How to Weld a Texas Dream Catcher
Create a Texas dream catcher from metal including the feathers and star.
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Art comes naturally to William Boney of Longview, Texas, who spent years doing steel construction before he began to explore the artistic possibilities behind it. Pretty soon, his coworkers and their family members wanted to buy the pieces he was making on the side. He considers himself to have been blessed with a wonderful family, and he loves to spend time with his wife and his three children who have inherited the artistic streak.
Materials and Tools:
oxygen/acetylene cutting torch
electric hand grinder
80-grit flap disc
MIG welding machine
silver-metallic colored pencils
24" x 28" piece of 3/16" carbon plate steel
1" angle iron
bucket of water
1. Clean a piece of carbon steel with a cotton rag and degreaser. Place the metal sheet against a vertical surface. Place the desired design template onto a projector and project the design onto the metal. Draw the design onto the steel using a silver-metallic colored pencil.
2. Carefully cut all of the pieces of the design out with an oxygen/acetylene torch. Cut out one hanger bracket and two standoff brackets from 1-inch angle iron. These should be about 1/2 inch in length. Wear protective eyewear and gloves. Cut out the center relief star and four feathers.
3. After the cut pieces have cooled enough to handle, clean any of the remaining slag off of the edges using a file or a hand grinder.
4. Lay the small relief star and the four feathers on to the main body (the Texas state with webbing) where you want them to be when attached in the final assembly. Trace around them with the pencil. The pencil lines will act as registration marks for assembly.
5. Drill a 3/16-inch hole through the center of the star on the main body, Texas state and webbing piece. Then lay the smaller relief star in the center of the larger star of the main body. Using the pencil again, mark the back side of the relief star through the drilled hole on the large star.
6. Tack-weld on the mark made on the back of the relief star. Once cooled, bolt it onto the larger star of the main body.
7. Lay the four feathers, one at a time, where they are to be attached to the main body and lightly tack-weld them into position.
8. With everything now pre-assembled, find the center of balance of the piece by hanging it upon a hook to suspend it in midair. Mark the center on the back side of the main body with the pencil. This is where the hanger bracket will be attached.
9. Weld the hanger bracket at the mark and weld the two standoff brackets to the bottom and outside areas on the back side of the main body.
10. Unbolt the relief star; break off the four feathers to remove them.
11. One at a time, clamp the individual pieces to a worktable or secure them in a vice and polish them in two stages, first with a stone wheel on an electric hand grinder, carefully removing all of the factory finish from the steel and next, use an 80-grit flap disc to polish the steel.
12. After all of the dream catcher pieces have been polished, they will need to be heat burnished with the torch. One at a time, place the polished pieces face up on a piece of expanded metal that is supported across two sawhorses. Slowly and evenly, heat the underside of the polished pieces in order to remove any moisture in the steel. Once the whole piece has warmed, the heat can then be applied from the top side to complete colorization. Let cool.
13. Apply two coats of clear polyurethane to all the pieces of the dream catcher. Let dry.
14. Bolt the relief star into place and tack-weld the four feathers onto the Texas dream catcher.
Valerie Tremelat of Minneapolis is a law clerk by day but she loves to make jewelry.