Treasure From Trash: How Discarded Metal Home Furnishings Get A New Life Part I

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Discarded Metal Home Furnishing

One this about living where I do is that we have community dumpsters.  As a metal artist, I often look at new metal stock and  visualize metal art compositions.  Other times I pass a dumpster and see a discarded metal object and I snag the opportunity.   I am not sure if this was a magazine rack or a wine bottle holder.  Feel free to comment if you know.  All I knew was there was already a bunch of perfect rings that were screaming for a new lease on life.

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Removing Woven Material

Once I acquired this item from the dumpster,  I was already designing wall decor in my mind.  With that in mind, I saw no use in keeping any of the woven top featured in photo above.  Now I could have used a grinder or hammer and chisel to break through.  It was pretty warm out and thought all that labor was little bit much.

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Into The Fire Pit!

I had some old bills and documents. So I put the woven table upside down in the fire pit and then the bills as kindling.  Poured kerosene until the a paper was soaked and the woven material was damp.  I lit it with a min torch.  The woven material was gone in less than 2 minutes.

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Metal On Fire

Aside from looking completely awesome, this fire served three useful purposes.  One, I got rid of a stack of papers that cluttered a shelf in my dining area.  Two,  I wanted to remove the woven material from the metal frame without using cutting tools.  It is fact made from a plant based fiber material and was quite dry so it combust rapidly and easily.  Third, there was a flat black paint on the metal frame.  The heat breaks down the larger organic molecules in the paint into smaller ones.  This makes the paint and any primer underneath easily removed with a wire brush.  Although fire can be very dangerous if misused, it is very handy when working with steel and other metals with high melting points.

Ring Panels Removed

Afer everything cooled down I had only a metal framework to deal with.  It turns out I have useful patterns and components for  a few artistic creations.  I got my 4.5″ grinder out and began to cut the welds joining the ring panels to the rectangular frame.  Despite the number of cuts, the rods are only 1/4″ to maybe 5/16″ thick so this process went by quickly.  I found myself with two ring panels roughly 17 inches wide and 26 inches long.  My next task was to take a wire brush to the ring panels.

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Most of the paint came off but there is some residue.  That is of little concern, since I only need an electrical connection for arc welding.  Once I get the accessory pieces welded and joined on, I will repaint this flat black again anyways.

 

STAY TUNED…..

 

Cutting Bolts With A Hacksaw To Make Studs

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Why Cut Bolts?

There are a few reasons why you may choose to cut a bolt.  One may be that you need and unusual length that is just not mass produced and too expensive to have it custom made.  Another reason, is you could be needing a certain bolt length on a weekend, holiday or a weird hour of the night.  In that case, it might be more practical, for example, cut a 4 inch bolt down to a 2 inch bolt rather than suspend a project just to by the right length of bolt.  A third reason, one most concerned with here, is you need a threaded stud to weld into a project and need the bolt head removed.

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Secure Bolt Into A Vice

When setting up to cut a bolt, first you have to tightly secure it so it will not move while the teeth of the hacksaw blade are cutting into it.  If you need to protect the threads from damage, the easiest thing to do is screw on two of the appropriate sized nuts.  When all the corners of the hex nuts line up, you simply put the assembly into the vice and tighten it.  Square nuts might actaully be a little easier for this technique.  Now you may notice the bolt has some play and will spin within the nuts.  This is especially true if you are dealing with the SAE coarse threaded hardware.  It is imperative that you fully secure the bolt still or the hacksaw blade will not have a chance to cut.

As seen from the photo above, a simple solution to the problem of securing the bolt is to clamp vice grip pliers on the head of the bolt and hold with one hand.  Then one simply needs  to use the other hand to operate the saw.  Make sure the teeth are pointing away from you and use at a downward angle fashion.  The video below will give you a better visual of this.

 

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Quality Of The Hacksaw Cut

You may ask, why would I want to use a hacksaw anyways if there are so many powerful power tools available that will do the job quicker and with less labor?  The quick answer is quality and precision of the cut.  Abrasive wheels used in power saws and grinders have a thicker curf as not necessarily making a clean cut.  Reciprocating saws are bulky and are notorious for being inaccurate.  Portable bandsaws are also cumbersome and expensive.  A hacksaw, even a good brand, is usually less than $20, is light weight, and the blade can be installed in other configurations allowing cuts from unusual angles.  The replacement blades are very cheap also.  As seen from above photo, the cut needs minimal dressing with sandpaper or a file.

