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23.12.09

This is a pretty cool dining table I built for a customer about 4 years ago. It turned out to be pretty heavy, due to the extra decorative straps on the legs and the hand carved planks of wood on top. I used 2x6 pine and carved the edges with a knife, then sanded them down so that they could be stained ebony black. The base and straps are a natural rust with a clear coat, which turned out to be a great contrast to the black stain.

Wall Art







Just for fun, here's a few pieces I made for an art show about 6 years ago. I had them archived, the pictures aren't the best quality, but thought it would be fun to share.



25.11.09

Iron / Cedar Fence

Take a look at the fence I constructed a couple of years ago, it still looks good today. For anyone looking to build a unique fence to surround their property, this turned out just the way I wanted it to. I used 3" square steel posts, with 3"x3" angle iron for the top and bottom. I then inserted 1"x6" cedar pickets from the back and added 3 cross rails to hold them together. Once your panel is in place, you drill holes in on the top angle piece into your top 2"x4" cross piece on the inside. You then do the same on the bottom, put your bottom cross 2x4 at the very bottom of the pickets, touching the bottom angle iron, drill holes along the 2x4 into the steel and insert bolts to hold it in place. I secured the pickets to the cross boards with a trim nailer from the front side. Oh yeah, before you put your wood in place, be sure to paint all of the iron first. I went with a dark chocolate, then I coated the cedar pickets in a clear coat made for outdoor wood.

10.11.09

Design Through Inspiration



What inspires you to design, for me it's the older ironwork that you see on homes or buildings from many years back. You don't see work like you do from the past, it's become to costly and time consuming. True hand forged ironwork is where I find inspiration. I don't consider myself a true blacksmith, I can hand forge a little when needed, but it's considered a whole different craft. I like to think of myself as a decorative iron designer that uses whatever tools and techniques necessary to get the job done efficiently. I have an eye for what's popular and desired by my clients. I thrive on creating one of a kind works of art that you don't find in every home. Searching for inspiration is a constant journey and it's fun when you discover a new idea.

13.9.09

Hand Forging Grape Vine








In my opinion, when it comes to fabrication, there is a huge difference in decorative iron grape vines. Above, you'll notice a set of fireplace doors that I've constructed using the grape vine theme. The customers house had grape vine everywhere and they wanted to keep the same look and feel throughout their new living room. I've completed the doors for the fireplace, but am now working on a set of wet bar doors to match. When finished, we'll be going with an old world brown color to go with their light fixtures in the room.

Are you thinking of having a piece designed, using the forged grape look? Below are some pointers on what to look for when talking with a local fabricator.
If you look close at the vine, you'll notice little lines that are crimped into the bar stock. That material is easily purchased through the ornamental iron supplier. Another important thing to notice is that each vine is tapered to a point, ending with a leaf, grape cluster etc... It's very important to taper the vine to a point, or it's just not realistic. This requires a lot of work on behalf of the fabricator, but it needs to be done. When it comes to the leaves and grape clusters, there are many choices out there through the ornamental suppliers, sit down with the fabricator and pick them out based on the size needed and design.

If you have any questions as to where this type of design would look good, give me a shout. I'll update the photos when the project is complete, stay tuned for the finished results.




30.8.09

Iron Fireplace Hood

Winter time is creeping upon us and you'll be using your fireplace again. I'm a huge fan of custom fireplace doors or screens, but this is another way to really make your fireplace stand out. Once again, like I've said before, this is a huge focal point in your room. Do something different, draw some attention to your fireplace. I love the one in this photo, I wish I could remember where I got this picture from so that I could give recognition to the designer. Keep in mind, you could do this with copper or stainless steel, depending on your style.

6.8.09

How I started working with metal

I've had many people tell me that they wish they knew how to work with metal. I don't blame them, the possibilities are endless when one gets the opportunity to build there own piece of art. I started working with metal in the family business back in high school, we've been in the trucking business for over 77 years and have had a great welding dept. ever since. I was fortunate enough to learn from some of the best welders in the business. It took me a few years to learn that I had a creative side. When I was 17, I built my first piece of furniture and it was a learning curve for sometime after that. I don't think I truly had the whole design concept down until I was 21.

That's when I decided to open a furniture store, man was that an eye opener. You talk about a learning curve, try owning a retail store when you've never even worked in one before. I'm just glad I started out slow. I had the design and fabrication end of it down, now I had to learn about what the public really wanted. I will say that I loved the products we carried, it was a mixture of my work, some products from Mexico and pieces that I had found from an importer from Europe. We had 3,000 square feet of unique and one of kind pieces that you couldn't really find anywhere else. Thank god for my employees, they kept the store running while I was building furniture, running back and forth to Mexico and going to market.

To keep this story from being 15 pages long, I'll fast forward. I had the store for 2 years up until 9/11 came and really slowed things down. I tried to hold on, but I was just barely making it to begin with. People quit buying higher end products for a while, so I quit selling it. I've been working in the family business ever since, but I've always built furniture and architectural products on the side for interior designers and builders. It's something I'll never quit doing. When you have a passion for something you enjoy, don't let anything keep you from doing it.

22.7.09

Choosing the right contractor for the job

Finding a qualified, responsible and reasonable contractor these days seems to be a joke. I get so tired of dealing with people in the service industry that don't seem to care anymore about customer service. It's absolutely amazing when you find one that will actually show up on time, complete the job when they say they will and not try to stick you with any added BS. I consider myself pretty loyal when I find someone who does a great job, I'll refer them to others all day.

