Thursday, 2 August 2012

Finishing Touches

Not content with any old door handle,
I headed for my precious hoard of bits and pieces to see if I could make one.
Kira is my inspiration for such projects, and I keep her preferences in mind when I build.
She likes tarnished metal and rough workmanship.
It certainly beats symmetry and fine finish.

Copper always looks great and is usually abundant.
It's pricey compared to steel, but very reasonable compared to silver and gold.
I always keep interesting copper and bronze parts for jobs like this.
I had a piece of 3/4" pipe and some elbow fittings that would make a good handle.
It's unlikely they'd ever be used for plumbing.

This was also a perfect opportunity to try out the new welding machine.
It seems to be working well, and the more it's used, the better it gets.
The knobs and dials are old style metal contact operated, and the use has cleared some of the corrosion.
I have never really had the chance to try welding anything other than steel and aluminum, and have been eager to try some copper.

The handle is copper, and the flat plates are bronze.
The copper welded very nicely, but the bronze is a little tricky.
It melts before it gets workable,
so you need to give it lots of heat quickly to fuse it.
Normally, I would be disappointed with the result.
But in this case, the battered and imperfect look is what we're going for.

My natural inclination is to buff something like this up so that it's shiny.
I know it would eventually age and oxidize, giving it an antique look after awhile.
But Kira would like it tarnished now, so it was another chance to try something.
I have a little gun bluing solution for maintaining firearms.
I tried it on the copper to see what would happen.
It worked perfectly, and darkened the copper.

A couple of old brass screws for fastening made the handle complete.
It has a steam-punk feel to it owing to the pipe it's made of.
The only thing missing was a latch to match.
So I tried welding bronze to mild steel.
It works great.

Most everything we have going right now is large, broad projects.
What was important was to get the coop addition up.
The door handle was just an excuse to experiment with something different.
Each step along the way, the finishing touches are being neglected in favour of having the practical elements in place and working.
But as we draw near to opening our homestead to the public,
the fine details will have to be attended to.
And so I guess we're saving the most fun jobs for last.


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