Montgomery, Alabama (WSFA 12) - It's a project he's been working on for more than 20 years. "Some people think I'm crazy," said stainless steel artist Charles Mann. "I'll work on it for awhile, then quit. Then an idea would come to mind and I'd start working again."
It all started when he planted a stainless steel pole in the ground, and then it continued to grow. "I decided to make it mainly from parts we sold. I used stainless so I didn't have to re-paint it or deal with the rust." He works at a pipe and supply company near downtown Montgomery.
Soon his pole started branching out, holding all kinds of stainless steel masterpieces. "It's heavy, maybe 2,000 or 3,000 pounds. It's to the point now you need a forklift to get to the top of it, its about reached the peak can't go any higher. I really like to keep it shiny, been that way about 20 years."
Keeping that silver shine isn't easy. "I enjoy the welding, polishing is not bad but it slings black stuff all over you." When you look up you'll see a stainless steel motorcycle, plane, and wind chimes just to name a few. As for Mann's favorite? "That's a chopper there. Those are all pipe fittings with spokes made from stainless welding rods."
We had to ask Mr. Mann, is this Mann Made Pole almost done? I don't think so. "I gotta do something. I don't play golf, hunt, or fish. And fortunately I have a wife who's very understanding of me working on Saturday and Sunday."
Part of his stainless steel creation was damaged during a recent storm. He says he hopes to have it fixed in the next few weeks. If you want to check it out, it's located at 1201 North Ripley Street.