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25.2.09

Custom Made Furniture - THE PROCESS

When is it a good time to have a custom piece of furniture built? Most of the time, it's when a person can't find what they're looking for. I run into people all of the time that are having a hard time locating that perfect piece. Usually they don't even think of having something made, it's not even an option. It is expensive in most cases, it's a time consuming process that requires allot of attention and creativity.

There are certain pieces out there that just can't be found in stores. It usually requires a little research on your part. If and when you need something made, do your homework before talking to a custom furniture designer. Time is money in our business, the more you do to simplify the process, the easier it will be on you. Find pictures in magazines, print off similar pieces from the internet and definitely come in with the proper dimensions.

Are you the type who doesn't really know how to describe what you want? Maybe you've never seen that piece in a magazine and you know you can't find it anywhere. Let the designer be creative, bring in a picture of the room you want the piece to go in. Take a picture of the area your looking to fill. You never know, there's a reason why they do what they do.

24.2.09

Forged Floral Wall Sconces




3 wall sconces I designed for my wife and I's house. My intention for our home, is to have pieces throughout that can't be found in stores. If possible, we try our best not to furnish with common furnishings. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that we enjoy conversation type pieces. We look for visitors to ask, "where did you get that"?



23.2.09

Iron Range Hood

Whether it be old world or contemporary, iron or copper range hoods really make a statement. I'm big on contrast, this is a focal point in your kitchen, just as a fireplace is in the living room. Make it stand out with a feature such as this.

Courtyard Entry Gates

What a great way to enter a home. Not only does it add curb appeal, but adds security. Once through the gates, you enter a courtyard full of beautiful landscapes. This application doesn't work for every home, but looks great when the design calls for it.

Forged Sink Pedestal

How awesome is this pedestal, this is what I like to see in homes. If anyone ever needs idea's for sink pedestal's, I'm constantly jotting down ideas. If interested in taking this design approach, then first visit your local sink showroom for ideas. You need to find the sink first, then look for a counter top such as granite, flagstone or stained concrete. Stay away from marble if possible, it's very porous and can stain if not sealed properly. I wouldn't recommend wood either, unless it's a teak or something similar.

22.2.09

What Is Wrought Iron Anyway?

The word “wrought” as used in the term “wrought iron” is the former past tense of the verb to work. As with many other irregular past tense verbs in the English language, over time “wrought” was replaced with “worked.” However, the term “wrought iron” still exists today.

Although iron is one of the most abundant metals on Earth, it was very slow to evolve into a commonly used metal because of the difficulty involved originally in working with it. Early iron workers had a difficult time understanding that in order to make it more malleable it was essential to reduce the carbon content by melting the metal again a second time and hammering the ingots to expel the carbon and other impurities. One this was discovered, iron was no longer brittle like cast iron is.

Because of their ability to change the composition of wrought iron using fire and water, blacksmiths were sometimes seen as magical sorcerers and put on the same level as doctors. These men were blessed with having created metals that were unable to break in battle. Vulcan and Hephaestus were the first encounters in Roman and Greek mythology with blacksmiths. It was not until later that artistically worked iron was used in the construction of buildings such as churches and monasteries, with the first recorded use being Notre Dame in Paris and Winchester Cathedral in England.

One of iron’s original production methods was by being smelted using bloomeries. A bloomery is a sort of furnace with a pit and chimney with stone or clay walls for heat resistance. Clay pipes entered near the bottom of the pit to allow airflow either from natural source or through the use of a type of air pump known as a bellow. Once a bloomery was filled with charcoal and iron ore it was lit and air was forced through the pipes to heat the mixture to just below the melting point for iron. The impurities would melt and run off and the carbon monoxide from the charcoal reduced the ore to iron in a sponge like mass. This material was then forged with hammers, which removed impurities in the process.

Later during the Middle Ages, water was used to power the bellows and eventually the hammers, making the job of working iron much easier, but in the 15th century the concept of a blast furnace was created in Europe. However, the iron created in a blast furnace was very brittle and needed to be refined. It would not be until the Industrial Revolution that a process for making durable wrought iron more efficiently was created.

A puddling furnace was invented in 1784 and it is credited at the time with being the most successful way of creating wrought iron without the use of charcoal. In the nineteenth century the demand began for stronger wrought iron, thus bringing to the industry a method to mass-produce puddle iron. This new mass production of wrought iron created a metal with a higher tensile strength and a small increase in carbon content. This made the chemical composition and consistency easier to control then before.

