Monday, June 10, 2013

Fabricating Trees!

A little behind-the-scenes on steel tree fabrication:

I made the trees from a combination of brass soldering rods (for the trunks) and steel wire for branches. The wire came painted black, but I didn't want any other coating because it would require burning/melting that off first in order to make a clean joint, which would be a nuisance. I drew designs, snipped pieces, laid everything out, taped pieces in place.

I brought these home, invested in a brazing kit from Home Hardware, and learned how to braze from my dad. I opted for brazing with these because it was sturdy and relatively quick. Gluing wouldn't have a strong enough bond and would take up drying time, and the steel was too thick for soldering. 

The brazing held up pretty well. There were two or three branches that broke in transition - sometimes the solder didn't spread between the joints too well - it would bubble up (a heating/timing issue I suspect), and these were more prone to snapping off. Other pieces were too small and close together so that when I heated one piece, the solder on surrounding pieces would melt and branches would fall off. I was pretty ambitious with the designs, so some of the tree branches required gluing - these were mostly the pine trees. 

So I made a tree! And then I made 30 more. 

After the trees were brazed, they got a coat of grey auto primer to make for a better painting surface, a paint job in acrylic, followed by a good dose of spray glue and salt. 

Thank you to Andrew Patten and Sarah Davignon of The Most Loyal for their help with salting trees!


mélanie daigle said...

Awh, this is sooo cool!! I love seeing your in-process stuff!

Aparajita said...

mmm brazing indoors on those cold wintry days :)
I'm so excited to see the final piece!