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


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.


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.


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.


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.





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.

Industrial Assemblage For Your Tabletop or Bookshelf

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Metal Art With Textured Finish

I just completed this tabletop sculpture from miscellaneous scraps of steel I had lying around.  This is an industrial steampunk  sculpture made from a plate from a discarded garage door opener, a piece of square tubing,  hexagonal rod, and a remnant piece of channel from another project.  This was all arc welded together to form a handsome and bold sculpture.

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Arc Welded Industrial Assemblag

This first photo on the left is a closeup of the body of the sculpture.  The square tube is offset to the left to alloy the circular hole to be viewed unabstructed.  A hex bar scrap that was bent was added as an angular accent to bring balance to the composition.  On the right photo you can see the hex bar staff extending several inches above the plate.  This brings the total work to a height of 19 inches.  The sculpture is 6 inches wide at the widest point.  The piece of channel that is the base is approximately 3 inches by 4 inches.  For this sculpture and more, be sure to check out my Etsy shop!

Whimsicle Curves and Spirals Part 1


My Winter Creativity Binge Takes a Turn

In my last post regarding braving the elements I created a angular piece from scraps.  While I worked on that, I also put together the gem you see on the left in the photo above.  It is a whimsical spiral wrapping itself around a curved bar terminated in a solid steel ball.   I took a chance by forming the 2 inch wide strip of 16 gauge steel around a schedule 40  four inch diameter pipe.  I then stretched the spiral form out to lengthen and give more dimension.  I thought that I just as easily could have turned perfectly good steel into rubbish.


Working Out the Weld Position

It was quite awkward welding the spiral onto the curved support.  I have never done anything quite like this.  Needless to say I dropped things a couple of times before I figured a way to hold it still long enough to tack them together.


Attaching the Solid Steel Ball

The next endeavor changed the whole dynamics of the piece.  I welded on a solid steel ball one and one half inch in diameter on the end of the curved bar.  This might sound big but it is.  It weighs nearly 1 pound and causes the whole piece to wobble.  Just to stabilize it, I had the mount the composition onto a steel base 3/8″ inch thick!   I used a 3/8″ round rod to brace the piece into a vertical position.  Just see photo below.


Fun Colors For a Fun Sculpture


Well I went to the trouble to make this organic and playful piece.  Why not adorn it with colors to match.  I started off with some student acrylics to cover the primer and establish a base coat for the pearl paints that will be applied on top.  The colors show are roughly like the metallic pearls that will be placed over them.  This provides me an opportunity to study and evaluate various color combinations.   I must say that it is tempting to almost go with the regular colors.  Look forward to spraying the finishes on this sculpture.

The Various Styles of My Metal Art


My Metal art


I make metal art using various techniques including braze welding, wire arc welding, and stick welding. I make alot of my own forming tools from left over scraps to keep cost down and my enjoyment up. I get alot of inspirations from other artists as well as architexture and nature. All my works are a labor of love and an appreciation of form and color. You can view my work in in my Etsy shop.

Sources of inspiration

Decorative coat rack from repurposed metal I draw inspiration from many sources. I get inspired from other artists, state of the art architecture, and nature itself. Sometimes I like to take some discarded metal and give it a new lease on life. The coat rack shown here was constructed from a lame planter and leftover metal stock.

Modulated sculpture

3 stars Sometimes a design oppotunity cannot be ignored despite how small the designs is. The compromise is artwork made of numerous smaller modules. Here I have made these 6 inch stars out of braze welded masonry nails. They can be arranged in any layout that seems appropiate for your decor. These wonderful additions to your decor are available in my Etsy shop.


boltbot CHeck out this robot candle holder I made up of scrap nuts and bolts. What a great way to recylce! Click on this link here to visit my shop listing for this item.

How to make perfect steel rings

This applies to making steel rings with rods quarter inch thick and less. For thicker material, you will need a torch to heat the metal as you bend it.
In this installment, I bend three sixteenths rod scrap around a mendrel I welded together from a section of six inch diameter pipe. I use a pair of vice grip to hold the rod against the mandrel and I use leverage to wrap it around the mandrel one and a half revolutions to ensure proper curving of the steel.

