“Art All Around US” A Woodstove

My “Art all around us” project is all about finding something beautiful that did not have to be made beautiful. It is a celebration of the desire to make things better because it makes our lives better. So, I go about my daily routine keeping my eyes open for the little things that are special, and then sharing them, so others can enjoy them too.

It has been a wild spring for me. A lot of new clients and special orders have kept me away from sharing any newfound “Art All Around Us”.

But I have collected a lot of great examples and will be sharing them here over the next several months. So stand by!

And now, to get it going… I found a stove. Yes, a simple wood stove that only needed to be square and straight. But no, they wanted to make it special and beautiful. And they did!


So, I celebrate this unknown craftsman for the effort he put into making something simple into something beautiful.

I would love to see your examples of the “Art All Around Us”.

Send them to me via email at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

or by using the form below.

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Anvil Art

I found this homemade anvil on the internet the other day.anvil

I was amazed that the whole thing had been made from a piece of rail road track. Now I have seen a lot of anvils made from rail road track in my travels, but this one is a work of art!

And the stand looks great too.

To all you blacksmiths out there… the gauntlet has been thrown down by this guy…whoever he is.

Little Giant Power Hammer

I bought a Little Giant 25# power hammer a good while ago…


I refused to bring it to the studio to start the rehab (it’s about 100 years old) because I knew I would get no other work done while I played with it. and I had a lot of work to do!

Well I finally had to get it out of a friend’s storage unit so it has made its way to the studio.


It is small for a power hammer just a 25-pound ram. But it will do a lot hammering that will make my arm feel better. Step on the pedal and watch it do about 60 hits per min.   Or I can hold a 3 lb hammer in my hand and do about 10 hits per min… you see where the tradeoff is?


Anyway, it will need some work and rework to get it running perfectly

but as you know

that is part of the fun.

These are  ome before photos of the hammer. It is about 5 feet tall and weighs about 900 pounds.

Yes, I will need to find out where it will be located in the studio, and get it put there real soon.

More photos to come as I get it rebuilt and working.

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Making Rivets

I am currently creating a walk through residential gate. To add interest, I am doing some of the fastening in the “old school” riveted style.

It’s a labor intensive technique but well worth the effort when you see the finished result.

rivit 1

Here is what’s involved:

Step one: forge down the connecting piece so it can be attached.

Step two: drill a hole through the top and the base.

Step three: insert a rod thorough the two holes.







rivit 2


Step four:   heat the end of the rod until it is red hot.

Step five: use a light hammer to peen the ends over to form the rivet.

Step six:   flip the whole thing and start over with the other side!


Now, I just have do that for every other joint in the piece. But as you can see, the final effect is going to be stunning.

It’s not finished yet so I cannot show the whole gate. But trust me it is looking good.

rivit 3

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions…

Email me at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com or just use the form below.


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:

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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 steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com.





As you probably know by now, I am having a solo sculpture show at the Arts Council Gallery in September.

When you think about it, there seems to be a million things to do in order to be prepared for a show.

Yes that assumption is correct.

I sat down with the Arts Director Connie Weiner and started a list.  Then I realized a list would not cut it…I needed more!

I had to make myself a calendar of:

*All the promotional items I needed to collect,

*All the pieces I wanted in the show,

*When they needed to be photographed,

*And set deadlines for each of these items.

I printed it out and kept it in my date book.  I carried it with me everywhere.

For a “free thinker” it was a real burden.  I like new ideas and thinking out of the box.  But I needed to be organized.  (At least that is what Claire tells me…and she is usually right.)

One of the fun/ crazy things I had to accomplish was to have my photo made for the biographical materials.

Fun, because it is interesting to see what will come from the sessions.  (See paragraph above)

Crazy, because it sometimes get crazy trying to get an idea/ concept I have in my head converted to paper.

I called a longtime friend Beth Humphrey (Every Good Thing Photography) to try and capture the “essence of my existence” on paper….or just give me a good photo of myself that people would recognize.  (I am not known for taking great photos.)

We had a great time at the studio and she came up with a wonderful portrait.

And here it is…

me 1

Thank you Beth for the great work.

If you would like to see the real picture, come to the Onslow Co Arts Council in Jacksonville.

“The Art of Nature”  by Steve Zawistowski

Opening reception on September 8th  and running through the 27th.

I’ll see you there.

Can You Guess?

I was in the studio today and made something that I thought would make an interesting quiz.

Here are some photos of a project I was working on for about an hour this afternoon.  Now, it is just a small item, but it is an important part in the piece I was creating.  I will show you photos of the progression… and you see if you can figure it out before the end.

Here is the original cutout after it has been heated and forged into a cylinder

photo 1










Then the end is cut, heated and molded into around, closed cylinder.

photo 3photo 5

(With a little help from the MIG welder.)

The opening is heated and forged into a lip.

photo 6photo 7

And the top is forged into shape.

photo 8








Any ideas yet?

Here I am holding it so you can see the size.

photo 9

The second part is cut from 20 gage sheet metal and cut to shape.  Then it is heated and curved on the swedge block.

photo 10

To look like this…

photo 11

Then the two pieces are joined to finish up like this.

photo (13)








Any ideas?  It’s not finished. It needs to be sandblasted and be dyed or colored in some other way.







OK ….

It is the flower of a lady slipper orchid, or at least it will be…

This is all part of a project which I will talk more about in the near future.




Let me know what you think.

You can use the form below,

or you can email me at   steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com