Mid Century Starburst Key Holder

mid century key holder

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.

mid century key holder2

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


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.


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.



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.


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.

Public Metal Art in Unexpected Places

I was driving one of my Uber riders to work this morning in a rather rundown part of town.  This is something I do between other jobs as a gap filler for extra income.  The area was an industrial/warehousing area that left much to be desired.  It was a cloudy and rainy Monday’s so I definately was in blah land.  Then suddenly when I was turning a corner into the lot for this particular warehouse my rider works at, I see two very imaginative rusty metal compositions standing there.

imageIt was a definate boost to get my creative juices going.  It was at this moment that it dawned on me one purpose of public art.  To create something aesthetically pleasing in an otherwise drab and uninspiring area.



Product Review: Kleanstrip Phosphoric Prep and Etch


Phosphoric Acid Metal Cleaner

There is a plethora of metal cleaning products available in industry as well as to the average consumer.  Many metal projects involving welding,brazing, and painting demand a metal surface free of oxidation and general contamination.  Degreasers remove lubricating oils and grease but not rust and tarnish.  Most rust removers are acid based cleaners or chelating agents.  Acid solutions are corrosive and toxic but they act rapidly on rust and tarnish.    Muriatic acid, available at many home improvement centers, is the most active but leaves metals in an activated state that makes them rust even faster and more extensively.  The acid in the featured product is a 25 to 40% phosphoric acid solution. Phosphoric dissolves rust a little slower but leaves the metal with a rust resistant finish with iron phosphate that is ideal for priming and painting. image

Steel Soaking in Phosphoric Acid

In the photo above, is 18 gauge cold rolled with surface rust soaking in the prep and etch.  Aside from the phosphoric acid, this cleaner has a surfactant to aid in wetting.


The Next Morning

After leaving the steel in the phosphoric acid overnight, this is what I found.  The metal had a more consistent finish and was overall grey.  This is iron phosphate.  This would be ideal for priming and painting.  For welding, I would wire brush this to make sure no phosphorus vapors or formed.  Also, phosphorus in element form, may make steel excessively brittle.

Brazed Metal




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.

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.