Banding Ironwork

I am making a series of scroll pieces for a cabinet wall my brother has been commissioned to design and build.  The cabinet has three sections that he has asked me to create rather intricate scroll work with vintage Moorish feel.

   Traditionally,the pieces would have been matched up, aligned and held together by a wrapped band around the joint.  It gave a very distinctive look and actually held together really well.

Here is an example:bands s


All the scrolls and banding are fun to do…but it does take a while to get it done.

Now, if you are a regular reader of my blog, you probably know I love to make tools to help with the job at hand.

And I have been known to spend more time making the tool than I have actually using it!   I am not sure that is wrong…

but it does seem messed up to some folks.

With all that said,  all the joints needed to be banded on this project, so I made a banding tool.

For all you visual people out there… here is a photo:

machine 1s












It is made from a Non Vise Grip (you know the ones you can buy for $4 at the disposal tool store)  I welded ½ inch stock to the jaws so that it can be held in the leg vise and used as an anvil for the bend.


machine 2s







The ½ inch banding strips are cut and clamped into the vise, bent with the hammer, (purest blacksmith would call that “cold forged” I just call it “bent”) and removed.  then you repeat for the other side, resulting in a square sided U.

machine 3s


Then you just do that 150 more times and you are half done. (they have to still be installed.)

To install, each one is placed on a joint, bent around the metal and then welded closed for good measure.

making bands v s

It’s a beautiful effect, and when it’s done it is worth the energy.

Plus you get another tool to paint red and hang on the wall of the studio.


If you make bands, feel free to copy it if you wish.  If you have an improvement, send me a photo.

As always, I would love to hear your comments or observations.

Contact me with the form below or via email at






  1. Beautiful work, Steve Z! And I like that you invent tools to make your jobs go smoother! I’m always fascinated with tools and machines that are invented to make other tools. I visited a company in Indiana that made the blades and machinery for sawmill equipment to make veneer. It was amazing then I wanted to see the factory where they make the machines to make etc.


  2. Stephen,

    That is a very distinct feature, indeed. Assuming that the seam is still visible after welding, which way to you orient it?



    • Chris, The seam is always on the back. Traditionally it would be left open, but I weld it closed and then clean the weld so it is not noticeable. But the front shows one solid piece wrapping around the joint. I will be powder coating this in a bronze color. Then painting all the recesses black and wiping off all that is not in the cracks and recesses. This process leaves a great antique look.


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