My wife and I have been eyeballing a little firewood rack to go beside the fireplace. As it stands today, when I bring in an armload of logs from outside, I just put them on the floor. The racks we've seen for sale at big boxy type stores all seem cheaply made and over priced. I recently purchases a little scroll bender from metalcraftusa.com and thought it would be a good time to try it out.
I had some specific dimensions to work within but you could make the frame whatever size fits your space. My frame's finished dimensions are 18" x 10" and the scrolls are 14" from tip to tip.
Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools
For this little project, it took me nearly as long to lug all the tools out of the shop as it did to actually build the thing. The tools I used are:
- Angle grinder with flap disc and cutoff wheel
- Chop saw
- Disc sander
- Welder / Welding mask
- 90 degree vise/clamp
- Metalcraft MK2/2H
- Various clamps
- 1" x 1/8" square tubing I had lying around
- 3/4" x 1/8" flat bar
Don't forget safety glasses, welding gloves, hearing protection, and protective clothing if you have them; the sparks from the grinder can get hot. I also recommend (for safety) NOT taking off the guard on the angle grinder but mine is long gone.
A note about buying steel. Find a real supplier and avoid the big box stores. It's so much cheaper it's almost hard to believe. It's intimidating the first time but you'll thank me in the end.
Step 2: Cut and Weld the Frame
I had to add a gratuitous sparks flying picture of course. I was by myself so I leaned the camera against a scrap piece of metal and set a 10 second timer...not a bad result if I do say so myself ;)
For the frame I cut 4 pieces of 1" tubing. 2 x 18" and 2 x 8" this will give the final dimension of 18"x10". I clamped the pieces down to the bench and used the grinder with the flap disc to clean up the rust so I would have a good area for grounding and welding the pieces together. My square stock has been in the weather for years so it's rusty. If you get new stock, you'll still need to grind it some to get to the bare metal.
I have the nifty 90 degree clamp I got from Northern Tool. It really helps line up the corners. Unfortunately, it wouldn't fit inside the frame to get the last 2 corners tacked. I ended up doing 2 L shaped pieces and using the alignment magnet to get the last 2 corners. Also used a regular speedy clamp thing to hold the joint snug together.pr
Step 3: Cut, Round, and Bend the Scrolls
I tested out one piece before cutting the other 3 so the pictures are a little out of order. The scroll has a diameter of 2 inches and I wanted it to be a total of 14" tall so I needed 10" extra after the scrolls. The scroll bender comes with a little cheat sheet for this and I determined that each scroll needed 7" of steel. I cut a piece 24" and it turned out perfectly 14" long at after bending. Math is cool. I rounded the corners with the disc sander before scrolling to get rid of any sharp edges and make it look a little more "finished". The scroll bender is really neat and simple. This one will handle up to 1/8" stock. Just stick it in the slot and bend it around the spiral. Once I got them all 4 bent, it's time to put it all together.
Step 4: Weld It Up
I figured out where I wanted the "legs" to be and clamped them up and tack welded them in. I set them back 3 1/4" from the ends and they protrude down 2 1/4". This just looked right to my eye. Once I was sure I liked where everything was, I went back and added some more welds. Just some more heavy tack welds will do the trick here. No need to worry about perfect beads (and it's been a while since I welded much) I could have made the joints mitered or welded some plate over the holes in the end. I bought a bunch of these 1" square plugs for a previous project so I decide to use them. I was initially going to paint it black like all fireplace accessories but my wife had other plans. I installed the plugs at this point because they're going to be painted with the rest of the rack. I failed to get a picture, but I finished cleaning up the rust with the grinder and flap disc.
Step 5: Paint
My wife wanted what she called a "bronzy" color. I found this rustoleum hammered look paint. I also like that it can be sprayed in any direction and angle. This came in handy for getting paint coverage in the scrolls. Close up of the paint shows a little texture just after one good coat. That's it....it's done. Now when the paint dries, I'll put it in the house and get ready for the winter fires. Hope you liked this little project and I hope it inspires some to attempt something similar or exactly like it! Let me know if you make one.