Mid Century Starburst Key Holder

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Mid Century Retro-style

If your decor needs a retro 1970’s style addition, then look no further than this mid century starburst key holder.  It was hand braze welded with an oxygen acetylene torch and is largely made up of masonry square cut nails.  The filler metal used was bare bronze brazing alloy.  A paste flux was used to prevent oxidation during heating.

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Brazed Masonry Nail Starburst

The second image captures a more closeup perspective of the functional art.  You will notice how the shiny bronze joints set themselves as quite a contrast to the gray steel near them.  Although this key holder may be considerably larger than my other key holders, I am quite pleased with this creation and I feel it is still quite comfortable to fit in any home or office.

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Industrial Chic Steampunk Key Holder

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Steampunk Key Holder From Reclaimed Machine Gears

After the recent sale of the key holder me and my family have used for the last few years, I felt the pressure to replace it.  I immediately thought of a steampunk theme.  It is the driving force force for me to acquire steel gears from surplus sources.

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This industrial chic steampunk key holder pretty much came together as I imagined it.   I first arc welded the gears in what I thought was an interesting pattern.  Then cut a square steel bar I had handy then I hand formed my hooks.  I maintained an imperfect natural steel finish to add to the industrial chic charm.  This key holder could work in a number of decor settings.  It could perfectly fit in with a vintage country cottage or an ultramodern contemporary work space.  The possibilities are endless.

 

 

Triple Cube Pearl Blue Sculpture

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Three Steel Cubes Painted Pearl Blue

This brilliant iridescent blue three cube contemporary metal sculpture my latest creation.  It consist of three different sized cubes made from 1/8″ steel plate welded in 3D hollow forms with an oxygen acetylene torch.  You can read more about the process here.  It does take practice to do this efficiently.  It is a combination of choosing right welding tip size for optimum heat output as well as the correct travel speed to minimize warping the hollow forms.

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This sculpture was carefully assembled to get the most of the angles and perspectives available.  To add to the bold arrangement of three dimensional shapes, a pearl blue mica paint job was applied to the cubes.  This helps to accentuate the dimensional qualities of the piece.  To elevate the cubes, a stand was created with 1/4″ thick steel  plate and a 5/8″ round rod.  This stand is painted gloss black so the iridescent pearl blue cubes are able to stand out more.

 

Minimalist Robust Abstract Hand Welded Steel Sculpture

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Minimalist Modern Metal Art

This is a recent addition to my Etsy shop.  It is a hand welded minimalist modern sculpture.  The white and black paint contrast with each other giving the composition dimension and presence.  Also. these colors match many decor schemes making for a minimalist yet bold statement.  There is red accents to attract attention and  focus.  The paint is a spray lacquer paint that dries quickly but leaves a hard durable coating.  The crossing geometric lines provide depth and volume.  The round shapes and holes break up the otherwise rectangular theme.

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.

Threading Metal Part 1

Years ago, I worked for a conveyor company and I learned a few metal working skills.  One of the more useful skills was threading pre-drilled holes.  Threading blind or through holes is called tapping.  With this technique,  you can have a threaded hole where ever it may be needed.  You can use bolts, screws, and threaded rods to fasten metal, wood or plastic to the object with the threaded hole.

The way it works, is you drill a hole with recommended size of drill bit and then you usually tap by hand.  Typically, you turn the tap in the hole about a half turn clockwise then backing off a quarter turn to clear chips generated.  It can be a slow process but it is worth the effort and patience.

Usually when I finish the initial tapping,  I completely remove tap from threaded hole and reinsert it to clean up the shavings and chips.  Then I test with a bolt of the same diameter and thread count.

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The photo above shows me testing my angle iron bracket with a 2 1/2″ long 3/8-16 thread hex bolt.  I have completed four of these now an am ready to assemble my table.  That is the reason I enjoy tapping despite its labor intensive qualities.  Not only are you able to create strong cold connections in metal, but you can make your own personalized hardware for your next project.