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

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

Enter a caption

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.

image

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…..

 

Advertisements

Brazed Metal

 

 

image

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.

Product Review: Preval vFan

Picture_005__51262_1327435190_1280_1280

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.

IMAG0076IMAG0075

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.

Unique Garden Sculpture

2014-05-26 18.47.55

Steel Garden Art

My latest creation is the unique Indoor/Outdoor garden steel sculpture pictured above.   It is of a natural steel colored finish in an abstract floral type shape.  I has several coats of clear coat to hold back the elements. The emerging summer season inspired me to create a sculpture that was distinctly metallic yet botanical style.  It should do well in any garden environment or even as a center piece on a dining room table.  Garden sculpture is another avenue I wish to explore in the styles of metal art I create.

2014-05-26 20.01.48

Heavy Duty Steel Base

Most of the weight of this composition is in the circular base that all the various length rods are welded to.  It might only be 5 inches in diameter but it is solid steel and up to 1 and a half inches thick at its thickest point.  No danger of this sculpture blowing away unless there is a nuclear explosion nearby!

2014-05-26 18.51.25

Unique Versatility

If you are looking for a unique kitchen organizer,  this sculpture might have something to offer you in the most unexpected way.  The rods are 3/8″ in diameter and can accommodate many kitchen utensils.  Although it is recommended you use this on an island or external counter top due to the wide span of the top of the sculpture.

 

This unique composition is one of a kind and available at my Etsy shop.

Design by Desperation-When Everything Fails, Invent a Solution

2014-05-20 11.52.15

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.

2014-05-20 11.52.32

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

2014-04-22 13.07.50

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.

 

2014-04-21 19.08.192014-04-21 19.08.14\

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

2014-04-21 19.08.342014-04-21 19.09.18

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.

2014-04-21 19.14.032014-04-21 19.15.36

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.

2014-04-21 19.21.552014-04-21 19.21.41

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.

2014-04-21 18.20.022014-04-21 18.19.59

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.

2014-04-22 13.07.50

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.

Spring Has Finally Sprung!

IMAG2855IMAG2854

The Harshest Winter of a Generation

Yes spring has finally arrived.  It could not come soon enough.  This winter has been the snowiest and one of the coldest in 30 to 35 years!  The photos above sums up pretty much the weather pattern from New years until about March 10th.  A long series of severe winter weather events, each followed by subzero cold.  There were a couple times we would have a warm up and thaw but it was usually only for a day maybe two.  Most of the snow from the previous storm would remain only to be added to by several more inches from a new storm system. By the way, the photos on top were taken on a frigid Saturday morning that was 4 above zero!

 Spring

The Meaning of Spring

Spring is the season of new life and beginging.  It is a time of birth and awakening.  For me it represents new inspirations for creative endeavors.  It is also inspiring for reorganization.  Many times, you have clutter collecting dust in the winter because it is too cold and dark to get motivated to do anything about it.   This spring is very special due to the severity and ruthless nature of the winter season.  I built a steel shelf with the promise of better weather and longer daylight hours.  I have several organizing projects in line to make my creative process a much smoother and pleasurable experience.

Update

Well it has been interesting.  Now it is the middle of April and we have left the snow and ice behind.  Now we a on roller coaster wetted by rain.  We rotate between near summer warmth to damp coolness associated with later winter or early spring.  May will bring better conditions.

2014-04-13 15.41.25

IMAG2976

I have done less of the creative metal work lately.  I have instead been occupied with objects of utility such as steel shelving and welding fixtures.