Irene Juliette Deely welds steel into her combination "Burning Bush" fire pit and cocktail table.
Materials and Tools:
11- and 16-gauge sheet steel
1/4" to 1/2" steel rods
3/8" steel pipe
9-gauge steel wire
1/2" to 1-1/2" steel spheres
1-gallon propane tank
gas burner, connectors, gauges and knobs
chemical patinas (ferrous sulfate, cupric nitrate, potash)
welding safety equipment including gloves, hood
1. To make the shelves to hold the propane tank and burner:
2. Cut five 1/2-inch rods to desired lengths using a chop saw. Bend the rods into root forms. Spot-weld the shaped rods to the large lower shelf for the propane tank support.
3. Spot-weld the smaller upper shelf for the burner creating a structural tree form resembling roots for feet and terminating in points at the top of the trunk edge. Use a MIG welder and wear safety equipment.
4. Cut and bend 1/4-inch rods to connect and further shape the root and trunk form.
5. Form the framework for the access door to the propane tank shelf in the desired location of the trunk.
6. To create the hinged access door, cut 16-gauge steel into the desired size and shape by tracing the opening created for the access door in the previous step.
7. Cut 3/8-inch pipe and 1/4 inch rod to fit one side of the door edge. Cut the pipe into sections and thread it onto the rod. Spot-weld alternating sections of pipe with the rod inserted to the door. Spot-weld pipe sections not welded to the door to the framework created in the trunk in step 3. Cut two sections of 1/2-inch rod to fabricate the handle and weld the rod to the door.
8. To make the bark cut 16-gauge sheets to fit between the rod sections of the tree using a plasma cutter.
9. Spot-weld the shapes to the trunk and roots at contact points to the rod sections. Cut free hand forms out of the "bark."
10. Spot-weld 9-gauge wire to give more definition and texture to the bark and fill in around the bark. Grind the bark and smooth with a buffer.
11. Cut 1/2-inch rods into desired lengths for the branches using a chop saw. Texture the rods with the MIG welder.
12. Weld the rods to the trunk in three different places and at varying heights. Bend the branches into irregular shapes. Attach more rods to the three main ones attached to the trunk forming secondary branches.
13. Using a level, mark the branches to support the tabletops on the outside. Cut the branches off at the marks using a plasma cutter. There will be three different tabletops going around the outside at three different heights in 1-1/2 inch increments.
14. To make the three tabletops cut 11-gauge steel into three desired shapes to conform loosely to the contours of the trunk. Grind the edges. Spot-weld the outer edge of each table top with 9-gauge wire.
15. Arrange each top onto the corresponding branches and check for level adjusting and welding in place. Grind and buff.
16. Weld small metal spheres to the bottom of the legs and the tops of the upper rod structure.
17. Install the propane tank on the bottom shelf and connect up the appropriate connectors, gauges and knobs to the gas burner, which is placed on the upper shelf.
18. Place large metal spheres on the top shelf around the gas burner. Light the gas burner flame and enjoy your combination "Burning Bush" fire pit and cocktail table.
When Irene Deely of Garden City, Idaho, started college she really felt her passion was clay. She loved pottery, but left college early to start a family. Years later when her kids were in school she went back to school to get her degree. Again she dabbled in clay, but once she was introduced to metal, she never looked back.