Wolf Track Fireplace FrontA ranch wanted wolf tracks incorporated into the design of their fireplace. I built a track stomper which was a job by itself. First, I stomp the claw less track, then I hand hammer the claw tips and last I re-flattened the surrounding area. I can make tracks into steel plate up to 3/8” thick. The problem is that it’s difficult to precisely control track placement. It wants to wander a little at first. Surrounding steel is also seriously warped in the process. I preferred to stamp the tracks into the main frame but I worried about all the distortion. My scrap pile was growing too fast so I decide to make the tracks individually then weld them exactly where I wanted them, it turned out fine that way. One of these days I’m going to revisit this process. It would be cool to see tracks walk across a table top.
More Fireplace Fronts
I had to have drawings for this fireplace mantle. There was no way to just wing it. The house is a unique mix of elegance and rustic. There are spectacular, over sized mortise and tenon ridge trusses fitted to huge raw log posts. Delicate hand made glass chandeliers help light and separate the kitchen from the living room, where boulders form the pad for an enormous wood stove in the corner. The range hood in the kitchen matched everything so it was important that the mantle piece be the same flavor.
I did a freehand sketch the homeowners approved and then measured and re-measured several times. I ordered the curved pieces for the face from a local sheet metal place. I rejected the first order because the curves were formed by “bumping” instead of rolling the steel. Bumping is a series of straight bends rather than a smooth curve. Once I had the acceptable face pieces I roughed out the different sections and hauled them to the house for a test fit. Satisfied they would work I took them back to the shop and welded them together and ran the trim pieces. So with my wife’s help I took it back up for another test fit. It was all and I mean all we could carry. Placing it was complicated by the fact that the stove was already hooked up. It fit. Then we had to carry it back out but we made it. I then drilled and installed the rivets, sandblasted it and gave it a patina then wax finish.
Most of the time, I work with the minimum amount of drawings as possible. I like spontaneity and seeing what energy and direction the project develops. Other than a theme, few of my customers are specific about what they want anyway. They trust me to come up with something cool.