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Keep Remaining Bolt Heads

I feel it is best to keep the left over bolts for later use.  In the case of the studs I was making for a project, the left overs where nearly two inches long.  These can be reused as makeshift pins for temporary securing devices and fixtures, or as blanks for threading new screws.  So each four inch bolt I cut has the potential to become two separate fasteners.

Brazed Metal

 

 

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Accented Braze Nail Sculpture

A lot of my work revolves around braze  welded     square cut nails.  This concept was originally developed during the mid century movement in the 1950’s,1960’s, and 1970’s.  It has seen somewhat of a comeback. Personally, I love the aesthetic quality the brass joints contribute to the steel nails.  I put my own personal twist to this concept by creating and using my own accents.  The piece pictured above, Eames Era Accented Brazed Sculpture, is a perfect example.  I took a scrap piece of round steel bar, cutoff pieces of pipe, a rectangle of expanded sheet, and assembled them into unit that dominates the sculpture.

As can be seen, I stuck with the natural steel finish.  It is wire brushed in places and not others to combine to give both a polished and rustic finish.  A gloss lacquer finish is applied to protect.

Heated Oil Finish

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Brutalist Welded Sculpture

My most recent work is yet another installment to my rusty abstract post industrial line of work.  This is a piece I have titled “Navigator” .  This work is an abstracts of a GPS navigator screen shot.  Usually, with this type of sculptural composition, I leave the metal bare to preserve its grit and brutal honesty.  This time, I wanted an antiquated look with warmth.  I have read about other metal artists and blacksmiths who apply linseed oil or similar to iron work then apply heat.  I did this by brushing on Penetrol and then heating the finish. I can report that I am quite pleased with the results.  It comes out a warm dark amber and even makes the less rusty parts look more rustic.  Check out some of the close ups.

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I also added this to my hub I wrote about the metal art I create.  Just check it out as I try to update it as frequently as possible.

Memphis Wall Panels

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Colorful Memphis Style Art

This is a recent piece I created from the 4 cool panels I purchased last year. It is a small Memphis style wall panel with clean geometric lines.  This wall decor just screams retro 80’s .  It is all painted in gloss oil based enamel paint for durability and boldness of color.  The main body is deep blue and the accents are painted in gloss black, red, and white.  This item is 12 inches wide and 12 inches in height.  It has a maximum depth of 2 inches from wall.  Do not be put off by the small size the brilliance will add pop to any wall.

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Decorative Steel Ring Candle Holders

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Simple Yet Elegant Ring Pattern

I was inspired yet again to create some wall mounted candle sconces.  This time, I am cateriting to larger candles such as the Yankee style cnadles.  This is a pair of welded, handmade, candle holders features 4 and 1/2 inch bobeches mounted to an assemblage of rings made of hollow steel tubing.

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They are finished in a matt coating of iridescent bronze to adorn nearly any decor.  Although they appear quite substantial, the hollow tubing makes them surprisingly lightweight.  They are 26 inches long and 8 inches wide at the largest ring.  You can also visit the listing for this item in my shop or check out my other items.

Art Deco Inspired Candle Sconces

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Art Deco Design

Art deco was a radical designs movement after the art nouveau movement of the late Victorian period into the early 20th centure.  Art deco features smooth lines and industrial shapes.  Also, new materials, like stainless steel, were incorporated into art deco design.  A perfect example is the Chrysler town in New York City.

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 The sculptural quality of these candle sconces is notable with the curves and hemispherical accents.  The decorative accents are painted with the awesome silver spray paint I recently featured in a post.

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Black is Nice Contrast to the Silver Finish

To really make the glossy silver paint stand out, I chose a glossy black oil based enamel. I do use acrylic paint on metal but oil based enamel is the best. Many times,  a couple coats of oil based enamel is all that is needed.  These are fairly popular and easy to make so I make these to order.  Just check out the listing on my Etsy shop.