Results of steel ring forming

Scrap metal converted to perfect 6 inch ring! After the rod is wrapped around the mandrel to ensure the prope rcurvature, it is time to cut the ring from the straight rod. Keep in mind that you will need a significant overlap so the ring will close properly. If you do not overlap then you will have a large gap when you align everything to weld. Once it is all aligned, tack weld it in place and if not too distorted then continue welding. Finish up by grinding the weld smooth.

Torch Perforated metal

This is an interesting technique. What is done is a thin gauge steel sheet that might be 22 to 26 gauge is heated with an oxidizing flame on the oxyacetylene torch until the circular hot zone melts and leaves a whole. It really is a quick process and besides the holes also leaves a dimensionally textured surface. In the example in the photo shown here, after the perforation I melted bronze onto the steel to give it a multimetallic surface.

Candle Holders

I love to make candle holders. They make such wonderfull gifts. Take, for instance, this 3 heart candle holder. It would make a great gift for Mothers day, Valentines, birthday, or anniversary. Also, they really add to a rooms decor. If you would like to see more,just click here.


One of the most elegant and usefull items a metal sculptor can make is a clock.  There are several companies that sell clock movements and specialized clock hands.  Nearly anything with at least a partially flat surface and the capability to have a hole drilled can be converted into a custom timepiece.  Take the contemporary post modern wall clock above.  It is an abstract time piece that would make a bold statement in any room with its contrasting iridescent colors and clean geometric lines.


Art deco set of 2 While on the subject of candle holders, I want to discuss wall mounted sconces. A good example is this set of two art deco tealight/votive candle holding sconces.

Materials for Sculptors


Source your art materials


If your a sculptor, you are always looking for a better source of raw materials to make your creations from. This lens is about materials for sculptors and it will help you get started. Whether you make art out of metal, wood, stone or all of the above, you will be sure to at least appreciate the information given here.

Materials of all kinds are rapidly increasing in cost so it behooves the frugal artist to find the most cost affective way to create. For metals, there are cuttoffs and drops, for stone there are broken off pieces, and free lumber is readily available.



Mild Steel Strong, flexible, inexpensive and readily available, it is no wonder that steel is a major construction material. To add to its utility,there are huge numbers of alloys for different uses. Some tool steels are very hard and strong. In fact you may use steel saw blades to cut steel!

For most sculpture uses, mild steel fits the bill in most cases. It is one of the cheapest, widely available steel alloy. It can easily be cut, grinded, drilled, and welded. The best way to source this material is to find a local steel house that caters to the public. Many of these places have a cuttoff, or “drops” that they sell for less than $1 per pound.

Mild steel can be found in tube, round rod, square rod, ractanglur tube, sheet, plate, perforated sheet and expanded metal.


Stainless steel

stainless steel Stainless steel is likely the material your kitchen sink is made of. It is a hard and durable alloy that resist corrosion very well. The combination of these properties and the fact it takes a most impressive shine, make stainless steel invaluable to sculptors. For weldability the widely available 304 alloy is best.


Copper Sheet Copper was probably one of the first metals discovered by man. It is soft, easily formed, and somewhat resistant to corrosion. When copper does rust, or patina, it is covered by a beautiful sea foam green carbonate that prevents further deteriioration of the copper metal. There are other chemically produced patinas in a whole range of greens, blues, browns, reds, and black available as well.



granite Granite, marble, and cement can be used for sculpture. Granite is used for countertops. It can be quite expensive, but if you know a granite contractor, you may be able to get left overs or broken pieces for free or very low cost. Also websites like freecycle and craigslist may prove useful for granite or marble. Still there are may be another avenue if you live near a major city. Many large cities have a place that accepts lightly used and second hand building materials. They can have anthing from, toilets, marble, granite, screws, glass, drywall, paint etc.


type=text Usually used as the mineral hydrocal, plaster is a verstatile medium for sculptors. It can be cast, carved and painted. Sometimes, like in this sculpture featured in the photo, the simple white finish of the plaster adds an air of sophistication to the abstract organic form represented in this piece.


Most houses and apartments are made of it, it is lighter than metal and stone, and with the right preparation, will last a long time. It can be cut in various ways, drilled, routed, and glued,

In many cases, lumber can be had for free. Many times, a property management company will hire a contractor to do some rebuilding jobs. The contractor will bill the property management company for lumber purchased and , in many cases, will discard left over lumber in dumpsters. It is a good idea to keep your eyes open when renovations are made to apartments or condiminiums. Sometimes free lumber can be found on craiglist or freecycle