The term “wrought iron” is often used to describe products that are actually made from mild steel nowadays. This is because traditionally made wrought iron is not forged as often anymore. This has given rise to the common conception that mild steel products are “wrought iron” and why the two terms are often used interchangeably. Mild steel is a combination of iron and carbon as well as other elements present in quantities too small to affect the overall properties. The higher the carbon content the harder but less ductile and less easy to weld the steel becomes. Mild steel has the lowest carbon content of between .05% and .26% making it quite easy to work with. Uses today for wrought iron are quite varied and include water pipes, railway couplings, nuts and bolts, as well as decorative ironwork such as handrails, fences, furniture & accessories.

The manufacturing of wrought iron has experienced many changes over the centuries in its process and materials, but the outcome has remained the same, giving while still providing us today with attractive and interesting products constructed from this sturdy material.

Iron Paint or Patina Finishes

A faux painted metal patina can be applied to any paintable surface or object. Plain wrought iron can be faux painted to look like pewter, rust, silver, copper, bronze, gold, aluminum, or platinum. Chemical antiquing patinas can be added to create a subtle, aged look. A natural verdigris patina is created when copper is exposed to the elements; it turns a chalky, grayish, colored green. When trying to copy the natural aging process for verdigris, below are the steps to take in order to achieve this look.

Verdigris Finish Steps:
First paint the base coat white, apply a second coat of gray, sponge or brush on the dark green, blending any obvious harsh marks with a stippling brush, while still wet, sponge on the darker turquoise mixture, blend, add the milky turquoise color with a brush to create highlights, and dust with rotten stone or spackle dust. To simulate a streaking, soak a sponge in water (water-based paint) or mineral spirits (oil-based) and dribble down the wet paint finish.

Creating a natural rust finish: It’s time consuming, but works.
If you’ve purchased an iron piece of furniture and would like for it to rust a little, here are the steps to take in order to accomplish the look.
1. Randomly sand areas of the iron, getting it down to the bare steel.
2. Set the piece outdoors if possible
3. Get a spray bottle and fill it with water, put a teaspoon of salt in, spray the area’s that need to rust on a regular basis.
4. It really helps if you live in a rainy area, leave it exposed enough to get wet by rain or sprinklers.

This process takes a little while; it will start to turn an orange color first. It will slowly start rusting into more of a dark brown. Your pretty much there by now, you can take it in and lightly rub it down with a dry rag, knocking the rough edges off. Then it’s time to seal it, I like to use a spray satin Rustoleum Polyurethane from the hardware store. It could use two light coats, letting each one dry for at least 24 hours. Then you’re ready to go.

Iron Planter Box


How cool is this iron planter? It's fabricated from an old iron grate, the inside is lined with galvanized tin. You could definitely get a larger plant on your porch by the use of this piece. I love ironwork for this reason, you can't get this with wood, ceramic or stone. I could design these 100 different ways, though they wouldn't be cheap. This type of work is what makes a home stand out, it adds huge curb appeal. You'll find this product and more at www.mariannejones.com

Old World Sconce - great company to look at


If you're into the old world look, this company is amazing. It's definitely a higher-end company, but everything is hand forged and powder coated to last for a very long time. http://www.solara.tv/

Another Cool Console Table


As you can see, I'm a big fan of console tables. This table is designed perfectly for the space, it doesn't hide the window and it allows allot of light in. For a shabby chic type setting, this finish is great. Nothing says worn like a little rust. Find this product and more at www.mariannejones.com

16.2.09

Iron Design - CAD drawings



Here's a couple of cool balcony designs, if anyone ever needs any help with wrought iron design work, I may be able to help. If you can afford to have a CAD designer draw up your designs before you start the process, it'll definitely help.


Iron Corbels / Counter Top Support Brackets / Iron Brackets
















For the best selection of decorative iron corbels and brackets on the market, visit www.wroughtironcorbels.com



15.2.09

Contemperary Console Table


This contemporary console table really turned out well for it's purpose. My goal was to capture the strength and beauty of the natural finish. The inlayed wood compliments the rust by setting it apart.

Fleur-De-Lis Queen Bed


This is a bed that I built for a customers guest room, I think it turned out great for the room and bedding they decided to use.

Jan Barboglio - Wrought Iron Designer




Jan Barboglio - unfortunately you won't find allot of her products on the web, she's a wrought iron furnishings designer that specializes in higher-end products such as these. The dog beds are close to $1000, but you won't find anything like them anywhere else. She has a great catalog full of amazing products, but they're only to be found in specialty stores.

Strap / Dummy Hinges











"Strap Hinges" these turned out perfect on the fake doors. There are allot of dummy hinges out there, google strap or dummy hinges and you should find plenty. You can also go to Flikr to find some really cool designs.

Antique Tin Mirrors




How cool are these mirrors? Made of tin, they're distressed perfectly. http://www.aidangrayhome.com/