New Experimental Painting Method For Metal Art

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Oil Based Color Wash

Over the years of making various metal sculpture and decor pieces, I have experimented with several finishing techniques.  There is a lot of talk in gamer forums about using color washes with acrylic paints to add a weathered and more authentic look to game pieces and figurines.  Recently, while examining a random scrap piece of steel tread plate, the idea bulb went on over my head.  With the rough texture that the tread offers, why not try a color wash based on oil so I’d have the added benefits of rust prevention as well.  I wanted the bare metal and tread to show through but be distinctly colored as well.  The way I accomplished this was picking up a can of Rustoleum Subrusnrise Red and adding that to some Flood Penetrol.  Penetrol is basically an oil based paint modifyer to help with brush marks and leveling.  It is basically linseed oil, alkyd oil and mineral spirits.  By adding at least twice the amount of Penetrol as the amount of oil based paint, the color becomes more translucent and collects in uneven pools somewhat like water color.  For non-porous surfaced like the tread plate, it is best to apply the mixture only in the horizontal position so it will level off and dry properly.

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Brazed Nail Midcentury Modern Tread Plate Wall Art

To the sculpture above I did apply my color wash rather liberally so it took about three days to dry completely.  The Penetrol will slow down the drying time of oil based paints considerably.  Outside of that minor flaw, I am stoked with the addition of a new technique in my arsenal of metal working skills.  The Brazed Nail Midcentury Modern Tread Plate Wall Art is available in my Etsy shop.

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Creating Geometric Sculpture

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Usually when using brazing to join steel and other metals together, I am working with rods,nails, or other small hardware.  The main theme on most of these has been mid century decor with emphasis on square cut nails.  It is only through handling of the brazing process that I am familiar with the smoothness of the weld beads.  Not have a TIG welding rig, I find brazing especially attractive as a method in construction of more conceptual metal art pieces.  Take my latest work in progress for example, I wanted to join thin 16 gauge steel squares and rectangles in a 3D space without having huge welds protruding with obnoxious weld spatter everywhere.

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The metal looks dirty and rather unattractive at this stage primarily because of the smoke, heat discoloration, and burnt flux.  Once clean, the brass brazing joints will glow gold against the shiny grey steel.  This alone will be an attractive finish with a rust preventing lacquer.   But there are many other finishing possibilities either covering or leaving the brass weld beads exposed.

Here are a few more views to appreciate the volume of the composition.

 

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.

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…..