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.

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Improvised Welding Jig

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Scrap Steel Becomes Improvised Jig

I had cut some triangles out to make two four sided pyramids.  To be able to weld them in place, I needed a steel support to hold them at the right angle.  That is where I remembered the four quarter inch thick steel bars I had laying around.  I realized the bottoms of the triangles would form a square.   Once I had the right configuration, I clamped the bars in place and proceeded to tack weld the triangles together.  I was able then to weld without worrying about damaging the jig.

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Here is a view of the pyramid with seams welded.  I made another pyramid and put it under the other and made the bars closer together.  This is to hold the first pyramid upside down while the other is welded to it.

The photo below shows the underside of the workstation.

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Product Review: Preval vFan

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Versatile, Good Quality 2 Stage Airbrush Made in the USA!

The Preval vFan was introduced in 2011 as a well rounded quality two stage airbrush.  It comes with the capability to use 3 tip sizes and can be utilized with 1oz, 3oz, and 6 ounce paint containers. It has numerous uses in the arts, automotive finishes, and around the home.  It can be used a compressor or the aerosol cans for added portability.  There are two types of tips, a standard tip and a fan tip.  Both come in three sizes.  The sizes are .38mm, .66mm  and .9mm.   The .38mm tip is for very fine lines and requires very fluid paints.  The .66mm size that comes with kit is more general application.  It still is for the thinner paints but is great for shading.  I like to paint my metal sculptures most with the .9mm series tips.  This is a larger size which will spray out a larger amount  of paint.  I also would not require as much thinning for the paints and I can spray metallic and pearlescent paints without troubles.

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Using Only the Paint You Need

Spray paint, especially Rustoluem and Krylon, is an inexpensive way to apply a smooth even coat of paint to a solid surface.  The problem is that the nozzles spray a lot of paint in a wide  spray pattern.  If you are painting anything smaller than a dinner plate, you are wasting quite a large amount of paint on overspray.  At $4  or less per can this does not seem all that big of a deal.  If you are going to paint a lot, it will add up quickly though.  Not to mention how difficult it is to paint objects more that one color.  The Preval vFan  has a more narrow and focused spray pattern.  Whats more, the larger nozzle tip allows the use of paints that are not water thin given you have the air pressure to dispense the paint.  In the photos above, I show work being sprayed with a paint which is a little thicker than heavy whipping cream.

Other Uses

Since you can spray any color of paint or any liquid that does not attack the airbrush for that matter, your options are only limited to your imagination.  You can spray a solvent on a painted surface to make a distress or running paint effect.  Also you can apply glazes of different strengths and intensity to build layers for depth.

Design by Desperation-When Everything Fails, Invent a Solution

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Frustrating Development

I have been working on a large mid century nail sculpture since early April.  I finally completed the work to customers satisfaction.  This week was the time to build a shipping crate.  I had everything measured and cut and it all looked well.  I had 6 mounting blocks to secure the art in the crate. one for each mounting hook.  It was when I was trying to screw the art into blocks I hit a snag.  Apparently, I was not going to get a washer to hold down the hook.  What was I to do?  I surely was not inclined to open my wallet and buy a solution to my problem.  I needed to use what I had on hand.

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Big Ah Ha! Moment

Once the thought of using some kind of wire to secure it, I knew I was not far from a solution to ,my dilemma.  That is precisely the moment I opened one of my storage bin drawers containing a couple hundred paper clips.  I said YES!  Already, I realized I can use TWO screws and TWO washers instead of one to secure each hook.  Also, since they are steel wire they can bend to the contours of the surface for added support.  Just to be safe I used two paper clips, one on top the other to distribute the load and keep the tension.

 

This is a demonstration of the problem solving skills developed in creative endeavors such as making sculpture.  It is my belief we were all born to create and we can all grow from exercising this ability.

