into an object more sensuous in form and sophisticated in function.
After making sure the tank was purged of any remaining gas I began by cutting off the hemispherical ends and mounting them on my work table.
Next I welded in a seat from the central cylindrical portion.
Although I had never done this before, and was unsure my plan would even work, I had a friend take an amateur video of the fabrication process just in case. (Double click on the frame below to view - it’s 3-1/2 minutes long.)
With the first bench complete I looked at the remaining tank material (pictured on left) and realized I could easily make another bench. The result was this love seat.
Since I still had left over tank material after making the first two seats (material pictured at left) I thought I would just keep going and see how much of the tank I could use up in this way.
This chair is the fourth piece I made from the original tank, using the pieces pictured above right. By the time I was done making these four seats I had reused 99% of the tank. The scraps in this crate were all that remained of the large tank at the top of this page.
Inspired by this process I located more salvage tanks and began to create additional designs.
After lots of testing with friends who ranged in height from 4’-10” to 6’-6” I determined a universally comfortable relative position of seat to backrest. The combination of curved seat and curved backrest provides good lumbar support for a wide range of body sizes as small bodies are able to slip slightly further back and down into the seat.