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.
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.
During the 1950’s and 1960’s was the modern art era now affectionately referred to as midcentury. Becuase of the rise of technology and the excitement surrounding the space race. This gave rise to a more contemporrary art style with hard lines and geometric shapes. And with that movement we have art made from cut nails, or more commonly called, masonry nails. The wedge shape of these nails allows them to be welded
into countless arrangments. The most striking pieces are ones made by braze welding with a bronze brazing rod. This allows the natural contrast of the two metals steel and bronze to shine create a mood.
Adding Various Accents
Creating dimensional wall sculptures with cut nails does produce an eye catching work of art. But then again, what could possibly be wrong with a little of embelishment. Take for instance this Eames Era wall hanging. It features some verticle accents made from braze welding RG45 rod together. Also, There are three strategically placed hemispheric accents that are actually fence pipe weld termination ends. They are painted in three different colored metallic paints to draw in the focus on the piece.
A seven frame sculpture
When I made this, I wanted to create something different than I had before. So I made these frames with a nail going diagonally through them. I also included 3 semipheracle pipe ends as accents.
Creating work of smaller modules
This is where I wanted to create a set of smaller units. This way ideas that come from smaller pieces can be considered. These 3 stars have an ancient appeal to them for sure. I hand brazed each one and they can be arrange anyway you wish. This gives flexibility for people with a discerning eye for efficient use of space. The art is available at this Etsy listing. Just click and see more details
The metal supplier I frequently obtain my raw materials most of the time has at least some drops or cast offs. While going through the scrap bin, I found these 4 wonderful 1/8″ thick steel panels. They appear to be for an instrument with perhaps a video screen or some kind of monitor. They were probably discarded because errors in plasma cutting or wrong positioning of holes etc.. Never the less, I snagged them up already seeing their mid century appeal.
My first project was this abstract mid century wall hanging with a decidingly southwestern color scheme. I made this in early September when it was still 90 degrees with the idea of fall colors. I used all oil based colors for this on the main body and water based gold acrylic on the “attenas”. A nice lady from Phoenix purchased this from my Etsy shop last week. I made out OK. Next panel I want a simular design but with a range of blue hues. More later.
I found it was time to make a bigger braze welded sculpture. To enhance this sculpture I chose steel accents painted in brilliant multicolored metallic colors. These where airbrushed over the primed geometric accents. These, along with the brazed nail support, where sealed with a gloss lacquer finish to enhance the metallic finishes. This sculpture is available in my Etsy shop.
When I made this sculpture, I attached mounting hooks so it could be wall mounted either horizontally or vertically to increase versatility. Mounting this vertically will get you the most decorative impact when horizontal space on a wall may be limited or if you need to change the perspective in your decor.
All these accents were meticulously HAND CUT with an angle grinder. No plasma cutter or water jet was used! The circle above looks perfect but it is not. I was designed with a $2 compass, a Sharpie and was cut manually from 16 gauge steel sheet. The lines were maintained and after cutting as close as possible to the lines without removing them, the shape edges where grinded to the lines.
Controlled Spraying Creates Interesting Effects
The metallic paints where applied with a single stage airbrush. Two or more colors were sprayed on the accents to give interesting shading and contrast effects. Take note that the single stage airbrush lacks the precision and the finesse of a two stage aribrush with a trigger assembly.
The large brass overlayed steel nail project is really taken shape. It is getting bigger. Started with several subassemblies. These subassemblies are then braze welded together. As the size increases, the weight does to and it becomes more fragile. When full sized it will need some support braze welded to the back. These braces will also feature the mounting hooks.
This is one of my hottest selling items in my Etsy shop. Because of this, I make on demand. It is a small work at 13.5 inches by 13.5 inches but it is bold and dimensional and will make a statement in just about any decor. At $31 plus shipping, you cannot beat the value of this art handmade right here in the USA. Take a look at the dimensional view in the photo below. If you want more pictures or to purchase just visit this items Etsy listing.
One of my creative outlets in metal art is creating braze welded nail sculpture. I braze the cut nails together with an oxyacetylene torch and bare bronze filler rod. I tend to do pieces with geometric patterns that where popular during the mid century era of the 20th century.
Recently, I was contacted by a customer in my Etsy Shop to create a custom nail sculpture. He stated that he wanted a golden finish yet I usually leave the nails their natural steel grey color with the bronze joints polished and shiny for contrast. After much contemplation, I came up with the idea of overlaying the entire nail pattern with the bronze fill metal. I made the piece featured in the photo above to see if that is the look the customer was going for. Here is closeup of the piece with a variating texture to the finish.
Even though the customer stated they preferred a smoother finish, this demonstrates the variable effects one can obtain working in this media.