Torch Firing Vitreous Enamel to Abstract Copper Sculpture Accents

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Melting Colored Glass On Metal

Just when I thought of every conceivable way to add to the methods of enhancing metal sculpture, I discover a whole new world of artistic exploration.  This time, encouraged by my father, I am examining the world of vitreous enamels.  More specifically, the enamels designed for metals.  In this post, I will be applying a transparent enamel directly to copper. Below, you will see the supplies I have for applying enamel.  I have a bottle of a gum solution used as an adhesive. The gum solution dries fairly quickly and when the powdered enamel is fired at roughly 1500 Fahrenheit, no residue of the gum remains.

 

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I also have a 2 ounce jar of Thompson Enamel 2410 Copper Green, a small sifter, and two fold formed copper panels.

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I first brush on the gum solution straight from the bottle onto the fold formed copper panels. Without wasting too much time, I get my sifter and extract some of the enamel powder from the jar.  I gently sift onto the panels.

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I shake off any excess enamel and put it back in the jar for later use.  I have a defunct toaster oven preheated to 250 Fahrenheit.  I place my enameled panels in there to dry the gum solution.  I usually wait fifteen minutes to be sure the copper is thoroughly hot and the adhesive is completely dry.

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I then get out my heating stand and very carefully hold a neutral oxy acetylene flame near the panels.  The oxy acetylene is actually too hot for enameling so you must be alert and intently focused to prevent burning through the copper.  A transparent enamel allows one to see all the phases of torch enameling.  First the copper oxidizes under the enamel as it begins to fuse.  Just then, the enamel will acquire a orange peel texture.  It still needs more heat at this point.  The next stage is some of the opacity is changed into a more transparent affect.  It looks as if you are driving tiny bubbles out of the enamel.  Also the oxides will start dissolving into the enamel.  This allows for a more metallic look under the enamel.  When the desired look is achieved,  the torch is turned off and the panel is allowed to cool.

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After the panels are cooled off, I place them in a copper chloride etching solution.  I made the etchant myself from water, muriatic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and scrap copper.

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For the first ever try at torch enameling, I did not do half bad.  They look rough due to the lack of metal prep but I am after the brutalism look anyway.

Small Tabletop Heating stand for heating and enameling

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Convenient Hands Free Stand for Heating

I recently obtained a couple of jars of Thompson Enamel that I want to apply to copper.  I had some scrap hex steel bar and some left over square bar.  I hand bent two equal length hex bar sections into brackets that were welded together to form a square frame with rounded corners.   The legs were made from 1/4 inch square steel bars.  It stands a little over 9 inches tall.  This is a perfect height to put a torch under what ever small metal work that needs to be heated.   This stand is ideal for enameling copper, brass and silver or for annealing copper alloys for hammering and shaping.

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Here is the metal stand with a scrap piece of hardware cloth.  This offers a porous support for heating copper sheet for shaping, fold forming, and copper enameling.  Another way to utilize this versatile stand is a trivet.  This is a solid metal support.  If I need to heat with the oxyacetylene torch,  I need something stronger than hardware cloth.  That is because the intense heat from the torch can melt through and burn the wires of the hardware cloth too easily.  When I need a less intense heat, like for annealing copper, I use MAPP gas torch with the wire cloth.  Pictured below is the triangular trivet I made today.

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I want a triangular trivet in a tripod format.  The tripod shape allowed for both the maximum support and open area so I may have plenty of room to navigate my torch flame around the work to be heated.  I started by measuring three triangles from some scrap 16 gauge steel sheet.  Each triangle was 1 1/2 inch high and 2 and 3/4″ long.

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Once I had all my triangles ready, It was time to weld them in the desired patter.  I brought out my heavy duty handmade fixture.  The idea was to temporarily tack weld the triangles into position  like so.

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The third triangle was welded instead at the vertex.  Then I used the angle grinder with a cutoff wheel on the first tack weld.  I was able to easily pry the newly made trivet off my welding fixture.  I proceeded to grind the surface smooth for the next task this fixture will be used.

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Above you will see that I added reinforcing welds to both sides to increase the integrity of the trivet fixture.

 

 

 

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.