How to Make a Copper Fireplace Screen

Punch designs into a copper panel and attach a mahogany frame with this project.

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Put some heart into your hearthside with this fireplace screen. Here’s how to make it:

Materials and Tools:

copper panel
mahogany wood frame
scrap piece of ¾-inch plywood
tin snips
metal punch awl
hammer
radial arm saw
table saw
electric sander
sandpaper
biscuits and biscuit jointer
wood glue
copper cleaner
sal ammoniac solution in a spray bottle
2 clamps
drill
power screwdriver and screws
linseed oil
newsprint
permanent marker
carpenter’s pencil
leather gloves
safety glasses
dust mask
painter’s tape
clean rags

Steps:

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1. Wearing leather gloves to prevent cuts from the copper’s sharp edges, cut a 15x20-inch copper panel with tin snips.

2. Draw your selected design on newsprint with a permanent marker.Tape the design to the copper panel.

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3. Punch holes ¼ inch apart along the lines of the design with a hammer and metal punch or awl.

4. Apply the copper cleaning solution over the entire copper panel with a rag or a sponge. When the cleaner has dried to a smoky film, use a clean rag to wipe and polish the copper.

5. Place the copper panel on pieces of newsprint. Wearing safety glasses and a dust mask, spray the panel with sal ammoniac to create an aged patina.

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6. Measure and cut wood for the frame and stands that will hold the fireplace screen panel.

7. Cut recesses into the wood frame pieces with a biscuit jointer that will eventually hold glued wood biscuits when the frame is assembled around the copper panel.

8. Wearing safety equipment, use a table saw to cut a groove into the inside edges of the frame for the panel to rest in when the frame is assembled around the panel.

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9. Sand the wood frame and stands.

10. Assemble the wood frame around the punched copper panel using wood glue and biscuits.

11. Clamp the frame together, wipe off excess glue, and allow glue to set and dry.

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12. Sand the wood frame and stands to a smooth even surface.

13. Attach the wooden stands to the bottom of the frame with screws, drilling the holes first.

14. Apply the linseed oil finish to the screen according to the manufacturer’s directions.

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