Sunday, May 7, 2017

Heavy metal of the brass variety

©2017 Barry Smith - Brass hose nozzle as centrepiece of the Avian Font
When I chose the base of a very old and large jardiniere for the metal for bowl of the Avian Font I thought I'd be hammering a circle of metal about 1mm thick. As it turned out it was closer to 2mm thick; and 37cm in diameter.  This is the thickest piece of brass I have hammered into a bowl shape. It took a few hours of heavy hammering from beginning to end. Heavy metal work indeed.

©2017 Barry Smith - Using my largest copper hammer to flatten and turn the edges on the anvil on the floor
©2017 Barry Smith - My Japanese metal working hammer was used on the reverse side of the metal to begin the process of raising the bowl on a metal stake
©2017 Barry Smith - Getting there after a few rounds of hammering on the stake and anvil
©2017 Barry Smith - Looking good - I could have spent a couple more hours hammer to get a smoother finish; but In fact I wanted the textured and hammered look - the bowl is about 37cm across and 7.5cm deep. Flattened section ready for cutting the hole for the stand.
After cutting the hole in the centre to attach the stand I cleaned the bowl and added a patina solution. This resulted in quite a blue colour so I coated the patina with a UV resistant art varnish and sanded it back to allow some of the original brown and black patina and polished brass to show through.

©2017 Barry Smith - Patinated bowl after sanding back to reveal the old patina and brass highlights
©2017 Barry Smith - Close up of the patinated and sanded surface close to the centre of the bowl - nice bit of rust from the mild steel washer reacting to the patina solution.
To get a firm and leakproof attachment I needed to make some rubber and steel washers. This took about an hour as the holes were bigger than my metal punches. The steel washer took quite a bit of filing.

©2017 Barry Smith - So little to show for the time involved
The stand and base, including rubber washers, were then assembled and ready for the bowl and spray nozzle.

©2017 Barry Smith - Stand and base - the stand has a copper pipe inner  tube and a rusty garage spring out sleeve. The top of the stand includes a brass plumbing fittings, a brass tap body and a rusty cog with an inner brass tube which was then riveted to the stand;s inner copper tube.
And this is the finished product - looking gorgeous enough to attract a few birds.

©2017 Barry Smith - Font without water 
©2017 Barry Smith - Holding water - ready for the birds.
This Avian Font will be delivered to the new owner mid next week.


  1. Wow... beautiful, I love the patina and the lovely, open shape.

  2. 'Avian Font'...whatever happened to 'bird bath'? lovely addition to someone's garden, Barry.

  3. Wow! Your avian font is beautiful. Wonderful!

  4. Hi VA, JM and AA - I'm way behind in my responses to comments - but better late than never. VA - the patina worked well - and maybe the birds will appreciate it? JM - I think it was Velma or Wendy V who suggested Avian Font was a bit more artistic than birdbath. AA - thank you. Peace. B


Comments are welcomed - it is good to connect with fellow travellers.