Finding an ironwork contractor isn't any different than looking for a good plumber or painter. If you live in a large city, consider yourself lucky if you're looking for some custom work. Here in the Oklahoma City area, there are probably 8 - 10 quality ironwork shops. It depends on what type of work you're looking to get done, some shops are better in some areas than others. Take me for example, I specialize in furniture, home decor, and architectural pieces. If you're looking to get a coffee table built, you don't really want to call on a shop that works on hand rails and fence all day. Do your homework, just because they say they can build what you're looking for, doesn't mean it will turn out the way you were hoping. If they have a website with pictures, make sure you pay attention to their design capabilities. I find that allot of shops are good at welding, but there not good a designing.

When looking for a qualified iron designer, there's a big difference in a random welding shop that does everyday regular ornamental ironwork and an artist that works with metal in many applications. Always bring pictures of the designs that catch your eye, unless you have no idea of what you're looking for. Go through magazines and interior and architectural design books. By being prepared, it'll help minimize the stressful task of working with a designer. Nothing sucks worse than trying to get your idea across to someone who's not seeing it.

11.7.09

Iron Fencing























Are you looking to add a privacy fence around your pool or backyard, but you don't want to totally ruin your view? By going with iron, you get both benefits. The thing I love most about iron fencing it that you can add vines, it acts as a perfect trellis. There are many things to consider when choosing a fence design. Where do you live? Do you live close to the ocean where salt water could possibly deteriorate your ironwork faster than normal. If so, then you may need to go with a company that uses an intense finishing process that will protect the paint for years to come. I recommend www.ameristarfence.com, I have personal experience with this fencing, it works and looks great. The panels bolt together with simplicity and they even offer rackable sections for inclines. If your wish is to have a more detailed look, then think about choosing a custom fence design, I've attached drawings of some possible applications. Most ironwork shops in town can easily accommodate what you're looking for. I recommend using whoever most of the builders in town use. Get at least two quotes, you never know how busy a shop is, they may quote it high and not care if they get the job or not. Email me if you need anymore information pertaining to choosing a fence design.





22.6.09

Custom Coffee Table


This base was crafted using four 5/8" twisted square rods for each leg. As you can see, it's a pretty heavy design. The top is 2" thick, using an old world distressed paint finish. The design works great with the fireplace screen in the background.




11.6.09

Iron Console With Stained Concrete Top


Stained concrete tops are a perfect way to add character to any piece of furniture. We went with a one inch piece of concrete, using two different colors of green. Finding decorative concrete contractors to do this type of work has gotten allot easier in the past 5 years. After I fabricated the base, I traced the top of the table in order to make a template for the concrete artist. This made the process easier for them, making it cheaper for myself and the customer. As you can see, it turned out pretty cool.

26.5.09

Contemporary Conference Table







This is a table I designed for a company in town, as you can see, it's made from I beam. I used clavos to give it a more industrial appeal, giving it the look of rivets. The oak wood planks give a great contrast against the natural rust finish. My favorite aspect of the entire design, is the drastic difference in the look of the chairs against the table.



11.5.09

Iron Railings
















When searching for iron railing designs, keep in mind that there are many, many different ways to fabricate the look your going for. Some applications call for a simplistic look, others call for much more intricate designs. A railing isn't the easiest of jobs, so keep in mind the cost, especially if your job calls for curved railings. I always recommend getting 3 quotes, start by asking any local builders that you admire. Builders usually know who's reputable or not.
If you're going for a more intricate design, ask them if they are going to use manufactured components. By using pre-manufactured components through someone like King Metals, it'll help keep the cost down. Remember, the more scroll work you use, the more expensive it will be.
For advise on railings, don't be afraid to give me a buzz. Your options are endless.





12.4.09

Iron Planters for Spring












It's time to start planting for spring, here are some really cool iron planters. They're are multiple websites listing iron planters for sale, start with www.arusticgarden.com they have quite a few out of Mexico that are unique. Also try, www.smithandhawken.com and www.ironaccents.com



25.3.09

Pot Racks












What type of pot rack are you looking for, is it a hand forged wrought iron rack or is it a more contemporary look featuring chrome as the finish. Do you need a rack that has lighting or is it just for looks? As you can see in some of the images above, there are many different ways to display your cookware. There is also 50 different ways to install a pot rack, a person may decide to use chain, cable, rope or hooks. Either way, you need to make sure that you hit a stud. It's possible to install a pot rack without hitting a stud, but I wouldn't recommend doing it yourself, unless your pretty knowledgeable on installation hardware. If you don't have a stud where it's needed, then try getting up in the attic above where the rack will be installed. It shouldn't be too tough to add a cross brace in-between the two joists. Once again, you may need a handyman for this. After you decide what type of pot rack your looking for, it's time to locate and purchase. I recommend going through the Internet first, there are quite a few websites selling pot racks, but most of them are standard sizes. If you have an exceptionally large island that requires a large pot rack, then custom building one may be the route to take. If so, start with your local ornamental iron shops or find someone online like myself that you feel you can trust. Below, I've listed some resources for purchasing pot racks, good luck with your decision.

22.3.09

Industrial Inspired Coffee Table

What a cool industrial inspired coffee table from http://www.wisteria.com/ The casters make it practical for moving and cleaning, they even come with locks on the wheels.

Iron Address Sign

There are many different ways to make address plaques or signs, in this case the home owner wanted something hand forged and heavier in design. This sign would look great in the flower beds or out by the mailbox.

13.3.09

Copper accents for the home





























Whether it be a window box, guttering or roofing material, copper has always stood the test of time. It's a material that weathers well and looks great when it does. There are many applications for copper, we've just shown some of them. Copper works great for mailboxes, table tops and kitchen counter tops. Most of the images above are shown in it's raw form, if you wish to give your copper a Verde green patina, it's a pretty easy process. You can add a muratic acid or what we in the metal industry call a gel like flux to water. Let me know if you need any help in this process, I can give a little advise if needed.